I join many others in gratitude to Farzana Versey revisiting her thought-provoking 1999 piece on the late Kamala Das who converted to Islam and became known as Kamala Suraiyya www.redroom.com/blog/farzana-versey/from krishna-allah.....In particular the following lines:
"Please do not convert, because... If you have found Islam wonderful, then remain a Hindu and bridge the gap between the religions, clear the misconceptions. Better still, give up your dependency on any organised religion...Reach out to others."
Though the award winning writer and poet Kamala Das may have taken a seemingly irreversible (largely ceremonial, I think) step of a formal conversion from Krishna to Allah and her worldly motivations might be suspect, she followed a pattern that is distinctly Indian.
Unlike other conversions around the world, where the converted is often dismissed by the abandoned faith and showcased by the adoptive faith, the Indian thought, whether that of an Indian Christian, an Indian Muslim, a Sikh, Parsee, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Jew and even an Indian Agnostic enables crossing the boundaries... as many times as you wish. Witness 15th century Sant Kabir claimed by people of all Indogenic faiths as being one of their own saints, or Swami Vivekanand's spiritual master, Ramakrishna, who would reach states of Samadhi contemplating one day on Allah, another day on Christ and yet another day on the Sikh Gurus etc. Or one of the most worldly attuned spiritual masters of our time - Gandhi ji.
In a beautiful eulogy on Kamala Das "A life devoted to bringing the worlds together" http://www.thestar.com/searchresults?AssetType=article&dt=&stype=genSearch&q=cleo%20paskal&r=all:1
Montreal based Cleo Paskal writes effusively on her life as a tour of Indian history and geography, whose poem Ya Allah brought worlds together as readers of all faiths followed her exploration of Islam. As hundreds of Hindus, Christians, Muslims and even one of her home-town's oldest Jewish families attended the last rites where even the burial site at Palayam Mosque in the state capital was carefully chosen because it shares a wall with a Hindu temple and is next to a Church.
In writing eloquently about the unprecedented coming together of so many faiths on the welcoming grounds of the mosque is having a resounding, rebounding, positive effect, Cleo Paskal who attended the funeral, indirectly touches on the very distinctive Indian thought... Ekam Sat Vipra Bahuda Vadanti- Truth is One - the sages and the prophets have described it from different perspectives.