Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ramzaan- The Month of Fasting

The month of Ramzaan is soon coming to an end. We are already in the midst of the last important days/nights of this 'blessed' month. In a matter of 3/ 4 days, we will be celebrating Eid-Ul-Fitr.

As I fast through the month, I am often asked strange, inquisitive and sometimes, odd, questions by my colleagues, who do not know much about the month. The questions vary from 'do you have to break fast with home food only' to 'when can you fast and when you cannot', 'what happens when you don't fast', 'Do Muslims keep eating whole night' etc. For some its hard to digest that most Muslims refrain from even watching movies, hearing music and watching 'entertainment programs on TV'. I've given up FM radio right from the beginning of the month and avoid TV as much as possible except for informative programs and a little time for some decent serial. I've lost track of new movie releases/ reviews and songs during the month.

I am sure the non-Muslims are many times confused as well as wonder what Ramzaan is all about.
Presenting compilation of various data I gathered from the net (with my own additions and editing), which cover all information in detail and will serve as good information to those who do not much about Ramzaan- The month of Fasting.

Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset. The fast is performed to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity, while obeying God's commandments.Fasting (along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the "five pillars" of Islam. Because Ramadan is a lunar month, it begins about eleven days earlier each year. ( )

How To's of Fasting
(Taken from )

The Obligation

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is an act of obedience and submission to Allah's commands through the highest degree of commitment, sincerity and faithfulness to seek Allah's mercy, to atone for sins, errors, and mistakes and to avoid condemnation to Hell.

It is done out of deep love for God, with a genuine virtue of devotion, honest dedication and closeness to Allah, for Fasting is for Allah and Him alone.

The fasting during Ramadan is obligatory on every adult, sane, and able Muslim.

Time: When to fast

Fasting in Islam involves abstinence from three primal physical needs of human beings- food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn (approximately one and a half hours before sunrise) to sunset during the entire month of Ramadan.

Who is exempted from fasting
1. Children under the age of puberty and discretion;
2. The insane people who are unaccountable for their deeds. People of these two categories are exempted from the duty of fasting and no compensation or any other substitute is enjoined on them;
3. Men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fasting and bear its hardships. Such people are exempted from this duty, but they must offer at least one needy poor Muslim an average full meal or its value per person day.
4. Sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by fasting. They may postpone the fast, as long as they are sick, to a later date and makeup for it, a day for a day;
5. People expecting hardship. Such people may break the fast temporarily during their travel only and make up for it in later days, a day for a day. But it is better for them, the Quran says, to keep the fast if they can without causing extraordinary hardships;
6. Expectant women and women nursing their children may also break the fast, if its observance is likely to endanger their own health or that of their infants. But they must make up for the fast at a delayed time, a day for a day;
7. Women in periods of menstruation (of a maximum of ten days). They must postpone the fast till recovery and then make up for it, a day for day.

Niyyah or Intention of Fast

To observe the fast, the intention of fasting is essential (Wajib). The intention should be made daily, preferably before dawn of each day of fasting (in Ramadan).

Provision is made if someone has forgotten to express his intention before dawn. In such a case one is allowed to express intention of fasting before noon to avoid the invalidation of the fast.

The wording of Niyyah may be as follows:
"I intend to observe fast for today."

Suhoor/ Sehri

Suhoor is a predawn meal (breakfast) to be consumed before dawn. One needs to get up much before dawn so that he/ she had have breakfast, before he/ she proceeds to fast the following day.

Any consumption of food or drink should cease at least five to ten minutes before the onset of dawn.


Iftar is an Arabic term meaning breaking the fast immediately after the sunset. It is considered to break the fast with dates, as that was the way our beloved Prophet used to break it. This is followed by having other snacks or meal.

This is eaten after making the following Dua (supplication) for breaking the fast:
"Oh Allah! I fasted for your sake and I am breaking my fast from the sustenance You blessed me with, accept it from me."

