Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Holy Quran, Rukshana and I

"मस्ती में एक हंसी को खुदा कह गया हूँ में, जो कुछ भी  कह गया वजाकह गया में......."

Was I in love with her?
Maybe not, but she was the most beautiful thing that God created. In an innocent mind of a ten year old God in a hurry often leaves lot of vacant  space for many ephemeral love to grow like wild flowers. 
Falling in love then though transient, was easy and always pure..

I was about ten then, and every morning to my school  I would pass by the Mosque of our neighbouring Muslim village .The young Muslim kids having finished their daily lessons of Quran in the Madrassa would return home and get ready for the regular school. This is where I would wait for Abedul, my classmate to join me for school. It had become a ritual for me

But it was not  Abedul for whom my daily ritual began. It was Rukshana, his sister.
And as the day begins, wanting to get a glimpse of her was like waiting to seeing the morning sun.

She must’ve been a few years elder to me. Like all the girls in their pale blue dresses and the hijabs around their heads, Rukhsana’s flawless rosy face looked just like the expensive apples in the town fruit seller window, very carefully wrapped in tissues protecting from even the smallest dent. 

She knew about my crush for her. 
I am not sure if Abedul too did. Even if he did he never mentioned it. That was the advantage of having a friend who wouldn’t want to embarrass you.

But Rukshana one day caught me by my ears, teased me to death and said if I promised to grow up fast she might even think of marrying me. It was my turn to get my cheeks red..redder than those apples !!!

No, Rukhsana didn’t marry me. But even if she had, no one would’ve gone blowing whistles over conversion of any kind.

An-Najm 53:27  

"Indeed, those who do not believe in the Hereafter name the angels female names".

Then one day there was a celebration at her house for her having completed reading the Quran.  She will not have to go to the Madrassa every morning any more. She and all those kids now are true Muslims. 

That was the last day I had seen her.

Like i said before at age ten  falling in in love is just
transient. But certain feelings do go pinching the heart somewhere. You feel that sweet pain there even in that age. Maybe my eyes did at times inquisitively stopped at Rukshana's little mounds of nascent breasts trying to explore beyond her blue and white robe. But in her face I saw the world.. I learnt what ecstasy was,  and in her I found my Khuda, my God…. 

But Rukshana's face soon went hiding under the dark cover of black Burqa, for now having read the Quran she has become a true Muslim, and in Islam a girl can never be an angel.

Talking of Angels, I often wondered what language God speaks. He must be multilinguist .  
Was Rukshana too one? How else she understooand absorbed the nuances of things said in a poetic form in a language far detached from her mother tongue, and that too at a young age of a preadolescent kid?

No poetry in any language can exactly be translated into another and still carry exactly the same essence. Lot of feelings get lost in the process.

Quran is a compilation of verses and is not chronological in it's order. Messages of God recited in verse by Prophet Muhammad were much after his death compiled to become what The Quran today is. 
Like all other Holy books,The Quran too is a guideline to Islam.
It is not a rule book.

The verses were interpreted later by various Caliphs and that became The Hadith, the rule book for practicing  Islam. There are not one but many different books called Ahadists. With every Caliph the interpretations changed a little bit. Even of today the translations of the Quran by various scholars differ.

Ayah-Nur. 24:31

“And say to the believing women (that) they should lower [of] 
their gaze and they should guard their chastity, and not (to) 
display their adornment except what is apparent of it. 
And let them their head covers over their bosoms, 
nd not (to) display their adornment except to their husbands, 
or their fathers or fathers (of) their husbands or their sons 
or sons (of) their husbands or their brothers or sons (of) their
brothers or sons (of) their sisters, or their women or 
what possess their right hands or the attendants having 
no physical desire among [the] men or [the] children 
who (are) not aware of private aspects (of) the women. 
And not let them their feet to make known what they conceal 
of their adornment. And turn to Allah altogether 
O believers! So that you may succeed”.

This seems to be the word by word translation of a verse as to how a woman should dress. But as you go thru different versions of translation that followed, the veil told to be drawn over the bosoms slowly gave way to complete covering of the body except for the eyes, hands and feet!

So how does one interpret the Quran or any other religious book? Where do you find the meaning of the Messages of God? It is not in any book interpreted by religious leaders and scholar. 

The meaning, the essence and the real message lies with-in you.
To learn and practice any religion one has to first unlearn what has been already taught.

Then with a clean slate taking the Holy Book as your ONLY GUIDE go ahead with the search for your God, your Khuda!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Little Tibet in India

The Tibet Kitchen
McLeodgaj Main square

McLeodganj Square

It was not our dinner time, but  the walk down the steep hill from Dharmakot to Mcleodganj got our legs aching and we wanted to a place sit . The rows of Tibetan eateries, kiosk selling momos, and shops with genuine Tibetan artifacts made Indian restaurants serving Punjabi food look quite out of place and thus we decided on Tibet Kitchen. It's  was small but very cozy little place and was full with Buddhist monks on their mobile phones. We got the last empty table next to a very young monk with his girlfriend in grey robe and a  shaven head.

