Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang

Members of Ganpati Visarjan procession pay respect to mosque

The procession switched the music from Hindu bhajans to Islamic devotional songs while passing by a mosque

06 Sep 2022

Ganesh festival
Image: News18


On Sunday, members of a Ganpati visarjan (idol immersion) procession, set a beautiful example of communal harmony when they passed by a mosque in Malad. This happened on the fifth day of immersion.

According to a report in the Times of India, they switched the music that was hitherto playing bhajans (Hindu devotional songs) to play, “Bhar de jholi meri ya mohammed,” a popular Islamic devotional song.

And while the actions of the participants at the procession in Malad were truly commendable, this is not the first such instance in Maharashtra. During Ram Navami, the DJ of a procession had also paused music while they walked past a mosque in Aurangabad.

This is far cry from many previous instances of communal clashes during similar religious processions, particularly those that took place during Hanuman Jayanti and Ram Navami earlier this year in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa and Rajasthan. In many instances, videos of the clashes circulated on social media showed people swinging swords and waving religious flags aggressively as the DJ played songs with lyrics demeaning followers of other faiths.

Hopefully, we will see more examples of communal harmony and respect, instead of violence, in the years to come.

Related:

Aurangabad: Ram Navami procession shows respect to mosque

Gujarat: Locals blame election politics for Ram Navami violence

Communal confrontations mar Ram Navami celebrations in five states

Rajasthan: All you need to know about the Karauli violence

Members of Ganpati Visarjan procession pay respect to mosque

The procession switched the music from Hindu bhajans to Islamic devotional songs while passing by a mosque

Ganesh festival
Image: News18


On Sunday, members of a Ganpati visarjan (idol immersion) procession, set a beautiful example of communal harmony when they passed by a mosque in Malad. This happened on the fifth day of immersion.

According to a report in the Times of India, they switched the music that was hitherto playing bhajans (Hindu devotional songs) to play, “Bhar de jholi meri ya mohammed,” a popular Islamic devotional song.

And while the actions of the participants at the procession in Malad were truly commendable, this is not the first such instance in Maharashtra. During Ram Navami, the DJ of a procession had also paused music while they walked past a mosque in Aurangabad.

This is far cry from many previous instances of communal clashes during similar religious processions, particularly those that took place during Hanuman Jayanti and Ram Navami earlier this year in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa and Rajasthan. In many instances, videos of the clashes circulated on social media showed people swinging swords and waving religious flags aggressively as the DJ played songs with lyrics demeaning followers of other faiths.

Hopefully, we will see more examples of communal harmony and respect, instead of violence, in the years to come.

Related:

Aurangabad: Ram Navami procession shows respect to mosque

Gujarat: Locals blame election politics for Ram Navami violence

Communal confrontations mar Ram Navami celebrations in five states

Rajasthan: All you need to know about the Karauli violence

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

A half baked secularism: Teesta Setalvad on caste and communalism

Drawing on the subcontinent's history of faith entwined politics and the resultant consolidation of power in the hands of the few, Teesta Setalvad invokes Ambedkar, Periyar and uses her own engagement with communalism to argue that the battle for secularism in India simply cannot be won without addressing the issue of caste. First published in Communalism Combat in April 1999.

30 Aug 2022

As journalist and human rights defender Teesta Setalvad spends another night in Gujarat's Sabarmati jail, Sabrang India looks back at some of her most powerful work (and words) over the last thirty years - work and words deemed dangerous enough to be imprisoned. This is the struggle of our memory against forgetting, against the white-washing and clean-chitting of violence.


Caste

A half-baked secularism 

Despite the brutal loss of half a million lives when this country was partitioned on religious lines in 1047, the national leadership, after close and passionate debate decided that India would remain secular and a democracy. It was a principled decision, large enough to swell our pride, but along with that it was an intensely pragmatic one. If India emerged poor but powerful, handicapped yet large in its vision, it was thanks to this decision, pragmatic and principles. For no other way could such a vast and diverse people, diverse in language, ritual, tradition, culture and religion stay together but for this vision of oneness, a oneness moreover assured by equality. This vision of a oneness could not have been possible without the contribution of Untouchables to the pre-Partition debate, a contribution that drew from their own denials and segregation, a contribution that could see clearly that, from their understanding of Indian society, if genuine democracy, and secularism had to be attained, equality in citizenship and before the law was as vital as freedom of expression and freedom of faith which has implicit within it the freedom from faith, too.  This depth of understanding is absent today.

This oneness envisaged and assured in the Indian Constitution authored by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, is today deeply threatened. Despite being involved intensely in the struggle against the manipulation of religion in the pursuit of power, I cannot be sure that we will win. Eminent columnist, Khushwant Singh’s passionate book, The End of India, sees dark days ahead, India splintering into a thousand pieces thanks to bitter pogroms against the minorities led by the leaders of Hindu majoritarianism.

Historically, from the medieval ages right down to the modern, religion when it influences the state, and politics, have proved destructive and poisonous. For Christianity in the medieval ages, the inquisitions remain actions yet to be faced and lived down. Hundreds of thousands of women burnt at the stake as witches during the dark ages, alerts us to the fact that when the potent mix of religion and state takes place, the patriarchy of both turns first on women and their sexuality. The irreligious Jinnah tolerating poisonous speeches in the name of faith at Aligarh and other parts of UP that finally led to the bloody vivisection of the subcontinent may or may not be something that many wish to remember. But his cynicism and the League’s politics had a hand in altering, drastically, the politics of this subcontinent and also lived perceptions in the minds of ordinary Indians. Today the brand of political Islam prevalent in a majority of Islamic countries battling modernity and failed to divorce faith from the state is manifest as a pathetic absence of democracy. The figure of Bhindranwale, was propped up, through the violence and hatred that he generated by former Indian leaders themselves and we had to pay for it. For Indians committed to Indian pluralism and diversity, the plight of Buddhism, a religion born here but not allowed to survive has been a matter of deep perplexity, even shame. But hop across to Sri Lanka and you can see Buddhism influenced with all the negatives when religion and state intermingle. There is a blatant privileging of the majority faith and language too –Sinhala Buddhists. And, not to be left behind, the brutal  growth of forces that are manipulating the Hindu faith to gain state power in India and then transform Indian democracy to a fascist state, have used brutal genocide and violence to achieve their space and place. It was Advani’s bloody rath yatra that brought the BJP to power in the centre and Modi-like genocides that may keep it there if Indian resistance does not match this onslaught. Religion in the public sphere retains little of original faith – be it Christianity, Islam Sikhism Buddhism, Islam or Hinduism.

Are we witnessing in our life times, the end of India? Our first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, astutely identified Hindu communalism as the greatest threat to Indian democracy. “If fascism were ever to come to India it would come in the garb of Hindu rashtra,” he both said and wrote. But as we battle on to assert secular principles in an India threatening to go under, the limitations of even this analysis or vision imbibed by the entire secular and left constituency stares us in the face.

Secularism is the separation of religion from state and equal respect  for all religions within society. Granted. To this narrow and limited extent, the battle for secularism is clearly articulated. Where we have singularly failed is understanding what faith in India and for the Hindu faith means. But this is, at best a half-baked notion of secularism in the Indian content. Put pithily, can you battle against the separation of religion from state in the Indian context without battling caste?

Here the deep-seated caste bias among left intellectuals and secularists hits us sharply in the face. We have responded ably with this half-baked secularism when assaults on religious minorities have taken place but remained paralysed and shamefully silent when caste violence erupts, Dalit women are paraded naked and violence in the name of caste is unleashed.

This paralysis and silence reveals a shallow understanding of religion within the Indian context. In India, we simply cannot speak of organised Hindu religion without dealing with, or battling caste. The individualistic and spiritual side of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism or Buddhism may mean one kind of salvation from believer to believer, but each and every religion or faith has a political side, an organised side since men and women are both individual and spiritual and also political. This side of Hinduism is unassailably caste. In fact all faiths on the subcontinent have been influenced, or sullied by caste.