What breaks the fast

1. Intentional consumption of food, drink, medicine, or smoking during the fasting.
2. Any injection which has some nutritional value.
3. Beginning of menstruation or post natal birth bleeding (even in the last moment of sunset).
The conditions mentioned above invalidate fasting and require "Qada" (making up only the missed day or days). However, intentional intercourse during the hours of fasting invalidates fasting and not only requires "Qada" but also additional penalty (Kaffara-see the explanation of this below).

What does not break the fast

1. Eating or drinking by mistake, unmindful of the fast.
2. Unintentional vomiting.
3. Swallowing things which are not possible to avoid, such as one's own saliva, street dust, smoke, etc.
4. Brushing the teeth.
5. Bathing: if water is swallowed unintentionally, it does not invalidate the fast. However, while fasting gargling should be avoided.
6. Injection or I/V (Intravenous) which is solely medicinal and not nutritional.
7. In some special circumstances if the food or drink is just tasted and immediately removed out of the mouth without allowing it to enter into the throat.


During the fasting period, if one deliberately breaks his or her fast, s/he must free one slave, or fast for sixty continuous days, or feed sixty needy persons, or spend in charity an amount equal to feeding sixty persons.

If one chooses to fast sixty days and the continuity is interrupted for any reason, except menstruation, one has to start the sixty day cycle all over again.

Breaking of the fast under exceptional conditions

Muslims are permitted to break their fast of Ramadan when there is a danger to their health.
In this situation a Muslim should make up his/her fast later. The missed fast(s) can be made up at any other time of the year, either continuously or intermittently, except on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and the day of Eid-ul-Adha


These are special Sunnah prayers in the month of Ramadan. They follow the Isha prayers. A minimum of eight and a maximum of twenty Rakat are offered in pairs of two.

Lailat al-Qadr

Amongst the nights of Ramadan, there is one special night of Power (Qadr) which is highlighted in Surah al-Qadr (Surah 97 in the Quran).

It has the significance of being better than a thousand months (Quran 97:3).

This was the night when Quran was revealed to mankind. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) recommended Muslims search for this night of Power (Qadr) in the odd nights of the last ten nights in Ramadan.

Muslims spend the night in Ibadah (worship), asking forgiveness of their sins and reciting the Quran.

(by )

* Breaking the daily fast with a drink of water and dates
* Reading the entire Quran during Ramadan (For this purpose, theQuran is divided into 30 units.)
* Social visits are encouraged.

EID UL-FITR ("Festival of End of Fasting") PRAYERS AT THE END OF RAMADAN

* Eid begins with special morning prayers on the first day of Shawwal the month following Ramadan on the Islamic lunar calendar, and lasts for three days.
* It is forbidden to perform an optional fast during Eid because itis a time for relaxation.
* During Eid Muslims greet each other with the phrase "Eid Mubarak"(eed-moo-bar-ak), meaning "blessed Eid" and "taqabballah ta'atakum,"or "may God accept your deeds."

Fitra (Fitr) is for fasting Muslims to give food or money on behalf of fasting people. The head of the family pays rice / grain / barley / common food of the region or equivalent money (which is reviewed yearly) @ 2.25 kgs per person on behalf of each person in the family. If he is responsible for his mother and father, then he has to pay Zakat ul Fitr for them too.If a person cannot fast permanently in the month of Ramadan (for instance, because of illness) they have to pay Fitra for each fasting day.

This is paid to a poor / deserving / needy person at the end of the fasting month (or after sighting the moon), but before EID, so that they can also celebrate the festival happily

Q: How did the fast during Ramadan become obligatory for Muslims?
A: The revelations from God to the Prophet Muhammad that wouldeventually be compiled as the Quran began during Ramadan in the year610, but the fast of Ramadan did not become a religious obligationfor Muslims until the year 624. The obligation to fast is explainedin the second chapter of the Quran: "O ye who believe! Fasting isprescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that yemay (learn) self-restraint...Ramadan is the (month) in which wassent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) forguidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of youwho is present (at his home) during that month should spend it infasting..." (Chapter 2, verses 183 and 185)

Q: What do Muslims believe they gain from fasting?
A: The main benefits of Ramadan are an increased compassion forthose in need of the necessities of life, a sense of self-purification and reflection and a renewed focus on spirituality.Muslims also appreciate the feeling of togetherness shared by familyand friends throughout the month. Perhaps the greatest practicalbenefit is the yearly lesson in self-restraint and discipline thatcan carry forward to other aspects of a Muslim's life such as workand education.

