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Children of the Light - By S Mukerji

Children of the Light - By S Mukerji

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Published by Subroto Mukerji
A chance encounter with a small-time crooner sends an anthropologist researching the Dreamtime of the Aborigines on a fantastic trip that shapes the future of the world.
A chance encounter with a small-time crooner sends an anthropologist researching the Dreamtime of the Aborigines on a fantastic trip that shapes the future of the world.

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Published by: Subroto Mukerji on Aug 23, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/25/2012

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Children of The Light
As Dr. Chandan Bhowmick stepped up to the mike, a hush fellover the hall. The Press had been waiting eagerly for this moment forthe last three days of the International Conference on ChildDevelopment. Dr. Bhowmick, they knew, was a controversial figure inthe field, and there is nothing reporters like better than controversy:it is their very bread and butter.So as he opened his address, their pencils hovered expectantlyover their pads even as voice-activated pocket recorders clicked onautomatically in their pockets. It was well known that this mildmannered, slightly stooped and balding figure was a fierce iconoclastwho had rocked the sedate world of Child Development. Hisrevolutionary hypothesis, that men had failed to become
men
because civilization had intervened, was the target of the mostsavage attacks ever launched against any social anthropologist sinceDarwin.“…and over almost ten years of long and lonely walkabouts inthe Great Australian Outback, in my youth, I collected enoughmaterial to gain a faint insight into the true nature of the Dreamtimelegends of the Australasian aborigines.” The voice was soft, almostapologetic. It was hard to link it with the shattering theories publishedin his recent papers to
Science
and The Royal Society.He went on unhurriedly, “I have come to the conclusion, tentativeyet backed by my experiences, research and certainly my intuition,that the Dreamtime is nothing if not a verbal record of a lost age of Man, a Golden Age if you please, when Man was a
superman
, inpossession of 
all
his faculties.” Dr. Bhowmick paused to take a quickswallow from the glass of water on the rostrum before resuming hisaddress:“Not just the five basic senses, mind you, but
higher 
senses andsensibilities. He was so perfectly attuned to Nature and to theUniverse itself that he failed to see any difference between himself and the rest of creation. His unfettered, untrained, ‘childishandunconditioned mind, uncluttered by the dross of civilized society,possessed of its full potential, roamed the cosmos and mastered iteven as he led a simple, nomadic existence in harmony with the restof the planet. I will try to explain that this Dreamtime, Golden Age—call it what you will—is in the Here and Now, very much a part of ourPresent, and within reach of anyone
with a mind so open as to see it 
.”A hubbub of dissent arose in the vast hall, but the voice of thePresident, as pleasantly neutral as that of a Wimbledon referee’s,intervened to quell it. Dr. Bhowmick used the brief interval to pull out
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a handkerchief and polish his glasses, a patient twinkle in his eyes.He went on unperturbed:“Intrigued by the findings of my younger days as a socialanthropologist, I returned to India, my homeland, to see whether thelegends and sagas of ancient India had anything to contribute to mypostulates about the hoary past. I found—in a nutshell—that in the oldmyths of our people, going back to a time out of mind, an antiquity sohoary that western scientists will contest the chronology on thegrounds that the Earth itself had not then been created, I foundfurther evidence of this…this promised land,
the Promised 
 
Land 
of theBible.I speak of a distant time, long before recorded history. It was atime when men, in possession of 
all
their faculties—including thehigher ones, now alas lost, though still dormant within us—were privyto the greater experience that we, as human beings, are rightfulheirs. Which would be ours—if only we could shed the conditioning,the unnecessary baggage, of a ‘civilised’ way of life. We move as in adream, half awake and unfulfilled, ignoring a vast universe that liesbeyond:
The
 
Dreamtime
, a long-lost…” Dr. Bhowmick hesitated for amoment, then continued in a strong voice… “a long-lost
 Atlantis of the Mind 
!”Pandemonium broke out in the hall. Several prominent scientistsleapt to their feet, shaking their fists at the man at the lectern,mouthing obscenities. Accusations of ‘charlatan!’ and ‘subvertist!’were yelled at him. Deputies were called in as a small, vocal group of Dr. Bhowmick’s supporters clashed with his hecklers. The sound of furniture breaking and fists thudding into bone resounded in the hallas the august deliberations degenerated into ugly brawling. Armedguards formed cordons around the distinguished guests and rushedthem to the safety of their vehicles.Dr. Bhowmick had done it again.Which is what the newspaper headlines screamed the nextmorning. Entire columns were devoted to the Outback and legendssurrounding the Great Dreaming of the native Australians. Manyeditorials were devoted to verbal myths of obscure tribes in SouthAmerica, Tibetan lore, the Mahabharata, Elijah’s vision, the saga of Atlantis, the lost Minoan civilization, and to the theory of cyclic humanevolution. Thinkers and savants from Aristotle, Bruno, and St.Augustine to Lao Tze, Confucius, Sri Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardinand Paramhansa Yogananda were reviewed and compared. Thewarnings of Max Planck and Oppenheimer were recalled. They hadinsisted that a new age had dawned. The only danger, they claimed,lay in not recognizing it for what it was: an age in which Man had toaccept the fact that he was changing, and must come to terms withhis own evolution. Dr. Chandan Bhowmick was amused to find himself 
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