July 05, 2020
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Mumtaz Ali Khan

Sri M is the coolest guru you could know. He is currently on a padayatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar and has halted in Delhi for the time being.

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Mumtaz Ali Khan
Mumtaz Ali Khan

Why M?

I was born Mumtaz Ali Khan. My guruji used to call me Madhukar. M is also the first letter in manav, manushya.

The idea of a padayatra?

The idea came to me a few years ago, but I didn’t have the guts. We are such div­erse people, this is intended to be unifying.

Why now?

There has been an eff­ort to use religion for vested interests. Our idea is to prevent it.

How far have you come?

Nearly 5,840 kilometres so far, with ano­ther 2,000 to go.

You’ve travelled through most of the country. Any signs of tension?

We’ve heard about so-called communal problems. What I’ve seen is that it is a country of the young, who are open to dialogue.

You say religion is a facade.

Across the world over time, teachings have been formulated to suit people. We are different because there are so many schools of thought. I believe in religiosity.

Your view on the ongoing JNU issue?

The action against the students could have been different. Without a proper probe, lawmakers can’t take the law into their own hands.

‘Anti-national’ slogans were raised?

Whatever the case. We cannot let people be a law unto themselves.

One day when you were 19, you upped and left for the Himalayas?

The mountains are supposed to be a source of mystic wisdom. I spent three years in the ‘mother of the Alps’.

Did you convert to Hinduism?

No. All my documents still call me Mumtaz Ali. I like the nature of dialogue that some texts, like the Upanishads, try to propagate.

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