Live and let live!

We have seen a great amount of religious intolerance in the last few weeks in India. In the midst of all this insanity, I thought it would be a good idea to share once again an episode that I had shared earlier on January 04, 2014 as ‘Religious fanatics?’

Abdul, who owned a small readymade garments shop in a metropolitan city in India, lived with his wife and two sons in a small cottage on the same street as my friend. The incident described below was narrated to me by this friend.

Abdul’s was the only Muslim family on that street, while there were two Christian families and seven Hindu families. All the residents, including Abdul and his family, enjoyed cordial relations with one another, but most of the others were a bit uncomfortable about the fact that Abdul had a long beard and wore a skull cap, and sacrificed a goat in his compound every Bakri Id.

Ram, an officer in a nationalised bank, lived with his wife, daughter and mother two cottages away. While he had purchased his cottage 11 years earlier like all the others, Ram and his family had not lived there for 9 years since Ram had been posted in other cities. If Abdul was visibly Muslim, Ram and his family were visibly Hindu! They always wore huge ‘caste marks’ on their foreheads, visited temples very regularly and were very vocal, almost fanatical the others felt, about their religion. This caused some discomfort among the others in the neighbourhood.

As mentioned earlier, all the residents in the neighbourhood enjoyed cordial relations with one another. Ram’s elderly mother, as the oldest resident, was fondly addressed as Mausi (Aunty) by all the adults and as Daadi (Grandmother) by all the children.

One morning, when they happened to meet as they were both leaving home for work, Abdul asked Ram why Mausi had not been seen for the last few days. Ram replied that she was slightly unwell, nothing to worry about.

A week later, Abdul overheard Ram’s daughter telling another girl that Daadi was extremely upset about the goat sacrifice at Abdul’s house during Bakri Id. She had stayed at home from the day the goat had been brought to Abdul’s house and had started coming out only a couple of days after Bakri Id. In fact, she had shut the windows of her room since she could not bear the sound of the goat bleating.

Abdul was shocked! He rushed to Ram’s house and asked Mausi why she had not spoken to him about the matter. Mausi replied that, while the goat sacrifice upset her terribly, she thought it would not be right for her to comment on Abdul’s religious practices, especially since he was doing it in his own compound.

Abdul immediately replied, “Mausi, you are like my mother. I cannot see you upset. From now on, I will conduct the goat sacrifice during Bakri Id in some other place.”

A staunch Muslim and a staunch Hindu had shown that persons who are fiercely proud of their religion are not necessarily religious fanatics! They had shown respect for each other’s religious beliefs without compromising their own religious beliefs. They had resolved in no time a matter that could have caused a communal riot elsewhere!

Can’t we resolve our differences in a non-confrontational manner like Abdul and Mausi did? Of course, we can!

If we want to, it’s not so difficult to “Live and let live!”

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16 thoughts on “Live and let live!

  1. Abdul and Ram’s mother are two people who live by the teachings of religion. Judy, a Christian, lived next door to me for many years. After a few years we felt we felt we belonged to the same religion. Religion is hardly going to the temple or church. Nor is it doing a puja and fasting. Observing religion is treating our fellow humans with love and respect. Abdul and Ram’s mother are most religious. They hearten me and I want to be like them.

    • Both these persons are role models for all of us! They are fiercely proud of their religion, but not religious fanatics! They had respect for each other’s religious beliefs without compromising their own religious beliefs.

  2. my best friend here is a muslim , there are some things going on in my life currently and he is standing with me shoulder to shoulder, I have taken 2 weeks off work and so has he.

    End of the day we are all humans and if we look at each other as humans the worlds will be a better place, Religion is something that i dont want to talk about as i feel it needs to be abolished.

    YES we can live peacefully its only a handful of people who are making it worse but pity is that like a handful of whites ruled over a mighty india for years .. same way a handful of bad element are doing the wrong to billions of people , which is a shame because we the people who get effected dont get together..

    if we all get together how dare someone do something wrong..

    • Many of us have received affection, friendship and support from persons of different faiths, and have also reciprocated. I’m not a ‘religious’ person myself, but I don’t think religion needs to be abolished. We need to recognise that it’s something private.

  3. Thanks Pro for this uplifting post with a beautiful example of peaceful co-existence and true pluralism. I have a feeling that we can find many such stories all around us, if we care to look. It is just that we don’t hear about such positive stories because they are not newsworthy. Sad really.

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