To speak, therefore of the separation of religion from state but not to link this separation with a concerted battle against the indiginities of caste and caste itself is not simply narrow and limiting it is constricting. In the sixth decade after Independence, the fact that such a narrow vision colours the battle for secularism also means that the vision is restricted by a deep bias.

Before Independence and after freedom was attained, deep schisms had emerged within the pioneers of the movement. Schisms that were consigned to dark recesses of historical evasion when a post-Independence Nehruvian vision blocked out the contribution of tribals and Dalits to this vision of a free India. The reason behind this relegation is abundantly clear. It s evident in what caused the schisms in the first place.

Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar as leader of the downtrodden, across the length and breath of the country, made his and his people’s presence felt in this battle for freedom. He struggled shoulder to shoulder and even, in some crucial areas went ahead. Be it him or Periyar, who split from the Indian National Congress because of Gandhiji’s withdrawal of the temple entry movement (the moment Brahmin clergy and their supporters among Indian bouguioise industry expressed deep discomfort of this move to radicalise from within), theirs was a deep questioning about who and what would be the beneficiaries of the freedom, hard fought and hard won.

Babasaheb said that 30 per cent of India at least, bedevilled by three thousand years of brutal denial was not simply interested in  political freedoms if social and economic freedoms were not woven, intrinsically, into this concept. Though history has proved him tragically right, our post-Independence visionaries had no problems not simply relegating him to the shadows of history but even –shamefully—dubbing him a traitor.

Consolation must be had from the fact that if Gandhiji had lived he may not have allowed this sickening labelling. But his followers, Gandhians, as much as progressives and leftists, heirs of the Nehruvian vision and legacy did not hesitate in once more segregating a politics and thought that had emerged from within a historically oppressed section, to the dustbins of history.

The wonderful thing about genuine historical thought is that it emerges to haunt us, again and again. This is what is happening now. So far, the battles for a democratised history have been confined to the narrow confines of Hindu and Muslim rule. They have not entered into the realm of Dalit history, tribal history or even, really working class history or symbols. Feminist history too in this country has not been genuinely radicalised since it has so far been restricted to the stories of upper caste, middle class urban Indian women. That this is beginning to change is largely due to the assertions of quality minds and quality struggles from within the deprived, segregated sections.

This exclusion continued while on the other hand Hindutva  or Hindu right wing began from the mid-eighties through the construction of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal, of a falsely-driven ‘all Hindu identity. Maliciously driven as the motivation was –because Dalits and Tribals are used for violence while caste discrimination is not eradicated and caste violence is condoned—it was born out of a recognition that Hindutva cannot succeed without manipulating and mobilising all castes, especially deprived sections. The appropriation of Ambedkar is part of this attempt. Mayawati’s open alliance with the BJP in UP is another. When she campaigned in Gujarat, there were 36 BSP MLAs contesting. Throughout her whirlwind tour she appealed for votes (from Dalits) for Modi. Not once did she ask that BSP candidates should emerge victorious.

It would be easy to dub this as cynical powermongering by a hungry and deprived lot. Which is exactly what a great number of secularists and progressives are doing. This lot finds it easier to sup with Mulayam Singh –no less ‘casteist’—than dine with Dalits. Why?

The heart is this historically practised exclusion by the elite of this country, especially the progressive, secular elite. They believe that secularism in India is limited to celebrating the Urdu ghazal or the composite culture epitomised in Akbar. The historical deprivations and denials, especially the hidden apartheid of caste as symbolised in untouchability, do not challenge their notions of democracy or secularism. The fact that caste is sanctioned and defined by Hindu religion and is therefore a part of organised Hindu religion itself is also conveniently avoided.

The battle for secularism in India simply cannot be won without addressing the issue of caste. It is about time that the battle for secularism in the Indian context breathes this in and imbibes it. Can therefore the battle to separate religion from politics in India be de-linked from the struggle to anhilate caste itself?

A half baked secularism: Teesta Setalvad on caste and communalism

Drawing on the subcontinent's history of faith entwined politics and the resultant consolidation of power in the hands of the few, Teesta Setalvad invokes Ambedkar, Periyar and uses her own engagement with communalism to argue that the battle for secularism in India simply cannot be won without addressing the issue of caste. First published in Communalism Combat in April 1999.

As journalist and human rights defender Teesta Setalvad spends another night in Gujarat's Sabarmati jail, Sabrang India looks back at some of her most powerful work (and words) over the last thirty years - work and words deemed dangerous enough to be imprisoned. This is the struggle of our memory against forgetting, against the white-washing and clean-chitting of violence.


Caste

A half-baked secularism 

Despite the brutal loss of half a million lives when this country was partitioned on religious lines in 1047, the national leadership, after close and passionate debate decided that India would remain secular and a democracy. It was a principled decision, large enough to swell our pride, but along with that it was an intensely pragmatic one. If India emerged poor but powerful, handicapped yet large in its vision, it was thanks to this decision, pragmatic and principles. For no other way could such a vast and diverse people, diverse in language, ritual, tradition, culture and religion stay together but for this vision of oneness, a oneness moreover assured by equality. This vision of a oneness could not have been possible without the contribution of Untouchables to the pre-Partition debate, a contribution that drew from their own denials and segregation, a contribution that could see clearly that, from their understanding of Indian society, if genuine democracy, and secularism had to be attained, equality in citizenship and before the law was as vital as freedom of expression and freedom of faith which has implicit within it the freedom from faith, too.  This depth of understanding is absent today.

This oneness envisaged and assured in the Indian Constitution authored by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, is today deeply threatened. Despite being involved intensely in the struggle against the manipulation of religion in the pursuit of power, I cannot be sure that we will win. Eminent columnist, Khushwant Singh’s passionate book, The End of India, sees dark days ahead, India splintering into a thousand pieces thanks to bitter pogroms against the minorities led by the leaders of Hindu majoritarianism.

Historically, from the medieval ages right down to the modern, religion when it influences the state, and politics, have proved destructive and poisonous. For Christianity in the medieval ages, the inquisitions remain actions yet to be faced and lived down. Hundreds of thousands of women burnt at the stake as witches during the dark ages, alerts us to the fact that when the potent mix of religion and state takes place, the patriarchy of both turns first on women and their sexuality. The irreligious Jinnah tolerating poisonous speeches in the name of faith at Aligarh and other parts of UP that finally led to the bloody vivisection of the subcontinent may or may not be something that many wish to remember. But his cynicism and the League’s politics had a hand in altering, drastically, the politics of this subcontinent and also lived perceptions in the minds of ordinary Indians. Today the brand of political Islam prevalent in a majority of Islamic countries battling modernity and failed to divorce faith from the state is manifest as a pathetic absence of democracy. The figure of Bhindranwale, was propped up, through the violence and hatred that he generated by former Indian leaders themselves and we had to pay for it. For Indians committed to Indian pluralism and diversity, the plight of Buddhism, a religion born here but not allowed to survive has been a matter of deep perplexity, even shame. But hop across to Sri Lanka and you can see Buddhism influenced with all the negatives when religion and state intermingle. There is a blatant privileging of the majority faith and language too –Sinhala Buddhists. And, not to be left behind, the brutal  growth of forces that are manipulating the Hindu faith to gain state power in India and then transform Indian democracy to a fascist state, have used brutal genocide and violence to achieve their space and place. It was Advani’s bloody rath yatra that brought the BJP to power in the centre and Modi-like genocides that may keep it there if Indian resistance does not match this onslaught. Religion in the public sphere retains little of original faith – be it Christianity, Islam Sikhism Buddhism, Islam or Hinduism.

Are we witnessing in our life times, the end of India? Our first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, astutely identified Hindu communalism as the greatest threat to Indian democracy. “If fascism were ever to come to India it would come in the garb of Hindu rashtra,” he both said and wrote. But as we battle on to assert secular principles in an India threatening to go under, the limitations of even this analysis or vision imbibed by the entire secular and left constituency stares us in the face.

