Justice Markandey Katju-
This time of the year is a very interesting time as the next few months bring together four significant religious dates.
We have Deepavali on 27th October, the birthday of Prophet Muhammed (Eid un Nabi or Eid al Milad) on 10th November, Gurpurab, the birthday of Guru Nanak on 12th November, and Christmas on 25th December.
In Dallas, Texas the NRI community is planning to celebrate Eid-Diwali Milan on 9th November.
Some people in the Bay Area of California held a meeting today (Saturday) in San Jose and decided to take the concept of inter-faith celebration a step further, and also celebrate Gurpurab and Christmas along with Diwali and Eid. It was also decided to imbibe into it the concept of Ibadat Khana or House of Worship (see online) that Mughal Emperor Akbar started in Fatehpur Sikri in 1575 with an idea to bring the teachings of various religions in a common place to discuss and learn. So the function we intend to hold will be called ‘Ibadatkhana Function.’
A very forward looking idea, well ahead of its time but something that can be quite relevant today as it can help strengthen the secular backbone of our country. If there is a fabric for our nation with such diversity it is definitely woven by a set of threads that include religions, belief systems, culture, customs and languages. Ibadatkhana could be a wonderful concept to keep that fabric intact in a country like India with such tremendous diversity, particularly at a time when that fabric is under threat of disruption by certain forces.
We thought why not follow the Dallas example (though expanding it), and why not hold an Ibadatkhana function in the Silicon Valley? The idea is to have an occasion for a dialogue, a dialogue that can set us free from the clutches of religious bigotry into a paradise of diversity.
We are planning to hold the Ibadatkhana function on November 9th and will update the event details soon. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area please do attend, and if you would like to attend please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com