This is the story a 19-year-old young man from Rajasthan told me. It was a confession of sorts.

He had recently joined a transport company driving smaller vehicles such as Boleros, Tata carriers and the like.

In the early days of this Ramzan this year, the young man’s employer was asked for a vehicle to Aizawl. He called the young man and asked if he was willing to drive to Mizoram. The young man, keen on an adventure, agreed.

One person was to accompany him. When the older man asked the young driver if he had driven on mountain roads, he boasted that he had a lot of experience and knew the way to Mizoram. The young man even told a few stories about his experiences of driving in North East India. They set off.

The young man had no idea on dealing with the police checkposts and had it not been for his companion, he would have paid Rs 10,000- Rs 15,000 in bribes by the time they reached Silchar in Assam. As they were entering Guwahati, the vehicle’s clutch began giving them some trouble and they had not even begun the climb into the mountains.

They stopped at a garage where four men managed to make some repairs but the troubles were just beginning. As the road climbed to Shillong, it was obvious to the older man that the young driver had no experience of driving in the hills. As they were reaching Silchar, the young man looked nervous.

What was the matter? The driver looked at his companion and said: “We are now going into a Muslim area. We must be careful.”

He had heard that Muslims were “terrorists” and his driving became worse. It was just around sunrise when the car broke down at Silchar. There was no one around when they saw a man, looking fresh and calm, dressed in a white kurta pyjama with a white cap on his head.

He smiled at the young driver and asked if there was some trouble. When he heard that the vehicle was not starting he asked them to wait, went into a small house and emerged a little later wearing mechanic clothes and carrying his tools. He said he had kept them waiting since he had his Sehri, the meal before sunrise during Ramzan.

His experienced hands put the vehicle right and he handed his tools to the young driver. “Take these. You will need them,” he said. “On your return, you can give them back to me.”

He gave them his phone number and assured them that he would come to them if they needed any help.

The driver continued on his way. He was somewhat tongue-tied and did not know what to make of this experience and why the Muslim man refused to take any money for his labour.

As they travelled along the highway, they found it was blocked and they turned into the narrower lane that went through a thick forest. As they went up and down the winding road, the young driver realised that the brake was not working. The two men managed to stop the vehicle and push it to the side. The driver did not want to call his employer because he would be scolded and he asked his companion: “Should we call Hussein Sahib?”

Hussein Sahib was warm on the phone and said he would immediately come – but he was by then some hundred kilometres from their location. The two waited. There were several cars going past them to Aizawl. Every car, without exception, stopped and travellers asked if the two men were all right. Every passerby gave them something to eat or drink – packaged water, bananas, chips and cold drinks – and wishing them well, proceeded.

It was dark when Hussein Sahib arrived there. He said he took a while because he had travelled in a shared taxi to save money. He got down to work and within two hours, he had repaired the brake. He asked the young driver whether it would be okay if he drove the vehicle because the climb from there was steep.

The young man was relieved and they drove on to Aizawl. When they reached their destination and delivered the relief material, their hosts offered them tea and food but since Hussein Sahib was fasting, the other two also declined the meal and they all set off back to Silchar.

It was soon time for Iftar, the breaking of the fast in the evening. Hussein Sahib discovered that the two men were vegetarians and looked a little distraught. He said he did not know how to cook and since his wife was also fasting, he did not want to ask her to cook.

The young driver immediately said it was no bother and that they would eat at the nearby dhaba.

Hussein Sahib said they must spend the night at his home and could leave the next morning. He would not take any money, saying it was Ramzan when Muslims are to practice charity and care for fellow human beings.

As the driver and his companion sat down to have their meal, the older man asked him: “So what do you think of Muslims? The three mechanics in Guwahati were also Muslims. Where did you acquire your prejudice and your fear of Muslims?”

What makes Hussein Sahib’s kindness and his solicitousness towards his fellow Indians so significant is that he is not the exception but the norm of his community.

Manipuri Muslims had provided succour and solace to the Kuki community during the ethnic violence that broke out in the state in May May. In one instance, they rescued 3,000 members of the Kuki community in Imphal’s Hata Golapatti neighbourhood from being butchered.

These are not isolated incidents, just those that become visible.

Unfortunately, there are thousands like the young driver who carry around their prejudice, fear and hate. That is why there have been no protests when the Assam government announced that Hindus should not sell their land to Muslims. There were no national protests when a policeman kicked Muslims offering namaz in the open and nor did anyone oppose the announcement of towns in Uttarakhand to evict Muslims residents.

In the midst of this, Hussein Sahib in Silchar and thousands of Muslim citizens across India continue to practice their religion, to be kind, compassionate and retain their dignity against all odds. May their prayers for peace be answered.

Hussein Sahib of Silchar is a living example of the spirit of Ramazan. If he were to know that quiet acts of kindness were being written about, he would have been embarrassed. So I seek his forgiveness.

This Eid, there is the hope that these citizens can celebrate with their friends and family and that their children know the joys of the festival. Eid Mubarak to everyone.

Nandita Haksar is a human rights lawyer and award-winning author.