It was a dull winter day last month when I had first seen these two men--one wearing a saffron robe, the other in a green garb, sitting together in a park.
I just wanted to be with myself and had decided to go to a park all alone, staying away from office, Internet and the never-ending works.
It was then that I saw the duo sitting leisurely. It was around a week later that I again visited the same park and saw them. A vendor was selling traditional salted white papads that are made of rice along with 'Gur-laiya ke laddoos'.
I bought them and sat with the duo, offering them the laddoos. The conversation began. Bhagat Ji looks after the samadhi of his guru while Baba is caretaker of a mazaar and a Khanqah (hospice) near it. Sick of endless debates over communalism and politics after the Mumbai terror attacks, it was a relief to meet the duo--who sit at the same place every day in the afternoon.
Bhagat Ji has interesting tales to tell. He speaks about his guru and his last moments when he took samadhi. He also told me story about a Nawab who had later become a Sufi and after his death, still seen walking around his mazaar where he comes to attend the weekly Thursday night assembly of 'murshads'.
But more than their mysticism, it is the harmony of their beliefs, that pulls you. They are totally at peace with themselves and the world around.
And what strikes me more is the 'naked non-bookish wisdom', the ability to see that the history of wars and strifes have been as old as human life on this planet.
That they don't get charged up and take positions on the basis of their religions. Both believe in God and see no contradiction in each others' beliefs.
padshahi se hai faqiirii ka paaya baala
boriyaa chhoD kyuuN takht-e-SulemaaN manguuN [Aatish]
It is this Indian tolerance and mysticism that has driven this nation though toughest periods in history, not the 'spirit' preached on hysterical TV channels. We see amplified images of every emotion, forgetting that our true strengh and resilience lies in our millions of towns and villages and the countless--Bhagat Jis and Khanqah Wale Babas, who live side by side and in perfect harmony.
Though they had invited me, I couldn't go to see the Tazia taken out in the locality. They are closely involved with the making of tazia and the accompanying riutals. Incidentally, that Tazia is also taken out by descendants of a Hindu family.
In fact, it is these people who give you the glimpse of the real India and the beliefs of the ordinary Indians who remain unaffected by rabble-rousers. They are so close to us but we just don't see them as we are stuck in the rot of our lifestyles where we see every thing through TV and newspapers.
They are not like self-styled godmen who preach against materialism on TV but want both disciples and dough. Rather, they are satisfied in their lives, quietly.The educated may fight like cats and dogs but they smoke with the same 'chilam'. Bhagat Ji passes it to Baba who leaves a thick fog of smoke, as I left.
Sheikh Kaaba ho ke poNhcha, ham kanisht-e-dil meN ho ke
Dard! Manzil ek thii Tuk raah hii kaa pher thaa