Compassion – 1
The whole world is having trouble with ISIS, terrorism and separation of Muslims from terrorism. For me, life was much simpler when I was growing up. My town, Vandavasi, has both Hindus and Muslims in equal percentage. Christians are the minorities in our town, yet we never felt like minorities. I mean, we are never treated like one. During my school days, I had friends from every religion, every caste and every background. Except, at that age, I never knew that we are supposed to be different from each other.
Then the 1990s happened. Suddenly religion and caste became a big thing in determining who your friends are. Even if they are your friends, “trusting them” is different. To be honest, it never bothered me, for some reason, religion and caste had no effect on me. I believe in Jesus Christ and I believe in the humanity He created.
And I have some wonderful friends from other religions and I have some wonderful memories too. So, when people started using the word “terrorism” as a synonym for “being Muslim”, I was very bothered. The Muslims I knew hated terrorism as much I do.
Once I ended up antagonising an entire church, because one of the believers said, “Though Abdul Kalam (former President and probably the most respected Indian of our generation) is a Muslim, he is loyal to our country” and I disagreed with his statement strongly. It meant as if a Muslim being loyal to India is an exceptional thing.
I have many Muslim friends and I have taught many Muslim students. Sometimes I am asked by others – do you know if they are loyal to our country? My answer is – why should I? Why should someone be asked to prove his loyalty to his country just because he belongs to a different religion or caste?
So, when Madras, our state capital was flooded for the last few weeks, my heart was filled with joy to hear that many Muslim brothers are helping many people who are stranded, and what I heard from some of those who were helped was – they got the best help from their Muslim brethren.
Whether it was food or dress or any other help, the best was given by their Muslim brothers and without any fanfare or selfies or any sort of advertisements to their generosity. In the shadows. Behind the curtains. Their compassion to the suffering human beings is such a beautiful thing in this world torn apart by terrorism and ISIS.
And I am hearing the same people who were critical of Muslims, uttering admiring words about the generosity of their Muslim “brothers”.