BBC Radio Scotland
Thought for the Day
Tuesday 5th May 2009
Amanullah De Sondy
The Scottish Government has announced a project to encourage the restoration of derelict castles to boost tourism. This initiative was unveiled by the Culture minister Mike Russell at Barholm Castle in Dumfries and Galloway. It's exciting news for me because it was only a few weeks ago that I visited a Scottish castle I 'd not been to before. Dumbarton Castle is nestled on top of a 73-metre rock overlooking the beauty of the River Clyde. It makes me wonder how many other beautiful castles I’ve missed out on.
My mind also goes back to my ancestral home – Sialkot, in Pakistan, a city said to be over 5,000 years old. I remember on my last visit being mesmerised by the ancient monuments and buildings in the city but was saddened to see that most were derelict and in need of restoration. For example Sialkot Fort, was constructed during the second century by the King of South Asia, Raja Salban but today it lies in ruins. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sialkot_Fort)
I believe that the past is only restored by us when it is a proud addition to our present culture and society. The ability to create the ugly and the beautiful is within us all. This could be through our restoration of old photos, castles, forts or even religious scripture. For me, religious scripture, specifically the Qur’an, cannot be expected to endure in itself for itself but requires Muslims to maintain and restore the beauty within it, in the world they live in. Indeed, this can also be said of any religious scripture. I consider the work of God going hand in hand with the work of human beings.
As the famous Sialkoti philosopher and founding father of Pakistan, Muhammad Iqbal said, “You did create the night, but I made the lamp. You did create clay, but I made the cup. You did create the deserts, mountains and forests, I produced the orchards, gardens and groves. It is I who made the glass out of stone, and it is I who turn a poison into an antidote.” Maybe Iqbal's teaching us that a beautiful world requires a little effort of restoration and maintenance from all of us.