Secularism is the separation of religion from state and equal respect  for all religions within society. Granted. To this narrow and limited extent, the battle for secularism is clearly articulated. Where we have singularly failed is understanding what faith in India and for the Hindu faith means. But this is, at best a half-baked notion of secularism in the Indian content. Put pithily, can you battle against the separation of religion from state in the Indian context without battling caste?

Here the deep-seated caste bias among left intellectuals and secularists hits us sharply in the face. We have responded ably with this half-baked secularism when assaults on religious minorities have taken place but remained paralysed and shamefully silent when caste violence erupts, Dalit women are paraded naked and violence in the name of caste is unleashed.

This paralysis and silence reveals a shallow understanding of religion within the Indian context. In India, we simply cannot speak of organised Hindu religion without dealing with, or battling caste. The individualistic and spiritual side of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism or Buddhism may mean one kind of salvation from believer to believer, but each and every religion or faith has a political side, an organised side since men and women are both individual and spiritual and also political. This side of Hinduism is unassailably caste. In fact all faiths on the subcontinent have been influenced, or sullied by caste.

To speak, therefore of the separation of religion from state but not to link this separation with a concerted battle against the indiginities of caste and caste itself is not simply narrow and limiting it is constricting. In the sixth decade after Independence, the fact that such a narrow vision colours the battle for secularism also means that the vision is restricted by a deep bias.

Before Independence and after freedom was attained, deep schisms had emerged within the pioneers of the movement. Schisms that were consigned to dark recesses of historical evasion when a post-Independence Nehruvian vision blocked out the contribution of tribals and Dalits to this vision of a free India. The reason behind this relegation is abundantly clear. It s evident in what caused the schisms in the first place.

Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar as leader of the downtrodden, across the length and breath of the country, made his and his people’s presence felt in this battle for freedom. He struggled shoulder to shoulder and even, in some crucial areas went ahead. Be it him or Periyar, who split from the Indian National Congress because of Gandhiji’s withdrawal of the temple entry movement (the moment Brahmin clergy and their supporters among Indian bouguioise industry expressed deep discomfort of this move to radicalise from within), theirs was a deep questioning about who and what would be the beneficiaries of the freedom, hard fought and hard won.

Babasaheb said that 30 per cent of India at least, bedevilled by three thousand years of brutal denial was not simply interested in  political freedoms if social and economic freedoms were not woven, intrinsically, into this concept. Though history has proved him tragically right, our post-Independence visionaries had no problems not simply relegating him to the shadows of history but even –shamefully—dubbing him a traitor.

Consolation must be had from the fact that if Gandhiji had lived he may not have allowed this sickening labelling. But his followers, Gandhians, as much as progressives and leftists, heirs of the Nehruvian vision and legacy did not hesitate in once more segregating a politics and thought that had emerged from within a historically oppressed section, to the dustbins of history.

The wonderful thing about genuine historical thought is that it emerges to haunt us, again and again. This is what is happening now. So far, the battles for a democratised history have been confined to the narrow confines of Hindu and Muslim rule. They have not entered into the realm of Dalit history, tribal history or even, really working class history or symbols. Feminist history too in this country has not been genuinely radicalised since it has so far been restricted to the stories of upper caste, middle class urban Indian women. That this is beginning to change is largely due to the assertions of quality minds and quality struggles from within the deprived, segregated sections.

This exclusion continued while on the other hand Hindutva  or Hindu right wing began from the mid-eighties through the construction of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal, of a falsely-driven ‘all Hindu identity. Maliciously driven as the motivation was –because Dalits and Tribals are used for violence while caste discrimination is not eradicated and caste violence is condoned—it was born out of a recognition that Hindutva cannot succeed without manipulating and mobilising all castes, especially deprived sections. The appropriation of Ambedkar is part of this attempt. Mayawati’s open alliance with the BJP in UP is another. When she campaigned in Gujarat, there were 36 BSP MLAs contesting. Throughout her whirlwind tour she appealed for votes (from Dalits) for Modi. Not once did she ask that BSP candidates should emerge victorious.

It would be easy to dub this as cynical powermongering by a hungry and deprived lot. Which is exactly what a great number of secularists and progressives are doing. This lot finds it easier to sup with Mulayam Singh –no less ‘casteist’—than dine with Dalits. Why?

The heart is this historically practised exclusion by the elite of this country, especially the progressive, secular elite. They believe that secularism in India is limited to celebrating the Urdu ghazal or the composite culture epitomised in Akbar. The historical deprivations and denials, especially the hidden apartheid of caste as symbolised in untouchability, do not challenge their notions of democracy or secularism. The fact that caste is sanctioned and defined by Hindu religion and is therefore a part of organised Hindu religion itself is also conveniently avoided.

The battle for secularism in India simply cannot be won without addressing the issue of caste. It is about time that the battle for secularism in the Indian context breathes this in and imbibes it. Can therefore the battle to separate religion from politics in India be de-linked from the struggle to anhilate caste itself?

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Nafrat Chodo – Bharat Jodo Abhiyaan!

14th August “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day” – Another Strategy to Fuel the Politics of Hate & Division! A day of mourning and introspection is being transformed into a day of further spawning hatred and division – India must Resist It!

13 Aug 2022

Indian National Flag

Even as the entire country unites to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of our Independence on the 15th of August, yet once again the BJP-led Government is hell-bent on weaponsing its agenda of hate, by marking the 14th of August as “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”. Let not a day of national mourning and introspection, be abused and exploited to further the politics of hate and create the Partition of our hearts and minds. Indians across communities must resist this nefarious design.

Undoubtedly the tragedy of Partition shrouded the euphoria of our hard-earned freedom. The Partition was an unparalleled human tragedy that has inflicted deep scars on the very soul of our nation. 75 years later it still evokes passions and a deep sense of hurt in those who directly suffered due to the tragedy and collectively too. The Partition resulted out of the confluence of Hate and political ambitions, as well as the British Colonial policy of divide and rule. Yet it was the common Indian masses who had to suffer due to the greed of a few. One should never forget the savage conse quences of the tragedies of the past but the wounds of those tragedies must not be exploited to further fuel hate and division, but in fact must be treated with care, love and healing. Keeping the wounds festering, makes the body gangrenous and only leads to further withering away of the society, even as it serves the political greed of a few. They do not care about the human cost of perpetuating hate. The Commemoration of “Partition Remembrance Horrors Day” on August 14 is a very subtle disguised attempt to perpetuate hate, keep the wounds festering and earn political dividends. The insanity fuelled by hate resulted in the tragic vivisection of our motherland and along with the displacement of millions of people and massacre of a million, which also consumed the life of Mahatma Gandhi, our Bapu.

On this 14th August, let us all come together and join in prayers for peace, love, equality, justice and unity to prevail and defeat Hate and it’s hordes, to truly commemorate the tragedy of partition and pledge that all of us will work to ensure that India or humankind never have to live through such a tragedy ever again. Thus let us all unite to defeat hate and it’s divisive hordes and work to spread the message of love, humanity and the unity of our country.

We indeed welcome the fact that the SGPC, has called for a day of rememberance of the victims of the Partition, The victims of Partition were Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, all ordinary Indians. In keeping with the ancient spirit of India, a nation that was reborn on the 15th of August 1947 after the great sacrifices of our freedom fighters, let us all pray for salvation for their souls and pledge that we will not allow such a tragedy to occur ever again.

Dr. G G Parikh, Medha Patkar, Tushar Gandhi, Yogendra Yadav, Dr. Sunilam, Feroze Mithiborwala, Guddi S L, Arundhati Dhuru (NAPM, Uttar Pradesh), Sandeep Pandey (PeaceActivist), Meera Sangmitra (NAPM, Telengana), C. R. Neelkandan (NAPM, Kerala), Chinmay Mishra (Writer, Journalist, MadhyaPradesh), Alok Shukla (Chattisgarh Bachao Aandolan), Vishwas Utgi (Sanyukt Kamgar Kruti Samiti), Gautam Bandhopadhyay (Gandhi Vichar Foundation, Chattisgarh)

Courtesy: https://countercurrents.org/

Nafrat Chodo – Bharat Jodo Abhiyaan!

