Home of Harmony
|Celebration of Diwali at Mahdi Bagh|
The latest edition of The Week brings us a delightful article titled ‘Harmony has a home’ written by Sravani Sarkar. It tells us about “India’s smallest known religious sect (that) has set a unique example of peaceful, disciplined living.” The Mahdi Bagh Institution is a tiny community of progressive Muslims who belong to the Atba-e-Malak Badar, the smallest known religious sect in India. The Week focuses on the Nagpur settlement of this community though they have branches in Ujjain, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad as well as California and Sharjah. They are essentially Muslims but with some differences. They believe that salvation is possible only through the daee, the community’s infallible spiritual master.
The Mahdi Bagh Institution in Nagpur
is spread over 25 acres. Each family has a separate residence. But there are no
boundary walls between them. The houses are never locked. It is like a private
township with its own traffic system, water and power supply, rainwater
harvesting facility, dispensary and a community hall. They have a swimming
pool, a fishing pond, golf course, cricket and football grounds, tennis court,
volleyball and badminton courts and indoor games facilities. The entire campus
is maintained meticulously and it is a kind of paradise on earth.
A newly wed couple
The people are guided by the principles of peace, simplicity, love, brotherhood, gender equality and respect for all faiths. Not every child born to the members automatically becomes a member of this community. The child has to grow up and make a choice as an adult, a choice made on the basis of understanding and accepting the community’s fundamental spiritual beliefs and principles.
is neither exclusivist nor expansionist. They accept individuals from outside
through marriage. But once again the individual has to make a personal choice,
Maulana Amiruddin Malak Saheb, present spiritual head
I have always believed that if the systems are good the individuals will be good too. In other words, if our socio-political setup encourages compassion and generosity, there will be compassion and generosity around. People like to be good. But they need the support of the systems. Why is there so much evil around? My firm conviction is that our systems foster evils. Just look at the present India. Isn’t it founded on hatred and mutual distrust? Aren’t we told and taught to hate rather than love? Aren’t we taught to dig up ancient hatreds and hug the blood-hungry ghosts?
Institutions like the one highlighted above show us that goodness is not necessarily a dream.
PS. All pictures above are from The Week.