Q: Do people normally lose weight during Ramadan?
A: Some people do lose weight, but others may not. It is recommendedthat meals eaten during Ramadan be light, but most people can'tresist sampling special sweets and foods associated with Ramadan.

Q: Why does Ramadan begin on a different day each year?
A: Because Ramadan is a lunar month, it begins about eleven daysearlier each year. Throughout a Muslim's lifetime, Ramadan will fallboth during winter months, when the days are short, and summermonths, when the days are long and the fast is more difficult. Inthis way, the difficulty of the fast is evenly distributed betweenMuslims living in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Q: What is Lailat ul-Qadr?
A: Lailat ul-Qadr ("Night of Power") marks the anniversary of thenight on which the Prophet Muhammad first began receivingrevelations from God, through the angel Gabriel. An entire chapterin the Quran deals with this night: "We have indeed revealed this(Message) in the Night of Power: and what will explain to thee whatthe Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousandmonths. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by God'spermission, on every errand. Peace!...This until the rise of morn."(Chapter 97) Muslims believe Lailat ul-Qadr is one of the last odd-numbered nights of Ramadan.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Moderate Path

I came across these lines from Hadees (Hadith) which hold a lot of relevance today:
Hazrat Abu Huraira (Radiyallahu Anhu) reported Allah's Messenger (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) as saying, 'The religion is ease, but if anyone overdoes it, it gets the better of him ; so keep to the right course, approximate to perfection, rejoice, and ask help in the morning, the evening, and some latter part of the night'.
The above Hadees clearly states that one should follow the Path shown by Allah, pray 5 times a day but at the same time enjoy social life and live in equilibrium with society. It tells us not to overdo the religious bit, cause anything in excess can lead to negativity. Maybe thats what's happening today. When we refuse to accept our social obligations and other duties and just walk, talk and think of religion, we might so get involved in it that we might start feeling that everything else except us is wrong. This slowly leads to negativity and later to hatred. This hatred then leads to destructive thoughts.
So follow religion, be tolerate towards others (this is also one of the teachings of Islam) and more importantly be humane. This is the correct way to follow the Right Path.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


With the ‘Large Hadron Collider’ experiment going live, everyone is looking into their religions and wondering if it supports such a study. People are greatly confused and even scared of the wrath or curse of God. Some feel that if the experiment goes wrong, the whole earth will be destroyed. Having said that, we have nothing to fear as everything on this earth and universe, is controlled by the Almighty God, who will have a final say in the matter. The earth will end only when HE wills.

Everyone might not have heard about the Big Bang theory. It’s only the people who've studied science or kept themselves updated about things. So it is but natural that even some religious scholars might not be able to comment much on the subject. 

Many news channels have over-hyped the entire experiment by screaming themselves hoarse that the world is coming to an End. They have given out unnecessary ‘Red Alerts’ without studying the experiment or the logic behind it in detail. This has resulted in chaos in some places, where people working away from their homes have returned back to their families and even a suicide case has also been reported.

Scientists from 80 countries, including Indian scientists have been working on this experiment since many years. From the various reasons of carrying out the experiment, one of the main reasons according to some scientists is to study whether God created the Universe or the Universe got created by itself with a Big Bang. Now this is one part with which I do not agree. Because the Big Bang theory is clearly mentioned in the Quran.

I did my bit of research on Science on the Subject and related texts in Quran and came out with amazing revelations!

What is the Big Bang Theory?

The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the very beginning of our universe. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort to explain what happened during and after that moment.

According to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as "singularity" around 13.7 billion years ago. What is a "singularity" and where does it come from? Well, to be honest, we don't know for sure. Singularities are zones which defy our current understanding of physics. They are thought to exist at the core of "black holes." Black holes are areas of intense gravitational pressure. The pressure is thought to be so intense that finite matter is actually squished into infinite density (a mathematical concept which truly boggles the mind). These zones of infinite density are called "singularities." Our universe is thought to have begun as an infinitesimally small, infinitely hot, infinitely dense, something - a singularity. Where did it come from? We don't know. Why did it appear? We don't know. After its initial appearance, it apparently inflated (the "Big Bang"), expanded and cooled, going from very, very small and very, very hot, to the size and temperature of our current universe. It continues to expand and cool to this day.