14th August “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day” – Another Strategy to Fuel the Politics of Hate & Division! A day of mourning and introspection is being transformed into a day of further spawning hatred and division – India must Resist It!

Indian National Flag

Even as the entire country unites to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of our Independence on the 15th of August, yet once again the BJP-led Government is hell-bent on weaponsing its agenda of hate, by marking the 14th of August as “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”. Let not a day of national mourning and introspection, be abused and exploited to further the politics of hate and create the Partition of our hearts and minds. Indians across communities must resist this nefarious design.

Undoubtedly the tragedy of Partition shrouded the euphoria of our hard-earned freedom. The Partition was an unparalleled human tragedy that has inflicted deep scars on the very soul of our nation. 75 years later it still evokes passions and a deep sense of hurt in those who directly suffered due to the tragedy and collectively too. The Partition resulted out of the confluence of Hate and political ambitions, as well as the British Colonial policy of divide and rule. Yet it was the common Indian masses who had to suffer due to the greed of a few. One should never forget the savage conse quences of the tragedies of the past but the wounds of those tragedies must not be exploited to further fuel hate and division, but in fact must be treated with care, love and healing. Keeping the wounds festering, makes the body gangrenous and only leads to further withering away of the society, even as it serves the political greed of a few. They do not care about the human cost of perpetuating hate. The Commemoration of “Partition Remembrance Horrors Day” on August 14 is a very subtle disguised attempt to perpetuate hate, keep the wounds festering and earn political dividends. The insanity fuelled by hate resulted in the tragic vivisection of our motherland and along with the displacement of millions of people and massacre of a million, which also consumed the life of Mahatma Gandhi, our Bapu.

On this 14th August, let us all come together and join in prayers for peace, love, equality, justice and unity to prevail and defeat Hate and it’s hordes, to truly commemorate the tragedy of partition and pledge that all of us will work to ensure that India or humankind never have to live through such a tragedy ever again. Thus let us all unite to defeat hate and it’s divisive hordes and work to spread the message of love, humanity and the unity of our country.

We indeed welcome the fact that the SGPC, has called for a day of rememberance of the victims of the Partition, The victims of Partition were Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, all ordinary Indians. In keeping with the ancient spirit of India, a nation that was reborn on the 15th of August 1947 after the great sacrifices of our freedom fighters, let us all pray for salvation for their souls and pledge that we will not allow such a tragedy to occur ever again.

Dr. G G Parikh, Medha Patkar, Tushar Gandhi, Yogendra Yadav, Dr. Sunilam, Feroze Mithiborwala, Guddi S L, Arundhati Dhuru (NAPM, Uttar Pradesh), Sandeep Pandey (PeaceActivist), Meera Sangmitra (NAPM, Telengana), C. R. Neelkandan (NAPM, Kerala), Chinmay Mishra (Writer, Journalist, MadhyaPradesh), Alok Shukla (Chattisgarh Bachao Aandolan), Vishwas Utgi (Sanyukt Kamgar Kruti Samiti), Gautam Bandhopadhyay (Gandhi Vichar Foundation, Chattisgarh)

Courtesy: https://countercurrents.org/

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Hirebedanur: Non-Muslims villagers commemorate Muharram in this Karnataka village that has no Muslims

The holy month for mourning and reflection also has other unique traditions

10 Aug 2022

Moharram

Hindus of Hirebidanur village in Karnataka, have developed their own ways of commemorating the holy month of Muharram, even tough there are no Muslim families living here.

During Muharram, Muslims grieve the death of Prophet Imam Hussain at the battle of Karbala, and the month is dedicated to mourning and introspection. However, as there are no Muslim families among the nearly 3,000 residents of the village located in the Saudatti taluk of Belgavi district, it is the non-Muslim villagers, mainly hailing from Valmiki and Kuruba communities, who have taken it upon themselves to observe traditions.

According to a News18 report, communal harmony can be seen at the Mosque of Fakireshwar Swamy, the name itself a sign of India’s syncretic and plural culture – Fakir (an Urdu word for an alms seeker), Eshwar (a Sanskrit word for God) and Swamy (a Sanskrit word for acetic) all come together to form the name of the acetic to whom the shrine is dedicated.

The Mosque was built by two Muslim brothers long ago. Now, every Muharram, a Muslim cleric from the neighbouring village stays at the Mosque and performs traditional Islamic prayers, while a Hindu priest also visits the mosque to offer Hindu prayers. Villagers also come here to fulfill their vows. `

“We invite a moulvi from nearby Bevinakatti village during Muharram every year. He stays in the mosque for a week and offers prayers in the traditional Islamic way. On other days, I take the responsibility of the mosque,” Yallappa Naikar, a Hindu priest, told Times of India.

In another example of how villagers commemorate Muharram, residents bearing torches carry out a colourful procession and carry traditional tajias to the tunes of folk music. This is followed by a village fair where children exhibit folk art. Villagers told the publication, this tradition has been going on for over a century.

Related:

Everyday Harmony: Kashmiri Pandits welcome back Hajis with Na’at recital

Everyday Harmony: Muslim employer performs last rites of Hindu employee

Everyday Harmony: Muslim groups organise drinking water in flood ravaged Silchar

Hirebedanur: Non-Muslims villagers commemorate Muharram in this Karnataka village that has no Muslims

The holy month for mourning and reflection also has other unique traditions

Moharram

Hindus of Hirebidanur village in Karnataka, have developed their own ways of commemorating the holy month of Muharram, even tough there are no Muslim families living here.

During Muharram, Muslims grieve the death of Prophet Imam Hussain at the battle of Karbala, and the month is dedicated to mourning and introspection. However, as there are no Muslim families among the nearly 3,000 residents of the village located in the Saudatti taluk of Belgavi district, it is the non-Muslim villagers, mainly hailing from Valmiki and Kuruba communities, who have taken it upon themselves to observe traditions.

According to a News18 report, communal harmony can be seen at the Mosque of Fakireshwar Swamy, the name itself a sign of India’s syncretic and plural culture – Fakir (an Urdu word for an alms seeker), Eshwar (a Sanskrit word for God) and Swamy (a Sanskrit word for acetic) all come together to form the name of the acetic to whom the shrine is dedicated.

The Mosque was built by two Muslim brothers long ago. Now, every Muharram, a Muslim cleric from the neighbouring village stays at the Mosque and performs traditional Islamic prayers, while a Hindu priest also visits the mosque to offer Hindu prayers. Villagers also come here to fulfill their vows. `

“We invite a moulvi from nearby Bevinakatti village during Muharram every year. He stays in the mosque for a week and offers prayers in the traditional Islamic way. On other days, I take the responsibility of the mosque,” Yallappa Naikar, a Hindu priest, told Times of India.

In another example of how villagers commemorate Muharram, residents bearing torches carry out a colourful procession and carry traditional tajias to the tunes of folk music. This is followed by a village fair where children exhibit folk art. Villagers told the publication, this tradition has been going on for over a century.

Related:

Everyday Harmony: Kashmiri Pandits welcome back Hajis with Na’at recital

Everyday Harmony: Muslim employer performs last rites of Hindu employee

Everyday Harmony: Muslim groups organise drinking water in flood ravaged Silchar

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Kashmiri Pandits welcome back Hajis with Na’at recital

Previously local Muslims had assisted in the rescue of Amarnath pilgrims during the flash-floods

18 Jul 2022

kahmiri

Kashmiriyat is alive and well in the Valley, where Hindus and Muslims are showcasing how they are placing humanity above religion everyday.

