Hindu-Muslim Dialogue

At a seminar on ‘Religion and Humanitarianism’ held under the auspices of the Zakir Husain Institute of Islamic Studies, at the Jamia Millia Islamia, in New Delhi in 1993, one of the speakers, Dr Bishambhar Nath Pandey, recalled how a Hindu procession, led by Swami Satya Dev through Bala Ghat in the Indian state of Madhya Pradeh in 1926, had been planned to provoke Muslims into rioting. The procession with beating drums and slogan shouting, was deliberately organized on a Friday. Ten thousand strong, it arrived in front of a mosque, exactly at prayer time, where it started to create an uproar.

Now Mr Karamat Husain, a reputed political activist of the city, had gained prior knowledge of this plan. Before the arrival of the procession, he reached the mosque along with one hundred of his colleagues, each of whom he had provided with a garland. When the procession came to a halt in front of the mosque, he asked the other Muslims who had come there to pray to remain silent. Then, initiating a pre-preplanned move, he came out of the mosque with his colleagues and walked towards the procession. He neither told the procession to go by another route nor demanded that they stop shouting slogans. Instead, he said—“We welcome you!” And then he and his colleagues began garlanding the Hindus one by one. Now the entire atmosphere underwent a sea change. The processionists stopped forthwith. Those who had gathered there to cause a riot began embracing the Muslims. The atmosphere of enmity had been dispelled and had changed all at once into an atmosphere of amity.

Every man is a human being. He becomes an enemy—only temporarily—when he is provoked. When, with wise handling, his temper cools, he returns to the real nature he was born with. That same person, who had appeared in the guise of an enemy, will now become your friend.