It was in the year 380AH (or 990 AD according to the Christian calendar) that the student lifted his eyes from the book he was reading and asked his teacher.
‘Master’ he said, ‘there is this scholar who says that the world we live in is in constant motion. Could it be true?’
The teacher looked at his pupil in astonishment.
‘Our earth in movement? How can that be? It is the heavens that move while our earth stays steady. Who is this scholar?
‘His name was Arya Bhat and he lived a long time ago in the land of Hind. He said that just as the stars and the sun move across the skies, so does our earth.’
The teacher looked at the student intently. ‘You read about too many things Ali Husain. Now tell me, if the earth was in motion would we be able to stand? Would not our homes and trees fall and the oceans overflow?
‘But master, if we know that the heavens and the stars move, why can’t our earth move too? Why should it be different?’
‘It is the grand design of our creator, Allah’.
Ali Husain looked at his teacher and nodded. Then he quietly muttered to himself. ‘I think the grand design of Allah must be studied further.’
‘What did you say Ali Husain?’
‘Nothing,’ murmured ten-year old Ali Husain.
(Continued in The Dangerous Student as a Young Man)
This piece is an extract from my recently published book Ammi: Letter To A Democratic Mother