Recently a video of Kashmiri Pandits welcoming Hajis at the Srinagar airport went viral on social media. The Pandits were singing traditional Na’at to welcome people returning from Hajj, the holy pilgrimage of Muslims. Na’at is poetry praising Prophet Mohammed. The Hindus also offered their Muslim brothers and sister roses, handshakes and hugs.

 

 

This is especially heartening given the history of Kashmiri Pandits in the region. A vast majority of the community had been forced to flee in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s due to pressure from Pakistan-sponsored terrorist organisations. But the local Indian Muslims had always shared a deep bond of friendship and brotherhood with their Hindu neighbours. This is how Kashmiriyat was born and survives to this day, even as 808 non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit families still live in over 200 refugee camps across the Valley.

This incident comes just days after local Muslims set aside Eid festivities to help the Indian Army’s disaster relief teams with rescue operations involving Amarnath yatra pilgrims who had been affected by the cloudburst and flash-floods in the region. The Muslim vendors including pony service providers and shopkeepers did not go back to their village to celebrate Eid with their families, and instead stayed back to help the Army with the rescue operations. Watch this report by TV9 Bharatvarsh:

 

The entire Kashmir region has been on the edge, not just in wake of the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, but also because of the recent spate of killings of Kashmiri Pandits. But it looks like Kashmiriyat, the humanity of the ordinary Kashmiri, is the key to maintaining peace and communal harmony.

 

Related:

Everyday Harmony: Muslim employer performs last rites of Hindu employee

Everyday Harmony: Muslim groups organise drinking water in flood ravaged Silchar

Everyday Harmony: Humanity shines through the rubble of Hate

Everyday Harmony: Hindu families help ensure peaceful wedding for Muslim neighbour

Everyday Harmony: Hindu sisters donate land to the Eidgah

Kashmiri Pandits welcome back Hajis with Na’at recital

Previously local Muslims had assisted in the rescue of Amarnath pilgrims during the flash-floods

kahmiri

Kashmiriyat is alive and well in the Valley, where Hindus and Muslims are showcasing how they are placing humanity above religion everyday.

Recently a video of Kashmiri Pandits welcoming Hajis at the Srinagar airport went viral on social media. The Pandits were singing traditional Na’at to welcome people returning from Hajj, the holy pilgrimage of Muslims. Na’at is poetry praising Prophet Mohammed. The Hindus also offered their Muslim brothers and sister roses, handshakes and hugs.

 

 

This is especially heartening given the history of Kashmiri Pandits in the region. A vast majority of the community had been forced to flee in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s due to pressure from Pakistan-sponsored terrorist organisations. But the local Indian Muslims had always shared a deep bond of friendship and brotherhood with their Hindu neighbours. This is how Kashmiriyat was born and survives to this day, even as 808 non-migrant Kashmiri Pandit families still live in over 200 refugee camps across the Valley.

This incident comes just days after local Muslims set aside Eid festivities to help the Indian Army’s disaster relief teams with rescue operations involving Amarnath yatra pilgrims who had been affected by the cloudburst and flash-floods in the region. The Muslim vendors including pony service providers and shopkeepers did not go back to their village to celebrate Eid with their families, and instead stayed back to help the Army with the rescue operations. Watch this report by TV9 Bharatvarsh:

 

The entire Kashmir region has been on the edge, not just in wake of the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, but also because of the recent spate of killings of Kashmiri Pandits. But it looks like Kashmiriyat, the humanity of the ordinary Kashmiri, is the key to maintaining peace and communal harmony.

 

Related:

Everyday Harmony: Muslim employer performs last rites of Hindu employee

Everyday Harmony: Muslim groups organise drinking water in flood ravaged Silchar

Everyday Harmony: Humanity shines through the rubble of Hate

Everyday Harmony: Hindu families help ensure peaceful wedding for Muslim neighbour

Everyday Harmony: Hindu sisters donate land to the Eidgah

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Everyday Harmony: Muslim employer ensures last rites of Hindu employee

The Patna trader said he acted in keeping with the Ganga-Jamuni culture of northern India

05 Jul 2022

Secularism
Representation Image


Muhammad Rizwan Alam, a garment trader from Patna, ensured that his 75-year-old employee received a king’s farewell following his death, reported The Telegraph.

Ram Deo Shah lived in Bihar’s capital city with no family to call his own except the people he worked with. Rizwan, his brother Arman Alam and their friends learnt about Shah’s death around June 1 and headed to his house in Sabzibagh. The small group carried Shah’s arthi and walked along the narrow locality pathways chanting “Ram nam satya hai”. Owing to the close-knit area and the fact that Muslims were carrying out Hindu rituals for an aged neighbour, the procession drew much attention.

The procession went on for 3 km from Sabzibagh to the Gulbi Ghat cremation ground on the Ganga’s banks. Even Shah’s arthi was made by the Muslim group with bamboo poles and help from a Hindu priest. Rizwan and his family engaged priests to ensure that the 13-day shraddh rituals for Shah were observed correctly. They also plan to hold the shraddh bhoj on the twelfth day.

Speaking to the newspaper, Rizwan said he was adhering to the Ganga-Jamuni tradition of India that calls for the peaceful co-existence of Hindus and Muslims. He said that India is an example to the world as one where all religions exist together, happily and peacefully.

“We participate in each other’s important occasions from birth and festivals to death. We have a basic understanding of each other’s rituals,” said Rizwan.

When asked about the communal tensions in the country, he said that the nation comes first and religion comes later. Regarding Shah, he considered “Chacha” a gentleman who was like family to the garment shop folk.

He refused to talk about his family but had put the responsibility of his last rites on his colleagues. During Covid-19, Rizwan arranged for him to take up temporary work at a medical shop closer to his monthly salary.

In recent times, Shah had approached his employer to talk about his kidney infection that required a bathtub, weighing machine, juicer and water heater for naturopathy and ayurvedic treatment. However, he died before all the ordered and purchased items reached him.

Having travelled outside India, Rizwan stressed that non-Indians recognized both Muslim and Hindus as just Indians. He said that the people in his community are not bothered by “some stupid people” trying to create communal divides.

“We delete such people from our phones and minds. Some day they too will realise the importance of being an Indian,” he told The Telegraph.

The people with Rizwan such as business associate Muhammad Irshad echoed this sentiment stating that the people in Patna will not let such communal divides come between them.

Related:

Everyday Harmony: Muslim groups organise drinking water in flood ravaged Silchar

Everyday Harmony: Humanity shines through the rubble of Hate

Everyday Harmony: Hindu families help ensure peaceful wedding for Muslim neighbour

Everyday Harmony: Hindu sisters donate land to the Eidgah

Everyday Harmony: Muslim employer ensures last rites of Hindu employee

The Patna trader said he acted in keeping with the Ganga-Jamuni culture of northern India

Secularism
Representation Image


Muhammad Rizwan Alam, a garment trader from Patna, ensured that his 75-year-old employee received a king’s farewell following his death, reported The Telegraph.

Ram Deo Shah lived in Bihar’s capital city with no family to call his own except the people he worked with. Rizwan, his brother Arman Alam and their friends learnt about Shah’s death around June 1 and headed to his house in Sabzibagh. The small group carried Shah’s arthi and walked along the narrow locality pathways chanting “Ram nam satya hai”. Owing to the close-knit area and the fact that Muslims were carrying out Hindu rituals for an aged neighbour, the procession drew much attention.

The procession went on for 3 km from Sabzibagh to the Gulbi Ghat cremation ground on the Ganga’s banks. Even Shah’s arthi was made by the Muslim group with bamboo poles and help from a Hindu priest. Rizwan and his family engaged priests to ensure that the 13-day shraddh rituals for Shah were observed correctly. They also plan to hold the shraddh bhoj on the twelfth day.

Speaking to the newspaper, Rizwan said he was adhering to the Ganga-Jamuni tradition of India that calls for the peaceful co-existence of Hindus and Muslims. He said that India is an example to the world as one where all religions exist together, happily and peacefully.

“We participate in each other’s important occasions from birth and festivals to death. We have a basic understanding of each other’s rituals,” said Rizwan.

