What’s in a name?
More than a decade back, I was enjoying good old days in Jamia Millia Islamia’s hostel. Ours was the smallest hostel in Jamia so we knew other inmates by name and by face within a couple of days. I got befriended to a boy named Ashok whom I noticed after few days that he was offering five times namaz a day piously, so out of curiosity I asked him one day that your name is Ashok, a Hindu name, and why you are offering namaz. He said his whole village converted to Islam. Then he kept quiet for a while. I didn’t asked a second question. All answers were floating in his eyes.
So the boy named Ashok belonged to a State Haryana where anarchism and law of the jungle rules. There was some cow slaughter and Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s henchmen set afire whole village in anger and retaliation, in the false name of saving holy cow-mata (mother cow). There is one fanatic named Acharya Giriraj Kishore who said violently that we will chop down one thousand heads of Dalits (low caste Hindus) if a single cow is slaughtered. Although Vedic Aryans were fond of cow-meat eating and cow-slaughter in yagyas were usual practice but their progenies have metamorphosed from cow-meat eating to cow-urine drinking with passage of time.
I am writing all this because after a decade nothing much is changed in this unruly State Haryana, Dalit girls are gang-raped and same right-winged organizations are mum but even if a single conversion to Islam or Christianity took place then they would be more than happy to torch a number of villages. Such is the true picture of Haryana which surrounds national capital of India from three sides. The same Haryana whose talented girls outshone in Olympics have a different story which doesn’t shake the stone-hearted judiciary and bureaucracy to act promptly to punish the culprits.
There are thousands of Ashok who opted to accept Islam and offering namaz because their past Hindu god Ram is of no use to Dalits since Valmiki Ramayana depicts Ram, the most revered Hindu god chopping the head of Shambuka, a Shudra (outcaste) by his sword who was performing a penance. So, in Ramayana and Mahabharata it was forbidden for a Shudra to study, to acquire the knowledge of Vedas and to do penance. Anyhow, modern day Acharyas might set afire Dalit’s village or upper caste men may gang-rape Dalit girls and film it on mobile’s camera and distribute the mms in village as considering mandir’s prasad but no force of fanatics may refrain an Ashok for making his call to Allah, the almighty.
May there be more boys, named Ashok.
© Sushil Kumar
Image credit for Jama Masjid pic: Peter Rivera, http://www.religiousindia.info