Wednesday 5 August 2020

Author, Activist, Mentor, Cartoonist - Children speak with Mr. Rohit Kumar

At the end of a long and exhaustive online school day, I always prefer a nap to rest my eyes and mind.  But the meeting with Rohit Kumar was scheduled at 4 p.m. I decided to miss that serene siesta as I really wanted to meet the person with multiple talents - author, cartoonist, mentor, activist, writer and positive psychologist. I heard so much about him from Aneesa, I wouldn’t have missed such a precious opportunity of getting to meet him albeit virtually.

It was indeed a very insightful session for the children as well as for me as an adult although it was very short. Or was it really short?  It ran for an hour but felt like a blink of an eye.

It was interesting to learn about someone whose mother aspired to make him a scientist but there was a greater calling he had to attend to – of reaching out to people trapped in the abyss of their misdemeanors.  Tihar jail, a gloomy place was where a light was shown to his heart and he understood the path he needed to traverse in life.

What a sublime thought – why wait for people to commit a misdeed to reach out?  Rather help them before they commit a crime so they can be saved from the crushing guilt, suffering and misery. And provide a break for the children and families trapped in a situation for no fault of theirs.

There was a lesson for me in his recital especially when he spoke about practicing positive psychology, to focus on the strengths and goodness in a person and reinforce it to help them look forward in life despite the errors made in the past.  After all, who doesn’t make mistakes? To err is human and in a moment of weakness or impulse, the sin is committed but the consequences turn out to be a nightmare which were unanticipated.  The will to repent and set right the wrong done need to be appreciated and supported. Essentially it requires a lot of empathy and kindness to bring back the soul lost in the wilderness of guilt and sincere remorse.  It’s natural to be scared in such a situation but to keep a stranglehold on fear and to behave with friendliness with even the most difficult people reflects his positive attitude towards all. 

It’s a blessing to have friends who replenish a weary soul after such an exhausting task and Rohit has nurtured that fountain of friendship. In this again wass a lesson for me.  It is the bond with friends and family that we need to foster in this fast paced, elusive life.  In the end we are all human. When life throws challenges beyond our capacity, we bow down and call out to the supreme Master for a miracle. Indeed He never returns us empty handed when we stretch out our hands towards heaven for His eternal mercy. Peach and help descends encompassing us.

Making cartoons, reading and writing are ways Mr. Kumar rejuvenates himself before undertaking another arduous charge.  Writing, something very close to my heart, and I appreciated his sincere counsel to aspiring children and teachers to write, write, write  despite the inner critic which tries to kill self-expression.

His experiences are a testimony to the positive psychology he practices.  As teachers and parents, the onus is on us to reinforce the good in the children and to bring them up as kind, empathetic, confident and compassionate human beings.  Again, easier said than done as we falter a million times on that slippery path but with focus, mindfulness and backed with the tribe of like-minded people, it should get easier to keep at it.

The takeaway for me from this session is to practice kindness and impart it to the future generations to make this world a better place for all.  I wish to conclude with a saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

When kindness is found in anything, it beautifies it and when it is withdrawn from anything, it becomes defective.

- By 
Naqeeb Sultana, Middle School Faculty 

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