I had completed my matriculation and was on my way to visit few north Indian cities with my elders and we were in Rajasthan. Rajasthan is half desert. Even its nights in the summer are hotter than the days of the other parts of India. At midnight our min-bus whizzed on the empty road with no light but the shining sands of Thar deserts.
Far off, we spotted a structure with lights so we decided to take a halt. After I stepped out of my bus I realized that it was the shrine of a dead saint. At midnight the place was busy with people praying aloud to the dead man for help. There was a variety of emotions displayed Some of them were brought up in chains and tied up to the pillars and some were displaying frightening looks with their pupils rolling in every corner of their red eyes. Some screamed while others banged their heads on the floor trying to get their desires fulfilled through the man in the shrine.
I inquired from my elders as to where had they brought us at this midnight hour. This was my first introduction to a place where people suffering from amazing things visited here for spiritual healing. Some were under the spell of black magic or witch craft while others were possessed by demons
People were from many places in India. I could hear people invoking the dead man in different languages. I wondered aloud ” Did the dead man speak or understood these multiple languages when he was alive?” This man in the grave seemed to be coming from Turkey or Iraq so if at all he might have learnt languages here, besides his native langauges,could be HIndi or Urdu and a few local languages, but here people offered their requests and invocations in many of the languages.
Next visit was to Jaipur and we halted Ajmer on the way. The famous shrine of khwaja Moinuddin Chisti was a huge place and lots of emotionally charged up people turned up there regularly. We were standing near a huge metal pot, a large one, larger than my bedroom, I peeped inside it and saw, gold necklaces and ornaments thrown by hysteric women donating for a good cause perhaps but unaware if their wealth really reached the needy.
I saw a family throwing their valuable jewellery in the metal pot, bangles, goldern chains, wrist watches…” where do these things go ?” I inquired from my elders but no one knew what happens to the jewellery.
If you heap up all the wealth , the total amount dedicated to Hindu temples and Muslim shrines I wonder how much wealthier the nation wil be? A decade later when I was writing an article on the subject I was told confidentially that many people had made a big fortune out of other people’s emotion. ‘A Big Industry !’ I said to my self. After all one man’s pain is other man’s gain. What do you say?
That was a generation that has passed away, for them are the fruits of what they did and for you are the fruits of what you will do .. Surah al Baqarah, ch 2 verse 141
Author : Nisaar Nadiadwala speaks and writes on Islam and Muslims he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: The original title of article by the author was A Grave Situation Indeed which has been changed by us to A Grave Situation: Do the Dead Speak Multiple Languages