Religion : In the eye of a boy from Ajnoti

Two month ago, one of my friends told me to write something about Ayodhya verdict.  At that time, this verdict was not disclosed and media, government, and public were eager to know this verdict; an unknown fear was also there on everyone’s face. Now, that verdict is out and people accept it peacefully. Though case moves to Supreme Court now, good thing is that everyone maintains cool and calm behavior throughout the turmoil.

In this article, I don’t want to comment on that decision; neither wants to share my opinion on the most sensitive issue of Indian politics. I just want to share a story with you. This is a real story of a person of my age. Name of that person is…………..let leave the name, because if I disclose name, you will associate him with a particular community and that I don’t want. So let’s come to story direct.

It was the year 1986, a child born in a former family at small village Ajnoti in the India. During initial years, this child knew only about his parents and other family members around him. For this child, the whole world resides in this small village only. The village, in which all the people live happily and maintain a brotherhood with each other. The child was growing in the environment full of fresh air (which we found in villages only), green forms, jungles, and last but not least, cool, simple, innocent and hardworking people of village. Life looks very easy and beautiful to this boy till he crossed 5 years of age.

It was the year 1991, when parents of this child thought about his education. There was no school available in the village. So they rented a house in city and started living there. That boy got admission in a well-known school of the city. This boy mostly lives with his mother there, because his father went village early morning and returned late in the evening. Many times his father was not manage to return home in evening due to work load so mother and that boy need to live alone that day. They went to village frequently in every weekend and holidays.

Initially that boy didn’t like city’s atmosphere. He spent his earlier life in open and fresh environment of the village so he felt like suffocation in the polluted air, congested traffic, crowd of people and narrow lanes of the city. He saw children of his age, playing marble and cricket in the narrow lane. They were using abusive language while playing. He also saw two and four wheelers vehicle running everywhere on the roads. Noise of the traffic and black smoke ejected by these vehicles were unbearable for this little newcomer in the city.

One important thing he learnt from the city is the religion and caste. He knew his caste and religion now. But he didn’t think about caste and religion system much at that time. For him, his mother was all his god, religion and caste in this city full of unknowns. He never thought about religion and caste system seriously if this incident didn’t happen in his life.

It happened after one year of his arrival in the city. Somehow that boy adjusted himself in the city life. That was the winter season of year 1992, this boy was ready to go school in the morning and suddenly his uncle came from village. He instructed him not to go school that day. One of his cousins already left for school so uncle went to keep him back at home. That boy didn’t know what’s going on there. But he was happy that he has not to go school that day. He finished his school tiffin at home and looked forward to enjoy this surprise holiday.

But that was not the holiday season one can love to spend. Soon that boy came to know the reason of this surprise holiday; that riots spread between two communities in the city. Later days were very difficult for this boy. He with his family enclosed in the home and not allows going outside. Police men were patrolling in the colony during whole day. He listened in the news that people from a community demolished Babri mosque in Ayodhya, and that’s why a communal riots sparked in most of the cities of country. He also listened about the news of his own city; how people are fighting on the name of religion; how innocent people and families are suffered due to these riots. He also came to know that one of his friends who lived in the opposite corner of their house didn’t come back from school. His parents wanted to go to search him but policeman didn’t allow them to move outside their home.

Terror and fear spread on everyone’s face. This six year old little innocent boy, who never faced this situation earlier, was completely in shock. He saw people of his colony; prepare themselves with arm and protection to handle any situation of riots.  He also heard people talking about the riots in the city; how people killed or suffered in some part of their city. Whenever he heard such news of riots, he got scared.

Condition of the city was getting worse day by day. After seven days, army men spread across the whole city. A shoot and sight order was imposed in the whole city. Real sufferers of this turmoil were common men; some families didn’t have enough rations to cook food anymore; others had ration but no LPG available to cook; everyone was getting troubled due to riots.

It took around one month to situation becomes normal. City moved to its normal routine after riots, but riots made a huge impact on this child mentally. He heard views of many people of his community during riots; his neighbors, relatives and friends of his own community blame people of other community for this disaster. They were also accusing other community’s religious traditions and custom for this violence against their community. These things established a bad interpretation of that religion and its followers in his mind.

This happens normally with children, they categorize everything in the packet of good or bad. For them, everyone is either hero or villain; there is no grey category exists in their mind. White is good and black is bad; police is good and thief is bad; home is good and school is bad; Shaktiman is good and Kilwish is bad; sweet taste is good and spicy is bad; Sunny Deol is hero and Ambrish Puri is villain; All things of this world categorized in the good-bad parameter in the mind of a child. Same happens with our hero also. After listening views and general talk among people around him, a bad image of other community was created in his mind. He thought religion of other people is bad and our religion is good. We are very good and innocent people and they are disgusting and bad people. First time in life, a ‘hate’ emotion is generated in his heart and that too for a religion and the people following that religion.

