A few months back, I was standing at Hauz Khas station in New Delhi and waiting for the metro train to arrive. As the train arrived and gates of the coach opened, I immediately rushed to occupy the nearby vacant seat. I took a deep breath after occupying the seat. I was holding lab reports, medicines, and some scans in a polythene bag.
A young Muslim, in his early thirties, was standing just near to my seat. He seemed attracted towards the bag that I was holding and was trying to figure out what was in it. His peeking made me uncomfortable. It usually happens when anyone tries to intrude in your personal space.
After sometime, the person sitting next to me got up, and the Muslim youth rushed to occupy the vacant seat. It seemed as if he was waiting for the opportunity to sit besides me. After a few minutes, he asked me in a soft tone, ‘Bhai, What is in this bag?’ Without waiting for my answer, he answered on his own, ‘I believe there are medical reports and medicines in it.’
I did not speak anything and just nodded my head in affirmation. This man was very keen to engage in conversation. He further enquired, ‘Whose test reports, and what is the nature of disease?’ I said these are my father’s reports.
It seems as if he was expecting this sort of response from me. All the philosophies of life started pouring out from his mouth, ‘It must be very hard for you. How are you managing single-handedly?’ He then asked me, ‘Bhai, Do you know why there is a sudden rise in the number of diseases in this world?’
I replied back stating that it could be due to rising pollution and adulterated food. He shook his head and said No loudly and clearly. ‘No, it is not the case. There is a rise in the number of diseases because human beings have gone astray and have given up the way of life as taught by Allah.’ He immediately added, ‘God, Allah, Bhagwan.’ I got a clue of what he was up to, but wanted to know more. As much as his initial intrusion disturbed me, I now wanted to hear more from him.
The train stopped at a station and two married Hindu women wearing sarees entered the train and stood at the same place where this young man was standing before occupying the seat next to me. The women started paying attention to what we were discussing. Sensing that women too were hearing the conversation, the man got excited and began explaining very loudly the cause of human misery. He said that it was because women have stopped the practice of covering their bodies, there is a rise in the number of diseases.
His voice became louder as he wanted to ensure it was heard clearly by the two women. I looked towards the two women and I could see they were feeling uncomfortable. I wanted to convey to the two ladies that please ignore the talk and watch the depths of foolishness. The man continued from where he had left.
He said that people have become immoral and that is why there is a rise in the number of diseases. I wanted to interrupt and say that no one here is suffering from some STD. Even STDs are not always due to immorality, but I let it go. However, I did say that my dad has done nothing wrong in life. He instantly responded back stating that it is not your dad, but people can suffer for faults of others too.
The train reached Kashmiri Gate and I had to change the line. I stood up and this man also stood up. We both got off from the train. He followed me and said that he had thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with me. I asked him, ‘What is the way that has been shown by God for mankind?’ He said the way has been explained in detail in Koran.
Seeing that I did not like his response, he quickly added, “Bhai bura nahi maan na (don’t get me wrong). It is a book for all.” I immediately said that Muslims too are suffering. “Yes, they are suffering because they have given up saying Namaz five times a day,” he replied. He then talked about a mosque in Saharanpur where miracles happen, and people are cured with Jhad-phoonk (black magic) etc.
Perhaps, he wanted me to accompany him to this mosque. Perhaps, he would have introduced me to an organized group there that would have convinced me about Islam. But I had made up my mind not to engage further. So I said, ‘Bhai abhi late ho raha hai, I need to rush.’
I wonder if Hindus would initiate this sort of conversation with members of other faiths and try to convince them about the superiority of Hindu Dharma.
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