Udupi: Pejawar seer Vishveshatheertha Swamiji is no more. There were many sides to the seer. He was revered by all for the kind of work he did, but there was an equally good number of people who criticised him.
From going to the doorsteps or the Dalits to holding Iftaar meets in the Mutt, the seer had shown the way for religious harmony, but many attacked him for the same. Yet another move of the seer that showed that he was not communal was the fact that he appointed a Muslim driver. Even this decision had evoked a mixed response.
Speaking to a Kannada Daily, the seer's car driver Muhammed Arif recalled his close association with the seer and said that he will never agree if someone called Pejawar seer communal.
Arif and his two brothers had served as the pontiff's drivers for many years and Arif worked for him for seven years. During these seven years, Arif says he saw that the seer only looked at human beings as human beings and never attached religion to them.
Arif recalls that when their family members were appointed to work for Swamiji many objected to it, but the seer stood by his decision saying that he only wanted a driver.
"I remember him asking me if I was finding it difficult to work for him. When I said that I was comfortable, he asked me to only focus on work and pay no attention to the criticism," Arif told Prajavani adding that as long as he lived with the Swamiji he was allowed to move in and around the Mutt freely.
Talking about the respect the seer had for other religions, Arif recalled that once while travelling with the seer, the seer had asked him if he had performed his customary Namaz.
"He had told me that nothing should stop me from performing Namaz. He asked me to nurture my religion and develop respect for other religions," Arif remembered adding that the seer was well-versed in Quran as well and he used to take him by surprise by quoting Quran very often.
"I am a Muslim and I will proudly say that I am a disciple of Pejawar seer, " says Arif.
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