Isn’t it ironic how people dress a certain way at weddings (desi as well as royal), while abandoning the dress code of our very own mosques and shrines?Few days back, I got the chance to revisit a place after a really long time. Interestingly much had changed there or maybe my discernment had evolved through time. As I stepped into the magnificent gate, my eyes were enthralled by the bright colours that people were wearing. I took my time in registering what was happening around me, and when my mind did start to jot down the details, words failed me.What I saw was a woman sitting on the stairs, breastfeeding her child, women roaming unworried about their fluttering dupattas, boys running around and children shouting, couples strolling hand in hand, empty wrappers strewn about. What was this place, and was it even worth this minuscule observation? What’s the big deal with people enjoying themselves, while enclosed by the majestic walls of the Badshahi Mosque? The blame for this insensitive behaviour lies not with the general public but our education system that has failed to teach basic ethics or a proper code of conduct to be followed while visiting mosquesLike ‘the enchanted rose’ from Disney’s ‘The Beauty and the Beast’, a petal inside me dies whenever I see the callous form of human nature. The scene before me was a contrast of background versus foreground; the impact of the former, supposed to be meticulous and serene was spoiled by the gaudy and sloppy. The sacred feel of the place had been distorted for me by the carelessness of the other visitors.The blame for this insensitive behaviour lies not with the general public but our so called education system that has failed to teach basic ethics or a proper code of conduct to be followed while visiting mosques. Despite our Islamic curriculum, we lack the basic understanding of ethics in both theory and practice. And let’s not forget that Muslims are instructed to portray a sober, calm and dignified behaviour when entering a mosque.Isn’t it cynical of us that while we expect foreigners visiting our country to follow our culture, but at same time, are oblivious of our very own identity? Just because the historical edifice of the Badshahi Mosque was built during the Mughal era, doesn’t make it less of a mosque. Have we as a nation become impotent in restoring the decorum of mosques in our country? Have we failed? Can’t we follow the precedent set by our ancestors? What are we waiting for? Divine intervention? Let’s make our mark. Let’s contribute now. Let’s join hands. Let’s do it! If not now, then when? If not us then who? Let’s voluntarily print banners and boards that instruct visitors on how to behave and place them outside these historical mosques, which state clearly that in case of any rescission, the penalty will be severe. A board that clearly states “Go big or Go home!”Published in Daily Times, August 8th 2018.