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75 Years of Independence: An Ode to India's Secularism

Here's Why The Quint Chose 'SeculaRhythm' For its I-Day Campaign

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4 min read

Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia Producer: Zijah Sherwani Voice Over: Athar Rather Copy Editor: Meenakshy Sasikumar

So we were thinking, kya ho sakti hai ek acche Independence Day ki campaign?

A campaign that celebrates India, Indians and our Indian-ness. This led to a very important question: What makes us a proud Indian?

What else, but the things that bind us together?

In this diverse land, we are like different notes of music which comes together to create a rhythm. And that rhythm is Secularism… ummm we mean SeculaRhythm- the rhythm that keeps us together.

Which protects our rights, our azaadi, our unity.

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Let us start with the first example of India's SeculaRhythm, who we found in Ghaziabad's Loni.

Ram Khiladi, a Hindu and a principal of Madrasa Jamia Rasheedia for over 15 years has been asked too many times about why he teaches and lives amongst Muslims?

We call it 'ganga-jamuni' tehzeeb. I got so much love here that I never felt the need to leave. My perspective is that, instead of focusing on someone's caste or religion, the focus should be on education.
Ram Khiladi, Principal, Madrasa Jamia Rashidia

Ram Khiladi with students of Madrasa Jamia Rasheedia.

(Photo: The Quint)

Khiladi, the educator, showed us the India he truly believes in. The idea of India that Babar Ali is carrying forward in West Bengal’s Murshidabad.

Babar believes humanity is the only true religion.

Babar Ali with students of the school he started, Ananda Siksha Niketan (Home of joyful learning).

(Photo: The Quint)

Babar started teaching at the age of 9 in the backyard of his family's home. He was the only teacher for the ones who couldn’t afford to pay for education. Since then, he has not only bridged the education gap but also the religious gap among people.

The role of every educator is to teach their students about equality and unity in diversity. We must remember that our first identity is that we are human beings.
Babar Ali
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Next, we found the rhythm in the Mirasi singers of Mewat.

What makes them special is that during Partition, Gandhiji came to Ghasera village of Mewat and stopped Meo Mewatis and Muslims who had gathered there from different parts of India from migrating to Pakistan.

They remember it, their kids remember it and now they sing songs about it. These songs celebrate India's Ekta and the times when Hindu-Muslims fought together to defend India.

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''Where is Allah, Where is Jesus, Where is God, Ashraf Ali donated his kidneys and gave me life When God's doors were shut, We prayed so religiously but they were unanswered But Ashraf Ali had come to help When God's doors were shut, Ashraf Ali came to me in the form of God''

Kanhailal Sahoo poured out his feelings for Ashraf Ali through this song. He sang it to show his gratitude, to thank him for saving his life by offering to donate his kidney.

You know what's really amazing about their story? They met each other on a bus for the first time. Kanhailal was returning from his dialysis, he looked visibly ill so Ashraf enquired about his health. Upon learning Kanhailal's situation, on that very day, Ashraf offered to donate his kidney.

One and a half years, 234 dialysis sessions and an endless search for donor finally concluded on this bus journey.

This story of Kanhailal Sahoo and Ashraf Ali from Ramnagar Village in West Bengal's Medinipur, is a reminder that there are regular people keeping alive India's secular fabric.

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30 years ago, the Babri Masjid was demolished, in the riots that followed 17 people were killed in Ayodhya.

We always talk about the lives that were lost, this time we wanted to talk about the lives that were saved.

This is the story of Parag Lal Yadav and Razia Khatoon.

Parag Lal Yadav fought with rioters and saved 8 Muslim families. Among the lives he saved was, Razia Khatoon, his long time neighbour. When Ayodhya was divided on communal lines, Parag Lal Yadav showed how humanity can win over hatred.

This is the SeculaRhthym that makes us all proud as Indians, something that we need to hold on to and protect with lot of love and care. Because our future, the future of India rests on it.

Today, it is easy to lose hope, to be skeptical towards the idea of unity and togetherness, and that's exactly the reason why we should look at these stories that show us the light at the end of the tunnel.

These stories represent an India that exists beyond hate, an India of hope.

Happy Independence Day!

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from videos

Topics:  15 August   Independence Day   SeculaRhythm 

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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