The quintupled hymn

I was searching for the right word, to picturize the beautiful call for prayer, five times a day, the Adhan. Islam has already become the religion of debates, of fear these days, and I am not going to this path anyway. To me, the evening bells from mandir (hindu temple), the evening bells from church, or the evening adhan from mosque, all are equally respectful! But as a muslim, Adhan not only reminds me of prayer, but also reminds me the first days of Islam, when all were equal, the honor of first muazzin or adhan reciter was given to Hazrat Bilal(RA), a slave! And what have we made ourselves today! We have made even different Adhans for different muslim groups!

It is said that, Dhaka is a city of mosques. We have thousands of mosques in neighborhoods, main roads, everywhere. Five times a day muazzins recite its beautiful rhythms, “Allah is greatest, I bear witness there is no God but Allah, I bear witness Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, Hasten to worship, hasten to success!” I love the beautiful part of the Fazr (early morning) salat, “prayer is better than sleep”..I am very lazy person, I cant wake up that time most of the days, but whenever this only line is recited I can’t sleep anymore!

One day, one of my friends called from Australia. Adhan (we call it Azan) was being recited, as always, on loudspeaker, my friend said, turn your voice down, how long I haven’t heard it! Yea, thats a sound pollution of course, when its started at thousands of mosques at a time, in this super duper noisy city, but is it really? No! as I repeatedly tell about the religious culture of our nation, its another example of it. Our non-muslim friends, regard Adhan as clocks! As the way, clocks in churches, in our country, when Adhan for Zuhr prayer is called, its 1 PM! simple!

Days become long, days become short, whole year round, we understand this by the changes in Adhan times. Children goes to field when its afternoon, when Aasr adhan is calling, come back home when its dusk, Magrib adhan. Don’t come home after magrib! moms from all religion, same language! When the sun is setting, first the Magrib adhan, completed, then the bells from hindu homes..no clashes at all! Thus in this peaceful country of rains, this hymn, simple, no instruments, only bare voice, only some lines, quintupled, reminds us of prayer, of that unity we have forgot in this mundane world!

A journey to the Swan Lake

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Once Upon a┬áTime.”

Listen my little kitties, listen to your granny..It was a sunny, yes, very sunny winter day..I might be old today, but the day, I still can remember it. It was the day of January, 25, 2015. The date of today. No, no, don’t think I am making up the date..It really was 25 January, your granny’s not that old yet!

It was the day of “Saraswati puja“. Nowdays, you just don’t bother about old religious programs, but once they were great festivals. People from all religions, muslims, hindus, buddhists, christians, all gathered in the puja field..Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, with her four hands (mind, sense; intellect, reasoning; imagination, creativity; self consciousness, ego), her book of knowledge, her crystal garland of inner reflection, her water of purity and her musical instrument of all creative arts and sciences; called all her pupils… And above all, mother’s SWAN, not a normal one, her beautiful, enormous, snow-white swan..You know, why swan is her vehicle? because, you give her swan mixture of water and milk, it would able to drink the milk alone…Knowledge is not only learning, but the ability to differ good and bad!

Goddess Saraswati statue by Deparment of fine arts, Dhaka University photo courtesy: http://news.priyo.com/photo/2011/feb/09/19373.html, https://www.flickr.com/photos/arrajib/8557738043/?rb=1

I know, what you are thinking bunnies, that, I am a muslim, pray five times a day, don’t believe in Gods and Goddesses, wouldn’t take a mark of sindur or chandan on my forhead, then what was my relation with the veneration, isn’t it? Yes, you are right. On that day, people also asked that. But it was our country of harmony, that’s a rare word today.

Our University of Dhaka organized a big big big festival that day, actually for many years. All the departments, from science faculty, arts, business studies..54 departments established saraswati statue, in their own way, reflecting the theme of their department..You know, there was a statue from Islamic Studies department as well! Huh, what harmonious days they were!

But if the day was that easy, may be I wouldn’t tell you this story. The huge monsters of politics swallowed the whole country..No security, nothing, anytime you might be burnt in the petrol bomb! Boom! and you would be a lump of flesh! But dear, should we let the evil win! No, we couldn’t! We decided to visit mother saraswati, might we didn’t believe her, but we believed the power of knowledge, good and bad!

After office, I came out, whole monthly salary in handbag, lots of cash in a day of chaos outside. No, I didn’t have a horse, a white one as you see in fairy tales, but I made myself entered in a crowded bus..Our university was not far, but there was a fear everywhere. Anytime you might be hurt by thugs, anytime the whole bus could turn into ashes..Yes, it was 2015, but our politics might be from stone ages! (Nah, stone age was far more humane!). Each stoppage passed, a fear for next stoppage grabbed our throat.. I was alone that day, but you know, not really..My friend was coming to the puja from a long distant district, another side of the country, only to meet all!

We, the warriors arrived..Loudspeakers, as bugles, welcome us! many other friends, seniors, juniors..We took photos, we ate foods of veneration, yes, we are muslims, but we had a wonderful thought that time. Hindu friends ate as blessings, we ate as foods! We didn’t venerate the statues, but all shared the beauty of it in hearts.

In this world of religious fights, atheism-religion fights, there was a land of fairy tale. Extremists wanted to separate us, but we didn’t separate ourselves! In the year of 2015, we won! My little children, never let this harmony drowned, let mother saraswati’s swan swim…swim across the ocean of unjust, to give us knowledge of right and wrong!

More pictures of Dhaka University, Jagannath Hall Puja, 2014, (as 2015 pictures are not published yet), http://www.somewhereinblog.net/blog/sanjoymukharjeedumb/29923031