Dreams of Liberation

Lying in his prison cell, Pandit Nehru dreamt of liberation for India and imagined a new secular age which would cast superstition aside to allow this ancient civilisation to embrace modernity, with all the freedoms that promised. During his many periods of incarceration he wrote extensively to his daughter about his love of India and its landscape and in particular the sacred Ganges. Thanks to the determination of Nehru, Gandhi and many others, India did gain independence. But the millennia-old beliefs in the forces which shape the Universe and the fate of the individual remained unchanged. This month Nehru’s hometown (once Allahabad, now called Praygraj) will host the Kumbh Mela in what could be the largest human gathering on the planet, ever. Pilgrims will come in their tens of millions to immerse themselves in the Triveni Sangam – the confluence of three rivers, two actual and one mystical, where at certain times, when the stars are aligned, a bridge (or tirtha) opens up between this world and the next. Their hope is to achieve moksha – liberation from the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth. Liberation – the eternal dream – drives us ever on.


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