We ordered for something with pork as pork was the only word I could understand in the menu with all never heard of dishes. After a good half hour wait the food came in large white ceramic bowls. The large chunks of pork in a thin and watery soup were accompanied by plenty of  capsicum strips blanched to a deep green color.
I tried to pick up a piece of pork from the bowl with the pair of chop sticks. The pork slipped from the sticks, jumped and landed the young monk's table.  He looked at me and smiled. The waiter, a local Indian boy came and handed us spoons and forks.

Kalachakra Temple (Gompa), McLeodganj.

Right opposite Tibet kitchen there is small Monastery; Kalachakra temple as they call it. Every Tibetan passing by walks along the verandah turning the sacred rolling drums. Most non Buddhist visitors also do that, may be not because of any belief but it seems to be a fun thing to do. 

The temple houses a large  golden statue of Buddha rising upto the first floor.  We didn’t see many monks entering this Gompa, they mainly go to Namgyal Monastery or The Dalai Lama Temple, about a kilometer walk from the market.
Dalai Lama's Temple, Monks review the days lesson. The monk sitting questions and the other answers clapping his hands while stomping as he answers.

Next to Tibet Kitchen was a building with the lower level for variety of Tibetan shops selling 
bags to lingerie’s. 

In the corner was Pema’s shop. She was thrilled to know we were from Assam.
"I studied in Shillong" -she informed us. Her husband is a doctor and specializes in Tibetan medicine.

Showing some good lingerie from her collection she said my wife-
"Not exactly Victoria's Secret, but You should wear the best undergarments you can buy. Makes you feel good inside. One should also dress well. It not only makes you look good but makes you feel good too".
Yes maybe that’s why all these Tibetan women with their exquisite chubas look so elegant. Like Tashi we met in the Tibetan handicraft shop. She is very young, must be in her teens .Tashi looked very beautiful even with her Mohawk hair do. Her dainty hand moved with most articulated precision as she showed us the so called original Tibetan masks.

Tibetans are polite people and loved to talk.-Like young Jamyang who sitting on the steps of Tibetan performing Art center went explaining me their various dance forms and their effort to retain their culture.

 Norbulingka (ནོར་བུ་གླིང་ཀ་; - The Jewellwd Park). Institute at Sidhpur. The institute  was designed by Japanese architect Aji Nagahara.

With life in exile may not be very it may not be a easy task to hold on to one's culture; one has to guard it with all his might.

Norbulingka institute at Sidhpur, about 40 kilometer from Dharamshala is trying to exactly that. But however the weaving center and wood curving hall was almost empty, artisans are not many today. The new generation wants to peruse things different than what the older one did. The beautiful embroidered robe my guide was wearing, he told me was import from china and brought from certain shop in Mc Leodganj.

Golden Statue of lord  Buddha, Inside Temple at Norbulingka.

The teacher  of  Tibetan language  taught  till  eighth standard in Dalhousie Public School, went telling me how she and her parents  came to India when she was just four months old . They travelled for months, walking, negotiating mountains thru snow, selling jeweleries, rationing their food. This happens even today; many have left their parents back in Tibet and have no way to contact them as even phone calls are monitored. Most kids born in India have not seen Tibet.

Doll house depicting Tibetan Culture at Norbulingka Institute

"I am Tibetan but born in India, so an Indian by birth. But we are trying to preserve our culture. Marriage to someone out of Tibetan community is discouraged by Dalai Lama". Tashi tells me when I asked her if she will marry an Indian boy.
So I wondered if these young ones feel more Indian than Tibetan?
Probably they do not.

Nwang in Dalhousie Public School

"We feel homeless all the time. In spite of us being capable we cannot buy a home here . Till the end we shall be either living in a quarter in the settlement or in a rented house".Pema lamented.
I smiled at her without really understanding how one might feel  to be born, live and one day to die in a country of which they will never be a citizen. How they are accepted by the locals as one of them or as an outsider always?
Is there some antagonism towards them?
Pema denied though I sensed her voice betraying her denial.
Tibetan students hostel, Dalhousie

Tashi was more vocal here.
"The locals are lazy; they spend their time in useless gossips. We work hard. You will never see a Tibetan woman sitting idle at home. In fact a Tibetan woman earns more than a man",
That of course becomes quite evident as you walk along the market. Almost one and each shops or kiosks you see are run by women.
The locals of Mcleodganj  were of not the same opinion though. 
"We too work hard. It is not just their business that generates money. They get plenty of aids and grants from all over the world.”
Sunil, driver of our hired taxi was a bit more sarcastic.-
“Sir, don’t let your heart bleed for them. Their life is much easier.  They can get almost anything because the world sympathize them.
The school girl you met has parents living in Germany; she wants go to America after her school. If today I want to any other country I will have to run pillar to post for a Visa. A Tibetan is just welcomed with open arms”.
He noticed the surprised look in my eyes and as if to cover up what he said, added with a certainty.
"But they are nice people".
Yes they of course are, and beautiful too.
Like Nwang from Dalhousie Public School, Tashi in the artifacts shop and those little dancing girls in performing art center.
I could not help falling in love with them.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

