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HARIJAI SINGH PART 4

CHAPTER 40 Having made

CHAPTER 40 Having made up my mind, I shared my thoughts with Zaheer. “What? have you gone crazy?Why this sudden change? I have loved you and accepted you as Priya. Let it be so”. Zaheer could not simply believe this sudden change in me. “Is there any pressure from my parents? Hope they are not blackmailing you”. Zaheer’s anxiety was written on his face. “No. nothing of the sort. I had told you your mother’s parting words before she left for Saharanpur. That’s all”, I told Zaheer. “But Priya. For the first time I fail to grasp this abrupt decision. I could never get any clue”, Zaheer said. “Yes. You are right. It is my decision. No pressure from any quarters,” I said. But I want to understand why this change of heart. I must know the reason.” Zaheer’s words were assertive. “As I said, it was my decision. I must tell you honestly that I just wish to feel the difference between Priya as a Hindu bride married to a Muslim bridegroom and Priya as whatever be my name after Nikahon conversion! I am telling you honestly. Does this make any difference in me as a human being? I wish to resolve my academic dilemma. Of course, I shall oppose vehemently any forcible conversion. I love my religion. I respect other religious faiths without any malice or rancur. But no change by force. 141

“Hinduism does not believe in this. I know what my country has gone through because of our own weaknesses. We have given a heavy price on this count. That’s a different matter. “I also know. Love does not go by religious boundaries. Still, we have to live in a society divided in different segments of caste, class and religions. “I want to find out common denominators for peace, understanding, tolerance and brotherhood”. Zaheer suddenly butted in. “Oh, I never realized that there is a philosopher within you”. We burst into laughter. “Yes Zaheer? There is a hidden philosopher in me who wishes to have an answer to problems our society is often faced with. We have to understand social realities better. Perhaps, our society then might be a better place to live in”. I suddenly stopped on this serious note and looked into Zaheer’s eyes. He suddenly blushed and said, “Oh, my philosopher darling. What an idea. You wish to change the world we live in. Our great souls tried this before and failed. Yet, you want to try. Ok. Good luck. Try, if you want ! Human behaviour, like water, flows from top to bottom”. “Yes, you are right. We can at least create an oasis of love and peace. Where is the problem?” I said. “Oh yes. This water business reminds me I am very hungry. Let’s go out and have some food. My hungry belly cannot survive on your philosophical notes. Let’s go out and eat”. 142

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