Monday, May 28, 2007

A Great Example of Communal Harmony

By Gunjana Roy/IANS - New Kerala - Ernakulam, Kerala, India

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bhagalpur (Bihar): For eight long years, a 65-year-old Hindu man has been managing with care and devotion a Sufi shrine after Muslims hit hard by the 1989 communal violence gave it up.

Suresh Bhagat, who has virtually deserted his family in the process, says he enjoys every minute he spends at the 300-year-old shrine of Bazid Dargah Pahalwan, a revered Muslim preacher, in Amapur village some 20 km away.

The last of the Muslim families left the village in 1999, a decade after Bihar's worst communal riots killed hundreds and marked the end of Congress dominance over Bihar.

Bhagat sleeps on an elevated platform supported by bamboo poles near the shrine, close to a cremation site on the bank of the Ganga, a river of great religious significance for Hindus. "No sense of fear has crossed my dreams even once," Bhagat told IANS.

The villagers decided to take care of the historical shrine after Kamo Miyan, the last Muslim caretaker of the dargah, shifted to Bhagalpur town in 1999. Bhagat was ready to take up the task. There was initial resistance from his wife and their three sons but the man had his way.

Amapur village had 12 Muslim families, of which seven perished in the 1989 riots. The surviving families moved to Bhagalpur and Kahalgoan town over the years. "They left the village because of a high sense of insecurity among them," said RamPrasad, a villager.

Bhagat does not know how to follow Muslim rituals. He knows how to put the ceremonial 'chadar' on the 'mazaar'. He offers the remains of burnt incense sticks to Hindu and Muslim devotees who throng the shrine from Ekchari, Bhagalpur and Ghogha areas and from even Kolkata and Lucknow.

Illiterate Bhagat wishes he could offer prayers but he prefers to internalize his respect for Islam.
"Though I do not know the nitty-gritty of any religion, every religion talks of love and peace," he says.

Every evening, Anil, the rickshaw puller son of Bhagat, comes to see his father at the shrine and hands over a lunch box to him.

Bhagat has one dream: "I wish there is such love among Hindus and Muslims that when Hindus fast, Ramzan should fall on the very day."

Says Wasi Alam, a Muslim resident of Bhagalpur town: "What Bhagat does is a great example of communal harmony. God loves all and accepts everybody's offer and prayer."
[picture: Mangifera indica, India's national fruit.

Mangoes have been cultivated in India from time immemorial. The poet Kalidasa sang its praises. Alexander savoured its taste, as did the Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang.

Akbar planted 100,000 mango trees in Darbhanga, known as Lakhi Bagh.
http://www.tourindia.com/htm/homepage.htm]

1 comment:

irving said...

A lovely story :) May Allah bless him and his suffering family. Amin.

Ya Haqq!

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Great Example of Communal Harmony
By Gunjana Roy/IANS - New Kerala - Ernakulam, Kerala, India

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bhagalpur (Bihar): For eight long years, a 65-year-old Hindu man has been managing with care and devotion a Sufi shrine after Muslims hit hard by the 1989 communal violence gave it up.

Suresh Bhagat, who has virtually deserted his family in the process, says he enjoys every minute he spends at the 300-year-old shrine of Bazid Dargah Pahalwan, a revered Muslim preacher, in Amapur village some 20 km away.

The last of the Muslim families left the village in 1999, a decade after Bihar's worst communal riots killed hundreds and marked the end of Congress dominance over Bihar.

Bhagat sleeps on an elevated platform supported by bamboo poles near the shrine, close to a cremation site on the bank of the Ganga, a river of great religious significance for Hindus. "No sense of fear has crossed my dreams even once," Bhagat told IANS.

The villagers decided to take care of the historical shrine after Kamo Miyan, the last Muslim caretaker of the dargah, shifted to Bhagalpur town in 1999. Bhagat was ready to take up the task. There was initial resistance from his wife and their three sons but the man had his way.

Amapur village had 12 Muslim families, of which seven perished in the 1989 riots. The surviving families moved to Bhagalpur and Kahalgoan town over the years. "They left the village because of a high sense of insecurity among them," said RamPrasad, a villager.

Bhagat does not know how to follow Muslim rituals. He knows how to put the ceremonial 'chadar' on the 'mazaar'. He offers the remains of burnt incense sticks to Hindu and Muslim devotees who throng the shrine from Ekchari, Bhagalpur and Ghogha areas and from even Kolkata and Lucknow.

Illiterate Bhagat wishes he could offer prayers but he prefers to internalize his respect for Islam.
"Though I do not know the nitty-gritty of any religion, every religion talks of love and peace," he says.

Every evening, Anil, the rickshaw puller son of Bhagat, comes to see his father at the shrine and hands over a lunch box to him.

Bhagat has one dream: "I wish there is such love among Hindus and Muslims that when Hindus fast, Ramzan should fall on the very day."

Says Wasi Alam, a Muslim resident of Bhagalpur town: "What Bhagat does is a great example of communal harmony. God loves all and accepts everybody's offer and prayer."
[picture: Mangifera indica, India's national fruit.

Mangoes have been cultivated in India from time immemorial. The poet Kalidasa sang its praises. Alexander savoured its taste, as did the Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang.

Akbar planted 100,000 mango trees in Darbhanga, known as Lakhi Bagh.
http://www.tourindia.com/htm/homepage.htm]

1 comment:

irving said...

A lovely story :) May Allah bless him and his suffering family. Amin.

Ya Haqq!