Sunset Voulevard ( 3 ) : Grieving For Graves

Never in your wildest dream would you imagine that one day one would be sitting and grieving for some vanishing graves. It sounds bizarre. But it is true. Few days back there was a disturbing news in Times of India about the demolition of graves of some Bollywood legends. Graves of eternal Madhubala, immortal Mohammed Rafi, legendary Sahir Ludhianvi and inimitable Talat Mahmood were demolished in Juhu Muslim Cemetery to make way for new graves. As the news spread, fans and connoisseurs were saddened and a pall of gloom spread everywhere in the art world. Some were silent, while few were vociferous and condemned the vandalism. Managing body of the cemetery says that this was inevitable and an absolute necessity because of paucity of land for new graves. Some puritans added that in Islam cemented and permanent graves are forbidden, so there is no harm in the turning over the graves.

Logic seems infallible. True, as per the tenets of Islam, cemented graves are against the basic teachings of Islam. And after 30 years you can demolish existing graves and reuse the land. Scarcity of land is definitely a problem in Mumbai but emotionally I was heartbroken when I read the news. And once again heart refuses to accept the logic. Taj Mahal is the most glaring example of a permanent grave. In India so many mausoleums of saints, faqirs and sufis were built by devotees and general public flock to them for darshan and to offer prayers. Mausoleum at Ajmer is famous worldwide and is a fine example of such permanent graves. Of course in India, this is Hindu influence on Islam but it is a reality. So I wish and hope that the trustees could have made an exception to these graves also.

I am not saying this to contradict the religious tenets of Islam. I shall be the last Hindu to do this. I am just making an emotional plea and giving vent to my feelings. An exception could have been made and the trustees could have found a way. Madhubala, Mohammed Rafi, Talat Mahmood and Sahir Ludhianvi are jewels of our country and they certainly deserve better.

Their graves are gone and now there is no trace of their existence. One more familiar thing of my life has been pushed on the sunset boulevard. It’s sad, very sad !



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