Guptaji, the man in the picture with folded hands is Haridwar’s kind-hearted merchant of charms, amulets, trinkets and exotic amusements needed for rituals. Besides amulets, he sells curiosities.
On being asked that how would it be if India were to become a Hindu nation, he replied-“The economy will collapse,”
Such a sound knowledge of the economics of an otherwise petty businessman in a small town of India can amaze anyone. Further, on asking the reason why he simply replied-. “Look at all the merchandise in my store. If India were to become a Hindu nation, nobody will be there to make these wondrous things anymore. The crystal beads and shivlings you see on the rack are given shape and brought to life by Muslim stonecutters in Surat. The janeu (sacred thread) and the wrist strings are woven and dyed by the Muslim julahas of Banaras and Allahabad. The itar, we offer to our gods are made by Muslim perfumers of Kanauj. Even the conch shells you see here, that are blown day and night by the temple priests, are harvested from the seas, by Muslim fisherfolk from Tamil Nad. “
“Who will make these for us, Hindus, if we tell our Muslim brothers that they no longer belong here?” Guptaji wondered.
And then came his biggest revelation, The elder brother of President APJ Abdul Kalam, who lives in the southern temple town of Rameswaram, is India’s biggest harvester and processor of conch shells from the sea. Every year he supplies dozens of shells to merchants and traders in all pilgrim towns across the country on credit. But the Senior APJ is a stickler for rules. Every Diwali all the conch shell resellers, no matter wherever they might be, must pay up for the year’s supply. Because that’s the day he has to pay his obeisance to goddess Lakshmi to keep him prosperous and happy.
Incredible India! Isn’t it?
Which is why we need to remember this anonymous prayer at all times in our hearts:
“When two people admire or love each other, it is never that they have common goals or interests, but because they respect each other. Their individual flaws are so aligned that two separate entities are hinged together, perfectly. The door and the frame look so different, but together they make a good set.”