Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thoughts on Khaled Hosseni's Senior Day Speech at Vanderbilt University.

There are dreams, and then there is reality. There are dazzling kites of imagination, and then there are a thousand splendid suns each beaming with indomitable, indefatigable hope. Everyday is a new journey, a journey not to an unknown isle, but to the vast expanses of the untamed, natural depth of our own mind. Everyday we learn and everyday we forget what we have learned the day before. A never-ending process of learning and forgetting continues with the cycle of our tamed chronicles in this earth. Only a few people can come out of that clich├ęd cycle and soar high with the kites of imagination, these people are the plenipotentiaries of god, angels in human form who positively change the world in ways far greater than the humble multitude could ever imagine. Today I had the privilege of listening to one such inspiring figure -- author and humanitarian -- Dr. Khaled Hosseni. Having read two of his best selling novels -- The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns-- I have developed a deep sense of respect and admiration for this wonderful novelist. Both his momentous works are spectacular, bewitching narratives that talk human connections, the intransigence of quite souls, and the hardships of life in a land far beyond the reach of technological advances. The fact that the real voice of war is pain, that jingoistic hubris of war-heroes is not a mark of jubilation, but a deep scar on the face of humankind who have been affected by the afterclap of the said war. Hosseni talk about suffering, about freedom and about the strength that imbues through suffering. Hosseni's novels set in pre-war Kabul, Afghanistan, tell the story of a beautiful world that is destroyed by violence. How grave violence is and how small are we in front of cacodemons of nuclear revolution, civil wars, terrorism. But life always offers us oasis of hope, and ultimately it is hope that sustains us through unbeknownst adversities. It is peace and hope that Hosseni's work ultimately propagates.

Born in Kabul in 1965, Khaled Hosseni left Kabul with his parents in 1970 and settled in the United States. Later he went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree and a MD before taking up writing as his sole profession. Dr. Hosseni is a well known ambassador of peace. The Khaled Hosseni Foundation ( born after his trip to North Afghanistan in 2007 partners with several non-profit organizations and provides humanitarian aid to the devastated refugees, children and women, living in underdeveloped areas in Afghanistan. His work both as a writer and as humanitarian is outstanding. It was a great experience listening to a real-life hero.

Throughout his inspiring lecture, Dr. Hosseni talked about change, his belief in moral upliftment through education and the lifelong process of learning. The nonconstructive power of apathy, Hosseni says, has a crippling effect on human mind, one should never fall prey to the negative impulse of apathy. He talked at length about social skills and how we could use our innate social skills to create a better world and become not citizens of one country, but caring global citizens. The goal of life is much bigger than we think it us and it is through ones own behavior that one sets a standard in life. Finally he feels that it is important to be educated about what is going on in the world. One needs to have a broader picture of the world to understand ones calling.

Hosseni's Senior Day speech has been an overwhelming experience for me. I am embedding the You Tube Video of the lecture for my readers. I wish they also get inspired to do something good.