Contrary to belief, there was no giant explosion as such. Something happened and the universe was formed and started expanding. What is this something and how it happened is what the scientists are trying to study with the ‘Big Bang Experiment’.

Having understood the ‘Big Bang’ theory, which speaks about the Origin of the Universe, let us not mix it with the Origin of Life. Both are two different things. By accepting the ‘Big Bang’ theory, how can we prove that God was not ‘creator of the universe and life on earth’? Many people think that this theory is against religion and often confuse it with Origin of Life. Now let us look at it this way. The Universe was formed some billion of years ago. At that time it was still too hot and still in the earlier stages of expansion, so the question of existence of life then was not possible. Life came into existence much later.

Science states that the universe was once just a cloud of 'smoke' This is one of the undisputed principles of standard modern cosmology.
God said in the Quran:Then He turned to the heavens when it was smoke...
[Holy Quran 41:11]

Out of this one mass of smoke, the sun, moon, stars, galaxies etc (i.e. the Universe) was formed. That is what the Big Bang theory proposes too.

Refer to the Verse from Quran which clearly mentions about this fact :Surah Al Anbiyaa Verse- 30
"Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together before We split them asunder ? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?"

The first half speaks about the Big Bang theory, while the second half speaks about the Origin of Life. It clearly states that life was formed from water. Science tells us now that the life on earth originated from water. Even today while we are exploring the galaxies and actively searching for life on other planets, the first question we ask : ‘Is there any water on that planet to sustain life?’, because we know that without water life is impossible.

Also refer to the following Verse detailing the ‘Big Bang’ expansion theory :The heavens, We have built with power and, We are expanding it.
(Chapter: 51, Verse: 47)

There are seperate Verses in the Holy Quran which talk about how Evolution of Life as well as other scientific facts. Quoting just a few here :

"(God is the one who) raised the heavens without any pillars that you see, and He is firm in power and He made the sun and the moon subservient (to you); each one pursues its course to an appointed time; He regulates the affair, making clear the signs that you may be certain of meeting your Lord."
(Chapter 13 - verse 2)

"And He it is Who spread the earth and made in it firm mountains and rivers, and of all fruits He has made in it pairs; He makes the night cover the day; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect."
(Chapter 13 - verse 3)

This verse also points out the sexual reproduction in plant kingdom, much before science discovered it. In 13/3 male and female fruit plants are described.
Similarly reference is made to the water origin of animals:-

"Allah Almighty (God) created from water every living creature: so of them is that which walks upon its belly, and of them is that which walks upon two feet, and of them is that which walks upon four".

In other verses, it also goes on to explain about the Creation of Man. But we are only discussing the Origin of the Universe here. Discussing Science and Islam would require a separate Chapter. I’ve added the verses of Origin of Life to clear the confusion between the two things.

And all this was revealed to our Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) by Allah in the Holy month of Ramzan through Angel Gabriel (Jibrail Alaissalaam) 1400 years ago by way of The Quran. Since Muhammed (PBUH) was himself illiterate, he couldn’t have read about all this or copied it from somewhere. And many of these facts were only discovered within a span of the last hundred years and were not known to Mankind 1400 years ago! And no data in Quran has ever been manipulated, adapted, changed since then. Every available copy of the Holy Quran on this earth, whether old or new, whether handwritten or printed will be the same. Of course there are translations, but the original text hasn’t changed over the years. So there is no chance of later additions.

Surprisingly, Quran not only speaks about the ‘Expansion of Universe (Big Bang)’, but also about the subsequent ‘Contraction of the Universe’ (Big Crunch).

What is Big Crunch?

If the expansion continues, after billions of years, all the energy of the sun and stars will be exhausted and every living thing will freeze to death. Eventually, only the expanding emptiness will remain. Alternatively if there is enough mass in the universe, gravity will one day stop the expansion and then contraction will begin. A contracting universe would ultimately end in a very hot and compressed state called "The Big Crunch." This would also destroy all life forms, as we know them.

