Last week, seeing some very painful-disturbing shots of the Rohingya refugees and their families getting not just uprooted but thrown about in detention centres in and around the Jammu region, got me into that introspective mood.
I have been thinking of how in those bygone centuries, the Jammu and Kashmir region had not just welcomed refugees but also provided them solace to such an extent that not one of them ever went back to their home countries…Yes, I'm focusing on those men who had travelled here, from Central Asia and Iran and Iraq and even beyond … those 'foreigners' had reached the Jammu and Kashmir region, travelling thousands of kilometres, in search of refuge and peace. And in all probability found tranquillity in such abundance that none of them ever went back to their homelands. Their simplicity got them close to not just the locals but even to the then emperors…In his memoirs, Mughal Emperor Jehangir has focused on the simplicity that these men not just believed in, but actually practiced in everyday life, "Though they have no religious knowledge or learning of any sort, yet they possess simplicity and are without pretence .They abuse no one. They restrain the tongue of desire and foot of seeking. They eat no flesh, they have no wives and always plant fruit bearing trees in the fields so that men may benefit by them, themselves desiring no advantage …" And so influenced had been Mughal Prince Dara Shukoh that he had built in Srinagar, the unique school of sufism - called the 'Kas-i-Mah'. The first of its kind in the whole of Asia and Central Asia, this he built at the instance of his spiritual teacher Akhund Mulla Mohammad Shah, who had travelled from Badakshan.
To this day dargahs of these men lie dotted in and around the Jammu and Kashmir region… In fact, not too far from Srinagar's Nowhatta Chowk, on the banks of the Jhelum river, stands the dargah of Shah-i-Hamdaanwho, as legend states, had left the small Persian town Hamdaan to escape the wrath of Timur and it is said that about seven hundred sayyids accompanied him to the Kashmir Valley during the reign of Sultan Shihabuddin in 1372 AC. Legend also states that when the Kashmiri mystic poetess Lalla Arifa saw Shah Hamdaan descend on the Kashmiri soil, she's said to have uttered words along the strain that at long last she had spotted a man! And to this day the very design and architecture of this dargah stands out …at nightfall it is amazing when its reflection gets picked up by the waters of the flowing Jhelum. Though the original structure was built in 1395, it was rebuilt several times and the present structure dates back to 1732….And on the other side of the Nowhatta Chowk, overlooking the main road is the dargah of the Iraqi sufi Dastageer sahib. The wooden architecture of this dargah carried grandeur and left an impact; but a massive fire engulfed this dargah a few years back. A new structure came up but missing the grandeur of the original structure and with that many of us were left feeling hugely disappointed… Still further, just a few hundred metres ahead, is another ziarat with a large sized board — Ziarati Hazrati Yousa Asouph Syed Nasiruddin. Inside the compound there are two graves — one average sized but the other one far beyond the average length. And two graves are that of Hazrat Yousa Asouph and Syed Nasiruddin. There are several theories around the very identity of Yousa Aza, with some of those theories and historical studies going as far as to say he was one of the descendants of Moses.
And just a few days back, whilst seeing those shots of a 14 year old boy getting thrashed and beaten on his genitals and head, by the two Ghaziabad based men — the main accused Shringi Nandan Yadav and his associate Shivanand —I have been thinking if there could be a vaccine to curb the communal virus, destroying us on a daily basis.
Not to overlook the backgrounder to this horrifying incident — the 14 year old Muslim boy entered the temple compound to quench his thirst. And as he was drinking water from a tap in the temple compound, he was brutally assaulted by Shringi Nandan Yadav and Shivanand, after they asked his name and that of his father. Mind you, this ghastly incident didn't take place in some jungle land but in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad, not too far from the capital city, New Delhi.
Though those two communal goons have been arrested by the Ghaziabad police, where is the guarantee that they are not let off on bail and with that attack the injured boy and his family and many others!
In fact, till a vaccine comes up to tackle the communal virus unleashed in our midst by the political mafia, all communally charged violent-brute characters should be termed dangerous and ferocious and kept behind bars. They should be booked under the terror category. After all, they are terrorizing innocents!
Whilst reading the biography of sufi Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya, there's mention of how some of his Muslim disciples questioned him on giving food and shelter to the non-Muslims. And his reply was along the strain: If our Creator has made no distinction along caste and religion and regions, so who are we humans to restrict His bounty …after all, water from the rivers, food and fruit from the trees and fields, sunshine from the Sun, air from the atmosphere, is for all of us, for each one of us!