Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslims create dandiya for Hindu Navratri dance


Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslims celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi


KURUMBAWADA:  People of Kurumbawada, a village in Maharashtra, less than 5 km from Belagavi district in Karnataka, grew up celebrating Hindu and Muslim festivals with the same enthusiasm. The village has over 150 Muslim families and 200 Hindu families.

Haridas Koli and Javed Kalamba claim that they were surprised when they were told that they followed different religions simultaneously. They did not believe when they were told that Ganesha Chaturthi is a Hindu festival and Muharram is considered a sacred month only by Muslims.

“We keep the idol in Muharram Khana, a place which is used by the Muslims during Muharram. If a Muslim is conducting the aarti, he also chants the Hindu shlokas. Even we know verses from the Quran,” says Haridas, who is a farmer by profession.| Javed says that every religion propagates peace and brotherhood and that his village is a model that shows that people of different religions can live without any quarrels. The people of the village celebrate most of the Hindu and Muslim festivals together, and they are gearing up for Bakrid, which falls a day after the day of the mahaprasad.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslim family celebrates 10 day Ganesh festival

SHIVRAJPUR: Aneesh Quereshi, his wife and three children have been performing the puja of the elephant-headed deity for last five years at their Shivrajpur village home in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district.

Shivrajpur village sarpanch Kanubhai Soni said, “This has set up a unique example of brotherhood and communal amity. The Hindu people staying in the village visit Quereshi’s home for darshan at the time of aarti and puja of the idol.”

Deputy sarpanch Satish Sharma said the celebration has been going on in their village, having a population of nearly 5,000, with a lot of camaraderie between the two communities. Almost whole of the village participates along with Quereshi in the immersion of idol in Dhadhar river every year, he added.

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Muslims use Muharram proceeds to fund cancer treatment for Hindu cancer patient

Muharram procession
Muharram procession

KHARAGPUR:  Muslims in West Bengal’s Kharagpur have decided to cancel Muharram procession this year and donate the money for the treatment of a Hindu neighbour, who is a cancer patient.

Samaj Sangha Club, which organises Muharram procession in Kharagpur’s Puratan Bazar, will raise Rs 50,000, the amount needed for the celebration, for Abir Bhunia (35), a mobile recharge shop owner who is suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. They have already given him Rs 6,000.

Bhunia is undergoing chemotherapy at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre in the southern fringes of Kolkata and needs Rs 12 lakh for a treatment that includes bone marrow transplantation.

“Muharram processions can be organised every year. But we have to save the life first,” said Amjad Khan, secretary of Samaj Sangha.

Mohammad Bilal, a member of the Muharram committee of Puratan Bazar, said God would be satisfied “if we serve the people”. “He is suffering from cancer and fighting with death. We should stand by him.”

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Janmashtami celebration at Muslim Dargah

RAJASTHAN: A three-day festival is organised at the Dargah of Narhar – also known as Dargah of Sharif Hazrat Hajib Shakarbar – situated near Chirawa in Jhunjhunu district, about 200 km from Jaipur. “This festival is being organised here for the last 300-400 years and people of all communities come here. A main aim of this celebration is to promote Hindu-Muslim brotherhood,” said dargah secretary Usman Ali Pathan.

People from many states including Maharashtra, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh visit the dargah during the festival. “Thousands of Hindus come here and offer flowers, chadar, coconut and sweets in the shrine,” he said. Over 400 shops come up in the vicinity during the festival time. Qawalis, skits and dance dramas are organised on the night of Janmashtami, similar to the ones held in temples.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: With flooded mosques, Kerala Muslims celebrate Eid in temples

Muslims praying in Kerala Hindu temple
Muslims in prayer

THRISSUR: In a refreshing development, the hall attached to temple at Eravathur near Mala became the venue for the Eid prayers on Wednesday for the devotees from the nearby mosque which is still remaining flooded.

The office-bearers of the Purappullikkavu Rathneswari Temple run by SNDP Yogam happily volunteered when they realized that priests at the nearby Kochukadavu Juma Masjid were looking for a place to organize the community prayer session on the Eid day.

“We thought offering the temple hall for Eid prayers will be an expression of the secular lineage of this land. We had also arranged all other facilities like water for cleaning for the devotees who had come for offering prayers,” said P K Sabu, who is the president of SNDP Union Mala.

About 200 Muslims had assembled to offer prayers at the temple hall. “We were very happy to hold the prayer session there, and we spent about two hours there,” Khalid said

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Festivals that unite

India is a land of festivals, where often people from different communities and religions come together to celebrate festivities irrespective of their faith or community. Spreading love, compassion and harmony — the festive season can often be the force that brings people closer beyond faith, and this year – like many others – we have witnessed some beautiful examples.

Muslims around the world and in India celebrated the important Eid al-Adha on Saturday. But when heavy rainfall stalled Eid celebrations in Uttarakhand, people from the Sikh community came forward. The Muslims in Joshimath were unable to offer namaz on the holy day at Gandhi Maidan in town, instead, so they prayed inside a gurudwara instead.

