Friday, July 22, 2016

CPL T20 2016 - Dev's Caribbean cricketing experience

International cricket match referee, Devdas Govindjee shares his Caribbean travel experience with all the blog readers. I was joking with Dev, that he has in fact become a travel correspondent for this blog.I am so blessed to be acquainted with such a wonderful human being who loves to impart and share his knowledge and experiences with the rest of the world.


It has been quite a long break for me from sending out a mail updater- since my return from the U/19 Cricket world Cup in Bangladesh I have had shorter stints in the UAE and then in Zimbabwe & then a lovely break back in Port Elizabeth.

The trip out to CPL 2016 started last Monday 27th June with flights out of Port Elizabeth to Heathrow London- from Heathrow had to make our way to Gatwick for the flight out to Antigua for a short stop-over & then into St Kitts.

By the time I settled into the room at the lovely Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino it was 7.30 with my luggage following at around 11.30 pm – that would mean it would have been Wednesday morning back in South Africa ( 6 hours time difference)

Wednesday was taken up with visits to Warner Park for the venue inspections and then an early evening meeting with the two teams that were playing the first game here on Thursday 30 th.
Warner Park is the home of the St kitts & Nevis Patriots which this year is being captained by Faf Du Plessis of South Africa- they also have Tabraiz Shamsi the unorthodox left- arm spinner & PE’s own Jon Jon Smuts playing and have SA’s Eric Simons as coach .

Since all of that, there has now been 3 matches completed and the 4th and final match here this evening at 7. Everything has gone wonderfully well and we have had days off on Friday as well as yesterday and of course match days as well if the match starts only at 7 pm. The Sat Match was at 12 and Sunday we had a 4 pm match.

It was wonderful to get back into the city centre of Basseterre- the Port Zante area in particularly vibrant on the days when a cruise liner docks with all the Indian owned jewelry stores doing excellent business with the tourists – depending on which ship is docked they could be from the USA or other parts of the World.

Sun 17 July 2016

This mail was started while I was still in St Kitts but never got down to completing it for various reasons- mostly as a result of the busy schedule that I have had.

After St Kitts and the matches there, we left on Wed 6 July for Georgetwon Guyana- the home of the Guyana Amazon Warriors and the stadium is called Providence Stadium.

It was my first visit to Guyana and it is fascinating that Guyana is actually on the mainland of South America! Please google the map !! It is Suriname as Eastern neighbours, Venezuela as Western & Brazil as Southern neighbours. It is the only English Speaking country in South America but forms part of the Caribbean.!

Georgetwon has it’s own charm but do not expect to find it anything like a typical West Indies Island- it has more of a colonial city feel with colonial names and statues still a reminder of the links they all maintain with the Crown!
Our hotel was the lovely Marriott overlooking the ocean but also a reminder that Georgetown is a River port with the Demarara flowing into the Atlantic.

Found some interesting walks that we could do each morning along the Seawall remembering that much of Guyana is below sea level.

Each Island /Country in the Caribbean has it’s own currency as well as it’s own exchange rate so one has to get used to having all sorts of Dollars/Coins in one’s wallet.

The atmosphere in the Providence Stadium was unbelievable- having done 30+ IPL matches over the years, this is by far noisier and the locals come out to support in their thousands- getting into and out of the stadium without our Police Outriders would be virtually impossible as supporters line the streets cheering and
waving to their own heroes – Guyana celebrated it’s Golden Jubilee Independence earlier in the year and everywhere the flags of the country can be seen as well as symbols of the Jaguar which is the national animal. The Green/Yellow & Red colours are draped everywhere!.

On Wednesday 13 July we left Georgetown and headed for Kingston Jamaica- we traveled aboard Caribbean Airlines with a stop in Port of Spain Trinidad then onto Kingston Jamaica.

I had been to Kingston a few years ago to do a West Indies vs Ireland Series of matches so it was really good to check once again into the Pegasus Hotel.

