Dearest Darling Friends,
If you are a Muslim and suddenly you feel alienated in a country that you always believed is yours, take a pause.
If you are a Hindu and you believe, cows are being slaughtered every where in India, take a pause.
If you are a Dalit and you feel, you get more insults than opportunities, take a pause.
If you are a Maratha and believe, you need reservations to do well, take a pause.
Look around. Look at your friends and well wishers from different religions. Think about the fun you had and the glorious moments you shared. Think about the love that was showered on you when you visited each other’s homes. Think about the support you gave each other and the business you did with each other.
DO NOT BELIEVE what you read on Social media and even the newspapers who publish anything that will get them eyeballs.
Do not trust what the politicians tell you. They will say anything to make the opponents look bad and they will say anything that they believe will translate into votes.
Trust the good stories around.
You do not ask a customer which religion they follow, do you? You welcome them with a smile.
You do not ask your doctor which religion they follow, do you? You are open and transparent with them.
You do not ask your teacher which religion they follow, do you? You listen to them intently and they are your heroes.
You do not ask the bank manager which religion they follow, do you? You thank them profusely as they give you the money you need.
People who cheated you of your hard earned money, do they belong to any particular religion? NO, I guess.
People who broke your heart, do they belong to any particular religion? NO, I guess.
People who spoke bad about you, do they belong to any particular religion? NO, I guess.
I trust Taher Bhai (Chiniwala) with my life. He is one of the purest souls I have ever met. My wife and my daughter both tie rakhi to him with a lot of pride.
Iris Babu loves me as much as my mother would and calls me her fourth child. I feel blessed and overwhelmed with her love.
Mathias is my lawyer and my best friend from school is Jatinder Pal Singh.
That is the truth. Every Indian has grown up being influenced by people from all faiths and people from all backgrounds of life. We are incomplete without each other. We are what we are because of each other.
A Dev Patel, an A R Rahman and a Danny Boyle come together to create a masterpiece called Slumdog Millionaire. This is my India.
Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa come together to create musical master pieces for movies like Kal ho na ho and Dil Chahta Hai. Ahaaa, how many moments of ecstasy have they gifted us. This is my India.
Through movies like Rang De Basanti and Lagaan, an Aamir Khan gave us such outstanding patriotic feelings that linger even today. This is my India.
My school principal Elizabeth Mukherjee nurtured me to be who I am today. My dearest friend Jessica Simoes has devoted her entire life to educating children and was conferred the best teacher in India award at the hands of both Pranab Mukherjee and Narendra Modi. This is my India.
Sheikh Salim Gafur, a bus driver from Gujarat, has been awarded the second highest civilian honour for gallantry for steering the vehicle through a hail of bullets fired by terrorists to save lives of on-board 52 Amarnath pilgrims. This is my India.
Trust the good people in your life and the good stories from your life. Today, our country needs people who believe in the following words from this song that was written over 50 years ago.
ऐ मेरे प्यारे वतन, ऐ मेरे बिछड़े चमन
तुझपे दिल क़ुरबान
तेरे दामन से जो आए, उन हवाओं को सलाम
चूम लूँ मैं उस ज़ुबाँ को, जिसपे आए तेरा नाम
सबसे प्यारी सुबह तेरी, सबसे रंगीं तेरी शाम
तुझपे दिल क़ुरबान
तू ही मेरी आरज़ू, तू ही मेरी आबरू
तू ही मेरी जान
We must transcend all limiting and harmful identities that destroys the essence of who we actually are. We must rescue India from zealots and rediscover the spirit of India that promises – Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaha –
With love, prayers and exceptional wishes,
Imagine, when we wake up, we are given only what we had thanked for.