By Fatehpal Singh Tarney
I would like to preface this review with two statements.
First, the importance of children who are, of course, the future of all things sacred and secular. When I was president of my home Gurdwara Sahib in Florida, I was invited to many interfaith gatherings hosted by various religious groups. I was always warmly welcomed, but the events that most impressed me in terms of the involvement of children were the Baha’i firesides.
Firesides are informal discussions that introduce newcomers to Baha’i teachings. The Baha’i faith is a monotheistic religion founded in Persia in the mid-19th century. I got the impression that all Baha’i programs begin and end with children doing something – be it a prayer, a short sermon, a song, or a dance. The central role of children was of great importance.
Second, through the years, I have written things either historical, political, or religious, but have always wanted to write a children’s book. Bhupinder Singh ji has done it! His short children’s book, “Fish Eat Fish World“, is a lovely, thought-provoking book with superb illustrations by Bhagat Singh Bedi.
I am pleasantly surprised that this is Bhupinder Singh’s first effort at writing a children’s book. It fills a need in our Sikh community, but I think those of other faiths and ethnic groups can relate to it as well. Its ideas will stimulate both the children who read it and the adults who might read it to them. It conveys some basic Sikh principles – especially that of chardi kalaa.
Although we can be disheartened at times and have to deal with misfortune, a positive, optimistic approach to the future, based on the belief that God cares for all creatures, is essential. Everything occurs according to God’s will, but God is forever merciful.
In this little book, the interaction of this small lad with his Dada ji is fantastic and reminds me of my own experience seventy years ago when I received unqualified affection and superb advice from my own grandfather. My beloved grandfather, not a Sikh, would have wholeheartedly agreed with “Nanak naam chardi kalaa / tere bhaney sarbat da bhalaa”.
Anticipation of a brand new bicycle and then the disappointment over probably not getting it, is rather typical for a youngster. The realization that when one’s father loses his job, there are many more important implications is a priceless lesson.
This article was originally published at SikhChic.com. See here.
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