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What is life and why do we die? -The Asian Age


You ask me about life, about the nature of living? I will answer you, but before I do that I will ask you to sit back a little and think of the mysteries of this world. Have you ever wondered what makes the stars shine in the sky?

Or what lies on the dark side of the moon? Or how much longer the sun will shine before it loses its fire and energy? These are things which happen every moment, every day. And how many of us spend time thinking about them?

But, yes, there are many who do think of life, of the end of life. What happens after death? Why do we die? Why does everything die? These again are questions which speak to us of God, of an Almighty Creator whose power and dimensions are too vast for us to imagine.

The universe, as scientists have been telling us over the years, keeps on expanding. There are hundreds of suns many light years way. There is a lot more beyond our solar system than we can imagine. Is life out there on a distant planet? Or is Earth the only planet where life goes on?

Life is a most wonderful thing. It is a gift from God, a gift that must not be misused. And yet life is often unfair to millions of people around the world. Imagine the millions of children who go to bed hungry every day somewhere in the world.

Think of the poor parents whose hearts break at the sight of their children dying before their very eyes --- because they cannot give them food or medicine. The tears of a father and a mother are the saddest sight in the world. We see these parents all around us.

The old woman who should have been playing with her grandchildren at home goes begging at street corners because her family refuses to give her shelter. The little child who wants to go to school is forced to stand before the gates of prosperous homes for a little food.

Yo2u ask me about life. What I have told you is a picture of life. When you see thin, tired young women work in garment factories from dawn till late at night, you ask yourself whether life is at all fair. When you see other people wasting food because they cannot eat all of it, you know something is wrong with life.

Yes, I think about life a great deal. I find it in my village forty kilometers out of this city when I take a walk around the pond with my cousins. When people laugh and joke, I see life in them. When I see my mother in cheerful spirits, I know life is charming.

But then I walk down to the graves of my ancestors, of my unforgettable grandfather and grandmother, to tell myself that at the end of life there is death. We do not wish to die, but can we avoid what God has decided for us?

Life is when you sit on the banks of the river at sunset, watching the birds go home to their nests. You wonder what the coming dawn will be like.


The writer is a student

-----Shammi Naz Shahid