Temple, Mosque and Bread


By Robert Clements

“There’s only one way to solve this issue whether to build a temple or mosque on the disputed site,” says the priest from the local temple to the mullah from the local mosque, “Let’s go to the site and ask the people what they want.”

So the priest and the mullah get into a taxi and go together to the disputed site. “Wonderful,” says the priest as he looks at the site where the destruction had taken place. “How good, a Ram temple will look over here!”

“A mosque would look even better,” says the mullah a little angrily. “Let’s ask the people what they feel.”

“Hello people,” shouts the priest, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a temple right here?”

“Bread!” cries a little boy as he pulls the priest’s clean white kurta, “Bread I want bread!”

“The problem with you,” says the mullah as he looks with mock resignation at the priest, “is you don’t know how to sell! Now see how I do it”. He looks at the little boy who is still pulling the priest’s kurta, “Listen!” he whispers, “Wouldn’t you like to see shining new minarets, gold and marble domes on this dry, barren land?”

 “Bread,” screams the little boy, his voice growing shrill with the aching hunger inside him, “give me something to eat, bread!”

“Let’s stop wasting our time with children,” says the learned priest, “we should talk to the adults, who will benefit from a place to worship. Hey woman would you like to see a sketch of the temple I have drawn. Imagine worshipping in such a lovely place. Come have a look. No! No! Stop! What are you doing? Why are you giving my blueprint to your son? He’s eating it! It’s not food. Give it back you idiot!”

“You shouldn’t have painted it with all those fancy colors,” says the mullah soothingly.

“She thinks it is food. Watch me win her over. Lady, how would you like your husband to worship in a place where he can feel God’s presence? Where all his prayers will be answered? ”

“Bread,” screeches the little boy.

“Bread,” screams his mother.

“Bread” shout the others as they looked beseechingly at the two men of god.

The priest and the mullah walk away from the poor villagers, away from the disputed site to their vehicle. “Bread!” screams the small child from afar.

“Give us food!” shout the people of India.

“They don’t know what’s good for them!” say the two priests together as they drive away.


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