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Dawn of a New Day

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Publishing Trust of India, date unknown
  • Pages:
  • 228
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Pages 162-172

Keynote of the Crusade

Our beloved Guardian has been greatly encouraged by reports reaching him from all parts of the Baha’i world; of the victories already gained, and the plans being laid for the prosecution of the Ten-Year Crusade.
They have evoked his awe-inspiring, and soul-stirring cablegram of May 28th, calling for the immediate settlement of all the 131 virgin areas of the Plan, just as quickly as possible. He is convinced, that the friends will arise and translate their enthusiasm into Action, because the Keynote of the Crusade, must be Action, Action, Action!
The beloved Guardian has directed me to write your Assembly to amplify some of the aspects of his dynamic message.
The settlement of these virgin areas is of such an emergency nature, that he feels pioneering in one of them takes precedence over every other type of Baha’i service—whether it be in the teaching or administrative fields of the Faith. So important is it that the National Assembly may delay initiation of steps to fulfill other phases of the Plan, until all these areas are conquered for the Faith. Nothing, absolutely nothing, must be allowed to interfere with the placing of pioneers in each of the 131 goal countries.
In America some 150 people have volunteered for pioneer service, and some of them already are preparing to leave for their posts. The beloved Guardian fully expects the dear friends in India, Pakistan and Burma to follow this example, and quickly settle the areas allotted to them.
Because of it being the Chief Executor of the Divine Plan, and having so many pioneers available, the Guardian has given permission to the United States to send pioneers into any area 163 of the globe regardless of whom it may be assigned to. Thus pioneers from the United States may ask permission to settle in one of the areas assigned to your Assembly. If this is done, you should assist them in every way possible.
There are some general observations which the Guardian shares with you, and then some specific suggestions which are enumerated below:
1. Every individual who has offered to pioneer, must be encouraged in every way by the National Assembly.
2. The National Assembly should assist each pioneer, so they may be placed in their post just as quickly as possible.
3. The handling of each application for pioneering service, must be expedited, and not allowed to be bogged down for any reason, or in the hands of Committees.
4. The National Assembly should make it their first order of business to follow up actively this most important task. They must make it the first order of business at each Assembly meeting, to see that each application is being progressed rapidly. This does not mean the special committees should not handle the details; but it does mean the Assembly itself, must review each application at each meeting; and see that the pioneer gets into the field as soon as possible.
5. A large number of pioneers should not be sent to any one country. One, or even two, will be sufficient for the time being. Later on, if supplementary assistance is needed, that of course can be taken care of. The all important thing now, is to get at least one pioneer in each of the 131 virgin areas.
6. The National Assembly may exercise its prerogatives and suggest to applicants where their services are most needed. This, of course, applies particularly to pioneers, where a large number wish to go to the same place. 164
The specific suggestions of the Guardian, are:
a. Areas close at hand and easy of settlement should be filled first. Then the areas more difficult, and finally, those which will be difficult.
b. Whenever a pioneer enters a new territory, a cable should be sent at once to the Guardian, giving the name, place, and any pertinent information.
c. A monthly report of progress is to be sent by your Assembly to the Secretary-General of the International Baha’i Council. Special matters of report nature, for the Guardian, in connection with the plan of settling these 131 areas, should be sent to the Secretary-General of the Council also.
This does not mean that any administrative matters in connection with the settlement of pioneers should be handled with the council. These should continue to be handled with the Guardian direct. The Council is simply to coordinate reports, consolidate them, keep maps up to date, etc. for the Guardian, and your reports will enable them to do this.
d. The Guardian feels the following areas should be easily settled, and he would appreciate your early cable advice of such new victories:
Bhutan, Daman, Diu, Goa, Karikal, Mahe, Pondicherry, Sikkim, as pointed out in his cable to your Assembly of May 30th, 1953. These have first precedence.
The beloved Guardian feels the friends living in large Baha’i Centres, could easily move into these territories, which are a part of India itself.
