Monday, March 10, 2008

Journeying with a group of Tablighi Jamaat members in Train

Railway journeys are always fascinating in India. Due to the long duration, one gets to interact with many different people.

On a recent journey my seat was close to the coupe in which members of a Tablighi Jamaat were sitting. They were probably going down South.

Mostly in India, people do try to help you when you are praying and so when the group started their prayers, the other passengers, shifted from that coupe to the neighbouring seats, to facilitate the namaaz.

Just to make a conversation, a Hindu gentleman told the Jamaat guys--

Passenger: "Haan bhai namaaz to zaruri hai, isi sab se yah duniaa qaaim hai". (Prayers are necessary to keep the world safe and sound)
The Jamat guys--- :(             [Blank Faced, no expression, no reply]

Passenger tries again: Says something about religion protecting people in Kali Yug.
The Jamat guys--- :(             [Again, Blank Faces, no expressions, no replies]

The man, dejected, kept mum thereafter.

Sometime in the night when they had dinner, another newcomer, tries to start a conversation:

*Aap log kahaan jaa rahe hain?
-- one guy mumbles something.

*Kyaa aap log bangalore jaa rahe hain?
--hamein nahin maalum, hamaare amir se puchhiye

[how will he know your hierarchy and that you have an Amir-e-Jamaat, a leader of sorts of the group but does it make you so dumb!]

Ridiculous, I thought. The next morning I asked one of them, weren't they going to Bangalore?

"Actually we are going there for the first time". Oh, I see, so if you are going to a place for the first time, why can't you name the place.

Railway is one of the best places to establish harmony, interact with others and send the message across that you--'the typical daadhi-topi-madarsa man'-- is just like a neighbourhood guy.

But by creating a wall around yourself [for what reason?], you end up harming your image even more. For godsake why can't you be normal yaar. That's not the first time I have seen it though I am writing it for the first time.

[This post doesn't target any particular group. We all know that there are people cutting across all cross-sections and religions, who are not just uncommunicative but also rude and much more.]