While reading about ‘Issac Zangwill’, I came across one of his most interesting work, a play – The Melting Pot. The play was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s work, Romeo and Juliet. It was a love story in which a Jewish Russian protagonist falls in love with a fellow Cristian immigrant in the United States and how they fight all odds to become one. More than the story what made me curious was the name of the play. I wanted to know why he decided to name the play ‘The Melting Pot’.
I started my research and I found out that Melting Pot is a phrase used to describe a situation in which heterogeneous cultures come/melt together to form a homogenous culture. So using this word as a metaphor gave Issac a perfect title for his story. Technically India can also be called a Melting Pot. I increased my interest in the subject and tried to find out a place that would be a perfect synonym for this phrase. The first place that came to my mind was ‘SHIRDI’.
From a place that was just a dot on the map that was hard to find to one of the biggest pilgrim destination in the country this town has come a long way. This might also be the only place that is visited equally by the followers of two of the biggest religions in the country – The Hindus and The Muslims. The entire credit goes to the divine ‘Sai Baba’.
Sai Baba was a spiritual preacher who lived during the 18th century and had followers from all sects of the society. He was worshiped by his devotees as a ‘Fakir’ and ‘Satguru’ depending on their individual proclivities and beliefs. There is a lot of mystery surrounding his birth and his childhood and much of it is either assumed or still unknown. As per documented history, he is believed to arrive at Shirdi at the age of 16. He would meditate for hours sitting under a neem tree and attracted a lot of attention. After staying in Shirdi for three years, one day he mysteriously left the town and returned after a year. Around this time he adopted his famous dressing style of a one piece Kafni robe and a cloth cap. This attire gave him an appeal of a Muslim Fakir which led to discrimination against him in a dominantly Hindu village. Even tough he had a Muslim attire his teachings of love, sacrifice, charity, devotion, contentment and forgiveness were inspired equally from The Quran and The Bhagavadgita. His trademark message – ‘Sabka Malik Ek’ which literally means ‘Everyone Has One Master’ clearly signifies that he did not believe in any form of discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, sex, etc. He named the Mosque that he stayed in as Dwarakamayi and transformed it into a symbol of equality.
All his deeds created an existence of a parallel lifestyle which was a melodious melange of two completely different cultures and this transformed SHIRDI into a Melting Pot. Even today Lakhs of visitors from all section of the society visit this holy shrine every year to seek his blessing. So if this piece has made you curious to know more about the place its time to pack your bag.
Facts and Figures:
- Details: Shirdi, Taluka – Rahata, District – Ahmednagar, State – Maharastra.
- Best Mode of Travel: By road from Pune (200 KM) or Ahmednagar (90 KM)
- Best Day to Visit: Thursday
- Things to do:
- Visit to the holy shrine
- Malpani Water Park
- Visit Shani Shignapur
If you are interested to visit Shirdi just Book Cabs / Taxi for Shirdi or download Loco Cab App & enjoy your favourite trip across India.