As his dramatic cable indicates, the Guardian will have prepared an illuminated “Roll of Honor” on which will be inscribed the names of the “Knights of Baha’u’llah” who first enter these 131 virgin areas. This “Roll of Honor” will be placed 165 inside the entrance door of The Inner Sanctuary of the Tomb of Baha’u’llah.
From time to time, the Guardian will announce to the Baha’i World, the names of those Holy Souls who arise under the conditions outlined in his message, and settle these areas and conquer them for Baha’u’llah.
Now is the time for the Baha’is of the World to demonstrate the spiritual vitality of the Faith, and to arise as one soul to spread the Glory of the Lord, over the face of the Earth. The Guardian is sure, that the Baha’is of India, Pakistan and Burma who have served and sacrificed so long for the Faith, will continue their glorious record by winning many new victories for the Faith.
June 8, 1953 Message to the Inter Continental Conference, New Delhi
[From the Guardian:]
To the Hands of the Cause, the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies, the pioneers, the resident believers and visitors attending the Asian Intercontinental Teaching Conference in New Delhi, India.
Well-beloved friends:
With high hopes and a joyful heart I acclaim the convocation, in the leading city of the Indian sub-continent, of the fourth and last of the Intercontinental Teaching Conferences of a memorable Holy Year commemorating the centenary of the birth of the prophetic Mission of Baha’u’llah.
On this historic occasion, when the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha’is of the United States of America, of the Dominion of Canada, of Central and of South America, of Persia, of the Indian subcontinent and of Burma, of Iraq and of Australasia, as well as representatives of the sovereign states and dependencies of the Asiatic 166 continent, of the Republics of North, Central and South America, and of Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania are assembled, and are to deliberate on the needs and requirements of the recently launched triple Campaign embracing the Asiatic mainland, the Australian continent and the islands of the Pacific Ocean—a campaign which may well be regarded as the most extensive, the most arduous and the most momentous of all the campaigns of a world-girdling Crusade, and which, in its scope, is unparalleled in the history of the Faith in the entire eastern Hemisphere—my thoughts, on such an occasion, go back to the early dawn of our Faith, to those unforgettable scenes of matchless heroism, of dark tragedy, of imperishable glory which heralded its birth, and accompanied the spread, of its infant Light, in the heart of the Asiatic continent.
I vividly recall the meteoric rise of the Faith of the Bab in the provinces of Persia and the stirring episodes associated with His cruel incarceration in the mountain-fastnesses of Adhirbayjan, with the revelation of the laws of His Dispensation, with the proclamation of the independence of His Faith, with the peerless heroism of His disciples, with the fiendish cruelty of His foes—the Chief Magistrate, the civil authorities, the ecclesiastical dignitaries and the masses of the people, of His native land—with the humiliation, the spoliation, the dispersal, the eventual massacre of a vast number of His followers, and, above all, with His own execution in the City of Tabriz.
With a throb of wonder I call to mind the early and sudden fruition of His Dispensation in the capital city of that land, and the dramatic circumstances attending the birth of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation culminating in His precipitate banishment to Iraq.
I am reminded, moreover, of the initial spread of the light of this Revelation, in consequence of the banishment of Baha’u’llah, to the adjoining territories of Iraq, and, as far as the western fringes of that continent, to Turkey and the neighbouring territories of Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, and, at a later stage, to the Indian sub-continent and China, 167 situated on the southern and eastern extremities of that continent as well as to the Caucasus and Russian Turkistan.
Nor can I fail to remember the series of alternating crises and victories—each constituting a landmark in the evolution of the Faith—which it has experienced in some of these territories, associated with the distressful withdrawal of its Author to the mountains of Sulaymaniyyih; with the glorious Declaration of His Mission in Baghdad; with His second and third banishments to Constantinople and Adrianople; with the grievous rebellion of His half-brother; with the proclamation of His own Mission; with His fourth banishment to the desolate and far-off penal colony of Akka in Syria; with the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, His Most Holy Book; with His ascension in the Holy Land; with the establishment of His Covenant and the inauguration of the Ministry of Abdu’l-Baha, His son and the Exemplar and authorized interpreter of His teachings.
