Beyond Communal Lines

I saw, I felt, I wrote – based on a real life incident.

city of joy

“Musafir hoon yaroo, na ghar hai na thikana; Mujhe chalte jana hai..baas chalte jana.”

The melody floated in my ears and drew my attention to the backseat of the bus. A young man in his early 20s was humming this number, while it was being animatedly supported by a 60 year old man sitting just beside him.

Shahnawaz Hossain, 25 and Nibaron Shastri, 60 had never met before. It was only a month that Shahnawaz got his first job and was returning after the day’s work while Nibaron Babu had just retired from his own. Like every day, Shahnawaz had got on the bus, plugged in his earplugs and was enjoying the recent peppy numbers off his smart phone.

After going a few stops, we were stuck in traffic. Everyone was uttering disgust for this regular hassle topped on with the sultry weather. That was the moment when Nibaron Babu beckoned Shahnawaz and said, “Why do you people of this generation like to always stuff your ears with this noisy music! Our time was the golden era of music and we had recorders and radio not smart phones and ear damaging earplugs!” Shahnawaz smiled and began singing “Musafir hoon yaaron…” When he finished Nibaron Babu clapped out loud, Shahnawaz was quick to add, “Now your turn.” Nibaron Babu cleared his throat and began with a deep hum:

“Hmmm…k pag ghungroo bandh meera nachi re. K pag ghungroo bandh meera nachi re, aur hum nache bin ghungroo k…k pag ghungroo….”

The whole bus burst out with claps. Nibaron Babu said, “Now everyone has to join in.” And he began:

“Chirodini tumi j amar, juge juge ami tomar e…”

By this time almost the whole bus had joined in and I observed that the traffic had cleared and the bus had moved several stops. After the song was over, there was a request for one last number which Shahnawaz started followed by Nibaron Babu.

“Chalte chalte, mere yeh geet yaad rakhna, kabhi alvida na kehna, kabhi alvida na kehna. Haste rote, baas yuhi tum, goon goona te rehna. Kabhi alvida na kehna, kabhi alvida na kehna.”

Coincidentally, both Nibaron Babu and Shahnawaz got down at the same stop. I saw them hug and walk separate ways. A natural smile and feeling of pride filled my heart. This is my India. My land that is united in diversities, is a melting pot of culture. Nibaron Shastri and Shahnawaz Hossain represent different faiths but their heart is united by music. This is humanity. Being with one another in times good and bad, this is what makes man superior to all beings on earth. At this turbulent time when men are fighting in the name of their faiths, this little act of Mr. Shastri and Mr. Hossain asks us to think, where have we gone wrong?

May be we have narrowed out thoughts to this extent that we started putting our faiths before humanity. Let’s throw light to our thoughts and actions once again and reevaluate ourselves. We will realize that above everything else we are humans with the same blood flowing in all our veins. Let’s arise and awaken the whole of mankind to be one and united. Put an end to violence, embrace peace.

– Save Unity, Save Humanity, Save Existence !!



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