Allah tero naam Ishwar tero naam,
Sabko sannmati de Bhagwan
Maangon kaa sindoor na choote, Maa behanon ki aas na toote
Deh bina bhatake naa praan
O saare jag ke rakhwale, Nirbal ko bal denewaale
Balwaanon ko de de gyaan
Sabko sanmati de Bhagwaan
[Allah is your name, Ishwar is your name,
Bless everyone with equanimity, O God
Let not the parting in my hair be devoid of sindoor/vermilion (signifying widowhood)
Let not the hopes of mothers and sisters be dashed
Let not the soul wander without a body
O guardian of the entire universe, Provider of strength to the feeble
Grant wisdom to those that are strong
Bless everyone with equanimity, O God] – Sahir Ludhianvi
A very dear friend whom I had not seen for a while met me recently. He is one of two people I was lucky enough to come in contact with at my workplace when I arrived in Canada and both remain my role models, mentors and trusted friends. Just by way of background, I would like to add that he is Caucasian, protestant, a community leader and a wonderful human being. We were in the cafeteria having coffee when a common ex-colleague who had worked with him spotted us and came over to say hello. She had not been in touch since my friend’s retirement several years ago and greeted him warmly, inquiring after his family. He filled her in on all the details, about his wife, their children’s marriages and that he was now a grandfather. He brought out his mobile phone and proceeded very proudly to show her pictures of his grandchildren. Our ex-colleague is a Catholic of South East Asian origin and looking at the picture of my friend’s granddaughter inquired if his son had married a lady from that part of the world, because “the child appears to be of mixed blood”. My friend smiled and confirmed that his daughter-in-law is indeed from “that part of the world” and a Muslim. He added that his granddaughter is a wonderful HUMAN child and he fully expects she will grow up to be a lovely person. In response to further questions, he stated that his son and daughter-in-law did not wish to impose any “faith” on their child and would leave it to her choice.
People and incidents like these remind me how fortunate we are to live in this wonderful country we call home. I truly believe Canada is the template of the world of the future and can only hope other countries emulate us.
We all believe in and emphatically state, “There is but One God”, but then behave as if my version is better than “theirs”. May that One God grant equanimity to all.