Directly across the road is the delightful Emancipation Park- I simply love this concept & firmly believe that each city should provide a similar area for it’s residents- the park has an immaculate 500 Meter Walking/Jogging Track with clear signs indicating to walk only in one direction- from early morning people walk or jog with the beautifully kept flowers/shrubs/trees providing such a stunning setting of peace & outdoor pleasure.

Again this mail has been interrupted and finally I am hoping to complete it today ( Tue 19 July).

In the interim we had a day off on Sunday & headed out of Kingston on a very modern Highway (Toll Road) to Ocho Rios – this is about 75 kms away – we were to experience something very special- a visit to the Dunn River Falls & further on the Island Gulley Falls or the Blue hole.

It turned out to be one of the most amazing days I have ever experienced- the Dunn River Falls has everything organized down to selling a visitor the necessary pair of water shoes and provide lockers for clothes as well as a guide to take groups through the challenge of climbing into the 600ft falls – starting at the base of the falls we were hand-in-hand forming  daisy chains we made our way through one area to another – swimming gear is essential because all traversing is through water and via footholds on rocks- it was simply fantastic – with no cameras allowed unless you have a water proof one I did mange to get some pics as one of the umpires had a water proof cover for his mobile phone. They do sell you a video/pics if so desired of course.

The Blue Hole was just as beautiful in the White River Valley and is a hidden gem - paradise in the rain forest
mountain regions. The Cascades of Water falls gives one a Blue hole of 20-25 ft depth for jumping into from various perches and even a zip line fall into it.

There are some pics on my fb page to try to give you an idea of this experience- but it does no justice to it at all.

Anyway- there is one more match here in Jamaica tomorrow evening before our team of match officials ( the other team now in St Kucia having done Trinidad & Barbados) head off to Fort Lauderdale in Florida – we will fortunately have about 6 free days as the 1st match in Fort Lauderdale is only on 28 July.

There has been much hype about this new venture – the first time the CPL taking matches outside of the Caribbean in its 4 year history and playing on mainland USA- the interest has been phenomenal and with double headers also on the schedule it should provide the cricket-starved ex-pat communities something to look forward to. I have been to the venue at the Central Broward Regional Park (CBRP) before and it is a wonderful facility so we are all looking forward to being there on a historic occasion.

I have one of my best friends in West Palm Beach which is only an hour away so am sure there will be lots of opportunities for getting to know Fort Lauderdale over the next week. On 1 August I head back to the Caribbean to St Kitts for the play-offs and the final which incidentally will be played on my birthday- fine way to celebrate so far away from home.

I return to SA on 11 August so am now well over the mid-way stage of my 2016 CPL experience.

To view pictures of Dev's trip, feel free to visit his facebook page!!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Bisexuality - A growing trend in the Muslim community

24 June 2016


Dear friends,

My Facebook page is aimed at bridging cultural differences between people, relaying news and information
and of course interacting with many people from all over so that I can learn about their customs and
traditions.If someone out there needs assistance with regards to medication etc I will help...

My Facebook page is not a dating site.. neither is it a matchmaking site and if you going to inbox me asking
me for my mobile number or asking me on a dinner date or coffee date or a movie date.I will ignore you.
I was emptying my message request folder this evening and I came across this message that was sent
to me in March this year. I am speechless and disgusted.

'Salaams. Firstly this profile was created to allow me to be discreet. The profile picture is not me. I am a 

Muslim woman from Emmerentia. I am bisexual. I am equally attracted to females. My husband knows this
and he is happy about the sexual possibilities we can encounter. You are a very gorgeous attractive woman.
My husband is attracted to you as well.You have piercing eyes. Would you be interested in engaging in a
bisexual relationship with us at our home. We are a young couple, early 30's. Inbox me your number for
further details'. To the woman who sent this message to me.. please do me a favour. Sit down and ask
yourself is this the lifestyle of a Muslim. Will Allah be pleased with you for engaging in such activities. Allah
has blessed you with a partner, a husband He made exclusively for you. Why in the world do you wish to
share him with someone else in a haraam way....Whilst I am definitely not a perfect human being.. I'm so
sorry to burst your bubble but I don't engage in activities that will direct my soul towards evil..... Always be
mindful of your Lord... He is all knowing...all seeing.......I am actually deeply saddened and aggrieved that
such activities are occurring within our communities....

