Belong to Mankind

It was the best article in today’s newspaper, according to me. Of course, there were many good writings on politics, ongoing IPL and other subjects in Times Of India of today and this was the last article which I read in paper which means, I as in hurry to finish my reading but I was paused for couple of minutes because it made me think deeply.

 

I am not a regular newspaper reader. Still I insist on a regular subscription of a newspaper – thanks to the habit I got years back from Dot. In this way, I have realized that you and people around you develop another special habit somehow regular in its own unique way for news-paper and you are always benefitted from that. For example, Chunks never misses celeb articles and my knowledge is always increased from what he tells about them. Vinny whenever reads paper, keeps eye on every smallest front-page news item which we might have missed at times. And for me, over the time, I have developed habit of never missing front page and sports page everyday, and read weekly articles in every weekend’s newspaper. I have been big criticizer of Times Of India at home as well as on this blog of flaunting sex and show-off like anything in their newspaper but they always come-up with many distinct ideas, articles and columns which makes me not to unsubscribe it and keep looking for those distinct patches. There are weekly publishing which usually are of great value like one is from Shashi Tharoor and other is Times Life etc. Plus there are Page 2 articles like interviews of ministers standing in this election from same constituency and belonging to two leading parties of India – Congress and BJP. There are few other good things like these which keeps me attached to TOI.

 

Cutting it short, today when I visited front page of Times Life after reading rest of the paper, once again as per Times specialty, another article on (male) nudism was hanging there which turned me down and I thought of winding newspaper there itself than moving ahead when I had read a really good article in same space, last week (Courtesy Pankaj – it was about Miss India and her rising from ashes). Then unwillingly I turned to second page where this heading attracted me – Mom, I can see you now… and I went forward to read this column written by another Times Of India reader. Here were the lines from a mother written for her son who could never speak to her in his life –

 

My Child should belong to the entire mankind

and

humanity would be his only religion

 

Here is the complete article for those interested in reading –

 

Soul Curry: Mom, I can see you now…

 

That hoary, old diary was an eyesore. I had seen it lying unattended on an obscure shelf at our home at Galway in Ireland, where I was born. I told my father time and again to get rid of the obnoxious diary, but he always turned a deaf ear to all my entreaties.

 

Frustrated, I stopped pestering him, but it remained an enigma why he didn’t just throw away a diary with jottings in Urdu, which were Greek to my father and me, at that point in time.

 

After sometime, I left Ireland as I didn’t get along with my stepmother Annett and went to London and Cairo for further studies.

 

Years rolled by and in that time, I never visited home. By then, I had become proficient in Urdu, Persian, Arabic and Turkish. One day, when I was at the world-renowned Al-azhar University in Cairo, I got a phone call from my father’s secretary Mr Randall. He requested me to come to Galway immediately as my father was pretty unwell.

 

I had to go. The home had undergone a sea-change. Everything had been re-arranged, except for that diary, which was still there in the same position.

 

This time, the sight of it didn’t exasperate me. I picked it up from the shelf, dusted it and started flipping through its well-nigh torn pages. It belonged to a woman named

 

Shagufta, who had penned, at times pencilled, down her stray thoughts in neat and chaste Urdu. I began to read, “I would not like my child to belong to any religion, caste, class or creed. He should belong to the entire mankind and humanity would be his only religion.”

 

All of a sudden, it dawned on me that I was reading the diary of my late mother, who came from Pakistan and was not very educated. That a semi-educated Muslim woman could possess such modern thinking 30 years ago, made me all the more proud of my mother, whom I had never seen and who died when I was just an infant.

 

In no time, that diary became my greatest possession, and I felt a sense of gratitude to my father, who had never dispensed with it.

 

Today, it’s my Gita, Bible, Quran and Avesta. What she wrote in her diary summed up the teachings of all religions and faiths. She taught me to be a good human being and I’ve been striving to justify her lofty ideals in my own humble way.

 

I doff my hat to her. Mom, this is my tribute to you. I don’t even know who you were and how you looked. But, you must have been as beautiful as your thoughts. I love you, mom.

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