Wordsworth, the French Revolution, and Right To Turban

Today morning as I watched kids playfully careen through the State Park, memorized lines from younger days came gushing forth- “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very Heaven! I smiled to myself as I remembered those carefree days until the analytical grown up in me caught up with the thought. Which dawn is being referred to here?

So I went back to William Wordsworth, and guess what? The lines refer to the dawn of the French Revolution. Any reference to France stirs a different kind of emotion now, in the wake of the ban on wearing the Turban in public offices in France. I dug deeper. Though the French Revolution today invokes images of a reign of terror, it started as a truly romantic political act by people seeking an idealistic government of their choosing.

Back to Wordsworth:

“For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, us who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very Heaven! O times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!”

The world seems to remember neither the romance, nor the wars thereafter. The wars that saw many a Sikh auxiliar lay down their lives for lands foreign, for a better and safer world. They had not much protection and passed away with their Turban held high……the sameTurban that France and many other countries have turned away from today.

My thoughts run amok. I feel blessed to work with UNITED SIKHS, with these engaging Saint Soldiers who continue to NOT turn away from their responsibility as a good citizen of the world. My admiration for the iron lady “Mejinder Pal Kaur”, toiling away in the labyrinths of international judicial system for the “Right To Turban”. And the exciting projects for Youth, our hope for a better tomorrow.

Poetry and Wordsworth started this chain of thought, and I end on the same dreamy note. Pictures of turbaned fashionistas sashaying down the ramp in 2010 in France and elsewhere flash through, and I smile again, envisioning Sikh Turbans galore on the Champs-Élysées.

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