“zerONEss: The Moment has Arrived”

By Justin Chapman

According to the author, Hawah’s new book, zerONEss, may be found “where the clock has been broken.” A collection of poetry and prose that explores human enlightenment and comprehension, the book has a fitting title that was never meant to be pronounced, only read and felt, representing unity and the origins of man. 

An inspiring reminder that nothing is more important than your self-actualization, which in turn improves the world: “Guided by an internal source of strength/ You rose repeatedly and walked barefoot over broken glass/ As the pulse of a new consciousness/ As torch bearer of a new creed/ You lied awake while others were sleeping”; along with efficacious displays of the power of love: “There is nothing more I want/ Than to join you in the cocoon.”

Formerly known as Rajeev Kasat, this young US-born Indian writer and leader changed his name to the sobriquet Hawah in a moment of spiritual clarity. A self-proclaimed artivist and everlutionary, Hawah has dedicated his life to teaching the youth about conflict resolution, solutions to violence, and ways to peace. He has brought young people from all over together for this very important discussion.

Photographer, painter, poet, teacher, and cognoscente, Hawah offers us words of comfort, advice, humility, wonder, and reassurance for those who believe the physical world is an illusion.

His two other books, Trails: Trust Before Suspicion, a journal of his travels hitchhiking across the United States of America and backpacking alone through Africa, and Escape Extinction, notes on love, hate, hypocrisy, war, and peace, are both incredibly powerful nonfiction narratives that reflect on humanity and traveling, both physically and spiritually. He boldly states in Extinction, “I love Osama bin Laden and I love George W. Bush, both equally and without distinction or reservation.” This is a man who constantly challenges himself, his ideas, his beliefs, his perception of the world, and looks for and revises inconsistencies in what he practices and what he preaches. 

Reading this cosmopolitan traveler’s latest work of prose, poetry, wisdom, and soulful treatises is meditation. For those who seek exploration of life’s many riddles, his imagery floats from comprehensive to precise, dipping the reader in and out of altered states of consciousness. It can be a breath of fresh air: “You have nothing to worry about/ Nothing to become/ There is no time that is remaining beyond when all is.” His protean and discursive words are emblazoned with colorful images: “The past is frozen/ The future is melting/ And the present is without weather.”

To read Hawah’s work is to know him, and I am honored to have known and learned from him at critical junctions in my life. Whether he’s in Colorado teaching young people that peace has a chance or on the frontlines spreading the message in the neighborhoods of the District of Columbia, Hawah’s energy, optimism, and ideas of unconditional acceptance are mesmeric and real. His comforting wisdom is evident in the poem ‘Extended Life’: “I’ve seen something greater than what I am/ Just because you do not know that you exist/ Does not mean you are not alive/ Don’t deny life.”

Hawah is also a certified Yoga instructor, workshop facilitator, and inspirational speaker, performing at Yale Univ., George Washington Univ., U.C.L.A., Univ. of Colorado, Rollins College, Georgetown Univ., and Brown Univ. He and his roommates hold a full moon gathering and celebration every month in their Washington, DC, based non-profit home, One Common Unity, Inc.

His latest project is a six week arts-based peace and reconciliation tour through Pakistan and India to help unify the two nations. Called Project H(Om)E, street theatre, speaking engagements, musical performances, poetic verse, and workshops on art, activism, and forgiveness will all be utilized to inspire Pakistanis and Indians—Muslims and Hindus—to “resign any hatred and animosity towards one another in favor of recognizing the multicultural ideal represented by their shared cultural history,” Hawah wrote.

His inspiration for involving himself in this difficult and delicate conflict between two cultures stemmed from his recent travels through his family’s home country, India. After backpacking through the Himalayas and witnessing despair firsthand, Hawah saw a gap he decided to try to fill. The project begins this December.

Visit his website at hawah.us.