It’s International Women’s Day in March, and for many years, the women of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan take out a march for women. In 2023, the organizers published media guidelines with a striking image– a woman with many hands. One holding a book, another cooking utensils, a baby, one in chains and another with a hammer. This was a familiar image. An old memory is returning.
These are the Media guidelines for tomorrow#AuratMarch2023 #AuratMarchISB #HalSirfFeminism pic.twitter.com/ivfnlhQRSE
— Nishat (@nishat218) March 7, 2023
Every Hindu can recognize that description. Devi, the Mother Goddess, who wields the power of creation, knowledge and destruction, with her omnipotence shown through her many hands. This from a country that has chosen to forget its memories of the Mother Goddess and role of this very land at the heart of Hindu society. People forget, but the land remembers.
Growing up in Delhi, I remember visiting the Qutub Minar, a tall minaret that was the victory tower built on and from the ruins of the glorious Hindu city that was destroyed by the invaders. In my middle school visits I could see the Sanskrit inscriptions showing through. The invaders had used materials from the destroyed Hindu temples. The destruction was designed to sever the connection with the past. But what man sought to forget, the land remembered.
Now the West is waking out of a deep religious amnesia over several hundred or thousand years, where it had sought to burn and break the chain of memory that had continued from before prehistory. What do we remember? A celebration of life.
We see the entire world as a single ecosystem, indeed “Mother Earth”. We know we can’t be at peace if it’s enforced by a monoculture. Let there be room for a flowering of many cultures. The summer and winter solstice can be returned to their original pattern of meeting family and renewing old ties. Spring can once again be welcomed with a spring and fertility festival. What the land remembers is life itself, and a celebration of life and its passage.
The land remembers for millions of years what people have forgotten for a millennia. Let this old wisdom return, and the Earth be healed. May the omnipotent Mother give us the wisdom.