Mumbai Police too shared another heartwarming image of Hindu-Muslim communities celebrating two festivals – Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi – together in the city. Tweeting out a photo of Muslim devotees offering namaz in a Ganpati mandap, they highlighted “the essence of Mumbai” at Ganesh Murti Nagar, Cuffe Parade.

A similar scene was noticed in Gujarat. To spread the message of communal harmony, for the first time a Ganpati pandal was erected next to Bala Pir Shrine near Udhna Darwaja at Navsari Bazar in Surat. Members of the Hindu community celebrating the Ganesh Chaturthi were seen wishing Eid Mubarak to their Muslim brethren on Bakrid.

On the holy occasion of Bakrid, a few Muslim women were seen performing aarti at a Ganpati mandap in Mumbai. To celebrate the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on Triple Talaq, the women from Sion Koliwada offered obeisance to Lord Ganesha.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Interfaith Spouses Celebrate Ismaili Imamat Day

Children of interfaith Ismailis
Children of interfaith Ismailis

DALLAS: Urvi Dalal, who is Hindu, and her husband Nadeem Walji, who is Ismaili, were visiting from Manhattan, New York. Urvi and Nadeem said they decided to spend their Imamat Day in Dallas to celebrate with family and friends. One of their friends, Kamini Mamdani is also Hindu and married to an Ismaili, Malik.

Urvi shared, “It’s so nice to celebrate as a family and for the kids to be with their grandparents.  Their grandparents remember when he (Mawlana Hazar Imam) became Imam and now when they look back at today they’ll remember sharing the day with their grandchildren.”

I felt a sense of camaraderie as I connected with interfaith families that day. Many were excited to be celebrating with family and friends. It was evident that the common thread which bonded interfaith families was their love for family and humanity.

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Muslims help rebuild Hindu temple, temple hold iftar for Ramadan

Iftar held in Hindu temple
Iftar held in Hindu temple

KERALA: The Lakshmi Narasimhamurthy Vishnu Temple, in Punnathala, invited Muslims for a vegetarian iftar party. Some 500 Muslims, including men women and children from the area, attended the iftar. As unusual as it sounds, the temple authorities held the iftar as a token of appreciation to the members of the Muslim community, who had contributed to the restoration of the century-old temple. The Iftar was a part of the week-long Punaprathishta (restoration) of the idol and Naveekarana Kalasham (renovation) at the temple. The restoration ceremony which began on Monday will conclude on Sunday.

Cherusseri Unnikrishnan, the temple committee president said that the people of the village live like a family and religion has never come between as a dividing factor.He also recalled that not just financial contribution, youths from Muslim community had joined hands with the Hindus during the restoration works.

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Hindu and Muslim conduct experiment and become roomates

Kush & Faizal, roomates of different faiths
Kush & Faizal, roomates of different faiths

DELHI: Kush Kumar Singh, a doctor by profession, is Faizal’s flatmate. Strangers to each other until a few years ago, the two have been sharing the space for the last three years. In Gaffar Manzil, a predominately Muslim colony, Faizal underlined, “There is only one Kush, one Hindu resident. So most people know about him.”

There is also a larger reality that Faizal pointed out – Hindus and Muslims may form the two largest constituents of the country’s citizenry, but they rarely live as neighbours, let alone sharing a roof. This is particularly true in North India.

“Living in a Muslim colony for the last three years,” he said, “has not made me less of a Hindu but it has certainly made me open up to Muslims. It helped my neighbours to open up too. Just as I have never lived among Muslims, they also have never lived with a Hindu. So there are perceived notions about each other.”

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Muslims organize and pay for Hindu funeral rites while chanting ‘Hari bol’

Muslims organize Hindu funeral procession
Muslims organize Hindu funeral procession

MALDA: A group of Muslim youths took the body of Biswajit Rajak, 35, a Hindu who died on Monday, to the crematorium and even chanted the name of Hari (equivalent of Ram Naam Satya Hai) following the Hindu tradition. They carried his body on their shoulders for a distance of 3 kms to the crematorium, and performed all the traditional Hindu rituals including consigning the ashes to the nearby river and taking a dip in the river after the cremation.

Rajak’s family is are so poor that they could not pay the crematorium and associated charges. When his family could not arrange his cremation on Tuesday, villagers gathered at his house and requested Biswajit’s father Nagen Rajak to allow them to cremate his son. Even the moulavi of the local mosque also went to the crematorium. The Muslim neighbors paid the money necessary for his last rites. The Rajaks are one of the two Hindu families in the village of about 6,000 residents.

“The common people are not really bothered. Helping a family in distress and chanting some Hindu names can’t take away my religion,” said Ayesh Ali, a villager who participated in the last rites. The Muslim neighbours of Rajak also paid for his treatment and arranged to send him to a hospital in Kolkata.

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Jammu & Kashmir Muslims prepare temple for Shivratri celebration

Mandir abhishekam
Mandir abhishekam

JAMMU & KASHMIR: From Muslims cleaning up and organising puja at a temple to 1,000 specially-designed ‘Herath’ greeting cards, this Shivratri Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims bonded and reached out to each other, with social media providing a rare platform to relive past memories.

