The letter Tony Blair sent us from 10 Downing Street.
By Mithu Das May 06, 2019
From 1996 to 1998—I was a young adult at the time—I had been sending letters to a dozen of famous people, asking them three questions about God and the meaning of human life. Those who responded were Mr. Tony Blair, Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia, Mr. Bittu Shagal, Sister Nirmala Joshi, Nirupoma Borgohain, Dr. Dinesh Chandra Goswami and Santanoo Tamuly.
My three questions were: (1) Do you believe in God? (2) What is the meaning of life? and (3) How a human being should try to live?
Sister Nirmala Joshi (1934–2015), who succeeded Saint Mother Teresa as head of Missionaries of Charity, gives us their answers:
(1) The question you ask is a very vast subject, but to give you in brief: To me life is very sacred and a wonderful gift of God. God is the author of life, and only He has the right to give and take life.
(2) We have been created to love and to be loved. We have been created in God’s image and likeness, Who is love.
(3) We must not follow false goals of life, like money, power, pleasure to enslave us and make us loss sight of the true meaning of life. Learn to love by seeking more deeply God’s love, by believing firmly in Him, listening to Him in deep prayerful meditation of His Words and Deeds which all reveal Love so powerfully and you will find yourself caught up in the streams of Divine Love reaching out to love others. (4th November, 1997)
Nirupama Borgohain, a well-known Assamese author and journalist, responds:
(1) I am an atheist.
(2) For me life is meaningless. (6th September, 1996)
Bittu Sahgal, an environmental activist and the founding editor of Sanctuary Asia, answers:
(1) I do not believe in God, as religions preserve him. I believe a force more powerful than in exists. It is the force that causes flowers to bloom, children to smile and tigers to hunt.
(2) To my mind human life is a gift of nature to be nurtured and respected. We are but one moral animal in this earth and its skuad ship should be our purpose of life.
(3) Each human being should try to be happy - without causing others to be unhappy and without harming the earth. (26th October, 1996)
Dinesh Chandra Goswami, an Assamese author and scientist, reacts to our letter:
(1) Because of my background, I cannot say that I never pray to God or I do not believe in God. But, I primarily believe in my personal efforts.
(2) I do not know the meaning of human life. But, I feel that every human being should try to live effectively and to contribute to the society. (4th October, 1996)
Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia (1932–2003), the famous Assamese film director and author, and Mr. Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of United Kingdom, did not answer our questions. However, they did send us their greetings. I had received the letter of Mr. Blair from 10 Downing Street on 22 January, 1998. Their correspondence secretary wrote to me that the Prime Minister had asked her to thank me for my recent letter and to send me, with his best wishes, a signed photograph.
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