Leaving Home, Changing Home


Dr Ravi P Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

All over the world it is quite common to move from one’s home and change to another home or residence. There are varied reasons for this change — moving from a village to a town for education, for the purposes of getting a job, for escaping from riots or violence near one’s home. For a woman, change of her home becomes inevitable after her marriage to move to her husband’s place. Marriage and children may also entail moving to a bigger home for the family.

There is unfortunately occasional communal violence between different sects of political parties or between different religions that result in burning of homes and even villages and consequent large scale movements of people from their homes to uncharted places.

There are other factors such as partition of a country necessitating large scale movement and emigration of people.

There are thus several educational, political, communal, historical reasons for changing homes apart from the events listed above.

However, whatever may be the reasons or causes, leaving one’s home is quite often a traumatic experience that causes distress and sadness. It may also often lead to nostalgia when a person remembers the earlier home and friends that are left behind.

Like millions of people who suffered at the time of portioning of India on religious grounds in 1947, my parents also shared its agony and its bloodbath. No surprise that they lost their jobs, their home and their neighbourhood. They moved from one place to another in the newly independent India, looking for jobs, for home, for survival along with their young kids (including myself) in the new nation that became their home. Like refugees all over the world, they suffered but hoped for a better future for their children, if not for themselves. Changing homes became an unending ordeal and tragedy.

A newborn baby cries when is born. Is it because it is leaving the mother’s womb, which has been home for nine months? If it does not cry, a nurse who is helping the mother in childbirth slightly spanks it reminding the baby that it is leaving a home to which there will never be a return.

An interesting story of a baby listening to God’s message while in his mother’s womb is found in the Bhagwat of Hinduism. As per the myth, Prahlad did not worship his demon father Hirankashyap but the Hindu God Vishnu. The story goes that when Prahlad was in his mother’s womb, he listened attentively to the message of love and goodness that was being related by Narad, the messenger of God, to his mother Kayadhu. Subsequently when he grew up, Prahlad became a follower of Vishnu.

Myth or reality, moving from place to place, leaving one’s earlier home to a newer place may be a matter of hope and joy for some, but more often it causes distress and nostalgia. This is life for countless number of people worldwide. Let us hope that this movement retains the feeling of hope, goodwill and harmony.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. ravipbhatia@gmail.com


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Mar 2020.

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