These opening stages in the evolution of His Faith in the Asiatic continent were followed, while the first and Apostolic Age of His Dispensation was drawing to a close, by the opening of the Islands situated in the Pacific Ocean, Japan in the north, and the Australian continent in the South. To these memorable chapters of Asian Baha’i history another was soon added, on the morrow of the ascension of the Centre of Baha’u’llah’s Covenant, and during the initial epoch of the Formative Age of the Faith, distinguished by the rise of the Administrative Order and the erection of its pillars in the cradle of that Faith, in Iraq, in India, Pakistan and Burma and in the Antipodes. This memorable episode in its development in that vast continent was succeeded by the initiation, during the second Epoch of that same Age, of a series of Plans in those same territories in support of Abdu’l-Baha’s Divine Plan and as a prelude to the opening of the recently launched world-embracing Spiritual Crusade.
The hour has now struck for this continent, on whose soil, more than a century ago, so much sacred blood was shed, 168 in whose very heart deeds of such tragic heroism were performed, and in many of whose territories such brilliant victories have been won, to contribute, in association with its sister continents, to the progress and ultimate triumph of this global Crusade, in a manner befitting its unrivalled position in the entire Baha’i world.
The various Baha’i Communities dwelling within the borders of this continent and those situated to the south of its shores in the Antipodes, which include the oldest and most venerable among all the communities of the Baha’i world, and whose members in their aggregate constitute the overwhelming majority of the followers of Baha’u’llah, are called upon, in close association with four other Baha’i communities in the Western Hemisphere, to undertake in the course of the coming decade: First, the construction of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in Baha’u’llah’s native land, in the City of Tihran, surnamed by Baha’u’llah “Mother of the World”. Second, the purchase of land for the future construction of three Mashriqu’l-Adhkars, one in the city of Baghdad, enshrining the “Most Great House”, the third holiest city of the Baha’i world, one in New Delhi, the leading city of the Indian sub-continent, and the third in Sydney, the oldest and foremost Baha’i Centre in the Antipodes. Third, the formation of no less than eleven National Spiritual Assemblies, one each in Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of India, Pakistan and Burma; one in Turkey and one in Afghanistan, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Persia; one in Japan, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States of America; one in New Zealand, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia and New Zealand, as well as four regional National Spiritual Assemblies, one in the Arabian Peninsula, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Persia; one in South-East Asia, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of India, Pakistan and Burma; a third in the South Pacific, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of 169 the United States of America; and a fourth in the Near East, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is in Iraq. Fourth, the opening of the following forty-one virgin territories and islands: Andaman Islands, Bhutan, Daman, Diu, Goa, Karikal, Mahe, Mariana Islands, Nicobar Islands, Pondicherry, Sikkim, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of India, Pakistan and Burma; Caroline Islands, Dutch New Guinea, Hainan Island, Kazakhstan, Macao Island, Sakhalin Island, Tibet, Tonga Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States of America; Brunei, Chagos Archipelago, Krigizia, Mongolia, Solomon Islands, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Persia; Admiralty Islands, Cocos Island, Loyalty Islands, Mentawei Islands, New Hebrides Islands, Portuguese Timor, Society Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia and New Zealand; Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Marshall Islands, Tuamotu Archipelago, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Central America; Hadhramaut, Kuria-Muria Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iraq; Marquesas Islands, Samoa Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada; Cook Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of South America. Fifth, the translation and publication of Baha’i literature in the following forty languages, to be undertaken by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of India, Pakistan and Burma, in association with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia and New Zealand: Abor Miri, Aneityum, Annamese, Balochi, Bentuni, Binandere, Cheremiss, Chungchia, Georgian, Houailou, Javanese, Kado, Kaili, Kopu, Kusaie, Lepcha, Lifu, Manchu, Manipuri, Manus Island, Marquesas, Mentawei, Mongolian, Mordoff, Mwala, Na-Hsi, Nicobarese, Niue, Ossete, Ostiak, Pali, Panjabi, Pashto, Perm, Petats, Samoan, Tho, Tibetan, Tonga, Vogul. Sixth, the consolidation of Aden Protectorate, Adhirbayjan, Afghanistan, Ahsa, Armenia, Bahrayn Island, Georgia, Hijaz, Saudi-Arabia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Yemen, allocated to the National 170
Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Persia; of Baluchistan, Borneo, Burma, Ceylon, Indo-China, Indonesia, Malaya, Nepal, Pakistan, Sarawak, Siam, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of India, Pakistan and Burma; of China, Formosa, Japan, Korea, Manchuria, Philippine Islands, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States of America; of Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria, Trucial Sheikhs, Umman, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iraq; of Bismarck Archipelago, Fiji, New Caledonia, Australian New Guinea, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia and New Zealand; of Hong Kong, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the British Isles. Seventh, the incorporation of the eleven above-mentioned National Spiritual Assemblies, as well as those of Persia and Iraq. Eighth, the establishment by these above-mentioned eleven National Spiritual Assemblies of national Baha’i endowments. Ninth, the establishment of a national Haziratu’l-Quds in the capital cities of each of the countries where National Spiritual Assemblies are to be established, as well as one in Suva, one in Jakarta, one in Bahrayn and one in Beirut. Tenth, the establishment of a national Baha’i Court in the capital cities of Persia, of Iraq, of Pakistan and of Afghanistan—the leading Muslim centres in the Asiatic continent. Eleventh, the establishment of two National Baha’i Publishing Trusts, one in Tihran and one in New Delhi. Twelfth, the formation of Israel Branches of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha’is of Persia, of Iraq and Australia; authorized to hold on behalf of their parent institutions property dedicated to the holy Shrines at the World Centre of the Faith in the State of Israel. Thirteenth, the appointment, during Ridvan 1954, by the Hands of the Cause in Asia and in Australia of an auxiliary Board of nine members who will, in conjunction with the eight National Spiritual Assemblies participating in the Asiatic and Australian campaigns, assist, through periodic and systematic visits to Baha’i centres, in the efficient and prompt execution of the Plans formulated for the prosecution of the teaching campaigns in the continent of Asia 171
and in the Antipodes.
The Asiatic continent, the cradle of the principal religions of mankind; the home of so many of the oldest and mightiest civilizations which have flourished on this planet; the crossways of so many kindreds and races; the battleground of so many peoples and nations; above whose horizon, in modern times, the suns of two independent Revelations—the promise and consummation of a six thousand-year-old religious Cycle—have successively arisen; where the Authors of both of these Revelations suffered banishment and died; within whose confines the Centre of a divinely-appointed Covenant was born, endured a forty-year incarceration and passed away; on whose Western extremity the Qiblih of the Baha’i world has been definitely established; in whose heart the City proclaimed by Baha’u’llah as the “Mother of the World” is enshrined; within whose borders another City regarded as the “cynosure of an adoring world” and the scene of the greatest and most glorious Revelation the world has witnessed is embosomed; on whose soil so many saints, heroes and martyrs, associated with both of these Revelations, have lived, struggled and died—such a continent, so privileged among its sister continents and yet so long and so sadly tormented, now stands, at the hour of the launching of a world-encompassing Crusade, on the threshold of an era that may well recall, in its glory and ultimate repercussions, the great periods of spiritual revival which, from the dawn of recorded history have, at various stages in the revelation of God’s purpose for mankind, illuminated the path of the human race.
May this Crusade, launched simultaneously on the Asiatic mainland, its neighbouring islands and the Antipodes, under the direction of eight National Spiritual Assemblies, and through the operation of eight systematic Teaching Plans, and the concerted efforts of Baha’i communities in both the East and the West, provide, as it unfolds, an effective antidote to the baneful forces of atheism, nationalism, secularism and materialism that are tearing at the vitals of this turbulent continent, and may it re-enact those scenes of 172 spiritual heroism which, more than any of the secular revolutions which have agitated its face, have left their everlasting imprint on the fortunes of the peoples and nations dwelling within its borders.—SHOGHI October, 1953