I just finished reading the truly “magisterial” work by Guha – India After Gandhi, and in the epilogue he talks about why India still survives as a nation in spite of obituaries being written by the world at large every 10 years or so. There are a few brilliant lines towards the end of the epilogue, and I feel compelled to reproduce them here.
“The writer whose lines open this book, the nineteenth century poet Ghalib, thought that God was indeed on the side of India. All around him were conflict and privation, but doomsday had not yet come. “Why does not the last trumpet sound” asked Ghalib of a sage in the holy city of Benares. “Who holds the reins of the Final Catastrophe?” This was the answer he got:
The hoary old man of lucent ken
Pointed towards Kashi and gently smiled.
‘The Architect’, he said, ‘is fond of this edifice
Because of which there is colour in life; He
Would not like it to perish and fall’.