I was a Hindu by birth and my name was Roja. I never knew the concept of God. I knew that we were supposed to go to temples, join hands in front of the idols and offer things which are dear to us to those idols. I thought that this was divinity and that they were the only gods. Since childhood, such was my routine and I was never discontented with it. As I entered the threshold of youth, the sweet sixteen, I was given in marriage by my parents. I did not even know the meaning of marriage at that time but I had to go, live with entirely strange people in an entirely strange atmosphere but very soon I got acquainted with them because of their loving, caring and jolly natures.
At my in-laws house, Raju, a relative, used to visit us quite often and make us laugh. We all loved him a lot; no day was left without his visit. In other words I can say that we were addicted to his personality, his jokes and his manners. After one year and a half, I was pregnant and that made us all happy.
One day, all of a sudden, I heard some noises in the street and I ran to enquire about it. But my mother in law stopped me and told me that she would go out and see into the matter. She opened the door and stepped out but she had to curl herself back in because of a rain of stones outside with filth and cries. She could not understand the situation and she rushed in and slamming the door behind her. She locked the door from inside and I realized that she was trembling. I was pushed in a corner when I tried to enquire about the outside situation. We fearfully locked ourselves indoors and waited for the men of the house to return.
The whole day passed while we heard the shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘Rama Rama’, with the hurls of stones, and at night passed by the sound of police men’s whistles and their heavy boots. None of our men turned up. And every moment proved to be unbelievably long. At even the slightest thud, we looked expectantly towards the door and were alert to open it; but in vain. Neither the men came nor did we hear any news about them. But after a day and a half’s painful waiting, there was a heavy crowd which made loud noises at our doorstep. My sixth sense was alarming me of some danger. The door was knocked very roughly and we rushed to open it. On opening the door, I saw a huge crowd surrounding a cot which was carried by few men and one or two women of our neighborhood, who were wailing. On seeing this, I lost my bearings and I felt as if someone squeezed away my strength from my legs and I could not stand on them. I found myself trying to hold myself steady on the ground. After a little while, when I came to my senses, I was told by my neighborhood’s women that there was a riot between Hindus and Muslims. It was because a Hindu had dishonored the Muslims at the day of their festival. So the Muslims got angry and it resulted in the riot. As a result, a lot of families, including ours, had to share the consequences. My father in law, who went to console the people not to fight over such slight issues of religion, was killed. It was the first jolt I received, for he was a very loving man who loved me like my very own father.
At that moment my feelings about Muslims were such that if I were to get my hands upon any of them, I would have slaughtered them without any hesitation. On that day, the barbarism of Muslims didn’t end with killing of my father in law, but Raju was also killed. His death shocked me. I was out of control. I battled for my release from the house, so that I may take revenge with the Muslims, but police intervened and as I was small, they threatened me and I kept quiet for the time being. But the hatred I had for Muslims took root in my heart firmly.
People were keeping me in darkness about the whereabouts of the other family members because of my pregnancy. I was so overtaken by the loss of that boy and my father in law that I forgot to enquire about whereabouts of my husband. All of a sudden when I remembered my husband and started asking each and every person madly about him, the people were reluctant to tell me anything about him. I started panicking and when I became uncontrollable, someone told me that he was in the hospital with wounds and cuts and that he was stabbed by a Muslim. As soon as I heard it, I passed out.
I didn’t know how long I was in that state. So many things happened that I could not understand what was going on. I couldn’t answer why it happened, neither could I figure out what would be the next turn of life. I was afraid and in constant fear that something wrong is going to happen.
My mind stopped working; my parents came and forced me to go with them. In such critical conditions, how could I leave my mother in law alone? I realized that only a heartless person could have left, so I refused to go with them. Moreover I was very much anxious to know about my husband. Somehow I convinced my parents to let me stay with my in-laws.
When the riots were under control, I managed to get permission to see my husband. I was stunned to see him. I remembered him as a fat hefty person, but now I saw a very weak and unrecognizable man. The moment I saw my husband, I cursed the Muslims with the worst curses I knew! They were responsible for my husband’s condition. The venom of hatred increased by each passing day as my husband’s health was waning. He came back home from the hospital; but he was not like before. One of his palms was paralyzed, he had problem in his chest and he couldn’t lift any heavy object.
