3 Sep 2008, TNN
AHMEDABAD: For the last 40 years, 62-year-old Malti Bhatt has been religiously fasting during the holy month of Ramzan in Ahmedabad. She began this ritual to appease 'Pak Pir Ki Dargah ' in their home. But now, her three daughter-in-laws have also adopted the practice of fasting religiously.
Talking to TOI, Bhatt said, "My elder son had been suffering from a stomach problem for a long time. We had visited all the doctors and hospitals for treatment, but nothing cured him. Then we were told by a Sufi believer that if we appease 'Pir Mamu' (as he is fondly remembered by his followers) - the Sufi saint, who had his abode where our house now stands - our son will be cured of his illness. He said we should stay away from vices and other prohibited things under Islam."
Since then the family has kept its vow and has been performing all the rituals during the holy month of Ramzan. It breaks the fast only after paying homage to Pir Mamu.
In all these years the family has kept up the spirit of universal brotherhood alive. Even during the Gujarat riots in 2002, the family fasted for the entire month.
"We believe fasts to be our offerings to almighty and do not think that they portray only one religion," Bhatt said.
Hina Bhatt, the eldest daughter-in-law of the family, said, "After I got married, I willingly accepted the family ritual of fasting in the month of Ramzan. For me, it's like the shravan month. I normally fast during shravan and then in Ramzan." The most difficult part of a roza is not being able to drink water. Hema Bhatt, another daughter-in-law, said, "Being Brahmins, we completely believe in the oneness of God. During this month, we get the courage to complete these arduous fasts without much tribulations."
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi