On the day of Bijoya Dashami, a young boy named Imam, just eight years old, sat on his balcony enjoying the view of colourful bursting of crackers outside his house.
After a while, he was taken inside by his Abbu on his wheelchair to read the holy Quran. Both father and son read the Quran religiously and prayed for the nation’s prosperity. After worshipping the small boy just stared his father with his sparkling and curious eyes. With all his innocence and negligible courage, he asked his Abbu, “How do you know that God exists? Do our wishes ever come true when we pray to god?” After a little pause he continued, “Are we Muslims bad? Everyone says that we are…!”
He could not complete the sentence when his Ammi rushed ahead and slapped him, listening to his uncanny questions.
Imam was full of tears. But his Abbu consoled him and assured that he would be glad to answers all the questions.
He invited him to come with him to the local city park.
Imam immediately forgot his tears and complains. He became very enthusiastic as he rarely got this opportunity to beat the confinement of his wheelchair and venture outside. .
The hustle bustle of wonderful stalls with all men and women wearing pretty traditional attire delighted Imam’s little heart. While eating strawberry kulfi and holding a toy gun in his hand, he heard from his father the famous tales of Goddess Durga killing a demon called Mahishasur. His Abbu went on to explain how Lord Rama had killed Ravana establishing the victory of good over evil, initiating the Dusshera festival which was celebrated throughout India.
Imam started imagining himself as the graceful structure sitting on a lion; he also fantasized holding a bow and arrow in his hands, destined to destroy the evil.
After his father finished the stories he found himself basking with full determination and confidence that he was also born to accomplish such great things.
But after a while, his questions returned.
”Why does Raja’s ammi always says, beware of Muslims? He asked with a frown.
Abbu patiently heard him and spoke softly, so that the little boy could comprehend the complex ideology he was about to present.
”In earlier times there were gods like Allah and Lord Rama living on this earth, who taught us to live and love, to stand up against injustice and to be a good human being. But neither of them emphasised who actually is better among the two. As you know, there are two faces of every coin. They both are no longer present on earth, though their thoughts still reverberate in the hearts of their true followers.” He smiled watching the confusion on his son’s face. And then he spoke again. ”Worship doesn’t mean saying mantras or reading Quran. It means to learn and practice the teachings given by them. It means not to be a servant but to be a good disciple. We all humans must learn to be good students of life. Just remember one thing, Imam, that god has no religion. That is a word meant to categorise us, the lesser mortals.”
Little Imam was trying to understand his Abbu’s words. But at last he just flashed a vibrant smile.
You are right, Abbu. Everyone is equal. There is no difference.” Happily he placed his hands around the neck of his father. “Abbu, I love you a lot.”
His Abbu’s eyes were filled with tears. They both hugged each other tightly and enjoyed the magnificent pandals suspending all confusions that others may have tried to inflict upon them.