Jonah’s lesson in the fish college

Indeed, it is not a wonder that scores of people, after clearing their P.U., hunt for admission in reputed Colleges, such as St. Stephen College, Lady Shri Ram College, Hindu College, St. Xavier College, Presidency College, Loyola College and others. Ironically, in the history of the Bible, the ‘Fish College’ was attended by only one man, whose name was Jonah, the son of Ammitai. Interestingly, unlike the present trend, where people fight to get admission in different Colleges, Jonah was forced to study in the Fish College by the Principal whose name was I AM WHO I AM. Right after Jonah was thrown into the sea, abruptly, he found himself in the Fish College, in which, facility was not better than the Night Schools in India, but it had the greatest teacher. Apparently, the purpose of Jonah attending the unpopular Fish College was to save the great city, Nineveh. However, he made the college very popular in the next generations.
According to the Word of God, the mighty and famous city, Nineveh, was to be doomed if the inhabitants do not repent and turn to the Lord. Nineveh was situated on east bank of Tigris River near modern Moshul. It was the capital of the heathen Empire of Assyria, the constant enemy of Israel. Due to their utter wickedness and immorality, Nineveh was to be annihilated if the dwellers do not change their ways and life. Consequently, God called Jonah to be His ambassador, to admonish the Ninevites to repent from their sins. But, Jonah didn’t heed to the solemn command of God. He knew that God was merciful, gracious and slow to anger. Therefore, the notion that God would relent to punish the Ninevites if they repent, dragged him away to the opposite direction. He fled to go to Tarshish, a city rich in silver, iron, tin and lead. Nonetheless, God did not leave him to accomplish the task He has assigned.
Jonah boarded a ship bound for Tarshish. But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and such a mighty storm came upon the sea that the ship threatened to break up. Extreme dread and apprehension overwhelmed the sailors. Their petrifying experience prompted them to cry out to their gods. Thereafter, the idea to cast lots in order to know on whose account the calamity had come upon them ensued. Isn’t it astonishing that the sailors accounted the disaster to someone who has done something wrong? In fact, it was the plan of the principal of the Fish College to bring Jonah to His College. The sailors resolved to cast lots and when they did, it fell on Jonah. And since, the sea was growing more and more tempestuous, they had to find a way to save their lives. Jonah was questioned about his identity and undertakings. Instantly, he admitted honestly that the tragedy that struck them was because of him. Like in an awful stampede, an air of utter chaos and confusion overshadowed them. They were bemused and apprehensive, not knowing what to do. Amidst the predicament, Jonah told them to pick him up and throw him to the sea. After some desperate attempts and vain frantic cries of deliverance, the sailors picked Jonah and threw him into the sea. At that moment, both Jonah and the sailors were naive about the Master’s plan to admit the dove (Jonah) to the Fish College. However, not long after, he was sent to the main campus of the college…the Belly.
The Fish College was under the University called ‘Creator University’. Unlike the other institutions, where students have to fill up forms, submit documents and face interview, the Fish College took Jonah without anything. Actually, a student has to spend years in an institution to complete a course, but remarkably, Jonah completed his course within three days and did a marvelous job. In infrastructure and strength of students, Fish College was at the bottom, but it had the best proprietor and administrator. Jonah was in the darkest College, where there was no sunlight, electricity, not even lamp or candle. The college was in fact, so pathetic that, Jonah had to even struggle inhaling and exhaling O2 and CO2. He was in the hostel run by the owner of the college, but sadly, food was not provided to him. The teacher didn’t appear to Jonah and he had no friends.  It was a profound solitary lessons that Jonah learnt in that horrible, yet incredible College. Today, in the Schools and Colleges, many impudent and indolent students come to the class without any interest or zeal to learn. They talk nonsense, smirk, cackle, play, joke, and at times, jot down irrelevant matters whimsically in their notes, unaware of what the teacher teaches. But, Jonah was without pen and paper to write anything. He was deprived of all the good and bad elements that the students do or practice. Today, we talk about the School or College building, fan, air conditioner, library, so on and so forth, but Jonah was in the stinking College without any bright prospect to foster and develop. In the college, he had no one to share his problems, agonies or struggles. Moreover, there was no one to advice, teach or comfort him, only his teacher who was not seen. He had no mobile phone, TV, Computer and even a cup of water to drink. Truly, he had a trying and harrowing experience. Yet, his acrid experiences were not like a slave working a day’s length on the scorching sun under a cruel master and do not get gratitude and good food in the evening, but it was like a slave receiving a sweet treatment from the master after a tiring work, and later become a good master one day.
Though Jonah was stricken with various undesirable elements, the teacher gave him wisdom to know the purpose of letting him attend that ghastly College. Jonah realized that the owner put him in the Fish College because of his disobedience. He realized that he had to go the great city, Nineveh and proclaim God’s Word. After attending classes for three days, he got the graduation certificate and was sent out for practical work. Amazingly, it was successful. When he proclaimed the message of God, the Ninevites humbled down and repented in prayer and supplication. So, God relented from annihilating the city. However, it infuriated Jonah, for Nineveh was the constant foe of his country. The disgruntled man then set out of the city and sat down east of the city. Even in that place, God taught him a lesson with a bush. Whatever the outcome is, the great lesson in the Fish College had a great impact. ‘Jonah was saved and the great city Nineveh was delivered’. It was a priceless lesson and a priceless deliverance.
Today, many of us are in different Institutions. We are in different Colleges such as Pain College, Sickness College, Misfortune College, Financial Crisis College, Economic Misery College, Illiteracy College, Disease College, Poverty College, etc. Wherever we are, we can learn valuable lessons and do something worthwhile in our life. The effect may not be like the harvest of Jonah who studied in the Fish College, but we can bring a ray of hope in this perverse generation. As the saying goes, “an expert is someone who knows more and more, about less and less, unless he knows everything about nothing”, let us continue to learn and acquire new things, till we become empty with full of Knowledge. Then, with our nothingness which we acquired with much diligence and enthusiasm, we can give hope to the hopeless.
Had Jonah not attended the Fish College and experienced bitter things, the great city, Nineveh might have been shattered. “The harder the conflict, the more glorious is the triumph”. Let Jonah’s lesson in the Fish College enthuse and inspire us to be determined, perseverant, stoical, steadfast and strong to do amazing things in life! To teach is to learn twice.