Slowly the happiness evaporated from our life, and dejection and disappointment took its place. Years rolled by. We were running short of money and things. We had to experience the hardships of life. When I delivered, my mother again came to take me, but I refused and stayed with my family. I lost support from my parents because of my disobedience. Meanwhile, I had another child. Our conditions grew worst. All the money that was saved by my husband was consumed, the gold which was given to me in my marriage and the household things; all of it came to an end. We were literally on the roads. My daily work was to curse Muslims and hate them more and more because of whom my family and its happiness were completely ruined.
In such a dark atmosphere, there raised a beam of light. I found a chance of going to Kuwait. As I was against of Muslims, it was not at all appealing to me but my conditions forced me to think about the opportunity. My conditions were so bad that there was no time to think much about it. So I decided to go to Kuwait.
After coming here, I didn’t let my feelings regarding the Muslims change but I had to control my thoughts. Slowly I forgot my past because of my busy life. I devoted myself to serve these people because I was regaining my lost conditions, my family was becoming better, I joined my children in school and I got rid of all my debts. Thus, I could mentally relax myself. Then, I started looking around me: the people, their habits, their way of life; particularly their 5 times prayers. Looking at them, I increased my prayers to my gods; but I felt some dissatisfaction that I couldn’t explain nor understand.
Quite often I would think as to why my feelings regarding the Muslims were changing? Why my harsh feelings were disappearing? Instead of taking revenge, why was I feeling good towards them? Why? The answer, I realized was that I personally never saw any wrong in them or about Islam or in its ways and values. I thought of the past incidents. At that time I was so angry that I did not even think for a while about the condition of Muslims. I did not notice how many Muslims were put to death. I was deaf and blind about their destruction. So I could not understand the situation. But when I started peeping into the truth, I came to know that the riots were not started by Muslims but it were Hindus who dishonored their procession and hurled stones at them. In defense, they also pelted stones and it resulted in destruction on both sides. If Hindus lost their lives in single digit, Muslims lost in double digits. In this way, years after the riot, I managed to plunge into the truth and I was able to convince myself that both were wrong.
Then, I started comparing my religion with Islam. I felt that there is something true and great in Islam which I couldn’t find in my religion. In my country I had a very bitter experience of Islam and Muslims but here, I found the religion to be different. After a long inner battle I came to a conclusion that Islam is the best religion but Indian Muslims are among the worst followers because they neither let anyone know about the qualities of Islam nor do they follow it well so that others may get attracted to it. Instead, their behavior is such that it makes others hate Islam.
Once, some one gave me a set of books about Islam. I read them all one by one with great curiosity and interest and I finally found the truth. I then decided to become Muslim and told my sponsor to take me to the Office where I can pronounce my evidence. I was taken to Islam Presentation Committee. After becoming a Muslim, I attended classes and got the opportunity of going to Umrah. When I visited Makkah, my spirit was raised high. I wished that I could die there! I didn’t feel like returning. On my way back, I felt as if I left my heart back in Makkah. I wished that I could return to Makkah.
I thought with dejection as to why wasn’t I born in a Muslim family. Even if I was born in a hindu family, why didn’t I realize the truth about Islam earlier; why had I wasted so much of my life? Why did I delay in opening my eyes?
But Alhumdulillah, better late than never; I found the treasure of Islam. From now onwards till the end of life, Insaha Allah, I will follow Islam to the best of ability and carry out the responsibility of preaching Islam to Non Muslims. May Allah grant my wish to perform this duty – Ameen!
Lastly, I would like to thank IPC for providing me the opportunity of knowing Islam through its booklets, offering the classes which helped to increase my understanding it in a better way and giving me the chance of going to Umrah. I pray to Allah the Almighty to develop IPC and its work day and night so that the people who are living in ignorance may receive through it guidance to the right way of life. Ameen!