Hindu Muslim Unity: Krishna’s birthday celebrated at Narhar Dargah

Muslim family carries son playing Hindu avatar Krishna
Muslim family carries son playing Hindu avatar Krishna

JAIPUR:  Not many people know but Narhar Dargah, also known as Sharif Hazrat Hajib Shakarbar Dargah has been celebrating Janmashtami for the past 300-400 years.

“Its very hard to say the exact time and reason from when this festival is celebrated in the dargah but this marks an important event for national and communal unity. Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs stay together and organiZe the event.” says dargah secretary Usman Ali Pathan.

“Thousands of Hindus come here and offer coconuts and flowers to the shrine and stay together. The idea behind organiZing this festival is to increase the love and unity among different religions in the country,” added Pathan. Devotees visiting the Dargah are surprised by such an event and the way it is smoothly organised and run from almost 400 years.

Read more: Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslim takes care of both mandir and masjid

Muslim caretaker offers garland on Shivalinga
Muslim caretaker offers garland on Shivalinga

INDORE: Mohammed Zahir is the caretaker of Lord Shiva temple in Khandwa, Indore. He takes care of the temple with the same enthusiasm as for the Dargah round the year.  From dawn to dusk he takes care of the temple, from cleaning the periphery of the temple to the core of it, that is, the ‘Lingam’. Religions have never been an obstacle to his services. He believes that Allah, God, Bhagwan all are one, but our way of thinking makes them different.

There is no Hindu Pandit to offer any prayer or to do the rituals, he alone helps tourists offering their prayers and garlands that they bring for the temple. He also offers his services to the Dargah 100 meter away, which also comes under ASI. He takes care of both the places equally and thinks that it will help him teach equality and harmony to his five children.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslims keep Ganesh festival alive

MAHARASHTRA: In 1893, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, then a 37-year-old journalist, took a momentous step to popularise the worship of Ganesh, using it as a powerful tool in the battle against the British Raj,. But even before that, a pandal on the city’s Laxmi Road used the Ganesh festival to foster communal harmony. A rhapsodic moment in 1887 led two Hindus and two Muslims to set up the ‘Guruji Talim Mandal’, the oldest Ganesh pandal in the city and, perhaps, in Maharashtra.

“Guruji Talim was a training ground for young wrestlers, including many Muslims. Bhiku Shinde and Nanasaheb Khasgiwale, along with their Muslim friends, the Nalbandh brothers, Hasham and Rustam, decided to install a Ganesha and started celebrating the festival even before Tilak’s Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav,” says Pravin Pardeshi, president, Guruji Talim Mandal, adding with a measure of pride that “there may be richer Ganpati pandals, but ours was built on the edifice of communal harmony.”

“At the time of its inception, members of the Muslim community actively participated in the rituals of Guruji Talim. Now, only Muslims with a memory of its history congregate here. In our riot-stricken times, I feel such examples should be widely propagated so as to forge stronger community bonds,” said Aaqil Madani, who has been visiting the pandal with his father since his school days.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Ajmer Muslims rebuild centuries-old Shiva temple

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz

AJMER: The khadims of the Dargah of Khwaja Garib Nawaz Chishti lent a helping hand to reconstruct an age-old Shiva temple, barely 400 metres from the main shrine in Ajmer.  On the left of the main Nizam Gate, tucked in a corner, lay the ruins of a centuries-old temple of Shri Pipaleshwar Mahadev till last year. However, now a magnificent temple stands at the site, built by the labor of both Hindus and Muslims.

“It was unanimously decided that since we are here for the service of the Khwaja, it would only be right on our part to pitch in for the construction of the temple,” says Sayeed Ibrahim Fakre, former member of state minority commission. The khadims along with some minority organisations generously contributed to rebuild the temple.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Where Hindus and Muslims pray together

Srimushnam Bhuvarahaswamy Temple
Srimushnam Bhuvarahaswamy Temple

KILLAI: A tradition of over 150 years in Killai, a coastal village in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu, delivers lessons in communal amity when parts of the country have betrayed vulnerability to intolerance.

Hazrat Sufi Muhammad Naqeebullah Shah Rahmatullah Aleh
Hazrat Sufi Muhammad Naqeebullah Shah Rahmatullah Aleh

The age-old harmony will be seen when Muslims of the village receive Hindu deity Bhoo Varahaswamy (the boar avatar of Vishnu) from his temple at Srimushnam, 60 km away. Every year, Bhoo Varahaswamy is taken out in a procession for the Brahmotsatava festival between February and March. The procession receives a grand welcome in Killai where it halts at a dargah built for Sufi saint Hazrath Syed Sha Rahmathullah Vali Shuttary.

The Imam offers prayers, a garland and oblation of 11 kg of rice, five coconuts and Rs. 501 to the deity. Later, a silk shawl on the deity is offered at the dargah and a chaddar is offered for the deity in return. The practice is linked to varying versions of land gifted to the temple by either the Sufi saint or one of his descendants.

Tracing the origins of this practice, Saqaf said that one of his predecessors had given 26 acres of land to the then tehsildar, Uppu Venkatrao, on a long lease and at low rent to help him demarcate the Dargah lands and draw up the boundaries.

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