Ram and Rahim are one and the same for Ghanchi Irfan Razakbhai. That’s why, being a practising Muslim hasn’t stopped him from teaching various traditional dance forms of Gujarat, especially raas garba, in the run-up to navratri. Irfan, 25, has been teaching garba to people of Maninagar and Ahmedabad for 15 years now.
A resident of Maninagar, Irfan used to love dancing during his childhood days. Western dance and garba turned out to be his favourites. Recalling those days, he said, “I used to accompany my friends to local venues that hosted raas-garba and dandiya functions, even as my father was firmly opposed to it. As I started teaching these dance forms, his disapproval turned to screaming. Sometimes, he would even beat me up as it was not part of our religion.”
But his father’s opposition didn’t stop Irfan from pursuing his passion. After his father’s demise, he continued teaching garba to people. “And, thus began my journey. I have been teaching new dance styles on a regular basis to people of Maninagar. But on seeing some performance by Amdavadis, I realised that most of them lacked the skill of traditional folk dance of navratri. Hence, I decided to travel to Ahmedabad to teach people traditional styles and steps of navratri namely, moor peench, popatyu, odho, dudhiyu and more.”
For Irfan, loving humans was more important than anything else, as he firmly believed that Allah and Ram are one.
Currently, while he observes day-long fast during the month of Ramzan and breaks his roza after 7pm with dates and water, evenings are devoted to teaching raas garba to the tunes of Bollywood music and traditional Gujarati devotional songs. He said, “I am not the only one who dances during navratri. I have seen other Muslim boys and girls too, participating in raas garba functions and competitions, indicating that religion cannot be a barrier for anybody.” Source by DnaIndia