This Maha Shivratri, villagers celebrated the revival of an 80-year-old temple. This was in Acchan village, of militancy hit Pulwama district of Kashmir. The Swami Jagannath temple had dilapidated over the last three decades. Some Muslims and a Pandit family came together to restore this temple. The effort was made to deliver a message that the bond between two communities is intact.
JAMMU: Manzoor Ahmad Bhat, 62, returned after performing ‘Umrah’ (pilgrimage to Mecca) last month. He lives in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, but his current visit to Jammu has a special purpose and meaning.
He has brought walnuts to greet Girdharilal Daftari, his 68-year-old Kashmiri Pandit friend who lives in Jammu after shifting out of the Valley in early 1990 after outbreak of militancy. Walnuts are traditionally offered by Muslims to their Kashmiri Pandit neighbours and friends ahead of Shivratri.
Bhat and Daftari have been friends for over 30 years. The turbulence of time has upset many equations in Kashmir, but the brotherhood between Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims has somehow survived.
ALLAHABAD: Ahmed offers namaz five times a day, decided to not only give up his land in Madhuban Vihar colony for construction of a Shiva temple but also laid the foundation stone of the temple. His selflessness and feeling of brotherhood reflected when he also collected donation and bricks for the temple, reported Amarujala News. The foundation laying ceremony on Thursday took place in the presence of several people from the locality and devotees from nearby Neeva and Salori areas. “He sacrificed his land for construction of Mahagauri mandir and he also extended co-operation in other things,” his admirers told Amarujala.
Ahmed said,”We all are servants of God. Then why should we differentiate ourselves on the basis of religion?” Ahmed is also the Conservator of Islamic seminary, Ashfaq welfare memorial society where kids from poor Muslim families take religious education.
For the Hindus, better known as Kashmiri Pandits, Shivratri is the biggest festival on the calendar. And a scene that played out repeatedly this year in areas dominated by them was Muslims embracing and wishing their Hindu friends a happy holiday. For Kashmiri Hindus, nightlong prayers at home are followed by a visit to the temple on Shivratri. They also host a feast for friends the next day, known as Salam. Until militancy broke out in 1989, it was common for Kashmiri Pandits to host lunches for their Muslim friends and neighbors.
Mushtaq Ahmad waited for a Kashmiri Pandit family outside Ranishewar temple, housing an icon of Lord Shiva, in the rain, just to hug his friends and congratulate them. Mushtaq, who is a government employee, went to the home of his friend Sushil Kaul in Janipur, but was told by neighbors that the family had gone to the temple. He headed straight for the shrine. When Sushil and Mushtaq sighted each other, they couldn’t stop embracing. Tears rolled down their cheeks, retelling the story of two friends being back together.
Shivrati marks the darkest night of the year where God is worshiped in the form of Shiva the Destroyer. Many Hindus fast throughout the day, chant mantras and the holy names of God, sing devotional songs, and bathe and make offerings to Shivalingam. The actual moment of Shivratri is usually around midnight, marking the darkest night of the year.
To observe the holiday also has symbolic significance – devotees worship at night to remove any spiritual darkness in their life and to increase their devotion.