Sunday, February 17, 2019
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Rebirth: Is there any truth in it ?

By Amit Kushari

We live in an age of science and technology and we are not expected to believe in superstitious thoughts like rebirth or ‘punar janam’, which donot have any scientific evidence. If anybody talks of ‘punar janam’, we are expected to discard such talk as unscientific nonsense. So far no dead man has come alive to tell us the true story about death and rebirth. There are only mythological stories and religious beliefs. The Hindu scriptures, however, do speak of rebirth. The holy Gita says, “Just as we discard old clothes to wear new clothes, we discard old bodies to enter new bodies (vasansi jeernani yatha vihaya, navani grinhati naroparani)”. I am not aware of Christians believing in rebirth, but Jesus Christ resurrected after being crucified. Buddhists do believe in rebirth. Muslims do not specifically believe in rebirth but the Holy Quran says, “We can take away life from you and later give it back to you.” Is this an indication of rebirth?

On this issue, I would like to share with my readers some odd inexplicable events which happened in my life in 1980/81. I was posted as Secretary of the Pay Commission in Jammu/Srinagar. I bought a plot of land in the north west corner of Pathankot town, just as an investment. I used to get frequent nightmarish dreams before I bought the plot. I used to get nightmares that I was running away with my family members and little belongings loaded on backs of mules. In my dream I was a poor man, running for my life and safety of my family. There was a tremendous pain in my heart that I was leaving my land behind and I had to cross a few hurdles to be in a safe area. I could see hordes of armed people coming from the opposite direction who attacked me and my family. There after there was all darkness and I would wake up from my nightmare in a cold sweat. These nightmares were coming very frequently. There was another dream which also came quite often. Somebody would call me from outside, “Ata, Ata” and I would rush to the window. I didn’t give these dreams much importance.

When I reached Pathankot to buy land I visited the home of the three brothers who owned the land. I found that the area looked very familiar to me. “Oh this is Sujapur”, I thought. I asked the land owners whether this area was called Sujapur. The three brothers said, “It was never called Sujapur. When our family came from Pakistan as refugees, the Punjab Government alloted this land to our father. This land belonged to a Muslim farmer who was killed during partition while trying to escape to Pakistan.” The mother of the three brothers arrived on the scene. She had gone to a temple for prayers and had just returned. The brothers asked her, ” This gentleman wants to buy our land and he is asking if this area was ever called Sujapur.” Their mother replied, “Yes, indeed it used to be called Sujapur when we arrived here in 1947. The name was changed later.” The three brothers were astonished and asked how I knew that, to which I had no reply at all.

Thereafter, I bought the land and it was mutated in my name. My mind was at rest and the nightmares never came back to haunt me again. I started wondering whether I myself was that poor farmer who was trying to escape to Pakistan and was killed by refugees coming from Pakistan. Since I was born a few days after independence in West Bengal, my suspicions became stronger. I wanted to know what had been my name in my last birth. I called the Patwari of the area and asked him about the old pre 1947 land records. He said that he would have to get it from the ‘Mehfiz Khana’ and some expenditure would be involved. When I promised him some money, he agreed to do my work within a week. Later he told me that one Ata Muhammad had been the owner of this land and since he was killed the land vested in the Punjab Government as enemy property and was later allotted to a Hindu refugee from Pakistan. From the name the second dream was also explained. There is also a strange coincidental resemblance between the Muslim name of Ata Muhammad and the Hindu name of Amit ( having three common alphabets A, T &M)

The past is shrouded in mystery and there is no tangible proof. Only a few nightmares and a few coincidences cannot be a convincing proof of anything. If indeed I had been Ata Muhammad in my last birth, why don’t I remember any other event, except the fearful last journey and somebody calling me repeatedly by that name to the balcony? Any sensible person can dismiss this story as humbug, but I couldn’t resist sharing it with my readers and friends.

(Amit Kushari (IAS, Retd.) is former Financial Commissioner, J&K. Feedback at [email protected] or contact at 09748635185)

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