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Oct 2009, Vol: 2, Issue: 3
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Urhalpool English
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- by Goutam Datta

Is Urhalpool a bridge between the spiritual world and the living world?  We do not think so.  Urhalpool does not have any religion, the same way a language cannot belong to a particular religion. Though quite often, we become confused.  Many people think that Urdu is a language only for those in India who practice Islam. This is completely wrong!  Urdu is India’s youngest language.  It evolved from the Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, and Punjabi languages.  Many Bengali Hindus believe that the word pani (meaning water and widely used by Bangladeshi writers) symbolizes the Muslim religion. However, the fact is the word pani came from Sanskrit.   The Bengali words pani and jol both came from Sanskrit and mean water.  Religion has a habit of always muddying the water.  People like to bathe in religion water to wash their sins and they don’t realize that the water is so red!   Urhalpool does not carry any religion’s flags.  When Bengalis from West Bengal celebrate the Durga Puja festival, Bengalis from Bangladesh celebrate Eid.  However, they both speak the same Bengali language. This is our Urhalpool.

Recently Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, and the world’s expectation of him reached the sky.  Only the future will tell if he is the leader at this historic juncture.  However, we can say this much: that it is impossible for him to solve all the problems in the world.  At the same time, he may be the leader to guide us through these troubled times.  And if we, the people, feel happy and start sleeping because Obama is already in office, we will see after our long sleep that Obama will have gone and we will still be stuck in the middle of miserable storms.  Human civilization has been choked to death from terrorist storms, warmongers’ storms, and the storms of religious orthodoxy.  Recently, one of my friends told me that among the countries he visited, he found the worst forms of poverty in India.  His comments reminded me one of Rabindranath Tagore’s short poems:

I have been traveling for ages

through the long long miles

spending much money in many lands

went to see mountain ranges

went to see the river Sindu.

Yet I didn’t see with my eyes open

what lay in front of my own door’s steps;

a drop of dew

on the top of a grain of rice


We see poverty everywhere in the world.  We ignore long lines in front of soup kitchens in various industrial towns.  This country, which carries the most powerful currency in the world, the US dollar, cannot feed its own citizens, cannot take care of the health of millions!  Like the millions under old Soviet rule who used to believe everything about America was bad, similarly millions suffer in the US, still believing that unchecked capitalism is alright, greed is alright. The black holes of individual greed are devouring the livelihood of millions and we couldn’t care less. 

We see poverty in literature too. The same stories of immigrant experiences, feel good cinematic stories, or even individual experiences of shame or torture; everything is on sale in the main street!  On the other hand, worldwide spoken languages are disappearing at an alarming rate. Languages may also follow Charles Darwin’s survival of fittest theory, and some will vanish following the nature’s law, like the many life forms which have already vanished from our planet.  We are fighting to save life forms; similarly we need to make conscious efforts to save languages from disappearing.  Our planet is beautiful because of its diversity in life forms, diversity in colors, diversity in races, diversity in languages.  Maybe these are subjects for debate. We are keeping  Urhalpool’s white pages open for the readers to fill them with the ink of straight talk and real conversation. Let many languages use Urhalpool as their creative bridge for conversation.