Written by Ischer Dass in Farsi
Translation from Farsi to English by
Read Your Kalama
I remember very well as a small child departing home for attending school or playing outdoors and being stopped by younger or older children en route who would ask:
- Hey Hindu boy, “read your Kalama” they would command
I would read the Hindu words of prayers in the belief that the children would leave me alone but alas they never did. Sometimes in order to escape from their cruelty I gave them small monies but when I did not have any the torturous situation persisted and I awaited hoping for a God fearing elderly man to appear so that I could seek for his merciful intervention:
- “Uncle”, I would say, “these boys are beating me up”
And, a kind hearted elderly man would intervene, saying: “Leave this poor child alone and mind your own business. Moses had his own religion and Jesus his”.
And that was the way that I would escape their torture.
I can’t remember if I was in the sixth or seventh grade of Amani High School when our geometry teacher returned from a Haj pilgrimage and asked his pupils different questions which were not at all related to geometry. He asked the children to recite their Kalama (holy prayer). All the Muslim children recited the Muslim prayer until the turn came to the Hindu boys. We were three Hindu boys in class. Two replied in shame that they don’t know it and I started reciting our prayer in Sanskrit which amazed the teacher who jokingly said:
“What kind of prayer is that?”
I was only saved by the blissful sound of the school bells announcing our break. Soon we were out of the class and I thanked God that for not being punished or humiliated any further by our teacher.
As a child my father taught me the Hindu Kalama/prayer which I learned fast and well and it is to stay with me until I die. Kalama in reality reveals the religion of the reciter. It is obvious that the language of Kalama and its subject differs from place to place related to its origin. Kalama of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs are in Sanskrit, Arabic and Punjabi, but Kalama in Jewish and Christian religions are in local languages and can be said in English, German or French. For example a German would read his Kalama in German language which is called Glaubenbekenntnis. As I mentioned previously the Hindu Kalama is in Sanskrit which can be recited in English:
If we translate this Kalama into English it would be: “There is only one Almighty who is the Creator of the universe, gives spirit, life, health, happiness and forgives the sin of man. We request him to prevent us from wrongdoing in action, thoughts and senses and guide us to do good”.
For the first time Hindu Kalama was completed/documented in the book of Rigwida in Aryana which is the old name for Afghanistan, and later on, repeatedly has been quoted in Hindu books of mythology such as Gita and other Hindu religious books. The people of Aryana commemorate the occasion in a big ceremony by reciting the Hindu Kalama eleven times after each one hundred and one years.
In the Hindu religion there has been emphasis on believing in a God who has the power of giving life, health and happiness, but according to my knowledge what is most important is to influence our thoughts and senses towards the right path.
It is possible to keep quiet and not lie. It is possible to shut ones eyes in order not to see evil. It is possible to shut ones ears in order not to listen to bad words, but it is beyond human ability to control his thoughts. I would like to explain the first word of Hindu belief which is called OM and it is written in Sanskrit like ॐ means Allah, or God. I would like to mention once more that Hindus also have a Kalama that believes in Rab-al-Almin (God of Universe).
The Afghan Hindus, since the fall of King Amanullah, faces incredible difficulties. There is no programme in government schools to teach Hindu religion to Hindu pupils and no curriculum for teaching the Hindi mother tongue. In the absence of studying Hinduism, the knowledge of Hindus with regard to their own religion is limited. In some temples and private institutions in Kart-e Parwan in Kabul there have been some religious studies, which in the absence of proper teaching system and qualified teachers do not seem adequate.
In the new Afghan Constitution there is no single article mentioning the rights of education and worship for Hindu minority which leaves the constitution vulnerable with potential of misuse against the Hindus.
In the new constitution disrespect for Islam has been considered to be a great sin, but wouldn’t it be good to say disrespect for all religions is a sin.
For example in Afghanistan a Muslim can be disrespectful to Hindu and Sikh temples, holy books and religious beliefs without facing any punishment, but for the Hindus even before showing any sign of disrespect to Islam, awaits a heavy penalty such as beheading. Even the enlightened people of Afghanistan who are fighting for the freedom of Mr. Ali Mohaqeq Nasab would keep silent when it comes to the right of a single Hindu.