Time passes at its own speed and this boy passes one level to other in school.  The hate or dislike for a particular religion and people remain in his heart. It was the year 1995, he was in 5th standard. This year he took one book from school library – Ramayan. It was written like a long story in several chapters and in very simple and easy to understand language. He read the complete book in just few days. He liked the book too much. He inspired by the character of Ram; “how he keep the promise of her father; love of Ram for his family, brothers, kingdom and other people”. He also liked the way Ram fought a war with powerful king Ravan. He especially inspired by affection, sacrifice, love and morals of various characters of Ramayana such as Ram, Sita, Laxman, Hanuman, Sugreev, Bharat, Vibhishan, Kewat, Shabari etc

Next year he read a book on the life of the Paigambar Hazrat Muhammad sahib.  He read about the foundation of Muslim community. He also read about their rules of prayer, fast and purity of heart, a true Muslim has to follow. After reading this book, he came to know that ‘salaam’ in the word ‘Islam’ means peace and harmony. He inspired their one god ‘Allah’ concept. He read about five pillars of Islam and their meaning. He was impressed with those rituals, thoughts and idealism so much.

After reading these books, he concluded that no one is wrong; neither the God Ram, who is respectable for Hindu community; nor the ideals and traditions on which Muslim community was established. But why people of both communities are fighting with each other on the name of god and religion. A doubt or confusion was entered in his mind against the ‘hate’ emotion exist in his heart. But still this bookish knowledge was not sufficient to remove the real picture he saw few years ago. Though there was shadow of doubts entered on his own ‘hate’ emotion for a religion; but his dislike for other religion and people remain same.

It was the year 1997.The boy was in standard VII. This year he found lots of interest in history. His history text book contained lessons on Indian History from Sindhu civilization and Mohan-zo-daro to start of British era in India. He studied about the great king Harshwarshan, Chandragupt Morya and Ashok. He came to know how Great Ashok went for Buddhism and Non-violence after looking blood and corpse in a war. In next few lessons, he studied about attack of Taimur and Mahmood Gaznavi on India. He also came to know about the great Rajput king Prithviraj Chohan and Maharana Pratap. He resembled Taimur and Mahmood Gajnavi as a demon who became blind in the hunger of power and money. They misunderstood the religious terms and tried to spread their religion forcefully with swords in hand and madness in mind. They were so blind to see, the way they selected goes to destruction rather than civilized society.

Next he studied about great Badshah Akbar; how he became the king of Hindustan; Inclination of Akbar to secularism; how he maintained his administration and supervision; how he picked the good thing of all religion and tried to start a new religion; and finally he studied how Akbar won the heart of people of all religion in his kingdom and why he remembered as great Akbar.

It was year 1998. Now our hero became teenager; He was in standard VIII now; this year he studied next drama in Indian history. He studied about Aurangzeb; who killed his brothers for power and forced people to convert into Islam. Than Great Sheevaji came into picture who fought against this madness of Muslim emperors to spread Islam with swords in hand.

Later he studied about the end of Mugal age and start of British era. He came to know about great personalities of different community who fought for same mission that is independence of India. Rani Laxmibai, Tipu Sultan,Mangal Pande, Chandrashekhar Azad, Ram Prasad bismil, Ashfaq Ulla khan, Bhagat singh, Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Dada bhai Neroji, Mohammad Ali zinna, Javahar Lal Neharu etc. Finally he studied about the partition of India and Pakistan. How the line between two countries act as a line of blood between two communities. People, who live happily from several decades and fought against British rules together, were fighting with each other after independence. Several people migrated from their home town on the basis of religion; and several others killed, injured or suffered in other way due to riots during partition. Emotion of hurt that was not seen in the heart of common people of both the community before, now become crystal clear and it also placed the foundation of hurt between two communities, and two countries.

This period of Indian history put great impact on the mind of this boy. Next year, He was in class 9th and entered into 15th year of his life. Now he converted from a boy to teen. Teenage is the period of age when everyone gets ability to think.  This is the period of life, when suddenly a boy/girl starts thinking about serious aspects of life like career, future, moral and ethics. Same happened with this boy also. Now he analysed and compared thoughts and views ejected in his mind due to childhood experiences with knowledge and logics developed by education. He didn’t find any religion wrong in any historical incidence. Sometime it was the ego of a man that blinds him to see the realities (Ravan); sometimes it was the thrust of power and money that convert a king into dacoit or demon (Taimur……Aurangjeb); sometime it was the personnel beliefs and misunderstanding that convert a person from common man to psychological criminal ( Nathuram Godse and killer of Mrs. Indira Gandhi); sometimes it was the situations that make people of two community, enemy of each other (Partition of Hindustan); sometime it was local politicians and authorities who sparks riot situation between both communities for their power and personnel benefit (Babri demolition ..Gujrat riots). There was never a single case where one can blame a religion for destruction. Every time, culprit was the human being who misunderstood religious tradition and customs, misused them; and above all forget the real religion that remain inside his heart.

History and education were now trying to conflict emotion of hurt in heart due to childhood experience. Several dilemma and confusions were generated in the mind of this boy. A battle of thoughts was started in his mind. Though his hurt feeling for other community and people still as is, shadow of doubt on self-belief became deeper in the mind of this boy.

