Muharram, Maryam, Mayhem – A personal update

It has been a little quiet at the Arif and Ali blog and there are a few reasons for that:

Late December, Muharram began. It’s the beginning of the Islamic calendar and where the Islamic world remembers the sacrifice of great individual Imam Hussain ibn Ali Talib. His sacrifice was indeed immense. He and his family were brutally murdered and his women were subsequently paraded and then jailed in dungeons. But it’s not for what he sacrificed that he’s remembered. It’s why he did so. He stood up to the tyrants of the time and refused to give-in to his principles knowing the heavy price that he would have to pay for it. Muharram is generally a busy time. We attend religious lectures whose theme revolve around improving ourselves, be it in our character, our worship, faith etc. Which always end with a reminder of Imam Hussain’s sacrifice for his principles.

As detailed in my last blog post, it’s in Muharram that I became a dad too. So if Muharram didn’t keep me busy enough, Maryam Fatima Vakil certainly did. You know, I was always highly fearful of being a father. The mere thought would place on me a burden of an immense responsibility. How can I give my baby the best in the world. Infact I know I can’t, but my princess (just like everybody feels for their little darlings) deserves no less. Anyhow, will worry about that some other day. Right now, little Maryam is chilling with her maternal grandparents at Mahuva, Gujrat. A sleepy little town where we originally hale from. While she is away, every little cry that harks upon my ears, I fell it’s Maryam who’s calling out for me. Whenever I come across a woman now, I wonder is this how Maryam will grow up to be? Her round face with large eyes keeps appearing in front of me again and again. It’s truly something else to be a father.

But the main reason for silence was not so much being preoccupied with Muharram commemorations nor my little bundle of joy. It was something else that was happening hundreds of miles away from Bangalore, that was giving me sleepless nights here. It was/is the Gaza crises.

Just like many of you, I too was deeply disturbed to say the least by the happenings at Gaza. From the moment the air strikes began, there was little else that I could put my mind to. Even though the cease-fire has come now, but at what cost? And for how long? I really wanted to do a blog post on Gaza, but was not sure what I wanted to convey. It would have been a rant against the Israeli aggression, the complicatedness of the situation and the weakness of Arif Vakil’s principles for doing nothing about it.

Anyway, let’s all pray that there is peace not only at Middle East, but in every nation, city, town and family. It’s little acts of selfishness, greed and injustice which left uncorrected that end up in fights and wars. Similarly it’s little acts of Love, Generosity, Kindness and Sacrifice that will lead us to our elusive World Peace. I’m sure if Hitler was guided as a child to Love, live in Peace, strive for Justice there wouldn’t have been World Wars nor the Holocaust. How swiftly time flies. We are truly in this world for a really short time indeed. There’s so much that needs to be done. To begin with, let’s re-sensitise our selves to the massive poverty around us. As a child I couldn’t bear to see a begger at the car with his hand outstreched. Now it’s so easy for me to dismiss him with a wave of a hand. (I personally do not encourage giving to beggars, there are better ways to help them, but it’s how thick-skinned that we can become is my point). Let us all be clear what are the principles that we stand for and lead our lives accordingly. If we stand for nothing, we’ll fall for anything. Let’s teach and then reteach all those in our cirucle of influence, beginning with our children that Love, Truth, Peace, Justice, Courage prevails over all the glitters around us. Most of us believe that our actions in this life will affect our life after this one. What reason have we then for not giving our best to bring about World Change? Is it required? is it Important? You bet it is. Together We Can make a difference. We Will. We Must.


  1. There was another Mayhem closer to us in Mumbai in November 2008. Let us pray to almighty to protect innocent lives and bring culprits to book.

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