Work still undone

His life presents a contemplative correlation between personal sense of purpose and society’s well-being

Syeda Afshana
Srinagar, Publish Date: Aug 12 2017 11:36PM | Updated Date: Aug 12 2017 11:36PM
Work still undone

Besides archiving the stuff of pure art, the imperial home showcases his handwritten suicide note which reads-“My work is done. Why wait?” Diagnosed with a progressive and irreversible spinal disease, he ended his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his heart.

He is George Eastman, an American innovator, who founded the Eastman Kodak company which carried photography to the general public by the use of roll film. A multi-millionaire in the early 1900’s, Eastman is also remembered as a visionary philanthropist who donated some 100 million dollars to various organizations, with most of his money going to the reputed educational places like Massachusetts Institute of Technology to build its programs and facilities. 

His life presents a contemplative correlation between personal sense of purpose and society’s well-being. The theme which appears wistful as ending life with an ease of achievement sounds quite strange! 

Eastman does not necessarily represent the grueling pace and psychological weight of life that American society breathes today. Over the decades, the obsession about comparative greatness has overtaken a reasonable standard of contentment. People’s lives have become personal journeys of seeing at and musing over the fragility of life and the transient nature of things.While there is a profound appreciation for close observation and deliberate reflection, there are concerns and issues that demonstrate mocking disparity and have missed a humane approach, thereby rendering them almost ‘unalterable’. Paradoxically!

A weekend visit to a charity event, organized by a Muslim group, juxtaposed some tender scenes with candid epiphanies. Group founder, a revert, holds a doctorate and is  a university faculty. With an aim to provide social services to the broader community of upstate New York, serving both Muslims and non-Muslims, the group’s programs are mainly funded by individual donors. At food distribution stalls, a poor puny lady in que refused to take more eatables. Modestly, she replied, “There will be less left for others if I take more”. 

While this country owns tremendous wealth, the poverty swarms, often concentrated in urban centers. Hunger, homelessness and drug abuse in particular areas has led those living in more prosperous areas to believe that all is well in their society. This illusion is one factor that has held the communities back from establishing the institutions/medians necessary to assist those in need, especially racial minorities, black population and immigrants who pitifully represent the ‘modern relocation realities’ amidst all-pervading sense of nativism (of disparate social and political hues) which is waning out the erstwhile ‘togetherness’ that once made American citizenship a thing to treasure.

A morning walk down the main road outside campus makes me realize an inarguable firmness of an unpleasant phenomenon that has taken over the country. A white-skinned truck driver suddenly yelled and shouted at me for a few seconds while he noticed me wearing a head scarf. I kept moving on in a deadpan manner, even though I was taken aback for a minute. Sharing the incident with a colleague on the campus, the next day my professor-cum-chairwoman of the host department drops in and humblysays, “My apologies. This is not what America is really all about. I feel very sad”. It was my first brush with a live and unfiltered understanding of the current American dilemma where its ‘aspiration’ isn’t matching its ‘reality’ as clash between forces of pluralism and prejudice stays.

While I am guided to different places by the most learned but unassumingly busy persons around me who are rarely visible on social media, and am also offered every support to feel easy, I picture this place as a visual metaphor of supremacy and skirmishes; haughtiness and humility; candor and caution. Like the blending of shadows and lights, that simultaneously describes the routine and the remarkable. And where the routine is not just a routine, and remarkable is extremely so. 

That’s why as history keeps forming judgments, the work on the American Dream seems to remain undone. George Eastman shot himself with a gun, least foreseeing the wrath of gun violence, as it exists in US today. His suicide note is not just a record of an overpowering emotion. Rather it forms the discourse of a more sombre complexity. 

