The Indian community in Dallas, Texas decided to hold Eid-Diwali Milan on 9th November, and that gave me the idea that people in the Bay Area of California (where I am presently located) can also have a similar function, but including celebration of Gurpurab and Christmas too (though in advance). So I conveyed my idea to several people here, who were thrilled by it. Consequently it was decided to hold a preparatory meeting to discuss the proposal.
A meeting was held on Tuesday, 15th October, in Fremont Blvd, Fremont, California, attended by several NRIs, Pakistanis and myself, with participants discussing the idea enthusiastically.
The occasion for the meeting was this: 27th October is Diwali, 10th November is Eid-un-Nabi or Eid-al-Milad (birthday of the Prophet Mohammed ), 12th November is Gurpurab (birthday of Guru Nanak), and 25th December is Christmas.
It was decided that the name of the function will be 'Ibadatat-khana function' and it will be held annually. NRIs, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis all over USA and Canada are requested to hold it in every city annually. This year, following the lead given by the Dallas NRI community, it will be held on 9th November (Saturday), and we appeal to NRIs, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in all cities in North America to do the same on that date.
For the Bay Area, it was decided that the Chairman of the committee for preparing the function will be Tasawwar Jalali (email firstname.lastname@example.org), who is a Kashmiri who lives in San Jose. The participants in today's meeting, and any others co-opted by Tasawwar, will be members of the Executive Committee.
Ibadat Khana Fatehpur Sikri
The word 'Ibadatkhana' was the name of the House of Worship constructed by the great Emperor Akbar in Fatehpur Sikri, where people of different religions presented their views amicably and rationally. So also, in the Ibadatkhana function, we plan to hold a morning session (starting at 10 or 11 a.m.) in which speakers of different religions will explain how their religion contributed to benefit mankind. Thereafter there will be a community lunch, followed by a cultural programme.
Copies of my article 'Emperor Akbar, the real Father of the Indian Nation' (available online and on my blog Satyam Bruyat) will be distributed to all. The purpose of the function is to contribute to world peace by spreading the message of religious amity.
Ajmer Dargah Sharif
I suggested in the meeting that the community lunch be vegetarian, following the example of the Ajmer Dargah Sharif, which Emperor Akbar used to visit regularly. Though the Dargah is managed by Muslims, the meals served there (cooked in huge vessels which were donations of the Mughal Emperors) are always vegetarian out of respect for the large number of Hindu devotees, many of whom may be vegetarian.
People of all religions are requested to participate, and send their valuable suggestions to Tasawwar, on his email id mentioned above.
Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.
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