When asked about the communal tensions in the country, he said that the nation comes first and religion comes later. Regarding Shah, he considered “Chacha” a gentleman who was like family to the garment shop folk.

He refused to talk about his family but had put the responsibility of his last rites on his colleagues. During Covid-19, Rizwan arranged for him to take up temporary work at a medical shop closer to his monthly salary.

In recent times, Shah had approached his employer to talk about his kidney infection that required a bathtub, weighing machine, juicer and water heater for naturopathy and ayurvedic treatment. However, he died before all the ordered and purchased items reached him.

Having travelled outside India, Rizwan stressed that non-Indians recognized both Muslim and Hindus as just Indians. He said that the people in his community are not bothered by “some stupid people” trying to create communal divides.

“We delete such people from our phones and minds. Some day they too will realise the importance of being an Indian,” he told The Telegraph.

The people with Rizwan such as business associate Muhammad Irshad echoed this sentiment stating that the people in Patna will not let such communal divides come between them.

Related:

Everyday Harmony: Muslim groups organise drinking water in flood ravaged Silchar

Everyday Harmony: Humanity shines through the rubble of Hate

Everyday Harmony: Hindu families help ensure peaceful wedding for Muslim neighbour

Everyday Harmony: Hindu sisters donate land to the Eidgah

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Muslim groups organise drinking water in flood ravaged Silchar

The Assam town's residents found government's flood relief efforts insufficient

27 Jun 2022

Silchar

At a time when one only hears about the growing communal divide, Assam’s Silchar town embraced communal harmony as a means of surviving the flood. Thanks to local journalists like Silchar News’ Krishnakant Sinha, who have picked up their camera and work with the relief groups in the area, reports are coming in of how Muslim groups in the area are providing drinking water to trapped residents.

Despite the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) detailing 63 relief camps in the town, there are still no relief distribution centres. Thanks to this and the chest-high water-levels, residents have taken to climbing to rooftops with red flags in hand to signal the NDRF helicopter where relief packages are required.

In these times of distress, local journalist and blogger Sinha is using the Silchar News YoutTube platform to talk about life in Silchar in his series ‘Survival for Life’. Starting from June 21, Sinha provides a daily blog of what is happening in the town. Showing different aspects of the town's survival, on Day 4 of this series he talked about help from nearby regions.

In a BJP-ruled state, Sinha talked about how Muslims from nearby areas ferried over to provide water. Using rowing boats, two to three youths arrive in the town bearing bottled water for locals. This water is especially for those families who are seen trapped inside houses where the ground-level is completely submerged.

“We are still fighting,” said Sinha in his video.

Although this water is a paid service, people in Sinha’s videos can be heard saying how grateful they are for this help. In lieu of this, Sinha observes that despite the huge touting of Hindutva by politicians, people remain peaceful and help each other in any way possible.

On June 23, Sinha filmed his visit to Sonai road where people told him how thieves had entered the city via boats the day before. Angry locals had condemned this reality where the government fails to send boat services to the town but criminals have the required mode of transport.

The problem is not only regarding fresh relief supplies, but also the destruction of existing facilities. Cremation grounds are inundated even though the death toll continues to rise by at least one death every day. People are out on the street distributing ration using cable wires to keep themselves from being taken away by the flood water. At the end of the video, the group of people can be seen approaching a supermarket to get more supplies.

As per the ASDMA, nine deaths took place over the weekend. On June 26, the ASDMA reported five deaths -  four were children and one woman. Before that, there were four deaths in Barpeta, Cachar, Darrang and Golaghat, including two children. Silchar is located in Cachar district.

Due to the incessant rainfall, sluice gates were closed and embankments flooded over in many areas in and around Silchar town on Sunday. Within the area, Link road, National Highway road point, Ambicapatty, Church Road, Chandicharan Road, Bilpar, Public School Road, Subhas Nagar, Sonai Road, N.S. Avenue, Premtala, Chengkuri Rood, Malugram, Kanakpur, Tarapur Chandmari, Itkhola, Ghoniala, Meherpur have all been affected.

Related:

Everyday Harmony: Humanity shines through the rubble of Hate

Everyday Harmony: Hindu families help ensure peaceful wedding for Muslim neighbour

Everyday Harmony: Hindu sisters donate land to the Eidgah

Everyday Harmony: Telangana Muslim family offers home for Hindu girl’s wedding

Muslim groups organise drinking water in flood ravaged Silchar

The Assam town's residents found government's flood relief efforts insufficient

Silchar

At a time when one only hears about the growing communal divide, Assam’s Silchar town embraced communal harmony as a means of surviving the flood. Thanks to local journalists like Silchar News’ Krishnakant Sinha, who have picked up their camera and work with the relief groups in the area, reports are coming in of how Muslim groups in the area are providing drinking water to trapped residents.

Despite the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) detailing 63 relief camps in the town, there are still no relief distribution centres. Thanks to this and the chest-high water-levels, residents have taken to climbing to rooftops with red flags in hand to signal the NDRF helicopter where relief packages are required.

In these times of distress, local journalist and blogger Sinha is using the Silchar News YoutTube platform to talk about life in Silchar in his series ‘Survival for Life’. Starting from June 21, Sinha provides a daily blog of what is happening in the town. Showing different aspects of the town's survival, on Day 4 of this series he talked about help from nearby regions.

In a BJP-ruled state, Sinha talked about how Muslims from nearby areas ferried over to provide water. Using rowing boats, two to three youths arrive in the town bearing bottled water for locals. This water is especially for those families who are seen trapped inside houses where the ground-level is completely submerged.

“We are still fighting,” said Sinha in his video.

Although this water is a paid service, people in Sinha’s videos can be heard saying how grateful they are for this help. In lieu of this, Sinha observes that despite the huge touting of Hindutva by politicians, people remain peaceful and help each other in any way possible.

On June 23, Sinha filmed his visit to Sonai road where people told him how thieves had entered the city via boats the day before. Angry locals had condemned this reality where the government fails to send boat services to the town but criminals have the required mode of transport.

The problem is not only regarding fresh relief supplies, but also the destruction of existing facilities. Cremation grounds are inundated even though the death toll continues to rise by at least one death every day. People are out on the street distributing ration using cable wires to keep themselves from being taken away by the flood water. At the end of the video, the group of people can be seen approaching a supermarket to get more supplies.

As per the ASDMA, nine deaths took place over the weekend. On June 26, the ASDMA reported five deaths -  four were children and one woman. Before that, there were four deaths in Barpeta, Cachar, Darrang and Golaghat, including two children. Silchar is located in Cachar district.

Due to the incessant rainfall, sluice gates were closed and embankments flooded over in many areas in and around Silchar town on Sunday. Within the area, Link road, National Highway road point, Ambicapatty, Church Road, Chandicharan Road, Bilpar, Public School Road, Subhas Nagar, Sonai Road, N.S. Avenue, Premtala, Chengkuri Rood, Malugram, Kanakpur, Tarapur Chandmari, Itkhola, Ghoniala, Meherpur have all been affected.

Related:

Everyday Harmony: Humanity shines through the rubble of Hate

Everyday Harmony: Hindu families help ensure peaceful wedding for Muslim neighbour

Everyday Harmony: Hindu sisters donate land to the Eidgah

Everyday Harmony: Telangana Muslim family offers home for Hindu girl’s wedding

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Indians stand united, don't allow Hate to prevail over Harmony

Amidst the instances of hate speech, outbreaks of violence and bulldozer injustice, let us take a look at the efforts of ordinary citizens who helped preserve harmony

18 Jun 2022

harmony

The last week’s coverage of bulldozer injustice by several media houses has been about the growing communal divide and the outbreak of violence, as well as the marginalisation of the Muslim minority in particular. While it is necessary to report the news of the day, one must also not lose sight of instances that rekindle hope of peaceful coexistence.

Here’s a look at some such inspiring stories of peace and harmony between different sections of society after Friday protests.

