Sitting alone on Marine Drive, wearing shades and with a cigarette in his hand, he was looking thoughtfully into the sea when I went in and interrupted his chain of thoughts. Reluctant in the beginning, Haji Aiyub opened up and started talking about himself. He is from Gujarat and has lived a long time in England and South America. “This place (Marine Drive) is my favourite in Mumbai”, said Aiyub with a smile. He visits Mumbai frequently for office works. However, this time, he was here for a wedding.
Reminiscing about his international tours Aiyub said, “Hindu, Muslim are only political identities in India.” and claims that every country is ‘pro-India’. He further states that foreign countries do not recognise the religious demarcations prevalent in India, “Indians are only Indians abroad.”
Apart from a unified Indian identity outside India, he also recognised the similarity between the Blacks and the Whites of South Africa. “Every South African, be it a Black or a White greeted an Indian in the same manner, by joining their hands,” said Aiyub with a proud smile.
During his years in other countries, Aiyub has realised the Importance of being in his own country and do not like to indulge in the politics of religion.