Within my scope of practice, I have encountered many individuals who have approached my colleagues
and I for help and advice with regards to their sexuality. Some time back, a Muslim man contacted us via
facebook messaging stressed at the fact that he is leading a dual life and of course needed help. I am not
the type of person who judges another persons sexuality. It is totally their own prerogative. What a person
does in their own private time is purely their own business.But what surprised me was the fact that this
gentleman got married to the love of his life many years ago and they have a few kids together. A few years
ago his wife decided to go into full parda that he supported. Her attitude towards intimacy changed and that
is when he steered into a world unknown out of curiosity. He has admitted to enjoying sexual relationships
with many men to the point of cross dressing as a woman and enjoying a guys night out at a club. In his
opinion there are many Muslim men out there who are closet bisexuals hailing from super wealthy families.
He wants to be in an open marriage where both he and his wife can have multiple sexual partners.I am of 
the opinion that the more access  people have to pornography through their smart phones, more men and
women would steer towards fulfilling their primitive instincts of lust and inner sexual desire. The scary part
is that how many kids and teenagers out there have access to such filth. A few days ago I was told that
around 30 teenagers were caught in the neighbourhood for taking drugs. How were the drugs obtained?
Well, female students residing in the informal settlements were sending pornographic pictures to these
young men at school. In return these naive young men had to purchase drugs from them. So its a case of,
if you want to see a naked women in an erotic, seductive position, buy a packet of drugs from me first. I often
wonder why does a kid of 6 and 7 years need a cellphone. Why do today's parents make their kids too big
for their boots. Most community leaders are residing in a bubble pretending that everything is just perfect.
I think its about time that these community leaders burst their own bubbles and start addressing these
pertinent issues occurring within our communities rather than sweeping it under the carpet as always. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

We have lost the plot when it comes to Etiquette and Respect

On Friday I was quite disgusted at the behaviour of a sixteen year old Muslim boy who frequented the pharmacy to collect medication for his parents. His attitude towards my colleague was absolutely appalling. He was rude and abrupt and refused to answer important questions despite my colleague responding to him in a polite manner. At first I listened, then I could not take it any longer and I decided to step in. All I said was, "Why did you go to the mosque to pray Juma, when your attitude towards others is absolutely disgusting. If you cant respect the people who are trying to assist you, please leave." His face turned red and he then decided to keep his big mouth shut.

At the beginning of Ramadhaan , a 14 year old boy smacked an elderly man because he was reprimanded for making a noise in the masjid. This kind of disruptive bahaviour unfortunately continued for the entire duration of Ramadhaan. A few days ago, kids vandalized a door in the masjid whilst playing around with cold drink bottles. In addition to this they also vandalized a few cars outside the masjid. I think the parents of these kids should be held accountable for the damages caused. Clearly these parents have not brought up their kids in a disciplined manner thereby having no control over them. I don't blame the kids. Kids simply imitate the behaviour of their parents. I was told that the parents of some of these kids have a total disrespect for the masjid as well.Many of these parents are constantly fidgeting and playing around on their mobile phones whilst their kids run a mock disturbing the prayers of people who frequent the masjid sincerely..I think there is a total lack of discipline among the youth due to bad parenting. I think kids below the age of 7 years should not be allowed to frequent the masjid. Kids older than seven years should stand next to their fathers so that they can be properly supervised. The problem with parenting today is this... when a person complains to the parent about the child's bad behaviour or inappropriate actions, the parent becomes defensive. Instead of acknowledging the child's fault and taking action against the child, the parent chooses to fight with the person who's car was vandalized for example. This is why we are producing a generation of kids who are rotten in terms of behaviour and etiquette..Stop taking your child's part if they are wrong. Call me old school but I think corporal punishment should have never ever been abolished....

