Salim Mirza is not a celebrity. He is not an actor. He is not a politician. Mirza, like you and me, is a layman. He is a bus driver. Terrorists struck his bus at Anantnag, when he was plying Amarnath pilgrims from Baltal to Jammu, in Jammu and Kashmir. The Gujarat-based bus driver saved the lives of over 50 people during the attack.
Naturally, Mirza was applauded for his courage and presence of mind. In the face of the currently prevalent religious disharmony, the civilian hero was hailed for saving the lives of his fellowmen. The thought of his religion or the religion of the pilgrims had not occurred to him. Mirza himself conveyed as much to the media. Clearly, in the face of death, religion had not mattered.
Mirza’s story is a beacon of hope in an increasingly intolerant society. Such a deed certainly kindles goodwill amongst people. Head priest of the Fire Temple in Bangalore, Fardoon Karkaria says, “No religion is inherently violent. Some people misinterpret the teachings and pollute the world with their immoral thoughts. By practising the principle of live and let live, we can truly make the world a better place.”
“What matters is whether a particular expression of faith inspires and guides us in our evolution toward unconditional love of God. Sadly, the Supreme Being, whom most faiths exalt as the greatest, is often imagined to be petty and partial to one group to the exclusion of all others. This misunderstanding of God’s nature can manifest in every spiritual tradition, including my own.”