“We have decided to clean up the premises of the temple for the Pandits. We want them to perform puja with all reverence and without any sense of insecurity,” said Rashid Dar, a local.

“I miss water-soaked walnuts that Pandits would offer to Muslims in neighbourhood. For ‘salam’, I would visit Pandits the next day after herath,” recalled Ashraf Kishoo on Facebook.

“Around 1,000 greeting cards were delivered to Pandit families. The card highlights the poetry of Lal Ded, equally revered by Muslims and Pandits. It carries the picture of a stone temple of Mansbal that was restored with the help of locals. The idea is highlight the rich culture the State has nurtured for centuries,” Works Minister and government spokesman Nayeem Akhtar said.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslims rescue injured Hindu pilgrims

Amarnath, a sacred site that draws large numbers of Hindus
Amarnath, a sacred site that draws large numbers of Hindus


AMARNATH: Defying curfew restrictions on Wednesday, local Muslims risked their lives to rescue the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims injured in a road accident on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway No.1 A and carried them to hospitals.

The driver of the mini-bus carrying the pilgrims died of injuries after the vehicle met an accident near Bijbehara town in Anantnag district.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Hindu family stays up at night to help fasting Muslims

Gulab Yadav, 45, and his son Abhishek knock at each door and do not leave before the families are awakeAZAMGARH: It is 3 in the morning and everyone in Uttar Pradesh’s Mubarakpur, a village famous for its Banarasi sari weavers, is sleeping.

Gulab Yadav, 45, and his son Abhishek knock at each door and do not leave before the families are awake

One man is awake, though, and so is his 12-year-old son.

These two start their work at 1 am and spend two hours waking all Muslim families in the village for their morning Sehri meal and Azaan before the start of their daylong fast in the month of Ramzan.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Sikh engineer creates Ramadan app

Kuldeep & grandfather
Kuldeep & grandfather

Though Sikhism is a distinct religion separate from Hinduism and Islam, we are sharing this story in the spirit of communal harmony

Kuldeep Singh Saini, a mechatronics engineer developed the app Ramadan 2016 which helps keep a track of the direction of prayer, iftar (meal after sunset), sehri (pre-dawn meal), prayer timings, and has been downloaded more than 500,000 times.

Kuldeep, 27, was always intrigued by how the workers at his father’s garage diligently observed the various religious customs during the Holy Month of Ramadan, and had always wanted to make it easier for them to do the same. Armed with basic coding knowledge and a fair experience in app development, he started working on a Ramadan App in 2015.  He started by researching religious practices by talking to the workers in his father’s garage. It took him two months to finish work on the UI and UX, while the actual coding took him another two months.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslim back pandit to have Hindu cremation grounds returned

SRINAGAR:  When Rakesh returned home to his small village in Northern Kashmir, he didn’t expect things to be the same. After 16 years, he was the only Kashmiri Pandit choosing to head back to Arin. But what he found was far worse than what he had imagined. His land, his house, even the village’s cremation ground had been grabbed by the local land mafia.

It was Arin’s Muslim residents who became his support system. “They said I must assert my right. If someone has made fraudulent documents to become the owner of my property, it will not work. The people have supported me in every way, and I am very thankful,” says Rakesh. The land mafia has already built a shop and a house on the cremation ground. The villagers recently got together to stop the construction on a second house here.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Hindus build village mosque for Muslim minority

PURTAGERI:  In Purtageri north Karnataka, Hindus are helping Muslims restore a mosque that was on the brink of collapse.

It’s a century-old mosque that’s been crying for attention since last October. The roof of the mosque started leaking and a portion of it was badly damaged in the heavy rains that lashed many parts of north Karnataka last year.

But with the rains setting in, a rare show of communal harmony was displayed to the entire country. Hindus have taken the lead to pitch in with donations and construction material to re-build the damaged mosque in remote Purtageri, a village near Gadag in north Karnataka, about 400 kms from Bangalore.

There are about 150 households in Purtageri of which only about 10 families are Muslim, who are daily wagers or agricultural labourers. Hence, they couldn’t afford the renovation of their only place of worship. But Hindus from the neighbouring historic town of Gajendraghada donated willingly and work is now on in full swing with donations to the tune of about Rs 1 lakh. Some Hindus who couldn’t donate in cash or kind, have volunteered to help with the masonry and labour.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Hindu pens Muhammad’s biography in Marwari

Often, we read about a religion and get influenced by its ideals. But how often does it happen that in a country like India, where religion plays such an important role in defining your identity and place in society, a Hindu boy not just got inspired by a Muslim leader but also wrote an entire book on Him.

“When I was a kid, our teachers would tell us to read books as part of our course. Since those days I spent a lot of time reading. I read Muhammad’s biography too and I thought that I should write about this amazing personality,” he says.

Highly influenced by the Quran and Muhammad’s ideas, Rajeev Sharma says there is no other book that talks about peace and harmony better than the Quran. In the future, he is planning to translate it in Marwari too.

Having translated other Hindu religious books in Marwari, Sharma’s first experiment with a different religion has already created a stir. “I want to create libraries in all the villages of India. Books are the best thing one can have and children should inculcate the habit of reading,” he says.

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