Teachers are not parents. Your home is your first school. I remember my childhood as though it was yesterday. Whilst dad was not very much the disciplinarian mom definitely was. Etiquette and manners was instilled into us from a very young age. It was almost as though home was an etiquette school. We were taught how to eat, how to sit gracefully, how to behave in the company others. Mom wasn't shy at all to reprimand us in front of anyone. It was her way of teaching us a lesson. Today, when I look back I am not at all sorry for the discipline that was instilled in me. 
Let's leave the children alone, our grown ups lack etiquette and discipline so how will the kids learn good habits. A friend of ours told us yesterday that a lady in pardah almost caused an accident by skipping the stop street. Instead of acknowledging her mistake, she decided to stick out her middle finger for the other motorists in full view of everyone including kids. So on the one hand you acting holy by wearing pardah and on the other hand your behaviour is in total disagreement to Islamic etiquette. To these women my message is clear, first go learn about etiquette and then act all holy by wearing pardah. Behaving badly in public and wearing pardah don't go hand in hand. That's not all. Ramadhaan is a time of change. It is the spring season in the Islamic calendar. It is a time to start afresh and mend your ways. But clearly this does not apply to everyone. A car with "holy" occupants were driving down main reef road full speed, trying to get home on time to break fast. Instead of exercising patience, the driver decided that he was going to hoot and shout at other drivers on the road, shooting through red traffic signals and in the process not only endangering his own life but endangering the lives of others. People like this make me laugh. You might be wearing Islamic attire, showing the whole world that you are a Muslim but your etiquette in public is pathetic, totally against the teachings of Islam. Allah did not say that you need to behave like a hooligan on the roads during Ramadhaan. Plan your day and try getting home on time. If you cant get home on time, break your fast in the car. Islam is practical. It has always been. The followers have made the religion an impractical one.....

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Deepak Wadhwa - A man on a mission

For those of you who do not know who Deepak Wadhwa is, well he is an Indian television actor and model. He has performed many roles in various Hindi television shows, like Dhoondh Legi Manzil Humein, Ishq Kills,Qubool Hai,Code Red. As of July 2015, he has done his most recent role in Aahat (season 6). Currently, he is playing a lead role in the Star Plus drama Meri Tamanna, a program that I am thoroughly enjoying. The sports based serial has been garnering positive responses from audiences throughout the world. He has featured as a cameo in Madhur Bahndarkar's "Calender Girls". In terms of his modelling career, he won the title of Mr. India International 2008. Apart from this, he has also featured in many commercials as well as advertisements for various international brands. It gives me an immense amount of pleasure to be able to interview the charming and dashing Mr. Deepak Wadhwa who is an extremely humble and down to earth human being. I had lots of fun conducting this interview via whatsapp audio.Read on to find our more in his own words.

Nationality: Indian
Favourite Indian cuisine: Home made food is the best. I do enjoy Chinese cuisine
Favourite cologne: Gucci Guilty

1. Firstly Deepak, thank you so much for taking time out to be interviewed by me on such short notice. Tell me a little more about your family background and life from childhood until present? Did you formally go to an acting school? Where did you study?

Well, its my pleasure Sumayya. In terms of my family background, I have a mom and two elder brothers. Both are married and both have kids and of course I am also married now. When I was a child I wanted to be a cricketer (laughing). I guess every child in India wants to be a cricketer at any one point in their lives. Anyway, when I got a little older, I realized that I would like to be famous, I mean really famous. Until now whenever I watch movies, I tell myself that this is where I want to be. I want to be on the silver screen. So what I am involved with right now in terms of my career is in actual fact a bridge that will allow me to see the end of the tunnel.. ultimately being on the silver screen.With regards to acting school, I did not attend any acting school as such. I have attended many theatre workshops for a couple of months and I performed in a number of plays before getting my first break in the serial " Dhoond legi Manzil Humein" 

2.Did you always wish to be a part of the acting industry? Has your family been supportive of your career choices?