Some physicists like Michael Berry, Thomas Gold, and Steven Hawking feel that time may reverse when the universe begins contracting. This prospect has a striking resemblance to the Quranic description of the Day of Judgment.

That Day We will fold up heaven like folding up the pages of a book. As We originated the first creation so We will regenerate it. It is a promise binding on Us. That is what We will do. (Qur'an, 21:104)

In another verse, this state of the heavens is described thus:
They do not measure Allah with His true measure. The whole earth will be a mere handful for Him on the Day of Rising the heavens folded up in His right hand. Glory be to Him! He is exalted above the partners they ascribe!
(Qur'an, 39:67)

What is Time and What is Reversal of Time ?

Many people have tried to explain time including Albert Einstien, but it is still an elusive mystery. What moves slowly for us, might be a matter of seconds in another part of the universe or in God’s context. There are many other references in the Holy Quran like Muhammed (PBUH)’s trip on the night of Shab-e-Mehraj, where the Prophet covered the seven heavens, but was missing from his bed only for a few minutes/ seconds and was back when the bed was still warm! Time, as we know, keeps moving into a future direction. Things form, then destroy with time. People are born, then die. This is time. What if time is reversed? Everything in the world will go in a reverse direction. The dead will come to life, the old will become younger. Now that’s what the Day of Judgement is all about as stated in the Quran. So the contraction of the Universe will lead to reversal of time and finally everything will be back to its original hot single mass. That will be the Day of Judgement (Qayamat).

Day of Judgement 

Does this mean that we will be able to predict the Day of Judgement when the Universe starts contracting? NO. Though, the concept of contracting of earth appears to be simple as expansion, it would not be so easy for us to decipher. And moreso, because God clearly states in the Quran that :Men ask you of the Hour. Say the knowledge of it is with Allah only.
What can convey to you that may be the Hour is near.
(Chapter: 33, Verse: 63)

They bid you to hasten on the doom.
And if a term had not been appointed,
The doom would have definitely come on them.
And it will come upon them suddenly
When they perceive not.
(Chapter: 29, Verse: 53)

This is explained by the fact that time will also reverse with the contracting (slowing down of expansion) and we will not be able to measure the difference. If time slows with slowing down of expansion, we will be calculating speed with our slower time, and will not realize that the contraction has started since the rate of expansion will appear same to us. In fact with our slower time, when we calculate expansion till the far reaches of the universe, it might even appear to be faster. Ain’t that mind boggling?

What I discovered in a Day is truly amazing. This is so complicated. You have to relate time, theory of relativity, Big Bang and study it in depth with Physics to really understand all this. And still there are many questions unanswered.

But the fact remains that the Day of Judgment cannot be predicted by any of us. It will be decided by our Creator -The Almighty and will come when we’re least expecting it. So all the Dooms Day predictors please relax and chill out! You won’t know when it’s going to come.

The Unanswered Questions
This is what the CERN’s ‘Large Hadron Collider’ experiment seeks to obtain -Answers to many questions regarding the Origin of the Universe and it’s Future.

Is this against any Religion or are we playing with Nature ?
It is not wrong to know and seek knowledge because Quran clearly encourages all Men and Women equally to seek knowledge
"Are those who have knowledge and those who have no knowledge alike? Only the men of understanding are mindful. " (Quran, 39:9)

"My Lord! Enrich me with knowledge.." (Quran, 20:114)

Quran also encourages scientific research :
"And whoso brings the truth and believes therein such are the dutiful."
(Quran, 39:33)

So there is nothing wrong in carrying out this experiment. As far as playing with nature is concerned, we all know that nothing happens without the will of God. The World will end when God Wills.