As time passes, world moved to twenty first decade. The boy is in secondary education now (class 11th).  Now his parents moved to other house. His new neighbors belong to different religion. One is Hindu and other is Muslim. He met Rahul and Firoz there, other boys of same age in neighbour house. They were played cricket; went to school with each other and soon they became good friends. Their families were not interacted much with each other, however these boys were playing and enjoying their teenage days together.

For secondary education, this boy took science as major subject. At that time, he came to know about Mr APJ Abdul Kalam, a great scientist who contributed a lot to make India as nuclear power. This boy inspired with this Man a lot. One more person, he liked very much was Mr. Amithabh Bachhan, who was the famous film actor and anchor of the very famous game show Kaun Banega Crorepati. The boy never missed any episode of this programme. He was greatly influenced with the way Amitabh Bachhan speaks and interacts with people in the show. Two more areas that attracted this boy’s attention those days were Cricket and movies. He liked Sachin Tendulkar so much, not only for his batting style but also for his attitude towards success, failure, work and critics. Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan was his favourite actor at that time. In actress, he was quite impressed with Juhi Chawala and Kajol. He read the poetry and novels of Munshi Premchand, Amir Khusaro, Ravindranath tagore and Munnavar Rana with same interest. He enjoyed songs written by Javed Akhtar, Anand Bakshi and Gulzar. Nadeem-Shravan, Jatin-Lalit and A R Rahaman were his favourite composers.

After completing secondary education, he took admission in engineering college. In college, he found people of all regions, caste and religion. His friend circle included people like Gaurav, Raghav, Azhar, Amardeep, Alifia, Kashi……. from all communities and religions. He didn’t find himself to think about religion or language of any person before including him in friend list. He thought friendship is a natural process that happens automatically without any logic or intelligence. If two people like to talk with each other, they can become good friends. Friendship doesn’t require any religion, caste or language barrier.

At that time he was quite impressed with evolution of Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in cricket, both players belongs to middle class family; and later became sensation of Indian Cricket team. As a music lover, he liked Mohammad Rafi, Sonu Nigam, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, R D Burman, Kumar Sanu, A R Rahman, Ustad  Amjad Ali Kann Sahab and Pandit Ravi Shankar.

He liked these famous personalities and his friends irrespective of their religion and caste. He thought these famous personalities are those who are doing their work as religion. There are several people live in India who is doing their job as religion. He noticed several people in society also. They were not very famous like these celebrities. He remembered his father and uncle who give preference to farming work over any religious rituals and process. He also noticed this quality in other people also like one of his professor, family doctor, friends in college, an auto rickshaw driver etc.

At times, he found celebrities and some people in the society, who are doing their work as religion; on other side, he also noticed people for whom friendship and love is all about religion. These people were his friends, from Rahul and Firoz in school to Amardeep and Azhar in college. These were the person who helped him in every trouble he faced in life till now. Their friendship was like a lifeline for him; it makes him happy and provides confidence and courage in every situation of life.

It was the final year of college. All friends were about to disperse in various path of life. That was the first time when he confessed to himself that his childhood belief for a religion and the people was wrong. That was the disbelief created in his heart due to critical situation he faced and saw in the city and rumors spread at that time. There are people who faced more pathetic situation than this and a Nafrat is generated in their heart; they spread their Nafrat around the people them and this is how Nafrat spread in whole society. This Nafrat emotion is not but just misconception and orthodox thoughts that inherits from one generation to other from several decades. After this self-confession, Nafrat was totally removed from his heart, and he agreed that true religion breathes in work, love, peace and friendship.

After college, he got job in a multinational company and became a software engineer. One day he was chatted with his colleague in office and suddenly their conversation moved to Ayodhya verdict and babri demolition. His colleague said that Ayodhya Verdict will be going to disclose soon. When he heard these words Ayodhya and Babari after a long time; whole scenario of his childhood days evolved around his eyes. How Nafrat grew in his heart for a religion and its followers and then how it evaporated by the warmness of friendship, education, life of famous personalities, and few instances in society.  In the night same day, he again thought about his Nafrat feeling about religion and he concluded that no religion was wrong; wrong are us, human being who misunderstood religious traditions and use them for our benefit. And most important we forget the real religion that reside inside us and shows us correct path always. He find himself lucky, whose hurt emotion removed but worried about others who still thinking as he was in his childhood.

On 30th September, that verdict was disclosed and no riots happened anywhere. The boy, who became a software engineer now, thanked god that no Nafrat get introduced in the heart of any innocent child this time; and no child will have to search the important message of religion, peace, harmony and people equality from history, education and life of famous personalities. They will grasp it straight from each and every person of this world.

Still, this wish of that boy looks like a dream, but this dream is there in the eyes of that innocent village boy converted into smart software engineer……….and he is waiting for the day when his dream will come true.

3 responses to “Religion : In the eye of a boy from Ajnoti”

    • This story was in my mind from a long time and i really want to write it…………….anyway lets see if i can write a poem on it……….not a promise but I’ll try


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