We Can Pray In The Streets And Not In Barracks: We Live In India
By Shobha Shukla – CNS
France has shown the political courage to first ban the regressive burqa this year, and now the offering of prayers by Muslims in the French streets—given the fact that it is home to Europe's largest Muslim population. I wonder what would be the reaction of Mr Nicholas Sarkozy if he had to deal with not just the religious/social leanings of the Muslims, but of the Hindus, Sikhs and myriad other communities as well, as in India.
We Indians not only love to stretch our family and religious festivities/gatherings to the streets, but also take it as our birth right to spit, shit, urinate, and dump garbage in them. The confines of disused barracks, discarded buildings or the lonely interiors of our humble homes are not enough for our mundane activities.
We are not miserly like the French and other westerners when it comes to sharing our joys with strangers, whether the latter like it or not. Haven’t most of us—from pauper to princess, from glitterati to litterati—mindlessly held the traffic to ransom for long periods of time by gleefully dancing away to raunchy tunes in the marriage procession of a friend or relative or even a foe?
The Indian roads are public property, and it is our birth right to use them as and how it pleases us. If the perennial potholes/ garbage dumps or defective traffic lights put up by the government can disrupt smooth movement, then so can our idiosyncrasies. During the marriage seasons, one may encounter several such created traffic jams at short intervals. It is inconsequential if this results in someone missing trains, or reaching just too late to the hospital in case of medical emergencies. Those of us, who curse this very practice when we are at the receiving end of it, happily forget about it when our own time comes.