Ramzan is more than looking for the moon

Why are Indians saying Ramadan? It was always Ramzan for me. If I don’t do a thing in this month, why do I mind at all by what name it is called? Because it infringes on a cultural attuning.

Those who have been around long enough know that I do not fast. It isn’t for 'unreligious' reasons. It is a personal choice. If I feel like doing it, then I will. No shoo-shaa over it.

However, the build-up does bother me. I do not like to be inundated with emails from strangers sending long posts on various religious verses and what they mean and how we can be saved by them. I suggest they send them to the embassies of several nations that believe it is their birthright to rule and subjugate people. Send them to those who create havoc in the name of faith. Send them to characters who taint the religion.

These people, in their enthusiasm to be carriers of the religion, end up as irritants and as a result those verses that might have been beautiful and conveyed a lot are sent straight to my junk box. We all have our values and there is no way for me to ascertain that the people sending me those precious words fit into any ethical belief system that I hold dear.

This month is to replenish your inner resources and abstain, so please stop spamming. I don’t have a handy hadith for that, but am sure you get the drift.

- - -

The new Islamists may abhor music, but the qawwali can be an uplifting experience irrespective of anything else. I remember visiting the Nizamuddin dargah only to listen to the qawwals. Of course, I refer here to the ones that convey oneness with a Being outside oneself. Or perhaps deep within.

The music is structured, its repetitive enunciation like the drones of bees near a honeycomb waiting to taste what they have created. That is the essence. Look inside and feel before you can go outside and seek. You could feel a tremor or a touch. I do not buy the ‘unfeeling’ state.

You may deny your body food and water, but the hunger and thirst for reaching bliss has got to be there.

And bliss is when you hear words like:

Piye jo sharaab-e-ishq–e-Nabi
Marta ho tau jeena aa jaaye

(The one who is drunk on the love of the Prophet
Learns to live even as he is dying)

Whatever you believe in and whatever figure/idea/thought you replace, there is a sense of rejuvenation. Religion is incidental; it is a ritual of your belonging. How sublime it is to hear two people, not of the faith, singing to be one with the Nabi of another.

It is not literal and that is how it should be. We stuff our faces with what we think is religiosity and never fathom the reasons why.

It is like crushing roses. You will get your fragrance, but the flowers will be dead.

Live, instead:

Piye jo sharaab-e-ishq–e-Nabi - Qawwali by Shankar-Shambhu


  1. Ramadan or Ramzan. I recently heard that to be correct now in Pakistan the religious sticklers are asking for 'Allah Hafiz' instead of ' Khuda Hafiaz'. Is really there is any difference when both mean the same? May be there should be a Board, like in France, to adjudicate on use of words which are admissable in religious context.

  2. Thanks for including the qawwali and pointing out the other faith aspect of singers. I wish you had translated the whole of the Qawwali for enjoying the verses with it meaning.

  3. Anon:

    Khuda refers to a general idea of god; Allah is specifically a Muslim god. I think that is putting too much pressure on one entitiy!


    Oh, no...I don;t have the words of the entire qawwali and I got a little leisure to indulge in too...


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