Kabir is one of India’s ‘Priceless Gems’ - who is called a saint because of his writings - full of wisdom, and teachings for the masses. I feel they cannot be ignored in today’s world. In fact, in schools when we teach ethics and values to children we could make it easier by quoting Kabir often. It is a part of the rich heritage of India which we cannot afford to lose. Did he play a decisive role in shaping India’s culture? I do not know, maybe students of History will be able to answer it better. But we do know that Kabir worked hard to make people think differently, especially when it came to breaking walls of strict religious beliefs, and superstitions. He has highlighted simple virtues like honesty, love, truth, faith in oneself, encouraging introspection, and more. He has explained it beautifully with similes, linked with observations of day to day life which people can understand.
Kabir is a highly quoted poet, who, despite having criticized every sect, has people from various religious backgrounds accepting him and regarding him as a wise person with saintly leanings. His ideas are in the form of simple poems - mostly couplets, and are popularly sung in rural India. In fact I was inspired to write about it as I was listening to one such popular music cassette in a car and felt that I must talk about Kabir with my children, while making them listen. It also brought back memories of my father, who would sing these sonnets and couplets, as a part of his daily chores at home, and would often end up explaining them to us. Kabir's poems essentially teach humility, religious tolerance and that faith leads us to be humble. In a world torn apart by religious strife today, Kabir's writings take on even more relevance.
To take a peek into what the couplets are like, and if they could be incorporated into our curriculum, click on the related link.