Lesson of Sarcifice by Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani

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The martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his followers is considered as greatest sacrifice in the entire history of mankind about which everyone is agreed that it was actually a war on principles and could never be forgotten.

Majority of people are unaware of the fact that a group of Hindu people also sacrificed their lives in support of Imam Hussain at Karbala. It is believed that a trade caravan from Indian Sub-continent was traveling in the surrounding of Karbala where the Yazeed forces encountered Imam Hussain. Rahib Dutt, a Hindu from Lahore, was also one of those who decided to participate in the war between good and evil forces.

Like any other religion, Hindusim urges the followers to support oppressed people struggling against cruelty and injustice. According to holy book Bhagavata Purana, if a man disregards and persecutes fellow human beings, but worships god with numerous rituals and rich offerings, god is not at all pleased with him. Knowing the fact that Imam Hussain is leading a small group of people, the Hindu traders joined the ranks of Imam Hussain. Although Rahib Dutt was captured by Yazeed forces and forcibly deported to India, his all of seven sons and both companions sacrificed their lives in a heroic way to protect Imam Hussain and his family.

After returning to his native country, Rahib Dutt founded a new Hindu community for raising awareness among local Hindu people about the greatest sacrifice of Imam Hussain. The community is known as ” Hussaini Brahmin”. A large number of the Hussaini Brahmins was residing at Lahore before the partition. They are now settled in various parts including Sindh, Luchnow, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Ajmer Sharif. Bollywood’s renowned actor Sanjay Dutt also reportedly belongs to same community. His father Sunil Dutt, during his visit to Lahore, had once mentioned the sacrifice of his ancestor, Rahib Dutt, in support of Imam Hussain. According to Sunita Jhingran, a classical singer who claims to be a descendant of Rahab Dutt, “Our ancestors fought on the side of Imam Hussain because he was fighting against the oppression of people under Yazeed’s rule.”

Every year, Hussaini Brahmins used to observe the Muharram of their own style, crying and beating their chests in ritual mourning in memorial of the historic Karbala tragedy. They keep fast on 10th Muharram and carry out traditional processions. They show solidarity with their Muslim brethren to promote interfaith harmony and also raise slogans against the cruelty of Yazeed. The Hindu community in Sindh shares a special bond of respect with Imam Hussain. Local Hindu people wear black dresses until 10th Muharram. They offer volunteer services to safeguard the Muharram processions and distribute food and cold waters. There are also many renowned Hindu Zakirs who are living in Sindh.

Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi was one of the leading figures of the Indian Independence War 1857 and it is widely believed that she got courage to resist British imperialism due to inspiration of the greatest sacrifice of Imam Hussain. Under her rule, Muharram was marked in great solemnity. According to various historians, Muharram was also observed in different Hindu-ruled princely states in the past. Mahatma Gandhi, a religious leader and prominent character of the Independence Movement, had also showed his respect towards Imam Hussain by saying that: “I learnt from (Imam) Hussain how to attain victory while being oppressed.” Gandhi Ji also vowed that: “If I had an army like the 72 soldiers of (Imam) Hussain, I would have won freedom for India in 24 hours.” Many Hussaini Brahmins also played pivotal role in the freedom struggle against British rule.

The greatest sacrifice put an impact on almost every part of world and there is valuable literature available in different languages. A number of Hindu poets also paid tribute to Imam Hussain through their poetry. Some of them include Jai Singh, Mathur Lucknavi , Kunwar Mohinder Singh Bedi, Prof. Jagannath Azad, Ram Bihari Lal, Chandra Shekhar Saxena, Munshi Lakhman Narayan and Mahendra Kumar. In the play “Karabala”, renowned script writer Munshi Premchand also highlighted the contributions of Hussaini Brahmins in support of Imam Hussain.

The greatest sacrifice, in my views, carries a great message not only for a specific community but whole mankind. Today, people all over the world are declaring Imam Hussain as a role model to resist against injustice and cruelty. We need to learn many lessons from the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, such as: There must not be compromise on principles and we must support truth at any cost. To surrender life in the path of God is the ultimate sacrifice. We must not forget that Imam Hussain had raised voice against the concept of Hereditary Rule. We must also get ready for any sacrifice for our beloved country Pakistan to transform in to a developed, progressive and democratic country based on golden principles of tolerance, harmony and justice.

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