A wunderkind’s battle to trounce terrorism by unleashing a love for science

Crowd-puller: Soborno ‘Issac’ Bari poses for a selfie with members of the audience after a session at Savitribai Phule Pune University on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Jignesh Mistry

“How can I solve math problems when Taliban terrorists kill 130 school children in Peshawar? How can I solve physics problems when Islamic State militants kill 29 at the Holey Artisan bakery [in Dhaka]? How can I solve chemistry problems when Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorists kill 40 Indian soldiers in Pulwama?” says Bangladeshi-American child prodigy Soborno ‘Isaac’ Bari, all of seven years and already famous for his precocious ability in solving complex mathematics and physics problems.

The U.S.-based Soborno, who has penned a 70-page book, simply titled The Love, spoke of his dream at the Savitribai Phule Pune University on Monday of trouncing terrorism by inspiring young people to fall in love with mathematics and science.

“Let’s unleash love to create a world without terrorism,” said this wunderkind, enthralling the packed audience with his trenchant views on the scourge of Islamic terrorism.

The son of Bangladeshi immigrants Rashidul and Shaheda Bari, Soborno, whose EQ is as formidably developed as his IQ, displays astonishing wit, sangfroid and humanism in his talk that could give any eminent public intellectual a run for his money.

His message to parents across the world is to stop giving them ‘Taliban training’ and instead start training them to become scientists like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

“On my second birthday in 2014, my father took me to Liberty Plaza, where he worked as a security guard between 2001 and 2014. There, he recounted to me the events of the most tragic morning in American history… the horrific events of 9/11 instilled a sense of patriotism in my blood,” said Soborno.

To imbibe harmony and religious tolerance, he urges that children across the world must be allowed to celebrate whichever religious holidays they want, irrespective of their faith.

At six months old, Soborno could talk in full sentences. In 2016, he received a letter of recognition from former U.S. President Barack Obama for his precocity in solving PhD level math, physics and chemistry problems. Two years later, more recognition came from Harvard University for his problem-solving abilities.

While the president of City College of New York gave Soborno the affectionate moniker of the “Einstein of our time”, a friend of his father called him the new “Isaac Newton”, which explains the ‘Isaac’ of his middle name.

What sets him apart from other child prodigies is that besides surmounting complex physics equations like Schrodinger’s wave equation, Soborno has always displayed an astonishing awareness of the global political turmoil.

What prompted him to write a book at this tender age? “I had no such plan… but one day in July 2016 I was praying at a mosque and I asked the imam to pray for America because it was the eve of Fourth of July [U.S. Independence Day], but the imam ignored me. So, I wrote a letter to [U.S. Founding Father] George Washington… As the imam would never apologise, I thought I would do so on his behalf and that of the Muslim community across the world,” says Soborno, who presented his views on religious prejudice and intolerance in a way worthy of a celebrated liberal crusader fighting for world peace.

But his sweetness of manner and innocence belie his maturity, his wisdom and astonishing conception of current events. “You all might be wondering why I am promoting The Love, a campaign based on creating enduring global peace throughout the world instead of solving math problems,” quipped Soborno, drawing hearty laughter from the audience.

“It was the terror of the Taliban, the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and the Jaish-e-Muhammad that forced me on my campaign for world peace,” he says, displaying a remarkable empathy for global turmoil and an astonishing sensitivity to the ravages of Islamic terrorism.

In his book, Soborno, already a mascot in Bangladesh against extremism and Islamic terrorism, relates 10 stories which are a child’s clarion call for communal harmony, religious tolerance and world peace.

“Hate drove these people [terrorists] to chant ‘Allahu Akbar’ while shooting Malala! Hate motivated them to chant ‘Allahu Akbar’ while killing 130 schoolchildren in Peshawar… How can we remove hate from the minds of the people who commit such inhumane acts?” he asks in his book.

He even details a poignant episode of conflict with his mother when he questions why, being a Muslim, he can’t celebrate Christmas.

When his mother says she doesn’t know, Soborno’s reply is: “I’m a Muslim and I love my religion. However, I’m also a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Christian. I know we love Eid, but we should also love Yom Kippur, Saraswati Puja and Christmas.”

That is the philosophy behind his little, yet immensely wise book, which rubs shoulders with academic tomes on history and sociology in bookshops across Bangladesh.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 2:33:38 AM |

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