During a trip to India my mother made a pilgrimage with her cousin to the city of Shirdi, home to the shrine of Shirdi Sai Baba, a holy figure revered by both Hindus and Muslims. As she would later tell us, their voyage to the city was nearly derailed by bad weather (the summer monsoons in Maharashtra) and an unwillingness by most taxi drivers to make the 1.5 hour drive from the train station to the holy site. That is, until a bidi-smoking Muslim taxi driver pulled up in a barely functioning old Fiat taxi, got out and welcomed my mother, her cousin, and a family friend who also joined in the journey, into his car.
The taxi driver not only took them to Shirdi, but volunteered to drive them around Shirdi, and then take them to other Hindu temples in the surrounding area. For the two days they were in the city, he would pick them up promptly at their hotel and take them wherever they needed to go. All the while, he chain-smoked his bidis and told my mother and her traveling companions the stories behind Hindu religious shrines.
When she returned from Shirdi, she recounted in near disbelief of how the taxi driver saved their pilgrimage and made sure they were safe from sun up to past sun down.
A very interesting video of Middle Eastern Muslims singing Islamic songs alongside Sanskrit bhajans in India at the Sai Baba temple. Also includes narration on what it means to be Muslim and loving God.
MUMBAI: Terror attacks have occurred in the past during festival season, and though the main objective of these acts of terror is to disturb peace during the festivals, the festivities of different religions continue in full swing.
Recently, Hindus organized their religious festival Ganesh Pooja with full devotion, while Muslims were busy in their pious month of Ramadan. Preparations are being made to celebrate the famous festivals of Dusshehra, the Durga Pooja and the Eid-Ul-Fitr. While the festivals of different communities in India—the nation of unity in diversity—are associated with their religious importance, these festivals at the same time present an example of communal harmony and equality for which the world has perhaps no match. The festivals thrive despite the terrorists’ best efforts to disturb the social fabric.
In this holy land—with its mix of Ramanand, Kabir, Nanak, Chishti, Khusro, Nizam, Sai Baba, Sheikh Farid and Bulle Shah—no terrorist organization can uproot communal harmony. Indian festivals will continue to be models of religious brotherhood and keep alive the country’s unity in diversity.