At this resting place, 3 youth find living space

Chandigarh, January 28 2005:

Enter the Baha’i graveyard and listen to the music of Led Zeppelin. The lush green lawns and beautifully tended flower beds are unlike a graveyard. You meet three boys—mind it only boys who are not just music buffs but teachers and students—who are the caretakers of the graveyard.

Popularly known as the Baha’i Gulistan in Sector 25, the graveyard has been home for the boys for the last six years. For Molindru, a student from Manipur, a room in the graveyard is a place far away from the maddening crowd. ‘‘I came here when I was in school and it’s been six years now. I love the place for it’s very calm and peaceful here,’’ said Molindru.

Another student, Ramesh, is an MA correspondence student at Panjab University from Nepal and a follower of the Baha’i sect. He scoffed at the idea of being afraid of living in the graveyard. ‘‘Fear is not in these bodies or in the place, it’s within oneself,’’ he said wisely. ‘‘In fact, the graveyard is a very peaceful place to stay in.’’

He added, however, that his parents have still not visited him and his brother, Puran, at the graveyard. The boys said they are allowed to keep a music system and have friends, but, of course, their activities must not violate Gulistan decorum. So, gates are closed at 10.30 in the night, and parties and liquor are not allowed.

Along with with Puran and friend Molindru, Ramesh keeps away gamblers from the graveyard and the local kids from plucking the flowers. The place is regularly cleaned. Ramesh and Puran also run a Baha’i school in Kumhar Colony. Interestingly, the three occupants do not pay any rent, and their friends enjoy visiting them at the graveyard.

{josquote}Ask him if a person other than a Baha’i could be offered similar accommodation and it’s a full minute before he says that the assembly may consider it.{/josquote}

Vinod, the secretary of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is, believes allowing the boys to stay at the graveyard is a humanitarian gesture. Ask him if a person other than a Baha’i could be offered similar accommodation and it’s a full minute before he says that the assembly may consider it.

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