An Id Milan, lined up by Anjuman-e-Hadeeqatul Adab at Le Olive Garden, Sunday, was a glitzy affair. Scented ladies, suited gents, local admn. top brass, academics, and other high-end professionals comprised the guests list at a meeting marked by laudatory speeches and sumptuous buffet. If the idea was promotion of harmony among the ‘Hindu, Muslim Sikh, Isai’ elite, the organizers were, perhaps, preaching to the choir.
Mysore municipal commissioner, Mr A B Ibrahim, hit the nail right on its head when he expressed doubts if such elitist gatherings would have a trickle-down effect on the mindset of the masses. He would rather have Id Milan organized at the grass-roots level, promoting a mingling among communities at the middle-class and poorer localities. Mr Ibrahim spoke of the need for wider circulation of Koran, translated in the language of the locals, among all communities. For Koran was a lot more than a religious work; it was a book on life and how best it is led. Islam was a far more enlightened faith than people gave credit for. Gender equality and women’s right to property was there in Islam centuries earlier than western civilizations thought of them. Islam is egalitarian; it stipulates that the faithful should spare two percent and a half of their income for the welfare of the poor. And it had all been worked out way back in the 5th century. Wasn’t this a magnificent religion, as G B Shaw put it? Mr Ibrahim’s lament is that Islam today is the most misunderstood religion, all over the world. Listening to him gave me a fresh perspective on our municipal commissioner, who, like his faith, has been much misunderstood by the caretakers of ‘concerned’ and ‘informed’ citizens.