Truth-Finding Mission

During Namaz, there is one gesture where the index finger is pointed in the direction of Kaaba and recites "ashadualla ilaha illallah wa ashhadu anna muhammadarrasulullah" to reaffirm faith in one God - that’s the only one, "Allah". And to testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. While making that gesture, the picture shows a woman holding a trident or trishula. Trident signifies that Shiva--the enlightened one--is beyond the beyond these three gunas--or quality or tendency--namely Rajas (vitality, passion), Tamas(darkness, destructive) and Sattva (goodness), and the one who holds the three Lokas – Swarg (heaven), Bhu (earth) and Patal (netherworld) together. This is one of the many interpretations. The trident and the finger together resemble 'Allah' in Arabic script. The image signifies unity in diversity--religion, languages, caste, creed--that's our greatest asset, our national identity. There are many paths to attain the sacred goal. And that we are different is a reason to celebrate not fight. (Photos: Raul Irani)

Truth-Finding Mission

Sanaullah at his home in Sarawah Village.

Truth-Finding Mission

One of the students of madrasa where Shallu used to teach English, is located in Sarawaha village. A mosque and a temple is seen in the backdrop symbolic of peaceful coexistence of the two communities for centuries.

Truth-Finding Mission

Shalu at her home in Sarawah Village, when she was held captive by her own family at a time when the whole ‘love jihad’ drama was at its peak played out by the mainstream media. At this point in time she had already converted to Islam which is essential condition to marry Kalim.

The prostitutes of the Kabari Bazzar in Meerut collectively take care of Nihal, pay for his education, and want him to do well in life, and its of no consequence whether he’s a Hindu or a Muslim. While this brothel is secular in the true sense of the word, they believe in one religion: humanity.

Portrait of a girl in Deoband.

Veiled women passing by the street in Kairana.

Chetna Devi, known to the world as Yati Maa Chetnanand Saraswati, is the head of a Meerut-based outfit called Akhand Hindustan Morcha.

Thousands of cows that reside at the Gau Shala managed by Sunil Singh in Mathura.

A veiled women in Agra, the hamlet of rag pickers, allegedly converted to Hinduism during the "ghar wapsi" (homecoming) conversion ceremony.

Rida Zehra, a student at the Brij Mohan School for the Blind in Meerut, recites Bhagavad Gita from memory.

Dedication - Khurram Khan alias Mamu, helpfully in connecting us to people and opening doors in and around Meerut.