On this father’s day, I will be dedicating half an hour to reflect on my father, Mohamed Abdul Rahman. He is one of my mentors and an affectionate and caring father who opened many windows of knowledge for me. I was four years old, and he taught me Kannada, English, Hindi, and Urdu at home and drew animals, cars, bicycles, and other things. The irony is he did not go to High School – when I was out of town, he wrote letters to me in English. He had beautiful handwriting, and I have inherited that.
If I am a pluralist today, if I respect the otherness of others and have no
prejudice towards others, it was his teaching; living by example.
When the Dalits (Lower caste among Hindus) were not allowed in homes in the area, it was a shameful act in practice then, but my father invited them into our home, and my mother shared the food with them on the same plates and the same glasses of water. That was one of the biggest lessons of life to treat everyone with dignity and respect. That teaching landed me in an all-Black neighborhood, and I have been pleased to live here for the last five years.
More about my father at