A Muslim Boy’s Diwali

Abbu Abbu.. diwali ke lie pathaake lane hain..paiseee do na”, with child-like innocence, I asked for money to buy firecrackers for diwali.  Dada , sitting nearby, before Abbu could reply, remarked kaiku re wo paise barbad karna… paise jalaaane ke jaisa ich na wo”. (Why burn money by buying those?) in his Dakkhani.

This scene, year over year, can be seen at home every Diwali.

By the time it was evening, I would definitely have some pathaakas with me from my “sources”, which included my dadi, who would part away some money from her khazaana. I would already make sure I had my emergency money in place from Abbu as well in the name of  “stationary”.


happy diwali

Evenings were not limited to lightening firecrackers alone. Although they were a part of it.

Diwali houses” made from mud and wood (with help from Ammi), batasha and mudi, would also be present as part of the celebrations. The diwali house preparation begins in the afternoon itself when the sun is out, so as to let the mud dry up. Colorful papers, all the toys, including those small kitchen cutleries, will adorn our new Diwali house for the course of the 3-day celebrations.

Once, it starts getting a little dark, you could see and hear firecrackers buzzing all around the dark skies, and we as kids, would excitedly merry around before starting our own spree of Fuljhaddis, Chakris, Anaar, Snakes, Mirchi Pathake, etc, while our neighbours would try to outdo us. All of the pathakaas would be in moderate amount, so we would make sure that we don’t finish the entire quota in one day. No one wants to be the kid who finishes off the first.

Then we also had “guests “coming in large numbers to pay our diwali homes a visit. This included, our basti wale friends, coming in one-by-one, bringing with them sweets and firecrackers. We would give them something to eat (after all, atithi devo bhava 🙂 ), fire a few firecrackers and then would follow the ritual of diwali home hopping post that.

And surprise, surprise! When the evening was about to end and we’d be up there on the terrace watching the lit up sky, dada would bring home some more firecrackers!! Yes, the same dada who was preaching us about “wasting money” and blah blah. All of us would again revel in the joy of those bonus firecrackers.  We had our unique way of celebrating this festival of lights, which was so much fun back then.

Of course, I miss dada , who is no more in person with us. That diwali celebration at home gradually stopped as we grew up. It wasn’t about religion, it was all about having fun and enjoying ourselves. And mind you, we lived in a Muslim locality, so there wasn’t even any compulsion to celebrate under peer pressure. Diwali used to be an Indian festival as opposed to a Hindu festival, back then.

Festivals in India are about the celebration of culture and upholding the idea of India. Over the years, we have strengthened this bond, and let us hope that it continues. Even with forces trying to make it otherwise.

muslims doing puja in india

Religion and culture are two different things. I may not pray or participate in a Puja, but I would celebrate the joy of festivities. Usually one sees images of Muslims (in skull caps) praying to Hindu deities. Sorry, I won’t do that. A muslim is not supposed to indulge in idol worship and I sincerely hope others understood this and take this as disrespect. As I, nor the others, mean any disrespect!

It is of course an individual’s choice, but this photo alone doesn’t define secularism. Secularism means respecting others’ religion and having the freedom to celebrate and practice our faiths the way we want. Each of our religions has earmarked a few boundaries, the principles and the code we have to abide by. And that should be respected by each of us.

Celebrating joy is beautiful and who doesn’t want to do that? Methods might be different but the intentions are always right.

[Related Reading: Why Urdu is not a “Muslim Language”]

Celebration and cultural bonhomie is something we should all strive for. The idea of India needs to be preserved. It cannot happen by forcing a ban on eating something or calling people anti-national or pakistanis. It can only happen when we consider all of us as equals and strive to progress further.


A Reply….


Getting NASHty


  1. It is enough to remember we are all human beings and have a right to live the way we want, so long as we do not hurt or harm anyone.

    Oh, how I miss the dakkhani! I spent almost a third of my life in Hyderabad and miss it. I also believe that crackers are equal to turning money into ashes instantly. Why not use it for the benefit of those who cannot afford even a meal?

    Nice post, Mohammed! Happy Diwali to you. Thank you for visiting my blog!

    • mohammadfarooq

      Indeed, and that is what the Idea of our country stands for.

      We have a tinge of dakkhani in our speech back at home which only comes out when I’m at home 🙂

      Thanks for reading the post.

  2. Beautiful and straight from the heart post. I wish the good old days of our childhood would return when we knew no differences. Thank you for sharing and I love your writing style. Soothing, earthy and full of local flavour. I could visualize everything while reading the post. Proves that it comes straight from the heart.

    • mohammadfarooq

      It’s true, the innocence of our childhood is something which we all need to have, considering the rising differences.

      Those are some really nice words. Thank you so much. Definitely, writing comes from the heart and that’s what I try to do.

  3. Correct my friend.
    But sadly our politicians are always dividing us .
    The politicians are the ones creating all the “danga” s and then blaming hindus and muslims.
    We need to grow above all this and just kill every such politician and stop killing someone in the name of his/her religion.

    • mohammadfarooq

      Well “killing” is extreme. Let’s be saner than the ones who do those acts.

  4. Tarun

    Very Very beautifully put up buddy. Diwali is the only festival which actually helps us go through the rigorous and rough complete year with belief that Diwali is coming.

    And the way you have put all our desires for crackers during our toddler days makes our throat go out loud. Exact same feelings, its just that I get to do couple of more things like attending puja with my whole clan where everybody from family has to be there from across the world and we get to create memories for another year.

    And yes “I AM GOING HOME ON DIWALI :)”.

    • Thank you for reading. I’m glad that it resonates even now. Indeed we’re all one.

      I won’t be going home on Diwali but might still light a few crackers and celebrate with lots of sweets.

      Even though I don’t believe in this concept of “786” but when I see that in your ID it puts a smile on my face. 🙂

      Happy Diwali in Advance to you and your family!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén