In the 13th century, during the crusades, the Muslim and Christian armies were continuously gaining and losing territory. However, the streets of Konya (Turkey) were yet to see the face of the war which had been raging for over a century by then. During this period Maulana, a very accomplished professor and jurist was riding through the markets of Konya when a Fakeer passed him who whispered something into the Maulana’s ear.
Maulana immediately fell from his horse. Seeing this his students started to assault the Fakeer only to be stopped by their professor. After some time the Fakeer is said to have taken Maulana to a fountain.
Maulana reciprocates and brings all his written work as well as the work he has read.
“What is your greatest achievement” asked the Fakeer.
“All of this” Maulana points towards books.
One by one the Fakeer threw all the books into the fountain. As Maulana’s true wealth gets soaked in the water, he is left confused as to how to react to the insanity of this strange man.
“This was all my life worth, my achievement everything is now destroyed”, Maulana said angrily.
The fakeer replied“ Destroyed! With what? Water?”
Maulana perception of knowledge and reality was lost to his bewilderment as if he had been blind earlier.
In Majid Majidis, Willow tree or The weeping willow (Beed-e-Majnoon) the most significant of the scenes is the one where the protagonist played by Parviz Parastui throws all of his life’s work into a fountain built right in the middle of his house. Parviz plays the character of Yosuf, a university professor who was blinded in childhood. Yosuf sight is restored through a surgery in France and this happens when he is a fully grown adult and father of a girl. The twist in the plot is how Yosuf’s life gets increasingly unstable as a result of his changing attitude towards people who are close to him. The gift of eye sight makes Yosuf realize how much he has been missing as he tries to adjust himself into the newly discovered pleasures of life. One instance is when Yosuf sees a man steeling a wallet from anther in a tube and how Yosuf chooses to be a mute spectator of the event.
There are many instances in the movie where in Yosuf begins to realize that how being visually impaired was indeed better, in fact idealistic to an extent. A disappointed mother, a failed marriage, and a incomplete romance finally culminates into a ball of anger which Yosuf chooses to vent out by throwing all the books that he has read and written over the years. This scene is extremely crucial to the theme of the film as the aim of the film itself is to question the notions of reality, material pleasure, idealism and knowledge. In Plato’s account of the Trial of Socrates, Socrates time and again is found to emphasize on how knowing too much can be detrimental to ones personality if not balanced with the humbleness prevalent in human nature.
Yosuf throwing all his work into the water, is in actuality him challenging the very basis of knowledge dissemination and the construct of a society which he believed in. The moral which he choose to imbibe seem to falter on the first sight of the material world, questioning the civility he possessed during the time he couldn’t see. Had he been oblivious to the realities of the world? Would he have been a different person if he could see? Was the education he received way too idealistic? Was there a way where he could synchronize his values with the realism of his world?
As Yosuf finds out in a local hospital of Iran, that the eye surgery has failed,some of the question raised in the film get answered towards the climax. Yosuf newly gifted sight begins to wear out and in this blurriness, he runs and runs aimlessly finally reaching his lonely home which he had trashed with literature earlier. He begins to find something, a book, which he finally spots beneath the water in the fountain. He picks it up with shaky hands flips many pages in search of a document and finally finds it. Yosuf unfolds the document moves his fingers across the Braille scripted torn out piece of a paper. Before Yosuf loses his sight again, and this time perhaps forever, he reads out “ My God, I am asking you for another chance to start a new life”.