16 June, 2021

A Mild Sparkle Of Hope

It's a happy Diwali as Hindus and Muslims, aided by committed individuals, rebuild communal ties

A Mild Sparkle Of Hope
At last, there is some good news from Gujarat. The traditional resilience and spirit of its people is at work today, bridging the communal divide the politicians had fanned not so long ago. So, it was with barely-concealed contempt and rejection of the VHP/Bajrang Dal pamphlets advocating the economic boycott of Muslims that the Gujarati set out shopping this Diwali.

In Ahmedabad's cramped Dhalgarwad garment district, hundreds of Gujarati women, all Hindus, haggled as usual with bearded Muslim shopkeepers. "Why should I bother if the shopkeeper is a Hindu or a Muslim, or how he looks?" asked Ramila Parikh. "I am interested only in the designs and the price tag of the dresses he is selling." The scramble was all-pervasive, be it in the Muslim-dominated Phool Bazaar or in the rows upon rows of cracker shops which are also run by Muslims.

Even restaurants which had been reduced to ashes in the March riot are back in business. "I don't ask the owner's name when I go to a restaurant," quips Pratik Patel, as he settles in for a meal at the crowded Tulsi restaurant, one of...

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