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‘The Alchemist’ by Paul Coelho

May 25, 2012

Bought this book years back but misplaced it; got it back luckily from a carton in the loft while shifting to new/old home. I had to read it because i knew its one of most talked about works of Paul Coelho that somehow kept eluding me for years. Very simple narrative of a shepherd boy who goes chasing his dream/destiny. Unbelievable in most places so i don’t know why there is so much raving and ranting about the story..

And my first question is: how come God has to be Jesus Christ? Or Allah? Both don’t matter to me or for fellow Hindus who number some 800 million in our 1 billion nation.   I guess its we who are the only pedigree race since the inception of civilization on earth – i am not fanatical please, but it irritates me always that the west should think of only 2 ideologies in the world: Islam and Christianity.. Then again, i hate the word ‘infidels’ the middle-eastern faiths so easily refer to – because, i am from a race that is known for accepting and amalgamating and growing with cultures. So we rather treat Christ and Allah as different avatars of our own Raam, that’s all. I believe in pluralist faith – NEVER NEVER IN MONOTHEISM which is the root cause of all hatred and violence in this world. Well, even the word ‘avatar’ is sanskrit!

There is no doubt in my mind that middle-eastern religions are violent and breed violent people. I think i have read one more book of Paul Coelho that also has a middle eastern twinge. I don’t read him regularly. He is not my cup of tea like for some of my friends. I don’t like this romanticizing of middle-eastern faiths or values or whatever.

I remain convinced that the arabs stole the hindu number system – from us, who gave the world even the zero concept.  Tell me one scientific discovery or invention from Arabia or sub-arabian nations like Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordon etc. Tell me how many of these nations are even today producing intellectuals or inspirational and exceptional citizens. Tell me any one good desi university in their soils without US or UK or other european collaboration with independent knowledge and thinking.

And well, can Arab countries ever produce (female) nurses to take care of humanity?   Even here, gender bias interferes for them i guess.   So what sort of a race that cannot even supply the world with one single female nurse to take care of  ailing men is this that has to be hailed so much by the author?   Or if one female nurse in black robe exists in Saudi Arabia servicing weaker and sick people, enlighten me please.

So what is middle-east without a drop of oil. Sigh.

So what is there to romanticize their ideology or arabia like this. I find Paul Coelho disappointing and very shallow at places like this. His obsession for the middle-east is not justified.  Ofcourse he is not forcing me to read his book 🙂

An intelligent alchemist based in Middle-east is thus the biggest JOKE! And one capable of turning copper into gold.    I think the arabs needed a white man to even discover oil and gas for them, to invent the automobiles so their oil could be put to some use.   The machinery used for oil exploration is also from west and the think-tanks who have been wracking their brains to build the arabs a better world are also from the other side of the world.

Its their way of life –  lucky arabs; don’t envy them, rather pity them for being puppets in the hands of some powerful show directors from the west.  Merely asking,  what is the need to glorify arab life or arabia like this?

But i am surprised that parts of Africa like Tunisia for isntance were so much civilized some 300-400 years back wherein the story is dated ( i believe). And why not? Its a trading route from Europe leading on to West Asia via Egypt and the Suez Canal. The sub saharan odyssey is nice 🙂 I find that part of the book ok and somewhat interesting.   I like Tunisian dates 🙂

I believe in destiny too. And miracles to some extent not to this extent. But the book being a simple read was easy on my mind, soothing to my soul. Well, that brings me to ‘the soul of the world’ lol that Coelho so much speaks about. The universal language understood by all humans, birds, animals, wind, sun, etc etc, spoken without a word by the heart.

I think he means self-belief, strong intuition, quickest impulse that some of us are borne with. Believe me! I am a follower of my heart always over my mind. So in that one way, i perfectly agree with the author about the language of heart.

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