Click here to read in Gujarati
I was one of the founder trustees, the framer of Constitution and Chairman of the first Board of the local NGO – “The Guardian Trust, Kanodar”. I worked for first seven years in team spirit with my fellow trustees to achieve the goals of the Trust and now I am retired. Here, I am pleased to disclose one of the objects of the Trust which will be self explanatory to my Readers and particularly those NRIs and PRs of Kanodar residing elsewhere representing young generation to know about this village, its community, its culture and many other aspects of its heritage descending from the ancestors for the last half millennium since the foundation of this village by Kaano (Kanji) Patel whose name reflects in the word ‘KANODAR’.
The text of the above referred object of the Trust is as follows:
”The Mo’mineen (Muslims) of Kanodar have spread all over the world with their own identity that they live with love with others, accept others with their differences and make their contributions in their social lives wherever they live. This Trust will encourage the individuals and various organizations of this peculiar community to continue to set an example to other communities to respect everybody’s dignity and rights and to carry out social responsibilities for the common good of people.”
To build up integrity and reputation of the village, many honorable personalities have contributed in past; and present leadership also is on the same track walking on the footprints of the former devoted Chiefs. This Article is aimed to remind the new generation the culture and traditions of the community, inspire them to preserve the image of this village intact with good behavior and pass on the same heritage to the next generation by providing the live examples to them. During my life span of almost seven decades, I have been the witness of the hundreds of those local heroes who have devoted their most of time to uplift the village to higher summits of its fame. Due to my limitation to the size of the Article, I am unable to highlight the services of all those ever shining stars in detail.
But, I would like to bring out in knowledge some opinions of other people about this village of Kanodar in order to mention in general its integrity, peace and prosperity. Most of the people may be familiar with the name of Swami Sachchidanand. He is a Karmyogi Saint of Gujarat engaged in social, literary and spiritual activities. Some years past, he was invited to the opening ceremony of the local High School for its starting of Science stream. Swamiji had never visited this village but while on his way from Petlad to Kanodar, he was given some briefs and feedbacks about the village. Endowed with sharp intellect, spirituality and own intuition, he knew everything about the village and its people as if he had visited the village previously and lived here. While delivering his speech he said, “If the Lahore Conference for the discussion of partition of India would have been organized at Kanodar, India would have remained united.” These words are the best compliments to the village and at the same time making conscious to the natives of Kanodar to remain firm and deserving for the preservation of conception of integrity of not only our village, bur wherever we live. Generally, Swamiji was being honored with donation to his Ashram wherever he was invited, but here he donated Rs.25,000/- to the High School from the funds of his own Trust.
If we go to some past, the memories of Dr. H. L.Purohit, a Maharashtriyan Brahmin and Dwarkagiri Maharaj, a gymnastic practicing Saint (અખાડા સાધુ) from U.P. (India) will surely revive into our minds. Dr. Purohit as a Physician rendered his services to the local Hospital for about 33 years and Dwatkagiri Maharaj as a worshipper of the local Temple of Shiva; but mainly with his social services, had devoted his whole life for the welfare of the village. Both these personalities had so high opinions as well as feelings for this village that they wished to have their last breaths here and get their funeral services in the earth of this village. Dr. Purohit was not fortunate in this regard as his offspring called him at his native place Baroda after retirement, but Bapji breathed his last here and was buried in the position of Samadhi in the premises of the temple. They both, having their Hindu creed, told emotionally in public that if the God gave them rebirth in any form, they would prefer to be here not only once but again and again. These words are the great rewards to the local Muslim community and also strong enough to bring tears of gratitude into our eyes.
There is no room for remembering the specific contributions of numerous Muslims (both male and female) here in this precise Article; but in general, I may say that they people remained rays of hope in ways of humanity. They people laid a firm foundation of Secularism and Unity in the village. It is a fitting time to recall all these memories in the prevailing situation everywhere in world when violence in various forms has risen high and universal peace is thrown in danger.
As mentioned in my earlier Article “A full circle swallowed 22 years”, the new generation of the village has spread over all continents of the world to meet with their financial needs. We should thank God that He has been kind and merciful to lead the world think broadly for globalization and liberalization and thus windows of settling abroad have opened. As a result, hundreds of youths with their spouse and offspring have migrated elsewhere in the world. This old man (me) thinks by heart that all these youngsters are the representatives of our secular village of Kanodar, Gandhiji’s Gujarat and our great country, India to spread the mission of Universal brotherhood and peace.
I would just remind, to all NRIs and PRs residing elsewhere in world who are natives of Kanodar and in wider sense to say any human wherever it lives, the story of migration of Zoroastrians (Parsis) during 18th century from Iran to harbor of Sanjaanaa in Gujarat (India). They had assured the ruler of Gujarat then that they will mix up with local people as sugar mixes in milk. My brothers and sisters, we know the exemplary role played by these Parsis such as Jamshedji Tata, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, and Homi Jehangir Bhabha in the progress of India. You have to awaken and mobilize the people with whom you happen to come in contact as a neighbor, a co-worker, a businessman or in any other status with mission of secular ideology, feelings of mutual co-operation and motto of ‘Live and Let Live” of ‘Sarvoadaya-ism’ founded by Vinoba Bhave and Jay Prakash Narayana.
While nearing to sum up my Article, I’ll quote somebody’s experience from unknown source in the words as “When I was running in the pouring rain, without an umbrella, wearing a spiffy suit, on my way to a meeting, a kind lady (a stranger) offered me her umbrella, gave me her address, and trusted I would return it when the rain died down.” This is a very little weighing episode, but a heavy and hidden sense lies therein. Here is the importance of mutual trust, not the cost of umbrella. One should take such affordable risks to be helpful to others to make the foundation of trust with human to human strong and I am sure it will not go in vain.
Summing up, we should remember that hate can never be ceased by hate. Let us renew and spread our hope in humanity. If we are going to err, let us err on the positive side of compassion, generosity and tolerance.
Friends, it is time to close now. Bye,
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd.: August 6, 2008