- He proudly proclaims that he had broken some teeth of his eldest child (daughter Sabera Khatun), when she was eight, when he heard her singing a popular Bollywood number. “I beat her badly, and she has learnt her lesson. I banned her from stepping out of the house because she picked up that song that was playing at some tea stall,” says Nasser, adding contentedly that nowadays, few, if anyone, in Kebala (an almost exclusively Muslim-populated town) listens to or plays music.
- “The Muslims here were very friendly and liberal. They used to come over to our houses during our festivals and pujas and take prasad. We—Hindus and Muslims—used to go and pray at the mazhar. And then some outsiders came and started meeting the Muslims here and preaching in their houses. Suddenly, a lot of money came in for renovating the old mosque and then it was completely rebuilt. A new maulana also came in seven years ago and ever since then, the Muslims here have become very radical. They barely talk to us anymore and have started calling us ‘kafirs’, a term we had never heard of. They don’t come to our houses anymore and the maulana has asked them not to even look at our gods and goddesses, leave alone taking prasad. There is a chasm between the two communities now and it feels very uncomfortable to live in Kebala any longer,”
The best way to combat regressive islam would be exposure and education, but what can be done if people voluntarily ignore those channels?