জয়মতী দিৱস-প্ৰেম দিৱস

১৩ চ'ত


১৪ ফেব্রুৱাৰি ভেলেনটাইন দিৱস

বেলেগৰ বাবে আজিৰ দিনটো কেনে কব নোৱাৰো, কিন্তু গুজৰাটত  ফুল বেচা কেইজনৰ কাৰণে ই অতি সুন্দৰ টকা কমোৱাৰ সুযোগ।

প্রেমত পৰি হাবু দুবু খাই থকা চেঙেলিয়াৰ পৰা, মোৰ দৰে  সুন্দৰ  ছোৱালী দেখিলেই ডেকা যেন অনুভৱ কৰি  ৰঙীন সপোন ৰচা আদবয়সীয়া সকলোৱেই আজি ৰঙা গোলাপ কিনিবলে ৰাস্তাৰ কিনাৰত বেহা লগোৱা ফুলৰ দুকানলৈ পোনাই! 

আমাৰ অসমত আজি কেনে হয় মই নেজানো, কিন্তু তথাপিও মোৰ বোধেৰে ফুলৰ ব্যবসায় কৰা খুবেই কম, নায়েই কিজানি। ২০১২ চনত গুজৰাটৰ অৱশ্যে এজনে বিশ্ব ৰেকর্ড কৰিছিল সর্বাধিক গোলাপ বেচি।

ভেলেন্টাইন দিবস  চেইন্ট ভেলেন্টিয়াচৰ কোনটো  মহান প্ৰেম কাহিনীলৈ উৎজাপন কৰা হয় মই নেজানো, জিয়ফ্রি চছাৰৰ ১৮শ শতিকাত কি অৱদান আছিল তাকো কব নবাৰো।  নিচেই ওচৰত, নিজা ঘৰতে হোৱা হিয়া কোমলাই নিয়া কাহিনী কেইটাই পাহৰি গলো- বেলেগৰ  গীতৰ লগত কি ৰাগ মিলাম? কেতিয়াবা  ভাবো হিন্দু পৰিষদে ঠিকেই কৈছে নেকি ? নিজৰ আনমোল খাজানাখিনি চুৱা পাতনিলৈ দলিয়াই আনৰ ৰত্নৰ বাবে হেপাহ কৰাতো কোনো গৌৰবৰ বিষয় হব নোবাৰে।

যোৱা কালি ফেচ-বুকত লিখনি এটা দেখি ভাল লাগিছিল। 
তেওঁৰ মতে ১৩ চত’ৰ জয়মতী দিৱসটো প্রেম দিৱস বুলি পালন কৰিব লাগে। 

কিন্তু জয়মতীৰ বিষয়েনো আমি কিমান জানো?

কোনোবাই ডালিমীৰ কথা জানে নে? 
বেজবৰুবাৰ কাল্পনিক ডালিমীৰ কথা নহয়, আচল ডালিমীৰ কথা! কোন আছিল তাই?
নগা পাহাৰৰ মন জিলাৰ, তানহাই গাওঁৰ, কন্যাক ঠালৰ ছোৱালীজনী, যি গদাপাণিক লুকুৱাই ৰাখিছিল আৰু প্রেমত পৰি বিয়া কৰিছিল- সেইজনী ছোৱালীৰ নাম আছিল 

তানহাই গাৱঁৰ লোকে আজিও কিজানি সেই কাহিনী কয়, গদাপাণি বহি শিলত থৈ যোৱা চিনটো দেখুৱাই। ছুমি খাই থওঁতে হৈ পৰা বাঁহৰ চুঙাৰ চিনটোও হেনু আছে।

গদাপাণি অৱশেষত অসমলৈ গুচি আহিল, ৰজা হ’ল।

আৰু ওবাটলং, তাইৰ কি হ’ল ?

তাই মাথো  বেজবৰুৱাৰ কল্পনাত ডালিমী হৈয়ে জীয়াই থাকিল !

জ্যোতিপ্রসাদৰ জয়মতী বোলছবিত ডালিমীৰ ৰূপত অভিনয় কৰা স্বৰ্গজ্যোতি (বৰুৱা)
দত্তকো আমি কেতিয়াবাই পাহৰি গলো।
আৰু আজি আমি  ভেলেন্টাইন দিৱস পালন কৰিবলৈ গোলাপ ফুল কিনিছো।

ভাগ্যজিৎ শইকীয়াৰ সৈতে মই একেবাৰে হয়মত। কিন্তু তেওঁৰ পোস্টত মই কোনো ‘লাইক’ দিয়া নাই। হেজাৰ ‘লাইক’এও কোনো ফল আনিব নোৱাৰে, যদিহে আমি এই বিছাৰটোক আন সকলোৰে মনত সোমোৱাই নিদিও।

১৩ চ'ত লৈকে ইয়াক অত্যাধিক প্রচাৰ কৰি এই ধাৰণাটোক ভাইৰেল কৰি তোলা হওক।