References :
And Of course, The Holy Quran

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hamara Rajiv Bajaj on Sahara

The Sahara people refer to him as 'Sir' in their other on-the-scene reportings. We have all seen him hosting the RKB Show. And he's none other than Rajiv K Bajaj. A few shows of his which I've watched, I felt that he tries to bring in his own personal likings/dislikes into the picture. He gives a thumbs-up to people he likes, he brings those people who'll promote his cause on the show and get his beliefs across. I was shocked to see a sadhu on his show on Independence Day, who kept giving bad words to every respectable freedom fighter and leader of our country, especially Mahatma Gandhi. Somehow over the years, we've made Gandhiji our big punching bag. Many political parties and people, who have failed to contribute much to the nation or are not capable of even doing so, blame it all on Gandhi. Why are we diluting his good work and sacrifice for the nation and passing on distorted history to the new generation? The world over people appreciate his calm nature, his sacrifice, his 'ahimsa' philosophy. Even the British bowed down to him finally and left us in peace. Then why are some people from his own country bad-mouthing him ? They see him not as being instrumental in getting India freedom, but as the one responsible for dividing the country. They forget that the many different princely territories united under him and formed a single country, but remember only that one part (Pakistan) could not be added to the nation. The situation at that time was such that there seemed no other solution. Still there are so many political differences between the two nations.

Of course, every freedom fighter from Bhagat Singh to Subhashchandra Bose made a contribution in their own way in their own regions and together the greater cause of freedom was accomplished. I remember reading about everyone's contribution in my school history texbooks. But definately, Gandhiji had a say and knew what to say because of his law background and his own example of giving up everything for other's cause. There might be many people who contribute towards a company's progress, but there is only one country head, then few regional heads and lesser still team leaders and so on..... It doesn't make anyone less important. But people move according to their dynamism than just contribution.

To have someone bad-mouthing the country's great leaders on Independence Day was definately in bad taste. Why even give importance to such people by calling them on shows and making them talk and not knowing when to cut-in and stop short any offensive remark? I listened for 10 mins and didn't feel the need to surf back to the channel again.

The other day, the show had Rakhi Sawant commenting on why there was a toilet built opposite freedom fighter, Rajguru's house, which has broken down now. And it went on and on.... with the host's giggles added in between.

Whatever the topic on the show, 'hamara Bajaj' shows his personal likes and dislikes with his smiles, giggles and frowns which makes it sound so unprofessional and kiddish. As a media personnel or as anyone in an important position, the main criteria is to be neutral to the topic, know when to cut short a remark before it turns offensive and to keep your facial expressions minimal and professional. All this is important to avoid having disturbance in the country. If you can't be a professional, you gotta quit the show or scrap it.

Of Salman Khan Fatwa and RKB Show

Every religion has some basic fundamentals. And non-Idol worship and belief in one God is the basic principle of Islam. There is no question of a debate on that. People follow their religions according to its fundamentals. Since we grow up with our religions, everyone is sensitive about it. Some people later adopt their own sense of reasoning and if they find that what they've been following does not appeal to their sense, then adopt a religion which makes better sense to them. But this requires lots of guts. Because the 'custodians' (religious heads) of all religions take it as their personal responsiblity to discourage 'their' people from going astray from their beliefs. And this applies to all religious leaders - Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, Buddhism. When Salman Khan brought a Ganesh Idol home, there was obviously objection from the religious heads. Likewise, if a Hindu person would have learnt Arabic and started reciting the Quran or offering the namaz at his home during Ramzan, the Hindu religious heads would have commented on the issue. Even the President of US (George Bush) is sentimental about his religion and has taken some decisions based on his emotions. But the RKB show made a mockery of the entire issue, which was really uncalled for. And to debate on the issue, they called some half-baked muftis. Many other religions also preach non idol worship, but have diluted slowly over the years. If a debate was required, they should have called the 'real' religious scholars for a fair understanding of the issue.

