NEPALGUNJ: In the spirit of “communal harmony” and interreligious dialogue, hundreds of Muslims have joined Hindu believers to celebrate the feast of Dashain. The feast is underway now in Nepal, and is one of the most important observances for local Hindu tradition, connected to the worship of the goddess Durga. In Nepalgunj, a town in the western part of the country, the occasion has special significance thanks to the presence of Muslim leaders and faithful who have exchanged gifts, embraces, and good wishes with the Hindus.
KANPUR: City based artisans are busy giving final touches to the effigies of Ravana a day before the festival of Dussehra. These effigies will be set on fire to commemorate the end of Navratri fasting and the victory of avatar Ram over Ravana in war. The craftsmen, all of whom were Muslims said that they have been making the effigies of the Ravana for several years now. They said that they have inherited this work from their parents who used to make these effigies earlier.
“We have applied vermillion on the forehead of Ravana with the help of paint. Also we have pasted a crown over his heads. The task, which still remains to be done is to attach all the three body parts but this job would be done on the day of Dusshera”, said Zahid who was busy completing the effigy of Ravana along with his colleagues.Similarly, the group of craftsmen were witnessed making the effigy of Ravana at Saket Nagar ground.
“Apart from making these effigies we also attach firecrackers inside it. We place lights in eyes of effigies to to attract crowd. This will last for around half and hour after which the effigies will be set on fire”, said Mehraz, a craftsmen.
CUTTACK: The city’s zari pandals (intricately decorated tents) are not only remarkable in their beauty but are also a symbol of communal harmony. 52 year old Salim Khan has been working on Zari Pandalsfor Durga Puja since he was just eight years old. Salim learnt this art from his father and now his 22-year-old daughter, Resham, is carrying forward the family tradition – a tradition where Muslim artisans make the Hindu festival of Durga Puja complete with their hands.
“All festivals are the same be it Eid or Dussehra. We all must celebrate them,” says Salim Khan.
Every Durga Puja, Cuttack city’s Banka Bazar sees more than fifty such Muslim families working in full swing to complete the Zari pandals and each pandal takes at least three months time to make. Incidentally, these Muslim families are also the first ones present at the pandal for the Durga puja ceremony.