Latest News

  1. Opportunistic BJP-PDP alliance set fire to Jammu and Kashmir, damage will remain: Rahul Gandhi
  2. Opportunistic BJP-PDP alliance set fire to Jammu and Kashmir, damage will remain: Rahul Gandhi
  1. Jammu and Kashmir govt collapses after BJP pulls out of alliance with PDP
  2. Jammu and Kashmir govt collapses after BJP pulls out of alliance with PDP
  1. Only six tour operators approved for Hajj bookings: Govt
  2. Only six tour operators approved for Hajj bookings: Govt
  1. Muscular security policy will not work in Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti says after her resignation
  2. Muscular security policy will not work in Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti says after her resignation
  1. Man shot at, injured in south Kashmir’s Anantnag
  2. Man shot at, injured in south Kashmir’s Anantnag
  1. Army soldier wounded as gunfight breaks out in Tral
  2. Army soldier wounded as gunfight breaks out in Tral
  1. Jammu and Kashmir all set to come under Governor rule for 8th time in four decades
  2. Jammu and Kashmir all set to come under Governor rule for 8th time in four decades
  1. Mehbooba Mufti not ‘shocked’ by BJP exit, says alliance wasn’t for power
  2. Mehbooba Mufti not ‘shocked’ by BJP exit, says alliance wasn’t for power
  1. After ruining it, BJP pulls out of Kashmir: Kejriwal
  2. After ruining it, BJP pulls out of Kashmir: Kejriwal
  1. NC rules out support to PDP after BJP exit, bats for governor’s rule
  2. NC rules out support to PDP after BJP exit, bats for governor’s rule
  1. Massive search operation underway in Tral, three militants likely trapped
  2. Massive search operation underway in Tral, three militants likely trapped
  1. Power thefts: BJP MLA accuses power officials of going 'soft' on Muslims
  2. Power thefts: BJP MLA accuses power officials of going 'soft' on Muslims
  1. PDP-BJP coalition was an 'unholy' alliance: Jammu and Kashmir Congress
  2. PDP-BJP coalition was an 'unholy' alliance: Jammu and Kashmir Congress
  1. And so it has come to pass: Omar Abdullah on BJP-PDP split
  2. And so it has come to pass: Omar Abdullah on BJP-PDP split
  1. Congress rules out support to PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, says BJP ruined Kashmir
  2. Congress rules out support to PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, says BJP ruined Kashmir
  1. CM Mehbooba Mufti submits resignation to Governor
  2. CM Mehbooba Mufti submits resignation to Governor
  1. Two LeT OGWs arrested in Sopore: Police
  2. Two LeT OGWs arrested in Sopore: Police
  1. BJP pulls out of Jammu and Kashmir govt, ends alliance with PDP
  2. BJP pulls out of Jammu and Kashmir govt, ends alliance with PDP
  1. Kim Jong-un in China again
  2. Kim Jong-un in China again
  1. All Kheer Bhawani pilgrims safe, reports of stone-pelting baseless: Police
  2. All Kheer Bhawani pilgrims safe, reports of stone-pelting baseless: Police
  1. Trump escalates China trade war, threatens tariffs worth $200bn
  2. Trump escalates China trade war, threatens tariffs worth $200bn
  1. JRL defers tomorrow’s strike call in view of Mela Kheer Bhawani
  2. JRL defers tomorrow’s strike call in view of Mela Kheer Bhawani
  1. Anantnag shuts in tribute to Qazi Nisar on 24th death anniversary
  2. Anantnag shuts in tribute to Qazi Nisar on 24th death anniversary
  1. Kulgam shuts against last evening civilian killing in army firing
  2. Kulgam shuts against last evening civilian killing in army firing
  1. 14 youth detained during night raids in south Kashmir's Pulwama
  2. 14 youth detained during night raids in south Kashmir's Pulwama
  1. JRL calls shutdown on Thursday against Shujaat Bukhari killing, civilian deaths
  2. JRL calls shutdown on Thursday against Shujaat Bukhari killing, civilian deaths
  1. iPhones to soon automatically share your location with 911
  2. iPhones to soon automatically share your location with 911
  1. Eminent author Ghulam Nabi Gowhar passes away in Budgam
  2. Eminent author Ghulam Nabi Gowhar passes away in Budgam
  1. Dismayed by forcible separation of children from families: Microsoft
  2. Dismayed by forcible separation of children from families: Microsoft
x
This site uses cookies to deliver our services and to show you relevant news and ads. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service.That's Fine