December 14, 2014

A Saying On A Ride

At the traffic signal I rest my eyes on the lines in red sticker above the windshield, barely clearing the bobbing skull cap of the impatient rickshaw driver as he waits for the signal to turn green.  

The saying by Nirankari Baba goes ….

मानवता की क़द्र करे दिल से
मानवता खिल उठे फिर से
             - निरंकारी  बाबा

Manavta ki kadr kare dil se
Manavta khil utey phir se
             - Nirankari Baba

In the backseat my world opens out to fellow riders and familiar touch points on my morning commute. Only occasionally will the ride offer up something more than the back of the rickshaw driver’s head. So I read the lines again.

While I’m not surprised to see the lines, for rickshaw drivers will sometimes philosophise and reflect on the teachings of the Guru they follow, putting them up in their rickshaws for company, I was surprised to see a Muslim rickshaw driver sport a non-Muslim (Sikh) “Godman’s” teaching above his head, not something you see often if at all.

Translated, it reads

Value humanity with your heart
(And) Humanity will flower again
-  Nirankari Baba

“You put that up?” I ask him at the next traffic signal, pointing to the lines above his head.
“Yes, I did,” he replies, riding slow and easy.
“Good one,” I let him know.
He nodds without turning his face.
“Does Nirankari Baba hold Shibir (rallies)?
“He does. He had one at Airoli last time,” he replied.
“Do you attend them?” I ask him.
“No. The night shift guys get to attend,” implying he doesn’t get the day off from riding his rickshaw to attend the rally.