Sujata Patil, Senior Police Inspector at Kherwadi, Bandra East reveals that she observe fast every Ramzan in the last 25 years.
For this Maharashtrian Hindu police officer, terms like mureed (disciple), wazu (ablutions before prayers) and ziyarat (visits to holy shrines) not just associated her with Islam but she is also familiar with and liberally uses when interacts with a Muslim, reported TOI.
Getting up at around 4 am for sehri and breaking the fast with Iftar in the evening, Patil follows a routine in this Ramzan too, which is ending on July 18.
“This has become a routine for me now. Like any other Muslim, I eagerly await the holy month’s arrival,” says Patil, seated at her ground floor office where a visitor confirms to TOI about the officer’s fast.
Her interest in Muslim culture goes back to her childhood days in Kolhapur. “As a child, I would accompany my father to the shrine of Sufi Saint Babu Jamal in Kolhapur. I have imbibed the spirit of tolerance and inclusiveness of Sufism,” explains Patil, who offers a chadar to Mahim dargah every Thursday and visits the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti dargah in Ajmer.
When asked what she gets from fasting for a whole month each year, a custom her religion doesn’t mandate?
“It gives me peace of mind. It trains me to be honest and resist temptations,” she says. She adds that her observance of roza (fasts) has earned her respect among Muslims. “Recently there occurred a riot-like situation in my area. Once I reached the spot and told the mob that I was fasting, tempers cooled down and normalcy returned,” she claims.
Many Muslims who have known her for years corroborated her that she observes Ramzan fasts.
“I have seen her fast and am aware of her devotion to Sufi saints. I was touched by her devotion and eagerness to understand Islam that I gifted a copy of the Quran (in Marathi),” says Dharavi-based social worker Saikh Fakhrul Islam, who has be familiar with Patil ever since she was inspector of traffic police in Matunga a couple of years ago.