Justice Markandey Katju: My appeal to non-Muslims for the holy month of Ramzan

Justice Markandey Katju

By Justice Markandey Katju–

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman of, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

The Islamic holy month of Ramzan begins on March 12 in India (in the Arab part of the world, it began on March 11). For more than 25 years, I have observed one-day roza (fast) during this holy period (usually on the last Friday, called alvida), out of respect and to show solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters. Each year, I appeal to non-Muslims all over the world to do the same.

The sehri time, after which one must not eat or drink anything till iftaar (when the fast can be broken) is different in different localities. One can check with Muslim friends about these times.

I appeal to all non-Muslims all over the world, particularly in India, to do this. This does not mean one has to give up his/her religion. It is only a symbolic act; to show solidarity with the Muslim community.

A few years ago, when I was visiting California, I observed one-day roza during Ramzan. I will always remember the picture (see above Cover image) of the iftaar at my friend Shaista Ali’s home. She is with me in the photograph. Also with me is my friend Santosh Addagulla. I also appeal to non-Hindus each year to keep a one-day fast during Navratri and celebrate Holi and Diwali.

At the above-mentioned iftaar in 2015, I gave a speech. Both my non-Muslim friends and I who attended the iftaar had kept strict roza that day. Here are some pictures of that iftaar.

A Muslim student of a Karachi (Pakistan) school posing with a diya during Diwali after reading Justice Katju’s appeal

Last year, I appealed to non-Muslims to celebrate Diwali by lighting one ‘diya‘ (earthen lamp) on the auspicious day. There was an overwhelming response from students of Rehan school, Korangi campus, Karachi, Pakistan, who sent me photographs of themselves with diyas in their hands. I posted them on my social media page. Even the school’s principal, Altaf Educationwaala, lit a lamp on Diwali day.

I regard this as historic. Here were Muslims celebrating a Hindu festival! This is the spirit that must be emulated by all, to foster interfaith harmony and amity, and to combat the nefarious communal forces in our country which seek to divide us and spread communal hatred.

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