Monali grew up in a remote village situated deep in a forest and surrounded by rocky hills. Due to the village’s remote nature, outside visitors rarely came. There were no transportation facilities; people used small pathways to get to their home or the market. There was no school; most children followed in their parents’ footsteps and labored in the paddy fields.
Instead of getting an education, Monali listened to his father’s teaching about their traditional beliefs and rituals while he planted and cultivated crops alongside his parents. Monali’s family held dearly to their traditional beliefs, and his parents’ teachings shaped him as he grew into adulthood and had a family of his own.
Monali faithfully observed everything he had learned and dutifully performed sacrifices to his deities, but questions began to take hold of his heart: Were the rituals he performed working? Why were people still getting sick and suffering because of poverty? Why was his village the only one in the area not developing?
Fear kept Monali from asking those questions out loud. But as the poverty and deprivation worsened around him, and his children grew older, his wonderings continued. Monali wanted his children to go to school to get an education; he wanted a better life for himself and his family. He wanted to move out of his village in search of hope, but he was afraid of what consequences may come to him and his family if he did…
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