When Rama took a break to offer Namaz
3 Oct 2008,
LUCKNOW: Masood Ahmad recalls the hush that fell when he went onstage to announce an unscheduled break during the raging battle between Lord Rama and Ravana, last Dussehra. The huge audience assembled at the Bakshi Ka Talaab ground was not amused. A few even began to boo, till the reason for the interruption was explained.
The Ramlila cast — including Rama, Ravana and Lakshman — Ahmad explained, needed to offer namaz and break roza. Not a single protest was heard thereafter. The show resumed only after the actors rolled up their prayer mats post-namaz and shared the iftari snacks — right on stage.
Masood Ahmad took over as manager of the BKT Ramlila Samiti from his father Muzaffar Hussain, who floated the outfit and also the concept of a mixed cast along with a Hindu friend in 1972. The move generated much curiosity and even a whisper campaign initially. But things have gradually settled down.
The casting coup of the year, says Ahmad, is the new Lord Rama — gawky 15-year-old Mohammad Sher Khan from BKT Higher Secondary School.
Khan, who’d been playing Bharat and Shatrughan for three years, is exultant about his elevation to lead status. ‘‘I have read Ramcharitmanas several times and particularly liked the ‘kirdar’ of Rama,” he declaims grandly. An unimpressed director, Sadiq Khan, exhorts the youngster, just back from school, to go over the script once more.
For generations now, this Muslim family has been organising Durga Puja
3 Oct 2008, 0104 hrs IST,
BHUBANESWAR: While communal violence continuing to singe Kandhamal district of Orissa, an obscure village in Nayagarh has stood out as a beacon of peace.
Though Manikagoda celebrates Durga Puja like any other place in the country, it’s unique because a Muslim family has been organising it for generations now. And the Hindu population of the village have no qualms in actively participating in the revelries. Like previous years, the family of Dalabehera Sheikh Habibur Rehman (75) are busy preparing for this puja that will commence from Saturday.
‘‘We stop eating non-vegetarian food a month before the puja, but we also celebrate Eid with equal faith and belief. I have been conducting Durga Puja for the past 35 years. I inherited this right from my forefathers, who had been doing this for generations,’’ said Rehman. The population of the village is about 10,000 of whom about 2,000 are Muslims.
Rehman performs the key role in the puja while people belonging to the majority Hindu community contribute their services to the goddess. ‘‘Tho-ugh a Brahmin priest conducts rituals and chants slokas, I perform the main role. We collect money for the puja and spend nearly Rs 1 lakh on the occasion,’’he added.
Siba Prasad Hota, who performs the rituals, said, ‘‘No one has ever raised any question on why the puja is being done by Muslims. All of us take part in it with equal fervour. All religions teach love for our fellow human beings.’’
Inspector in-charge (Bolagarh) Prahlad Nayak said, ‘‘we provide security but no untoward incident has ever occurred during the puja. The villagers have shown exemplary camaraderie even in other times.’’
Hindu-Muslim love gets HC's blessing
12 Apr 2007, 0150 hrs IST,TNN
MUMBAI/BHOPAL: In an unusual development, Bombay High Court and MP High Court came to the rescue of a Muslim-Hindu couple, Mohammed Umer and Priyanka Wadhwani, who were facing death threats allegedly from Bajrang Dal after their marriage.
On April 2 Priyanka and Umer left Bhopal for Mumbai. The next day Umer underwent shuddhikaran (purification ceremony) and converted to Hinduism after changing his name to Umesh. The same day they got married in a traditional Hindu ceremony.
Despite both being adults the Bhopal police had lodged a case of kidnapping against Umer. "His brother was picked up by the Koh-Fiza police in Bhopal and detained illegally," the couple's petition filed in the Bombay High Court alleged.
Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Dilip Bhosale of Bombay High Court held that the couple who had fled from Bhopal to take shelter in Mumbai were married and ordered the Mumbai police to provide them protection.
The judges have also restrained the Bhopal police from arresting Umer against whom a case of kidnapping has been registered at the behest of the girl's parents.
"We are relieved," said Priyanka, emerging out of the court. "I left of my own free will and was not kidnapped. My husband's family is being harassed by the police in MP and we hope the court's order will put a stop to it."
The family dispute over the inter-religious marriage took a political colour when Bajrang Dal activists organised protests outside Umer's home in Bhopal. The couple also said they were threatened with physical harm if they returned to Bhopal.
The Bombay HC judges interviewed Priyanka in their chamber where she reiterated that she was an adult and had left her parents' house of her own will. Besides ordering protection to the couple, the judges have also asked Bhopal SP to file a reply to the couple's petition by April 18.
When Rama took a break to offer namaz
Aalok Karnik, Mountain View, CA, says: why does the media not provide good coverage to such stuff ! An article worth showing on prime time TV news. However, the media went bezerk when Sanjay Dutt landed in jail and went just short of reporting the quality of air that he was breathing! This should be an eye-opener to overly-religious nuts (from all religions)
[3 Oct, 2008 0428hrs IST]
H S RAWAT, USA, says: THIS IS BEST PLATFORM FOR UNITING HINDU-MUSLIMS TOGETHER.
