Poet Sahir Ludhianvi says, “Aasman pe hai khuda aur zameen pe hum” (the God is up there in the sky, and we are down here on earth). “Aaj kal iwoh iss taraf dekhta hai kum.” (nowadays, he sees less down this way).
He seems to have not glanced down at what is happening all over the globe.
In his comments, Sahir asserts, “Aajkal kisi ko woh tokta nahin” (these days, He does not restrain anybody). “chahe kuchh bhi kijiye rokta nahin.” (do whatever one wants to do, he stops nobody). “”Ho rahi hai lootmaar, phatt rahe hain bumb” (looting, violence, killings and bomb explosions are ongoing).
Besides wars and armed conflicts, humankind endures much direr distress. For that reason, why did God create the universe and life after all?
“Duniya banane wale, kaya tere mann main samai, toone kahe ko duniya banai.” (oh the world’s creator, what struck your mind that you created this world”, poet Shailendra seeks some explanation.
As one of the critical issues in poetry is protest, Shailendra’s probe represents a genuine voice of protest before God when we look at the grim scenes in nation after nation where humanity suffers.
The world presents a chilling and pessimistic look from poverty, hunger, diseases and pandemics to human rights, wars, armed conflicts, gun violence, escalating refugee problems, degenerating environments, etc.
Philosopher-poet Muhammad Iqbal exposes these underlying bearings and humbly submits griefs and grievances to God.
He calls this outcry before Him “Shikwa.”
Hai Baja Shewa-e-Tasleem Mein Mashoor Hain Hum
Qissa-e-Dard Sunate Hain Ke Majboor Hain Hum
(It is true to say we are famous for our habit of submission,
We are helpless now to narrate our tales of pain)
Saaz-e-Khamosh Hain, Faryad Se Maamoor Hain Hum
Nala Ata Hai Agar Lab Pe To Maazoor Hain Hum
(We are silent lutes, filled with anguished cries,
If our passionate cries come to our lips, then excuse us, for we are helpless,)
Ay khuda shikwa-e-arbab-e-wafa bhi sun le,
Khugar-e-hamd se thora sa gila bhi sun le.
(Hear, O Lord, from the faithful ones this sad lament,
From those used to hymn praise, a word of discontent).
With reverent calling, Iqbal pleads, “thora sa gilla bhi sun le” (listen to a little complaint also, oh God)
Lamenting or complaining about his created ‘Leela,’ Shailendra directly and boldly satirically addresses God. “Chhupp chhupp tamasha dekhe wah re teri khudai” (covertly enjoying the show, salvo (in caustic tone) to your godliness).
The theology of resentment and protest does not mean complaining about God. It involves complaining to the Almighty, especially those in poverty and suffering. After all, as Hasrat Jaipuri points out, “Gharibon ka asra Khuda hai” (God remains the hope for the poor).
In this sentiment, a pertinent query instinctively emerges about why He creates situations where humanity goes through voluminous suffering and devastation. Why does the good God allow or permit both manufactured and natural calamities, catastrophes, and evils?
Are the evils and harms in this world part of God’s manifestations in His ambiguous and apathetic scheme?
In personal situations like failures, losses, setbacks, defeats and downfalls, the Divine Being gets vindicated through Karma’s law: “As you sow, so shall you reap.” The blame goes to the individual, not Him.
But when large-scale tragedies occur by the actions of the few, as in wars (Israel-Hamas and Russia-Ukraine wars) or by nature itself, like in pandemics, furious cyclones, devastating floods, etc., all causing collateral damage, the situations seek incriminating God through genuine complaints and protests.
Does God listen to these collateral outbursts and outcries?
Regarding personal tragedies, all religions and sermons encourage us to express that complaining and even anger toward God is perfectly alright.
The readings from the holy books and the teachings from the priests and pundits assure us that God does not get upset. He listens to both the expressions of thanks and legitimate complaints.
However, does God attend to when large-scale disasters and the destruction and devastation of living and non-living environments occur?
If not, an absence of God arises in these situations.
His absence produced sombre feelings as places of religious conduct had their doors locked when people believed in some divine intervention while expecting a cure from science for COVID-19.
The big question prevailed: where was God in the holy cities from Varanasi to the Vatican? The divinity of God was on the spot with the near shutdown of the houses of gods.
Again, where is God, the Savior, during the current severe crisis facing humanity and the tragedies from the Gaza Strip to Ukraine and other battles and skirmishes in Africa.
His absence beyond the ritualistic and conceptual physical presence gets rightfully felt when we complain and protest about the dire state of affairs that wraps humanity and its environment.
Scriptures are silent about that or blame the deeds of humankind where the innocent and the poor suffer the most.
In fact, viewing the present state of world affairs, the deeds of the few powerful, autocratic, and mad rulers and leaders result in the suffering of humanity.
Here, the law of Karma, “what you sow, so shall you reap,” fails. Somebody is sowing the wrong Karma, and somebody else receives its sad results.