Another year is on us! For me time seems to gather pace at an extraordinary rate, but maybe that's to do with the fact that we always seem to be active in something or other. And many a time I seem to find a 'Eureka moment' which attracts my deep attention and soaks up time.
One such 'moment' occurred just a few weeks ago when I discovered the extent of the work of children's author W. J. Corbett, who, unknowingly to me for many years, was born in and lived in the area of my upbringing. And this past year or two I've been drafting a history of that area of Birmingham. A few weeks ago I had come to the end of the main body of the book and was looking into finding something appropriate to begin the book, and, lo and behold, Corbett provided the very answer for which I was looking. For those who are unfamiliar with Corbett, his first book ("The Song Of Pentecost") won the Whitbred Award for children's books in 1982, and his work was compared by Evelyn Waugh in its quality to Wind In The Willows and Black Beauty. Roald Dahl thought his book to be an "astonishing achievement".
When I say that the fringe of the area of my upbringing attracted also the attention of J. R. R. Tolkien (and influenced his Hobbit), then you can begin to visualise why the area had an appeal for children's writers. And why the area gave me such a sense of peace at an early age.
But that is all about the past. It's a new year that we are entering and questions exist as to how the affairs of the world are to develop. I believe matters will get very much worse before they get better (in physical terms) but I also believe we are crossing a peculiar period of time which is trying to bring us to understand who we really are. Whether the issue is about war, climate change, deprivation Jerusalem or CERN, there are questions to be resolved before progress can be made.
Traditionally - at least in modern eons - we have been brought up to think that the West has the answers. But for me the West seems to have provided the problems, and tries to resolve those problems using outmoded thinking based on sciences that have been proven to be mostly inadequate. Being a clever ape does not hide foolish thinking.
But wait ... we may think of China as being the alternative place where power might reside, but for me the answer is to be found in India, anciently known as Bharat. Anyone who has been keeping up-to-date with developments in India will realise I think that in Modi they have a prime minister who is beyond the usual category of Asian leader. Corruption seems to be his very enemy, and he has made himself deeply unpopular with those that try to corrupt. Apart from that he has a base philosophy and attitude that is very Indian, yet looks to the best of both ancient and modern thinking to implement his ideas of reform and of how to deal with practical issues, including economic development.
So it's on that note I will rest this essay. And I will propose a toast: "To India! To Bharat!" For it is from that culture that most of the civilised world has evolved throughout history. If you are in doubt about that statement then please investigate for yourself.
I wish you Health and Happiness in the coming year!
Thank you for reading this!