Is there a God? This is a question that has been asked umpteen times, debated over. Books have been written on it, wars have been fought over it, civilizations have revolved around it and yet this question still remains fundamentally answered. There is one school, which says there is no God, that everything has a scientific reason. There is one school, which says that if God is there why is there so much suffering in the world. And yet one school believes that God is the only solution to all problems. This question became more acute due to the year 2001 A.D. If ever there was a year that deserved to be called Annus Horribilis it was last year. The earthquake in Gujarat, the economic recession, terrorism, deaths of prominent people, the dotcom debacle, the IT slowdown, floods, the royal family massacre in Nepal and to top it all the Sept 11 attacks. All these were enough to question the existence of God even among the staunchest believers. There appeared many columns in papers by the experts questioning the existence of God. As is usual it became a fad now to criticize God.
I was one among the many to lose faith in God, considering I had a bad year myself. I was laid off from my job like countless others in the IT industry. I had a H1 visa but could not go to the US due to the recession there. I finally got a job where the pay was less and the work was heavy. Is there a God I wondered? But then 2001 also had it's share of blessings for me. I got selected to appear in Mastermind Quiz on BBC. I made some good friends. I finally got to settle down with my wife after having spent a good part of my first year of marriage away. It was then that I realized we should be thankful for small blessings.
But what again bought this question to my mind was a column in a newspaper questioning the existence of God and the author citing the above events to support his argument. This set me thinking again, doubtless 2001 was chock a full of tragedies like those mentioned above. But if we delve a bit deeper we can find some wonderful examples, which prove God exists. Take the Gujarat earthquake. It was one of the most tragic events in India killing many people, destroying the state's economy and turning cities into rubble. Yet God was there among the millions of ordinary people who despite being still in a shock started to dig out the victims using the barest of equipment. God was there in all those aid workers who flew in from all parts of the world, some not even understanding the language of the people but selflessly devoting themselves to the cause. God was there in the doctors who shouldered the burden of treating the injured with the most primitive equipment.
God was there on Sept 11, in the form of those fire fighters who rushed into those towers to save as many lives losing theirs in the process. He was there in the Mayor of New York, Rudy Guilani, who rallied his people around after such a massive tragedy and most importantly assured that no Muslims or Arabs would be harmed. God was present in all those cops who went all out to reassure the citizens. God was there on Dec 13, when those brave policemen laid down their lives protecting the Parliament. These ordinary men and women proved that there is a God in all of us, which comes out during a crisis. During the Partition and the 1993 Mumbai riots there were many people who stepped in to protect their neighbors from the mobs.
What I seek to say is when things go wrong we tend to blame God and become cynical. But life is never a bed of roses all the time. At times we have to face these trying times in life, only then can we be molded into people of character. We have our plans but God always has some other plans in store. What if Yusuf Khan was content to be just a fruit seller, we wouldn't be having Dilip Kumar? What would have happened had Lord Ram not been sent into exile, Ravana would never have been killed? The Mahabharata war would have never taken place, had Duryodhan agree to return to the Pandavas their rightful share. What if Mahatma Gandhi would have not been pushed out of a train in South Africa, India would have never been rid of British domination? What if Japan hadn't attacked Pearl Harbor, America would not have entered the war, and Hitler would have walked all over Europe? These are but just a few of the examples I am giving to indicate that life is never what we planned, but is unpredictable. Its how we face the twists and turns in our life that determine our future. Remember God always help those who help themselves. Yes there is a God, but he expects every one of us to do their duty.