Reproduced by Word for Peace News Bureau
ALIGARH: People are curious to know his religion because his name is Raj Kumar Bhagtani and he wears a skull cap. He sports a pathan suit, visits a Sufi shrine, keeps rozas during Ramzan and vrats during Navratra. Based in Kanpur, Bhagtani is carrying forward the legacy of his father Paras Ram ‘Qadri’, who started one of the first restaurants in Kanpur, and got the title after showing allegiance to Sufi mystics Hazrat Bahauddin ‘Badrul Hind’, whose shrine, Bannair Sharif, is in Bulandshahr.
The family has a fascinating story of symbolizing communal amity and it begins with Paras Ram. “Among the lakhs of Hindus who fled from Pakistan during Partition, my father, a Sindhi Hindu, was separated from his family. He was just 10 years old,” said Raj Kumar.
Arriving at Delhi junction, Paras Ram met Syed Sajid Ali Shah from Bannair Sharif. “He took the boy to the dargah and made every effort to track down my father’s family. Paras Ram stayed there till he was finally reunited with them five years later,” the son said.
This period created in Paras Ram a deep love for the Sufi tradition. “He decided to stay on at the dargah with the mystic and eventually got the title of ‘Quadri’ from the dargah committee. He thus became a symbol of religious unity in Aligarh and Kanpur, especially during times of communal tension,” said Raj Kumar.
Extracted from TOI