I don’t know about 1947; it was three decades before I was born. From what I have read I know that India was partitioned in 1947 during Independence from the British Raj. Yet, it amazes me to notice that the nuances of Partition are still investigated in Political circles, even as the fire of its aftermath ignites the hearts of people on both the sides of the Indo-Pak border to this day.
All I know is that a line was drawn then dividing the Land, and all hell broke loose.
The fate of Kashmir (pieces of which are held by both countries) is still a matter of contention between the two countries; and I have noticed how the Indian media remains tight-lipped about the everyday rallies and bandhs (closures) in the Valley; while its Pakistani counterpart fans the fire.
The Valley is burning and it is my personal belief as an Indian Hindu citizen that a UN plebiscite in Kashmir is the need of the hour in order to judge if the people want to stay with India, Pakistan or want total Independence. It will do a great deal of good to the future of India, Pakistan and Kashmiri people.
As a Hindu child I grew up in a mohallah in Mumbai consisting of Hindu and Moslem people who participated actively in each other’s festival. Muslim guys and girls would swirl away into the night to the music of Garba during Navratri and Sewaiya (a Moslem delicacy) would be served to Hindu neighbours during Eid.
Mumbai riots of 1992 changed all that!
Amidst increasing ghettoisation that took place in the city after the 1992 riots and the immediate bomb blasts of 1993, Muslim families ran away from Hindu dominated localities and pockets of the city, while Hindu families fled from Muslim neighbourhoods. Today that ghettoisation is complete (the latest victim of this was the Celebrity Imran Hashmi)
I was a 15-year-old Hindu lad then, a Mumbaikar who was growing up to the tunes of Bollywood (the Hindi Film Industry)
Bollywood has always served platters of romantic movies with songs that put ‘Aashiqui’ (romantic love) on a high pedestal.
Upper middle class Intellectual circles still stay away from Hindi Movies; though the majority of Indians have grown up being influenced by the concepts of romantic love that they preach.
The beautiful lyrics penned down by both Hindu and Moslem Indian writers have kept the flame of the Sufi concept of ‘Ishq’ burning in the hearts of the Indian youth.
Ishq-e-Majaazi (Allegorical Love)
“chhoo lene do naazuk hothon ko
kuchh aur nahin hai jaam hai ye
qudrat ne jo hamko baksshaa hai
wo sabse haseens inaam hai ye”Singer- Mohd. Rafi, Lyrics-Sahir Ludhianvi, Music-Ravi, Movie Kaajal 1965
Translation: “Let me touch those delicate lips/ It is nothing but wine/ It is God Who has gifted me these/ A big reward”… is an example of one such Bollywood song. In Sufism, the beauty of one’s beloved is considered to be a representation (symbol) of the Perfection of God. No wonder then that it has the power to evoke true love in the heart of a lover! Intoxication i.e. wine, or jaam, is a symbol of divine ecstasy. In the Hindi Film Anwar (2007), the chosen murshid (guide) advises the young protoganist of the movie Anwar, that he has to fall in love in the earthly realm in order to evolve true love for God in his heart. For Sufis believe that only when a person treads on the path of earthly ‘true romantic love’ and suffers in the pain of separation from one’s beloved, can one get in touch with the rend of separation from God Almighty that is suppressed in the heart of every Individual. In many Indian films (the modern story-telling characteristic of a community) when the two lovers cannot unite, they kill themselves. But Sabr (perseverance) on the path of love despite everything, is an important maqam (station) of the Sufi way that leads to tawaqqul (trust in God) i.e. the state of yaqin (certainty)
“Ye ishq nahi aasa, Itna to samajh lejiye… Ek Aag ka dariya hai, aur doob ke jaana hai”
The path of Love is not easy, first understand this. It is a pool of fire, and you need to drown to cross it. When one treads through the fires of earthly/ romantic love i.e. ishq-e-majaazi (Allegorical love), one can get a glimpse of the greater Path leading to God i.e. ishq-e-haqiqi (True Love) We Hindus call Ishq-e-majaazi i.e. True love as “Bhakti”. Hindu-Saint Meera was a perfect example of somebody who was on the path of Ishq-e-haqiqi. This is the beauty of the path of the Spirit, the essence of religion that comes to one after one is on the Path for a long time: This is the path of gnosis (self-experience) which is the same whether it be Moslem or Hindu as exemplified by Meera.