After completing my 12th grade, I wanted to be a part of the modelling and acting industry but then at the same time I wanted to study. I still love studying and if time permits I would like to enhance myself further in terms of doing a few courses.. Any way I got into B tech and I told myself that I needed to complete my engineering degree first and thereafter I could do whatever I wanted to. After acquiring my degree I got my portfolio done. I then entered the Mr India 2008 competition. I got through, reached the finals and then got the title of Mr. India International 2008. I also made it in the top 5. My family honestly wish well for me. Like all other families, parents want their kids to have some kind of stability. The same applied to me. For the first 3 years during my modelling career, my dad wanted me to rather be a part of a stable work environment and encouraged me to rather take up a job instead of modelling. But at the same time he never prevented me from modelling. When I eventually got the lead role in the television series "Dhoond legi Manzil Humein" that's the time dad was very happy and content with regards to the career path I had chosen. I'll give you a fine example, whenever he use to meet people, he would say that my son is an engineer, please find him a good job. After I started shooting for the television series, he started telling people that my son is an actor (laughing). So that was quite a nice feeling.

After being in the modelling industry for quite a while in New Delhi, I decided that I required a shift in career.I needed to get into acting. That's when I met my Guru Dilip Shankarjee. Under his wings I got my theatre workshops done.He was there for me supporting me throughout. I did a few plays as well with him.Then of course whilst doing the plays I worked on enhancing myself in terms of being a better actor. One day I got a call from Mumbai to audition. I sent my audition from Delhi. I got finalized for my first television show  "Dhoond legi Manzil Humein". Before getting my first break I need to mention that I went to Mumbai 4 to 5 times to audition for the leading roles but I didn't get it. Eventually of course I managed to succeed by acquiring my first break on television.It was a lovely moment for me.

3. Tell me a little bit about your modelling career. 

On completing my engineering degree, Oracle offered me a job. I turned down the job and instead got a portfolio done. I then entered the Mr India 2008 competition. I got through, reached the finals and then got the title of Mr. India International. 

4. How do you balance your personal life and your career? I am sure that you have a huge female fan following. Has this ever had an impact on your marriage?

In terms of balancing my personal life and my career, I must say that I am really fortunate to have a wife who is extremely understanding. At the same time I have realized that whenever we have free time, we need to make the best of it. We should live every moment of life to the fullest. You never know when its your last honestly.  Whenever I am not working, even though I am tired or had a long day, I make sure I spend time with my wife. Take her out for coffee or to the movies. We usually travel a lot. We try taking short trips every 3 months. And every 6 months we either take a trip within India to a region we have not seen before or we travel abroad. The female fan following has to be there. But it has never ever been a problem. My wife is quite understanding and hence there has never ever been any negative impact on my marriage. 

5. I have heard through the grape vine that many actors and actresses are cast in movies or serials through couch casting. Do you think that this kind of practice is occurring within the industry? .

The casting couch does exist everywhere in all industries, be it the movie industry or the corporate world as such. People accept the casting couch practice in order to attain a promotion. Ultimately it depends on you as an individual. Do you want to attain success through couch casting or do you wish to attain success through hard work. There are situations though where individuals have tried extremely hard to achieve success with no avail and hence the only route that was left for them in order to pursue a dream was through couch casting. Personally I am not at all in favour of couch casting. I believe that a person needs to persevere and have patience in order to acquire success. 

6.What has been your most memorable experience in your life thus far?

Getting the title of Mr. India International 2008 was a very proud moment. My father was sitting right there in the audience, watching me jumping with joy and also I was among the top 5. There was definitely no looking back. I did ramp shows, print shoots, commercials. Whatever brands were there I covered it all in New Delhi where I was doing my modelling. 

