Monday, September 28, 2009

Kisi rotey huay bachche ko haNsaya jaaye

Muslims have been associated with taking bath "Jumme-ke-Jumme", having a lot of children, lacking modern outlook and education, and apart from many other ills, of late have been branded as terrorists too. Muslims must take the responsibility for this image that people generally have. And also take upon themselves the task of eradicating these images because most of the time it is the lack of effort on their part to present themselves as any other ordinary human being. They usually take pride in being "different" as in superior because the practising Muslims believe that Islam is a flawless religion and a perfect way of life and imperfection there is, is because of the " other "
Interedtingly the "other" also has similar views.

Earlier, specially as a school-girl I used to be surprised when my non-Muslim friends would tell me that I don't look like a Muslim.
I wondered what Muslims must look like...!

The other day I was travelling in a Mumbai local train. It was not one of those peak rush hours, but in the ladies compartment there were passengers waiting to be seated, and among them were quite a few burqua-clad women with small children in tow. It is quite normal for the children to stand by the window and mothers also readily try to send the children to that comparitively safe zone. And so this fair and good looking young Muslim mother also asked her son, an innocent-looking, chubby little boy to stand by the window.

He had barely reached there when suddenly the old woman sitting at the window seat started shouting and abusing both the boy and his family. The boy stepped back looking frightfully nervous. Almost in tears he clutched his burqa-clad mother refusing to look up or leave his mother's side. The boy had apparently stepped on the old lady's foot. It was certainly not the intention of the child to hurt the old woman. But the she was furious. Her upbringing had embedded in her mind a certain image of the Muslims... dirty, mannerless, inferior... And now sadly there was another dreadful aspect of terrorism added to that already hateful picture.
So at the slightest opportunity hatred poured out profusely.

No one said a word to the old woman. She kept blabbing for a while, her bespectacled eyes looking from a cluster of wrinkles for some support among fellow-passengers, but finding none, she took out a prayer book from her withered rexine bag and began to read.

The boy, meanwhile was offered a seat by all other women, non-Muslims included.
But he stood frightened and bewildered tightly holding onto his mother.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone ignored the elderly woman's undesirable outburst, respected her age and kept quiet.

The point is, there are all types of people in this world. Not everyone you meet is going to like you or respect you.
However this does not mean one should stop believing in the goodness of fellow human beings. Understanding "the other" is extremely important if one has to live in harmony.

Also it is worthwhile to ponder over Ismat Chughtai's remark. She had once said there are only two kinds of people, in a country, in a community , in a region ...
Whichever way one looks at tbe picture, it shows only two sides: Rich and Poor.

And Nida Fazli says: "Ghar se Masjid hai bahot doooor,
Chalo yun kar lein...
Kisi rotay huay bachche ko hansaaya jaaye."
(The Masjid is quite far from the house, lets compensate for not going there by making a sad child happy.)

I wonder if that old lady had ever realised the message her Prayer Book contained.
It is actually lamentable that most of us perform our religious duties perfuntorily.
Religion is more of a habit.
The beliefs are all on paper. Inside the Holy Books.
The deeds are a result of habitual rituals, not necessarily conforming to the essence of the Holy Message.
But believers are satisfied at having achieved the epitome of spiritual contentment by performing these age old rituals and look forward to rewards in this life and the hereafter.

Most of us are trying to find God in Holy Texts, in Places of Worship or in the beads of sacred rosaries.
But we neither feel Him nor see him because we have forgotten His address
He lives in His Creations.
He manifests Himself as Love.

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