I walked into Anjali’s house. She lives in one of the Rehabilitation and Resettlement colonies in Bombay which were developed to provide housing for slum dwellers and railway slum dwellers affected by the creation of roads infrastructure in Mumbai. Her house is a one-room tenement. She has created a litte bedroom space by placing a large showcase unit which separates the living room and the bedroom. I sat down to talk with her when my eyes fell on the Mecca-Medina mosque photograph which was placed on the wall facing her kitchen, above her newly purchased washing machine. For a moment, I was not sure if I had seen correct. Then, while continuing the talking, I glanced carefully again. It was the Mecca-Medina mosque photograph which is usually found in the homes of Bohra Muslims, Shias, Iranis and Sunnis as some kind of a visible mark of religion or show of faith and practice (or perhaps something else, I am not sure). I was both intrigued and amused. Continue reading Faith, religion, ritual, identity, dogma – how do I understand this?
Guest post by SHAHRUKH ALAM
This afternoon, I saw on TV, the ticker advertising a Special Feature. The programme was going to be aired later in the day and was called “Young, Educated Killers”. And for the next few seconds, I wondered who the title might be referring to: not the ‘encounter specialists’, surely? The economists who frame policies for the new, resurgent India, perhaps? People on the National Disaster Management Commission, possibly? Or since it was of topical interest, The Board of Directors for Lehman Brothers? Or even Patent attorneys for multinational Pharmaceutical companies? But then the visuals came on and I have to admit I was most embarrassed at having thought such dark thoughts about the aforementioned good people. Continue reading On Being Muslim: Shahrukh Alam