Islam teaches tolerance and preaches and teaches so many things which would not have even been thought of 1400 years ago. If one wants to appeal as a religion to the people, they should highlight the good points in it rather than attacking their own followers. The so-called caretakers of every religion should keep teaching about the goodness of their religion. If someone after knowing everything and after using their own reasoning follows something wrong, they are responsible for their own actions. There is no use of issuing 'fatwas' or verdicts or 'farmaans'. God will decide who's what on the Day of Judgement. Let us leave that to Him. India is a multicultural, multilinguistic and multi-religious country. Here even small issues like quota for a community, land issues for religious purposes, local language usage etc can catapult to big national issues. So the first and foremost requirement is tolerance and love for humanity. If these things are lacking, you cannot understand nor preach any religion. The basic essense is to live in the society which comprises of various types of people from different cultures and religions, be tolerant towards them and then keep the essense of your own religion strong. Everyone can be a lion in their own land, the point is to live with dignity in any land. Religious verdicts, fatwas etc should be towards anti social elements and towards those who cause harm to innocent people.

I was born and brought up in a cosmo society, mainly comprising of Marathi people. We were taken care of by these people in times of need. And so have we helped them when they required help. We, as neighbours, acted as guardians for their children while they acted as guardians for us when we were very young. We took part in each other festivals and festivities. I used to make rangoli for my neighbours during Diwali because I am good in art. We visited them when Ganesh festival was 'on' at their place and they looked forward to having 'shirkhurma' and 'biryani' at our place during Eid. I speak Marathi well while their children learnt Hindi and some Urdu words from us Now we're far apart but keep in touch and remember each other on all important ocassions. This is love for human kind and neighbours. Of course, my religious beliefs are as strong as any other individual has for his/ her religion. That is a personal issue and should be dealt with separately. It does not give me a right to make a mockery of other religions. This applies to both the half baked religious leaders and also the media personnel.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Kabhi Tapti Dhoop, Kabhi Tej Barish

'Kabhi tapti dhoop, kabhi tej barish'... Hmmm, interesting lines. But no, I am not attempting to write any poem out here. I actually mean it literally. Talking about the weather these days, dearies!

For those who do not understand Urdu/ Hindi, let me translate the lines for you -
'Sometimes scorching heat, sometimes heavy rains'.
Even though, we're compelled to think of life in the same way, I am talking of the mercurial weather these days. It's as volatile as the current stock markets!

And the repurcussions ? Such highly volatile weather is directly proportional to the health of people in Mumbai. I am talking solely of the weather of my city because I am experiencing it and so is my health. Severe cold, cough and bad throat are results of being subjected to cold bouts after severe exposure to the sun and hot weather. This is referred to as 'Garm Sard' in Hindi. Of course, the common man who travels by train, road experiences the weather extremes more than those who live in regulated tempatures in their Air conditioned homes and cars.

The lines outside dispenseries have increased after the temperatures soared suddenly after rains subsided and then some days later we had short unannounced rains with lightning out of the scorching blues! To top it, the holy month of Ramzaan is also on, making it utmost necessary to watch what you eat, especially drink. No Faloodas and cold sherbets.

The other day while I left for office from Mira Road, there was a deluge of rain, leaving many wet since it had been sunny since many days. I hopped into a train. When the train moved into Dahisar, surprisingly it was no sign of a downpour. Then Borivali and Goregaon were equally dry. As train moved from Goregaon into Andheri area, again there was rain in the area. And it looked like it had been raining for a while. That day lightning had struck a few places in the morning too.

A typical scenario in offices these days : Someone coughs here- a light one, someone coughs from there - this one's right from the throat. Then a few minutes later, you hear a hollow, dry cough from somewhere nearby. Then after a while, a quick succession of coughs flow from someone sitting a few desks away! Ghosh, this one gets pacified only with water! It seems like one big 'coughing contest'. Then some people join in only to show that they're also suffering, fearing that one of the coughing contestants might rightfully ask for leave when situation worsens, and they might be left behind to work. So they also try to create a advance alibi !

I am reminded of that song :
Ol' Mac Donald had an office,
And in his office, he had people
The weather suddenly went bad
His people slowly fell ill with cold
With a 'cough, cough' here
And a 'cough, cough' there
Here a 'cough', there a 'cough',
Everywhere a 'cough, cough'
Old Mac Donald had some jerks
They also joined the coughwagon
So here a jerk, there a jerk,
And you had fake coughs,
Ha ha ha ha ho!

Generally in Indian culture, it is said that a severe bout of sudden coughing means someone's remembering you somewhere. I guess this is the season of remembrance! :)