Unusual People, Unusual Events in India


Dr Ravi P Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

6 Jan 2018 – There is an institution called Gandhi Bhawan in Delhi University which as the name suggests promotes ideas of Gandhi especially to the students of the University and its adjoining Colleges. The students who are generally in their twenties have heard about Gandhi but do not know too much beyond the dates of his birth and his assassination (2 October, 30 January respectively). In addition, regular Yoga classes are also held in the Bhawan. Occasionally, some events are organised where students draw pictures or write some aspects of Yoga and Gandhi in the Bhawan itself.

Recently one such event was organised for the students to write something in a maximum of about 100 words or draw a picture of Gandhi. The three best posters were put up for display.

One of the students wrote that he used to be very angry with his parents and sister at home but after he learnt about Gandhi’s Non- Violence he was able to control his anger and became a ‘good son’ and ‘good brother’ to his sister. Another student wrote that her hostel room was unclean and disorganised with books and clothes thrown about carelessly. Again thanks to Gandhi, the student learnt how to keep her room clean and tidy. A third poster drew a Yoga Asan (exercise) that helped to reduce physical and mental tensions.

Another student — a 25 year old girl who has already done her Masters and is now pursuing PhD has the following beautiful ideas:

“Alone I can say, together we can talk
Alone I can smile, together we can laugh
Alone I can enjoy, together we can celebrate..”

I have added another maxim:

“Alone I can think, together we can discuss.”

Buy a ticket for Muscat (Middle East) and go to Mumbai. Interesting occurrence of a passenger on an Air India flight who was wrongly put by Air India staff on a flight going to Mumbai instead of Muscat. Fortunately while the flight was about to take off, the passenger realised that he was on a wrong flight due to a cabin announcement. The flight was stopped and the passenger was put on the correct flight that was still to depart.

A person sells pens, pencils, glue sticks, stationery and sundry other items near one of the banks in Delhi University. He doesn’t have a regular place where he can sell these items used by students or teachers of the University — he has occupied a small space less than 15 square feet in area on the staircase leading to this bank. Since these items are used by all University fraternity he makes a reasonable amount of profit despite selling at reduced prices.

Once I also needed some stationery and went to his mini shop. After having bought what I needed at astonishingly low price, I casually asked him how he was supporting himself from the profits made in his mini shop. He smiled and said he did some other errands.

My curiosity was aroused by his reply made in a rather casual manner. I asked him what other job he was doing. He felt a little hesitant but when I reiterated my question, he replied that he was working in a Hindu temple also that required him to clean the temple and garland the statues of the Gods placed in the temple. I said, “That is nothing unusual, it is good you are working part time in a temple.”

“Yes, what is unusual about my part time job is that I am a Muslim. Muslims are not required to work in a Hindu temple and enjoy their work”, he replied smilingly.

Indeed his part time job of keeping the temple and the  Hindu deities clean was indeed unusual. We need more such people who can transcend beyond the limits placed by their faiths and bring about inter-relious harmony that is so necessary in the violent world that we are living in.

To celebrate the New Year’s Eve, we decided to go to a restaurant which was a biggish one but did not have too many customers at the time we arrived there for dinner. In a nearby table there was a young couple with a small infant being carried  by a girl who appeared to be the sister of the young mother. The family ordered what they wanted for dinner. Meanwhile the young woman (call her Kajol) was strolling around in the restaurant with the baby in her arms.  The dinner was served but Kajol picked up some item from the table and continued strolling with the baby. Then the mother ate something and picked up the baby while Kajol sat down and started eating. Seeing this situation a young woman who had come to the restaurant with a young man, her companion, offered to pick up the baby so that the mother could eat sitting at the table.

The situation was interesting and it became more so when one of the waiters of the restaurant offered to pick up the baby so that the others could eat  properly. It appeared that everyone seemed to be enjoying carrying and strolling with the baby to allow the customers including the baby’s family to eat leisurely.

To conclude this short write-up on unusual occurrences, I read in the newspapers on the New Year’s Day that a Pakistani family and their four year old child who was suffering from an unusual heart problem had got a visa to come to Delhi so that the child could be admitted to one of the leading hospitals of Delhi for the necessary surgery.

India and Pakistan have had very strained relations with terrorist and violent activities across the international border for the last seven decades since Pakistan was created by vivisection of India in 1947. Let us hope the young four year old child is able to create a sense of harmony and peace between the two nations.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment, an educationist and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University.  ravipbhatia@gmail.com


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Jan 2018.

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