05 December, 2020

My Beloved Iftaris

Sans this non-Muslim trio, my Ramzan is incomplete

Illustration by Saahil
My Beloved Iftaris

As I observe Ramzan against the backdrop of the hate-tragedies of Orlando and Kairana, I recall what I learnt about the spirit of this month, growing up in the 1950s. The palpable hatred between Hindus and Muslims was narrated to us in stories of the massacres of 1947. In the following decades, through the work of elders of both communities, it began to melt away and we learnt to become friends without ­being conscious of religion. Ramzan was jointly commemorated and Id too was jointly celebrated. Today, we see a resurgence of mutual distrust and hatred, fuelled by daily rioting and killings. This makes me remember three persons, who were an integral part of my Ramzan, without whom this month will never be complete for me.

One was Khushwant Singh. Since I returned to Delhi after a long stay abroad, Khushwantji (I had known him since the early 1950s) became interested in my observance of Islam. In particular, he was intrig­ued by my adherence to Ramzan. Sometimes I got a feeling that he looked at religion through my prism. Maybe that’s why his book, Need...



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