7. If you could be granted one wish and have any skill or talent in the world, what would it be?

If I could be granted one wish, I would really like to be able to dance like Hrithik Roshan (laughing). He is such a brilliant dancer. He is absolutely amazing. If my wish is not granted in terms of dancing then I would love to have Ranveer Singh's energy. Oh my God what energy the man has. 

8. Who or what inspires you?

With regards to inspiration I would say that the moment you step out of your house, everyone around you is an inspiration, be it the person in the car, the person in an auto or the person at the bus stop. You will find inspiration to push yourself.Whenever I go to a park, I see elderly people in their 50's and 60's walking and jogging. A lot of the times they are more alive and energetic than individuals who are younger than them. Of course, whenever I watch any movie, I am inspired to work harder in order to have a meaningful place within the acting industry which is competitive. Movies inspire me to work harder in order for me to be on the silver screen in the near future. 

9. What are your favourite websites?

There are no particular websites that I follow.I do however keep a check on travel blogs or articles on unexplored places as my wife and I both enjoy travelling a lot. 

10. Do you follow a strict eating plan or are you a gym fanatic? Is it necessary to be physically fit if you are part of the movie industry?

I am quite regular at the gym.I am not a gym fanatic though. It depends entirely on the project. If I get a project that entails me having a certain body type, then I will definitely frequent the gym more often in order to obtain the physique required. I also think that everyone out there needs to be physically fit,not only the people in the movie industry. You either go to the gym or jog in a park but being physically fit is important for everyone' health and wealth being. 

11. Who is your favourite actor, actress and singer in Bollywood? What qualities do they have that make them special to you?

I cant really say one name. I'd say Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor. In terms of qualities I think Amitabhjee at his age still has the hunger to deliver award winning performances.Wow, that's definitely inspiring. Shahrukh Khan, he is 50 and I read somewhere whilst doing the promotional song for the movie "Fan" he attained a knee injury. But if you look at the song video and view his performance it is flawless as though no injury was sustained. wow, how can he dance so well despite an injury. Ranveer Singh leaves me speechless. His energy is enormous. Ranbir Kapoors performance in Rockstar made me a die hard fan and of course Barfi. mmm actresses I'd say Vidya Balan and Deepika Padukone. Deepika has grown so much since her debut movie " Om Shanti Om' and with every film she is getting better and better. Singers, since the age of 10 or 15, I've been listening to KK, Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Mohit Chauhan and recently Arijit Singh.They are all brilliant. Up until now I still listen to the private albums that Sonu Nigam sang in. KK's songs I could connect to as they were all the college type songs. so yes, he is my favourite and I have been to many of his concerts and I'd definitely like to do it again.

12. In your opinion, what qualities does a person require in order to be a part of the acting industry?

 Of course you need to be talented for a start. As an actor you don't really need to be a good looking guy or a girl. You can be a normal average looking person who can adopt a character in a script.I think everyone is welcome in the acting industry if you have the ability to act. So you need to be talented and of course you must be able to put in a lot of hard work and persevere. 

13. Define success. What does success mean to you?
I can not define success because success is a relative term for me in the sense that I cant say that at any point of my life I am successful because the day I say that I am successful will be the day I'll stop improving in life, or going up in life. I think for me growing is important, the journey is important rather than saying that today I am successful.Even if I am working 24/7 non stop at a stretch for long periods of time, or even if I am a part of the A league group of actors on the silver screen, I will not say that I am successful. I will simply say yes I have achieved a lot but still there is a long way to go. We need to better ourselves all the time in all spheres of life.

14. Give me your opinion about plastic surgery? Many models win beauty pageants and then head straight into Bollywood. Most of them undergo drastic plastic surgery as well as skin lightening treatments in order to conform to a certain look. What is your opinion about actors and actresses becoming successful after they have undergone cosmetic surgery? 

