Section 2: Live and let live

Religion induced misdeeds


Will you serve water or ask religion?

I got down from a train at Nizamuddin Railway Station of Delhi in January ’94 and hired an auto-rikshaw for the Interstate Bus Terminus – a far off destination.

“Are You a Muslim?” I asked the driver.

“No, I’m a Hindu,” the driver replied.

“Fine, continue to your destination” was my instruction.

“But why did you ask the question?” A somewhat agitated driver wanted to know.

“I wished to pay my regards to Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya at his shrine; had you been a Muslim I would have taken you to the place and offered my regards to the age old shrine before proceeding to the Bus stand. Since you are a Hindu, I am proceeding to the bus terminus,” I replied.

“Is it so? I will take you there,” said the driver who was Muslim but feigned Hindu.

He asked me to leave my suitcase in his cab at the shrine when I was leaving for visiting the grave of the bygone saint. His suggestion was followed even though the suitcase contained a costly camera and some restricted maps; and, he could have landed me in trouble had he decamped with my luggage.

Faith begets faith. If I had faith on saint Awliya, the driver too displayed it; otherwise he would not have taken me on the shrine rather forcibly. He deserved my faith for his words.

On my way to the bus stand I could feel that I have made Rasul – my auto rikshaw driver – a bit unhappy. A somewhat unhappy Muslim asked me “Sir, if you see someone injured on the road crying for help or water, would you rush for water or ask his religion?”

 I did not reply the illiterate emotional Muslim proving his faith in Awliya like most simple hearted men in India irrespective of their religion.

 A semi-literate Rasul neither knew religions nor their history. He did not know that Sufi shrines are non-Koran establishments and devout fundamentalists of Islam attack them without hesitation unmindful of the men dying in the attack. Their act is in pursuance of Islam, they are convinced.  Attack on famous shrine of India – Dargah of Chisti – is an example. He also did not know how the thirsty grandchildren of Mohammad died in Karbala, killed by Islamite. That is what religion is – another name of uncontrolled emotion induced actions. It does not care if its bloodbath is by the blood from a thirsty crying for wetting his throat or a pregnant woman. Who were the men behind when over fifty living men were consigned to fire in a closed railway compartment at Godhara; and, who felt the pain of hundreds of men and women slaughtered and made homeless in retaliatory riots? Why did Hindus alone cry on the suffering of trapped men and not stop only after weeping in sympathy? Why did they become hysterical and killed innocent men, women and children of the other community in retaliation? Hindus and Muslims are both human beings but Hindus are not Muslims and vice versa. There is an invisible barrier of community feeling separating, and conditioning their hrits – apparatus of feeling under religion induced control. Tragedy of modern times is unique: if Jihad-driven killed above 50 Londoners in 7/7 attack, retaliating Britons hit Muslim psyche and   “many Muslims felt as threatened as the ‘Jews of Europe’ once did.” Religion means a community controlled hrit-maneuvering-psychic instrument ever engaging men of one community to kill and destroy the other. Why was there carnage of 9/11 in USA in the name of jihad: and, why the country killed and destroyed a hundred times more human lives in Iraq in a camouflaged retaliation in the name of searching weapons of mass destruction?

Religions and innate religious apathies have ever induced tragedies of the above type on our earth decades after decades in the human history and pre-history.