During a trip to India my mother made a pilgrimage with her cousin to the city of Shirdi, home to the shrine of Shirdi Sai Baba, a holy figure revered by both Hindus and Muslims. As she would later tell us, their voyage to the city was nearly derailed by bad weather (the summer monsoons in Maharashtra) and an unwillingness by most taxi drivers to make the 1.5 hour drive from the train station to the holy site. That is, until a bidi-smoking Muslim taxi driver pulled up in a barely functioning old Fiat taxi, got out and welcomed my mother, her cousin, and a family friend who also joined in the journey, into his car.
The taxi driver not only took them to Shirdi, but volunteered to drive them around Shirdi, and then take them to other Hindu temples in the surrounding area. For the two days they were in the city, he would pick them up promptly at their hotel and take them wherever they needed to go. All the while, he chain-smoked his bidis and told my mother and her traveling companions the stories behind Hindu religious shrines.
When she returned from Shirdi, she recounted in near disbelief of how the taxi driver saved their pilgrimage and made sure they were safe from sun up to past sun down.
MUMBAI: The NGO, Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra, gave out scholarships amounting to INR5 million to students from Class VI to graduation level as well as engineering and medical students from various schools and colleges in Mumbai.
Since the NGO’s establishment, it has always worked towards the betterment of the society, by providing any sort of help, that too without any form of religious discrimination. People belonging to any of the communities are free to seek help from the organisation.
According to the press release, the scholarships were given to 400 students of which 50 were Hindus. The cheques were handed over in the presence of Maulana Mustaqueem Azmi, state president of Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra, Gulzar Azmi, president of its legal aid cell, Maulana Halimullah Qasmi, secretary and Congress MLA Amin Patel.
“This is not the first time that we have extended scholarships, we have given it earlier too and would continue to do so,” the release quoted Gulzar Azmi as saying, while speaking at the function organised to hand over scholarships.
MAHARASHTRA: In the village of Rui an ancient Ram temple was destroyed during the battle between the Peshwas and the Nizam of Hyderabad around 275 years ago. A masjid/dargah, was destroyed 63 years ago by some Hindus angered by the violence under the Razakar Movement in 1947-48. Both houses of worship have been rebuilt thanks to the efforts of both the communities.
The two places of worship will be inaugurated and a National Conference on Communal Harmony was held. The residents of the village, which has a population of 4,000, have initiated the programme. “The people belonging to all religions like as well as all castes and communities have willingly come together for the renovation and reconstruction of the Shri Ram Temple and the Jama Masjid/Dargah Sharif,” Vishwanath D. Karad said adding, “This is nothing but historic.”