Police and people exchange roses

A heartwarming example of symbolic rejection of violence was most recently seen in Lucknow near the Tilewali Masjid. On June 17, 2022 police forces across Uttar Pradesh were on high alert, unwilling to allow a repeat of the June 3 and June 10 protests. While Ghaziabad police deployed around 5,000 personnel, Lucknow police approached things differently by distributing roses to namazis.

Devotees who headed to the masjid in the afternoon were pleasantly surprised to see the police handing out flowers as a sign of peace.

 

 

To mirror the goodwill, the devotees too gave flowers to the officers after namaz. The police administration pleasantly surprised can be seen conversing with people.

 

 

The idea of using flowers as a symbol of non-violent protest was first proposed by poet Allen Ginsberg in his essay ‘How to Make a March/Spectacle.’ The idea was that protesters should be provided with ‘masses of flowers’ to give to policemen, the press, politicians, and spread love and compassion in the faces of hatred and violence.

Pulwama Muslims keep old promises

On June 12, while the rest of India watched horrified as Allahabad activist Javed Mohammad’s house was illegally demolished, Pulwama’s Muslims continued to protect the local Shiva temple. A resident tweeted, “In the middle of polarisation and hate mongering towards Muslims and killing of minorities in valley the message of harmony comes from my native district Pulwama. A centuries old temple in Payer is maintained by Muslims with pride of being care takers of coexistence.”

 

 

This is the same temple at Achan village that Hindus and Muslims restored together in 2019. The restoration was done days after the February 14 attack on CRPF men, 15 km away from the village.

Speaking to The Tribune, Auqaf Committee Chairperson Nazir Mir said the people wanted to send a message of peace and communal harmony, when people are engaged in warmongering on electronic and social media. The Committee was approached by local Pandits for the renovation and maintenance, which the Muslims have continued till date.

“We want to convey that Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits live here together like before,” Mir told The Tribune.

Calls for peace

A day after the protest, there were reports of violence. Media houses condemned the stone-pelting in Allahabad, Ranchi and other cities. Similarly, progressive groups of the Muslim community too launched into action from June 11 when a Muslim cleric in Bengal called for peace and communal harmony.

Stressing that India is the motherland of people across religion, he appealed to people to remain peaceful.

 

 

This call for peace was again repeated by the Haq Hai Foundation in Mumbai’s Mira-Bhayandar on June 15. Women and youths came together for a silent protest asking the community not to fall victim to the right-elements and its politics.

These stories have largely gone unnoticed in the face of calls for demolitions, challenges in courts and comments from the Supreme Court. In the larger scheme of things, the incidents may not seem impressive but taken collectively highlight how Indian citizens are keen to maintain peace in their land.

 

Related:

Beyond formal education: Haq Hai to help school dropouts

Breaking: Three UN Special Rapporteurs condemn India home demolitions, allege Collective punishment of Muslims

BJP’s Bulldozer is Breaking the Law: Subhashini Ali former MP, Kanpur

Weaponised Journalism: How many news publications really understand the gravity of illegal demolitions?

SC to hear urgent petitions against UP demolitions today

Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of June 10 rioters to be demolished?

Anti-CAA Muslim activist Afreen Fatima’s family members illegally detained!

Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma

Indians stand united, don't allow Hate to prevail over Harmony

Amidst the instances of hate speech, outbreaks of violence and bulldozer injustice, let us take a look at the efforts of ordinary citizens who helped preserve harmony

harmony

The last week’s coverage of bulldozer injustice by several media houses has been about the growing communal divide and the outbreak of violence, as well as the marginalisation of the Muslim minority in particular. While it is necessary to report the news of the day, one must also not lose sight of instances that rekindle hope of peaceful coexistence.

Here’s a look at some such inspiring stories of peace and harmony between different sections of society after Friday protests.

Police and people exchange roses

A heartwarming example of symbolic rejection of violence was most recently seen in Lucknow near the Tilewali Masjid. On June 17, 2022 police forces across Uttar Pradesh were on high alert, unwilling to allow a repeat of the June 3 and June 10 protests. While Ghaziabad police deployed around 5,000 personnel, Lucknow police approached things differently by distributing roses to namazis.

Devotees who headed to the masjid in the afternoon were pleasantly surprised to see the police handing out flowers as a sign of peace.

 

 

To mirror the goodwill, the devotees too gave flowers to the officers after namaz. The police administration pleasantly surprised can be seen conversing with people.

 

 

The idea of using flowers as a symbol of non-violent protest was first proposed by poet Allen Ginsberg in his essay ‘How to Make a March/Spectacle.’ The idea was that protesters should be provided with ‘masses of flowers’ to give to policemen, the press, politicians, and spread love and compassion in the faces of hatred and violence.

Pulwama Muslims keep old promises

On June 12, while the rest of India watched horrified as Allahabad activist Javed Mohammad’s house was illegally demolished, Pulwama’s Muslims continued to protect the local Shiva temple. A resident tweeted, “In the middle of polarisation and hate mongering towards Muslims and killing of minorities in valley the message of harmony comes from my native district Pulwama. A centuries old temple in Payer is maintained by Muslims with pride of being care takers of coexistence.”

 

 

This is the same temple at Achan village that Hindus and Muslims restored together in 2019. The restoration was done days after the February 14 attack on CRPF men, 15 km away from the village.

Speaking to The Tribune, Auqaf Committee Chairperson Nazir Mir said the people wanted to send a message of peace and communal harmony, when people are engaged in warmongering on electronic and social media. The Committee was approached by local Pandits for the renovation and maintenance, which the Muslims have continued till date.

“We want to convey that Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits live here together like before,” Mir told The Tribune.

Calls for peace

A day after the protest, there were reports of violence. Media houses condemned the stone-pelting in Allahabad, Ranchi and other cities. Similarly, progressive groups of the Muslim community too launched into action from June 11 when a Muslim cleric in Bengal called for peace and communal harmony.

Stressing that India is the motherland of people across religion, he appealed to people to remain peaceful.

 

 

This call for peace was again repeated by the Haq Hai Foundation in Mumbai’s Mira-Bhayandar on June 15. Women and youths came together for a silent protest asking the community not to fall victim to the right-elements and its politics.

These stories have largely gone unnoticed in the face of calls for demolitions, challenges in courts and comments from the Supreme Court. In the larger scheme of things, the incidents may not seem impressive but taken collectively highlight how Indian citizens are keen to maintain peace in their land.

 

Related:

Beyond formal education: Haq Hai to help school dropouts

Breaking: Three UN Special Rapporteurs condemn India home demolitions, allege Collective punishment of Muslims

BJP’s Bulldozer is Breaking the Law: Subhashini Ali former MP, Kanpur

Weaponised Journalism: How many news publications really understand the gravity of illegal demolitions?

SC to hear urgent petitions against UP demolitions today

Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of June 10 rioters to be demolished?

Anti-CAA Muslim activist Afreen Fatima’s family members illegally detained!

Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Buddha, Brahma or Al-Bari’, notes after a visit to Poa Mecca, Hajo

17 Jun 2022

Poa Mecca
Figure 1: Pao Mecca Mosque at Hajo, Kamrup Dist, Assam  , where a  group of both men and women devotees are entering the mosque. | Source: india.com
 

A mosque is the place of worship for the adherents of Islam. There is an exception though, at a location where people of all religion come to pay their respects, not just Muslims. I recount this journey to a rather special place of worship.

It had been raining fiercely, and the bulk of the roads surrounding National Highway 27 were flooded, trapping our friends on the road for hours. It was Buddha Purnima, and we went in search of the location where it is believed that Buddha gained 'Nirvana.' We were fortunate to find this new location in addition to the well-known Hayagriva Madhav Mandir.

