Soresh and Rakshanda, the land of wonder

Amira Noshokaty , Monday 10 Aug 2020

In the third of a series of books titled From the Memory of Land and River, we wander in the land of wonder: India and Pakistan

Sorish and Rakshanda

Soresh and Rakshanda, the land of wonder From the series of Memory of Land and River, Ibrahim Shalaby, Al-Balsam Publishing House.

“According to Indian myth, when the god Tuashtri created the world, then man, he realised that he ran out of raw materials, so after deep meditation he created woman from elements of all creatures: from the sun its shine, from the moon its sphere, from the cloud its tears, from the breeze its softness, from fire its heat, from snow its cold, from the flower its scent, from grass its leaning, from the gazelle its eyes, from the rabbit its shyness, from the pigion its cooing, and from the peacock its lavishness.”

And on begins the trip into the most colourful country. India shimmers with multilayers of cultures that fill the air with myth and mysticism, from the poetry of Tagore to the Sufi chants of Ibn Arabi, on the banks of the Gang river. “Be the change you want to see in the world” is exactly what Ghandi left behind.

Taj Mahal, the symbol of true love and devotion, sums up the story of an emperor in love, who spent the rest of his life mourning the death of his wife and built her one of the world’s wonders, Taj Mahal.

From the Memory of Land and River (Al-Balsam Publishing House) was written by Dr Ibrahim Shalaby, a renowned Egyptian physician who started his writing career in 2013.

With the aim of revealing Egyptian and world heritage to the younger generation, Shalaby is inspired by fruits and how they carry the collective memory of the places in which they are planted.

In his first book he traced the origins of the Nile civilisation through the life cycle of a guava, named Aziza, and in his second he chose dates that he gave the name Nagham (Tunes) telling the history of Iraq. His third is told from the perspective of mango (Soresh) and pomegranate (Rakshanda).

“Life is nothing but a bridge, cross it but do not build on it,” said  Christ endorsing the gateway of the grand mosque in the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri. Here Emperor Jalal El-Din Akbar has sat every Thursday with grand scientists, philosophers and men of Islamic, Hindus, Christian, Yani and Magous faith. “Here Akbar founded the idea of unity of all religions based on the Sufi belief of Ibn Arabi on the unity of existence. ”

Myth and folk tales are quite an inspiration in India. Haridwar (the road to God) city of the holy pilgrimage of the Hindus is one of four cities where the elixir of immortality was spilt. The myth tells of a 12-day dispute between gods and demons on possessing the flask beholding the elixir of immortality, from which were spilt four drops on four destinations of pilgrimage.

On a parallel note, Pakistan had its own colourful history to share. Lots of learnings are inherited from the long smooth trail of silk trade. The banks of the Kunhar river cherish deeply the myth of Prophet Joseph who said that he who will inherent his grace will be able to unlock the two piles sealed with his seal. Seif El-Molouk managed to do so. He fell in love with the princess of fairies Badr El-Gamal after waiting for 12 years to find her by the magic lake. To hide from the vicious jinn, they fled into a cave that the jinn managed to flood with water. But every full moon, the lovers come out from the cave to rejoice their eternal love story.

In Keshmir, Jesus Christ lived for 120 years during which he healed and blessed and was buried in the Rosa Bel shrine. The book also provides in its annex the rich culture of henna motifs and the ideas behind them compiled by artist Ahmed Soleiman.

Sorish and Rakshanda

Short link: