While Muslims in Kolkata organised a Durga Puja celebration in their neighborhood for the Hindu community, over 200 Muslim inmates in Muzaffarnagar district jail are observing Navratri fast, to give company to their Hindu inmates.
Syed Ali Mujtaba
THERE are three tales of communal harmony reported from different parts of the country that symbolises interfaith unity and gives a ray of hope that the idea of India is still alive and kicking.
The first story is from Kolkata where Muslims organised a Durga Puja celebration in their neighbourhood for the Hindu community. The second story is from Muzaffarnagar district jail where over 200 Muslim inmates are observing the nine-day-long Navratri fast, to give company to their Hindu inmates.
In Kolkata, a Puja Pandal is built in the Muslim-dominated area of Alimuddin Street just for two Hindu families who live there so that they may not have to go far-off places to worship the deity. The Muslim community with the help of a few Hindus has got the idol of Maa Durga installed in their locality so that the Hindu families living there can perform pujas with proper rituals.
“We are very glad to see that this puja is being organised by Muslim brethren for only two Hindu families,” said Sayantan Sen, a resident of Alimuddin Street. He added, “This is a great example of love for mankind and teaches us that there should not be any difference between religious communities.”
The next story is from Muzaffarnagar district jail where over 200 Muslim inmates are observing the nine-day-long Navratri fast, along with fellow Hindu inmates.
According to Sitaram Sharma, Muzaffarnagar jail superintendent, of the 3,000 inmates, nearly 1,100 Hindus and 218 Muslims are observing the Navratri fast.
The gesture of the Muslim inmates is a way to reciprocate their feelings for the Hindu inmates who had joined them in keeping ‘roza’ in the month of Ramzan,” the superintendent explained.
The jail authorities have made some special arrangements in the canteen to keep the food demands of the fasting inmates.
In another pleasant display of communal harmony between the Hindu and Muslim communities is from Assam’s Sivasagar town where a Durga Puja Pandal was erected sharing boundary with a mosque.
The Puja is organised by a local club called Nabajuvak Durgatsav Samiti, which turns 62 this year. It was earlier celebrated somewhere else in the town, but with a space crunch there around 30 years ago, the organisers had to shift the Puja venue to the Thana Road area of the town where the pandal is next to the old local Beparipatty Masjid.
The celebration of Durga Puja which began by sharing the same boundary wall with the Masjid was held in a very friendly environment with the active cooperation of the Muslim community as well.
When namaz is offered in the mosque, the loudspeakers in the Puja pandal are switched off.
These stories of communal harmony suggest that composite culture and the unity of religions coexist in India even at a time when there is a huge effort being made to rupture it.
It also suggests that people still value the virtues of communal harmony in our country. They believe that all have to live and coexist in the same cultural milieu and there are no other options than this.
The answer to peaceful coexistence is love for fellow human beings and there is no place for hate in Indian society.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@kasimjaipurgmail-com
Photo: Hindus, Muslims come together in celebrating Durga Puja in Assam’s Sivasagar.