Lessons in Secularism for India

Lesson No. 1

Firoze Mohomed Shakir (left)
Firoze Mohomed Shakir lives in Mumbai.  I have been haunting him like a ghost in some vague quest for quite a time in the virtual places I was permitted access.  His photographs, for example.  What drew me to him initially was his poetry which I used to read via indiblogger.in.  The poems were entirely different from the ones I had ever come across.  They looked initially like prose broken into arbitrary lines.  As I focused more I realized that secularism has as much hope in India as Sufism. Below is his latest poem that I have copy-pasted from his status update in Facebook.  The postscript also belongs to him.

[Dear Firoze, I hope you don’t mind my using you as a lesson. Personally, I’d rather be a Hindu (to use your words) than be religious!]

I Would Rather Be a Hindu Than Be a Wahhabi
i would rather be called a kafir 
than be a wahabbi 
i would rather be a hindu 
than be a wahhabi 
both options 
close to humanity 
one with 
my cultural inheritance 
of peace and brotherhood 
mutual tolerance sanity 
no i distance myself 
from your hate filled 
a shia pandit 
i am 
is enough for me 
these are my thoughts 
you dont have to agree 
at least here in india 
my lord is not 
held in captivity

I say this with pride I am a good Muslim simply because my parentage , my country my friends made me so.. I distance myself from those adherents that allow one Muslim to kill another Muslim.. yes I am a Hindu Shia.. A kafir and proud of what I am.....


  1. Even I am fond of Shakir sir's photography, his prose and poems. He's off Indiblogger now and I tried catching up with his work on Flickr. Thanks for sharing this one. He is a gem as a human.

    1. Roohi, you are my lesson no.2 ...
      I don't know why Shakir Saab chose to leave indiblgger. But I have managed to extract a permit to visit him when i'm in Mumbai :)
      Cheers to Harmony

    2. Thank you Tom you are our teacher too...we love you .. unconditionally .. thank you Roohi and all my Indiblogger friends ,, take care ,, thank you Ranvin Renie

    3. I learn from you all. And am grateful.

  2. Replies
    1. You know, Ravish, I would love to have some of our politicians acquiring some of this thoughtfulness.

  3. I am a great admirer of Firoz bhai ever since I came to know him some five years back. And I'm not talking here of his photography alone, it's more about the grand person that he is! Wish there were more like him in India, on second thoughts why only India? People like him are a need of the hour the whole world over! My love, regards and gratitude...

  4. Thank you Tom sir, for presenting him here alongside that wonderful poem of his!
    A great tribute indeed!

    1. He deserves much more, Amit ji, as you're aware.

  5. A wonderful poem Matheikal and a very deep thought too ..


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