Jalal da, Emdad da and Wazed da were my respected senior brothers at college hostel. Younas was my dear batch mate, with Bashir and Iqbal being my loving junior brothers, along with Bangladeshi ‘Subho’ (his Sanskritised nickname, though his official name used to bear Islamic legacy).
In office, I felt honoured to work with the recently retired Kuddus-da (an Urdu speaker just returned to Bihar) and my junior colleague Haidar from Bengal’s Birbhum district.
It is my privilege that my path of life has crossed theirs, such affectionate, loving, kindhearted, gentle souls they are!
Now, can any individual or collective might in the whole world succeed in demonizing them in my eyes by injecting me with hatred by peddling lies? Can the whole combined force of communal brigade succeed in manipulating me to hate Muslims and my acquaintances of Islamic vintage?
Certainly not, because my heart does not possess an iota of hatred towards my Muslim brothers and sisters. Rather, those communal vested interests would have escaped with their lives had they dared to make an attempt to brainwash me in this subject.
However, if even a minimum crack existed between myself and the general Muslim community, the merchants of hatred would have surely and easily succeeded in exploiting that divide to implant zealous hatred against Muslims in my mind and demonizing the whole community.
So it must be appreciated that the actual communal poison exists in the hearts of certain individuals only, which the religious zealots promptly exploit to meet their electoral interests. Thus, it gets proved that the original or greater sinners are the common people, without whose patronage no evil power on Earth can succeed in spreading hatred against the ‘other’ and demonize them.
The ‘liberals’ should not give a clean chit to the communal section among the Indian Hindus as if they were all ‘innocent, gullible children’ whose ‘unpolluted’ minds get washed by the vested interests. Rather, they are the greatest offenders as due to their disgraceful patronage, communal forces can create mayhem in the society.
In the same vein, no amount of attempt to brainwash by the fanatics claiming to profess Islam can convince the Haidars, Bashirs and Wazeds to turn anti-Hindu as the eternal truth of ‘humanity above all’ is deeply embedded within their souls.
On the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Zuha, let us pray to the almighty that this spirit of mutual bonhomie, brotherhood, love and respect continues to shine bright within souls of all religious communities, consigning the merchants of hatred to dustbins of history.