Plastic surgery is a very individual choice. I personally do not support it for myself but of course if somebody wants to go for it then its totally their choice. I feel that I have this face and this body that was given to me by God and I shouldn't really play around with it. My body is a God given gift.

15.  Where do you see yourself five years from now? What are your plans for the future?

I don't think that far ahead. I live for the moment. Working hard each day and simply taking each day as it comes. Where my hard work takes me I have no idea. Of course I would want to be known as the most successful actor in the industry at some point in my life. Right now I prefer focusing on the present rather than worrying about the future.

16. Fame can do strange things to people. How do you cope with fame and the fact that people easily recognize you wherever you go ?

Yes you right, fame can do a lot of strange things to people. People can become arrogant and rude. But its very important to remain grounded and stay connected to your roots because you should always remember where you started out in life before achieving name and fame.You should be polite to people. Of course there are times when fans are rude towards us as actors, they might pass insensitive remarks and hence sometimes we do react as we are human beings as well. My wife assists me in being grounded and I would like to thank her for this. 

17.  What advice do you have for young aspiring actors out there?

Well, if you want to be a part of the acting industry, first of all you need to come here prepared. By this I mean you need to have to work on your acting skills. You need to be a good actor and be patient. You need to wait for the best role to come your way. You shouldn't give up. Giving up is definitely not an option in this industry. There are days when you will sit idle with absolutely no work and there will be times when you will be extremely busy for long periods of time. Being a part of this industry requires a mixture of patience, hard work and perseverance. When you reach a level of success, do not forget about those people who stood by  you when you were nothing.

18. Are there any additional comments you’d like to add for the blog readers?

Desert Moon's Diary is certainly a blog that is filled with lots of useful information. I found the content of the blog to be very interesting and informative. I would definitely recommend this blog page to my fans. I am pleased to be interviewed on a platform that attracts a diverse audience. 

Once again,thank you Deepak for taking the time to answer these questions. Desert Moon wishes you all the best in your future endeavours!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Be afraid of our own religious fanaticism

                                                   Picture credit: Furqan T. Siddiqui

I am really blessed and fortunate to be brought up in a home where anyone is welcome irrespective of race, colour, creed or sect for that matter. I grew up listening to qawwali music along with various other genres of music as well. I was exposed to the various facets of life from a young age and it taught me tolerance and acceptance of others. I am sure many of you out there must have heard about the tragic assassination of Amjad Sabri Sahab who was a well known and well respected musician who specialised in Sufi music. A radical faction of the Taliban have taken responsibility for his life claiming that he was not a Muslim and hence needed to be killed due to blasphemy. The prophet Muhammed (saw) was a peace loving human being. His heart was filled with kindness and compassion towards others. He respected everyone. How then can we as human beings run down or condemn another person's belief system. When you visit Makkatul mukarramah you will see millions of Muslims and everyone has their own variation of praying. Just because they pray differently to me does not mean that they are bad people and neither does it mean that I am superior over them. Sabri Sahab was a qawwal. He expressed his love for his Creator and the prophet Muhammad (saw) through poetry and music. And whilst many hardcore fanatics out there have condemned his way of devotion I am of the opinion that he probably had a deeper love and connection with his Lord than these merciless fanatics. A person who is close to his Lord will not murder and kill innocent people. When you get close to your Lord, Allah softens your heart. Who are we to judge or run down another human being when we are not sinless or faultless ourselves? If you don't agree with a person's belief system that's fine. Carry on with your own life. But don't condemn anyone. The irony is that his assassins have in actual fact given him a death in Ramadhaan whereby the doors of paradise will be open for him. The fact that he was shot makes him a shaheed. Our duty on earth is to do good and spread good. We are not here to label people. Take the good from every person that you meet and discard the bad.Always ask Allah to give you eyes that enable you to see the good in others. This is the essence and the basis of Islam. It is such a perfect, practical religion that is followed by imperfect, impractical followers. ......