[3 Oct, 2008 0412hrs IST]
Aalok Karnik, Mountain View, CA, says: I like that !
[3 Oct, 2008 0356hrs IST]
TOI Regular, U.S.A, says: Just a week back I was pondering that there should be a scoreboard like column that will always stay on the top of this and other news websites announcing the number dead and injured in blasts, stampedes, communal riots, floods and umpteen other incidents. I always wondered aren’t there good things to put on the newspaper, why are there usually negative news on the paper all the time? If there are about 20% of the population that are into negative acts the other 80% are people living in peace. Isnt there anything interesting to write about them? And this article has just answered that. As you read it, there is a peace within yourself. At turbulent times like this, TOI should come up with dedicated columns that will promote national integration and patriotism. TOI has always championed causes like Teach India, Leaders in India (I know I am not using the correct program titles!), so why not do a program for integrating the people by coming up with more columns like this and asking people to contribute to it etc.?
[3 Oct, 2008 0345hrs IST]
Chand K Sharma, Delhi, says: No doubt certain Muslims like Maestro Naushad, play back singer Mohammad Rafi and Dr APJ Abdul Kallam have made India proud of their achievements and projected a real secular image. We wish more Muslims to done their image and think India as their home and have pride in India's achievements and culture. The Jehadi outlook and mindset is not going to get Muslims accepted in India.
[3 Oct, 2008 0344hrs IST]
Parinda, USA, says: Mazhab nahi sikhata aapas main baer rakhna......
[3 Oct, 2008 0314hrs IST]
SS, NY, says: I wish these articles to be on the front page of TOI
[3 Oct, 2008 0312hrs IST]
Adeel Arif, Dubai, says: How wonderful! These are the kinds of articles that need to be published more often and these are the kinds of stories that need to be brought forward at a time like today. This shows there is still tolerance for each other's religions within our community and this is what makes India a great country that it is!
[3 Oct, 2008 0244hrs IST]
GSShekar, London, UK, says: Hats off to One and all at BKT Ramlila Samiti. What I am surprised is no Mulla or Hindu priest has so fad put up a fatwa on these people. We all must learn to know that Acting and Religion are two diff lines of earning/services. Keep up your good work Guys...
[3 Oct, 2008 0231hrs IST]
Sunil Kumar Sharma, Toronto, says: Dear Sir/Madam, Thanks, for bringing up this article, we are in 21st century, but behaving and living in decade old centuries, this article should be printed in all the news papers, domestic as well as international news, so that whole world (including Hindus and Muslims) can read and feel, what a real religion is. Religions are created by humans, God only created the universe, with beauty of sun, moon, water, fire and earth, this the Supreme God has given to every human being free of cost. Everyday, new religion in being created in the name of god, without knowing the real meaning of life and every creator of new and old religion claims to be real religion, and making millions and living lavishly, by the ignorance of innocent people. By reading this article, I have come to a simple conclusion, that real and pure religion on this planet is humanity, love and respect for everyone.
[3 Oct, 2008 0224hrs IST]
rajib, australia, says: When I read this article, I thought the girl had converted to Islam because it is rumoured that Muslims cajole Hindu girls into converting to Islam. Ironically in this story, Umesh (Umer) has converted to Hinduism. This invalidates the rumours about Muslims.
[12 Apr, 2007 0804hrs IST]
ibrahim, usa, says: Who the hell is Bajarang Dal to decide what a common man can do in his life? The Pathan family is also to blame. When they can accept a Hindu girl converting to Islam, then they should accept their son adopting Hinduism.
[12 Apr, 2007 0751hrs IST]
viv, usa, says: If two Hindu girls can convert to Islam and live in their house, why can't the boy's father accept Umer as Hindu?
[12 Apr, 2007 0618hrs IST]
rkpatel, wellington,nz., says: It is hard to understand that why the Bajarag Dal has to make the love-affairs of two adult-individuals their business. Who gives them the moral-policing-authority for such issues? Such demagogues should be put behind the bars immediately. Love is the matter of heart,it is about how one feels for the other.
[12 Apr, 2007 0549hrs IST]
Readerspeak: Bajrang Dal should stop moral policing
12 Apr 2007, 1027 hrs IST
When I read this article, I thought the girl had converted to Islam because it is rumoured that Muslims cajole Hindu girls into converting to Islam. Ironically in this story, Umesh (Umer) has converted to Hinduism. This invalidates the rumours about Muslims.
Who the hell is Bajarang Dal to decide what a common man can do in his life? The Pathan family is also to blame. When they can accept a Hindu girl converting to Islam, then they should accept their son adopting Hinduism.
If two Hindu girls can convert to Islam and live in their house, why can't the boy's father accept Umer as Hindu?
It is hard to understand that why the Bajrang Dal has to make the love-affairs of two adult-individuals their business. Who gives them the moral-policing-authority for such issues? Such demagogues should be put behind the bars immediately. Love is the matter of heart, it is about how one feels for the other.