Updated on 1 Aug 2020, 4:08 am
Representational Image (PHOTO: Pixabay)
Whenever the holy festival of Eid- Uz-Zuha knocks at the horizon, my mind promptly goes in a flashback mode a quarter of a century ago when I was studying in a college in Hooghly district, West Bengal.
We used to live in our college hostel where a significant percentage of the boarders happened to be Muslims. An extremely cordial and friendly environment used to dominate our hostel premises.
The home of two of our close friends, Younas Ali Seikh and Basir Ali, were comparatively nearby and so they used to invite us to their village to celebrate Eid.
And when that much cherished D-Day arrives, our group of four boys used to start our journey. After reaching our destination station by train, a remarkable journey on the roof of the bus through the green fields of rural Bengal. And after descending, a walk of about two km along ponds and plantations. And thereafter we could locate the village of our friends at far distance amidst coconut trees and bamboo groves. A small simple white mosque surrounding which villagers of all ages used to be in their cheerful best! Not to forget the unfathomable warmth, love and hospitality of the parents, family members and neighbors of Younas and Basir. A relishing lunch comprising of delicious dishes(let it remain unsaid whether it comprised meat of a particular brand or not, lest I meet the same fate as Mohammad Akhlaque in these times of "Good Days") used to make our day. Oh what a day it used to be!
In this context, I feel proud to recollect how our seniors like Abdul Jalal, Wazed Hussain or Qazi Imdadullah used to lead or guide us during the celebration of Saraswati Puja in our hostel. Also I remember how the Qutubuddins used to visit the home of my cousin sister to celebrate Bhai-Phonta (the day when sisters apply sandalwood paste on the foreheads of the brothers and pray for their well-being)!
Yes, this is my Bengal and India enriched in the secular humanitarian legacy of Rabindranath Tagore-Kazi Nazrul Islam! Rogue elements exist in each and every society of the world who vitiate the environment to meet their vested interests. Such elements are pathetically increasing in Bengal also tarnishing the secular humane ambience of the state and threatening it's long nourished secular tradition of Bangaliana (just like Kashmiriyat) transcending all petty barrier of religious divide. But sanity and rationality demands that along with Bengal, all societies of the world remain extremely cautious so that those rabid communal elements do not succeed in conquering the inherent humanity imbedded within our hearts.
Special Contributor, KOLKATA, West Bengal