Dear brother, Rev. Daniel
Read your well renowned book 'Manch'. After its publication, I read reviews on this book and heard good comments from diligent readers. It raised my curiosity to read this book. Finally, I started reading it and its lucidity dragged me completely in a different realm of rationalism. I remembered those lofty lines from Gurudev's poem,
'Where the mind is without fear,
and the head is held high,
where knowledge is free'.
Today let me tell you my perception about you when first time we met in the presence of Rev. Sir Almeida. Inadvertently, I imagined you as 'Ananda' following Tathagata. And while reading your book I realized that my perception was not wrong. I acknowledged your role in writing this book as a silent observer with proper discernment. I found this book as a spiritual travelogue.
A rebellious infant existed in you very first revolted on a social extravagance to preserve a particular culture. Folly is the thought and subsequently the action, when one tries to preserve a culture. Can anyone confine voyage of time in artificial fences of our fantasies? Likewise, culture can't be preserved; it can be effloresced with new thoughts, new words, and scientific outlook. But this is the actual point which we misinterpret and try to preserve culture by cladding traditional dress, dance on folk (which is not pure Kupari folk but a mere concoction) and partaking traditional dishes. And the result is, we still have our dialect so impoverished that we can't express social and scientific thoughts perfectly in that.
Rev. Adv. Anup's instruction in 2nd chapter advising Rev. Raymond to proclaim the true teaching of Jesus is not only relevant but essential for the further civilization of this world. Don't know how much and to what extent Rev. Raymond has followed it!!! But it reminds me that truth is a bitter nectar. It makes the votary immortal in long run; but in his temporal life world offers him poison and hemlock and cross and throne crown. But in the course of time truth only triumphs.
And then comes Venerable Dr. Dabholkar, one more votary after truth, who was triggered with bullets for unveiling the dark shadow of superstition. He tried to break those shackles in which people were tied. But some people are so obsessed with that darkness that they hate the dawn. And finally, they have option to kill the messenger of true life. But history has always witnessed that after such assassination the sprouts of those thoughts shoot out and turns in to a huge banyan tree. I can see 'Manch' is a well flourished limb of that tree.
But in the same chapter, my opinion regarding child development is different from yours. For me what we sow so shall we reap. A child's learning starts with conception till its age of 5. After that it just manifests its personality, likes and dislikes. Conditioning gives him a definite personality and it's not the outcome of co- incidence.
Then, I am totally in agreement with your thoughts on language. Language Is the prime reason to distinguish one religion from another. Today whatever policies Rev. Felix Machado is following in the name of liturgy are highly marked by language. And he is fully exploiting this factor to justify his opinion. What can we expect from the religious leaders who don't want to go beyond the barricades of language to realise the supreme divinity? But I don't mind these religious leaders. They have to flourish their religious business.
Like your experience in last chapter, I pity for them who have become so blind, deaf and dumbfound to understand the core teaching of Jesus. But Afterall it's part of civilization. Civilization is not a fast process; but must undergo through the ordeal of Form, Storm and Norm.
Had you written real names of all the characters and places; 'Manch' would have become a perfect face of truth. But I assume it as your creativity to avoid any legal hassle.
There are many more things on which I wanted to express my views at length; but then it will turn into a one more book. And presently I don't intent to publish any such book as long as people digest 'Manch'.
In bible Daniel is a character, who raised his voice seeing humiliation of Suzanne and used his wisdom to stop that injustice. (The story that always reminds me Draupadi's emancipation by Krishna at the time of humiliation in the game of dice) I think today religion is at the place of Suzanne. Its protectors are denuding it with false and incomplete interpretation. And the role of Daniel is the same as it was then!
Maxwel Lopes, Vasai.
(Author is a lecturer at Narsee Monjee College, Mumbai and a young Gandhian at heart.)