The religions of the world were invented for the less-brave and people who have not started on the Spiritual path. So we find words, treatises, scriptures, religious inquests, historical blunders and plunders, interpretation, and confusion: because all of these belong to the Mind-chatter and the Mind is bound by the limitations of Time, Matter and Space unlike the Spirit. Beyond the words of Religion, lies ‘Faith’ -the realm of the Spirit. This realm (of the Spirit) is the same for a Hindu or a Moslem. Only the path i.e. religion is different.
Scholars, intellectuals, our Politicians, religious fanatics, kings and other saints of the past, needlessly get into a war of words on matters of religion! They lead holy Jihads of words and swords, and interfere in the progress of the common man. While the common man is busy with finding his way towards the realm of Spirit in his religion and has nothing to do with bloodshed All the common man needs is an environment that is congenial to the needs of his earthly survival i.e. roti, kapda and makan (food, clothing and shelter) so that he can also look out for the needs of his soul: the spiritual manna. People who are die-hard Intellectuals, terrorists and Kings do great injustice to the common man by disturbing the peace of the Land.
I, for one, fell in love with the beauty I found in my beloved. I know it was true love because I experienced the pain of love for the first time in my life. Many people are afraid of this aspect of love i.e. Pain. So they either escape into intellectual mind-chatter i.e. mental mast****tion (mental self-appeasement), or fall prey to hatred and violence when they get all entangled in relentless mind-pursuits all the time afraid to face the pain of separation (with God) in one’s heart.
These are the lost sheep of the Lord’s herd. One can only pray for them, and at best forgive them if one can, for one’s own peace of mind and spiritual-progress. Personally, coming to terms with the pain of unreciprocated love and separation, I fell through a trap-door onto the Path of God.
I did not know anything about the first-hand direct experience of the ‘Path of God’ until I learnt of the Islamic/Sufi concept of love and reconciled with the pain in my heart. Then I set out in search of a murshid i.e. guide (we call such a person a Guru in Hinduism).
I am fortunate that I found a Guru. To this day I walk “not by sight but by Faith”
Islam/Sufism helped me regain my own path and Faith i.e. Hinduism.
Ishq-e-Haqiqi (True Love) True Believers (Hindu or Muslim) and true lovers of God have no time for Religious Inquests or spreading of hatred in the name of religion. They are too busy nursing the pain of Love in their own hearts for their Beloved (God). We Hindus believe that Bhakti (i.e. true love for God) cannot be cultivated in oneself without the Grace of God Himself. So I have no hate for people who chatter over religion and spread hatred based on the Past because of their own lack of direct first hand experience with the realm of one’s Spirit. They don’t know the essence of their own religion, and are too stuck in words words and words, facts and figures, history and injustice (the realm of the Mind). They are too scared of what they would find if they looked within: the pain of love and separation.
Read on for quotes by Sufi Saints:
1. “All that is left
to us by tradition
is mere words.
It is up to us
to find out what they mean.”
The above are the words of a Sufi poet Muhammed Ibn ‘Ali Ibn ‘Arabi (1165 – 1240 AD)
- O Marvel! a garden amidst the flames.
My heart has become capable of every form:
it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
and a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Kaa’ba,
and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Quran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take,
that is my religion and my faith.
- All that is left
to us by tradition
is mere words. It is up to us
to find out what they mean.
- Were it not for
the excess of your talking
and the turmoil in your hearts,
you would see what I see
and hear what I hear!
- When my Beloved appears, With what eye do I see Him? With His eye, not with mine, For none sees Him except Himself.