According to local history, 'Poa Mecca' is the popular name for 'Maqam Mecca,' which means a place, position, or a location, for Mecca. It is situated on the 'Garurachal hills' in the town of Hajo, approximately 25 kilometres from Guwahati. The literal meaning of Poa Mecca is ‘a quarter/sector of Mecca.’ Mecca is the holy place for the Muslims all over the world. This Poa Mecca carries the granules of soil from Mecca, and people believe that their wishes are granted after a visit to this place.  

t was our first time visiting a mosque. We were loaded with (preconceived) misconceptions acquired from our environs. We were unsure whether women and people from other religion would be permitted to enter the mosque. Eventually, we mustered all our strength and entered the Mosque; where we encountered a few people praying to ‘Allah’. They greeted us warmly and seated us on the carpet.

After paying our respects, we started searching for any literary sources to better understand the place. Observing this, the people at the mosque were courteous enough to open the gates for us, which led us to the Moghul Emperor Shahjahan’s stone inscription fixed on the outer wall of the rebuilt mosque. The inscription is dated back to 1067 A.H (Anno Hegirae; Hijri calendar predominantly used in Muslim countries) corresponding to 1656-1657 A.D. The old structure was built by Lutful’ah Shirazi an Iranian who was the contemporary to Prophet Mohammads’ time.  The inscription tells the story of commitment of Lutful’ah Shirazi, and the aid received from the Moghul prince Mohammad Shujauddin as well. According to the inscription this Mosque was renovated in 1067 A.H with the support from Hindu king Lakshmi Singha of Ahom dynasty, during the supremacy of Shahjahan. Shujauddin was one of the sons of Shahjahan and the inscribed stone renames the Poa Mecca’s location as Shuja’abad in place of Hajo. The inscribed granite is in Persian and translated to English for wider communication by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).     

The inscription relays this message: ‘a man with true and kind heart can only be part of a mosque and admire Allah’. If a man builds one mosque for Allah, Allah will build seven such Mosques for him in the future. An Islamic spiritual leader can practice Islamic Laws and offer people a respite from their  grievances at the Mosque. He is generally called as Imam by people. 

Image
Figure 2: Stone inscription fixed on the outer wall of the rebuilt mosque at Pao Mecca, Hajo, Kamrup Dist, Assam. The inscription is dated to 1067 A.H, corresponding to 1657 A.D. | Source: Archeological Survey of India, Guwahati Circle


After understanding the historicity of the shrine, from the inscribed stone, we were asked to be seated. The Imam at the Mosque was generally curious about us; he had questions about our native place, profession and the reason behind our visit. After knowing our profession to be academicians in the social sciences, he inquired about reputed nursing colleges in India for his daughter. His daughter was keen on gaining admission to one of the best nursing institutions in India. Since women from this community (one interpretation) are not entitled to perform the same duties as that of an Imam, (the implication of this is that a woman cannot build a mosque and serve the society through a Mosque), the Imams daughter wanted to serve the people through her nursing skills. However, as we learnt later, a female Imamat is perfectly permissible in women-only mosques, which is rare in the Indian context. The Imam’s daughter at the Mosque had inherited all the sympathetic qualities which Allah conveyed to the people who follow Islam. We felt honored and privileged at having visited such an ancient mosque and got an opportunity to read the Persian Inscription inside the Mosque on the day of Buddha Purnima. The eclectic message from our visit was that be it ‘Buddha or Brahma or Al-Bari’ the ultimate meaning for life is obtained only by kindly serving others in society by being infinitely compassionate and merciful. Through our visit we were able to breakdown our own misconceptions and we returned on a positive note.

(The author is an academician and public policy practioner from Bengaluru, recently re-located to Guwahati, Assam)

 

Buddha, Brahma or Al-Bari’, notes after a visit to Poa Mecca, Hajo

Poa Mecca
Figure 1: Pao Mecca Mosque at Hajo, Kamrup Dist, Assam  , where a  group of both men and women devotees are entering the mosque. | Source: india.com
 

A mosque is the place of worship for the adherents of Islam. There is an exception though, at a location where people of all religion come to pay their respects, not just Muslims. I recount this journey to a rather special place of worship.

It had been raining fiercely, and the bulk of the roads surrounding National Highway 27 were flooded, trapping our friends on the road for hours. It was Buddha Purnima, and we went in search of the location where it is believed that Buddha gained 'Nirvana.' We were fortunate to find this new location in addition to the well-known Hayagriva Madhav Mandir.

According to local history, 'Poa Mecca' is the popular name for 'Maqam Mecca,' which means a place, position, or a location, for Mecca. It is situated on the 'Garurachal hills' in the town of Hajo, approximately 25 kilometres from Guwahati. The literal meaning of Poa Mecca is ‘a quarter/sector of Mecca.’ Mecca is the holy place for the Muslims all over the world. This Poa Mecca carries the granules of soil from Mecca, and people believe that their wishes are granted after a visit to this place.  

t was our first time visiting a mosque. We were loaded with (preconceived) misconceptions acquired from our environs. We were unsure whether women and people from other religion would be permitted to enter the mosque. Eventually, we mustered all our strength and entered the Mosque; where we encountered a few people praying to ‘Allah’. They greeted us warmly and seated us on the carpet.

After paying our respects, we started searching for any literary sources to better understand the place. Observing this, the people at the mosque were courteous enough to open the gates for us, which led us to the Moghul Emperor Shahjahan’s stone inscription fixed on the outer wall of the rebuilt mosque. The inscription is dated back to 1067 A.H (Anno Hegirae; Hijri calendar predominantly used in Muslim countries) corresponding to 1656-1657 A.D. The old structure was built by Lutful’ah Shirazi an Iranian who was the contemporary to Prophet Mohammads’ time.  The inscription tells the story of commitment of Lutful’ah Shirazi, and the aid received from the Moghul prince Mohammad Shujauddin as well. According to the inscription this Mosque was renovated in 1067 A.H with the support from Hindu king Lakshmi Singha of Ahom dynasty, during the supremacy of Shahjahan. Shujauddin was one of the sons of Shahjahan and the inscribed stone renames the Poa Mecca’s location as Shuja’abad in place of Hajo. The inscribed granite is in Persian and translated to English for wider communication by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).     

The inscription relays this message: ‘a man with true and kind heart can only be part of a mosque and admire Allah’. If a man builds one mosque for Allah, Allah will build seven such Mosques for him in the future. An Islamic spiritual leader can practice Islamic Laws and offer people a respite from their  grievances at the Mosque. He is generally called as Imam by people. 

Image
Figure 2: Stone inscription fixed on the outer wall of the rebuilt mosque at Pao Mecca, Hajo, Kamrup Dist, Assam. The inscription is dated to 1067 A.H, corresponding to 1657 A.D. | Source: Archeological Survey of India, Guwahati Circle


After understanding the historicity of the shrine, from the inscribed stone, we were asked to be seated. The Imam at the Mosque was generally curious about us; he had questions about our native place, profession and the reason behind our visit. After knowing our profession to be academicians in the social sciences, he inquired about reputed nursing colleges in India for his daughter. His daughter was keen on gaining admission to one of the best nursing institutions in India. Since women from this community (one interpretation) are not entitled to perform the same duties as that of an Imam, (the implication of this is that a woman cannot build a mosque and serve the society through a Mosque), the Imams daughter wanted to serve the people through her nursing skills. However, as we learnt later, a female Imamat is perfectly permissible in women-only mosques, which is rare in the Indian context. The Imam’s daughter at the Mosque had inherited all the sympathetic qualities which Allah conveyed to the people who follow Islam. We felt honored and privileged at having visited such an ancient mosque and got an opportunity to read the Persian Inscription inside the Mosque on the day of Buddha Purnima. The eclectic message from our visit was that be it ‘Buddha or Brahma or Al-Bari’ the ultimate meaning for life is obtained only by kindly serving others in society by being infinitely compassionate and merciful. Through our visit we were able to breakdown our own misconceptions and we returned on a positive note.

(The author is an academician and public policy practioner from Bengaluru, recently re-located to Guwahati, Assam)

 

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Howrah: Hindu families help ensure peaceful wedding for Muslim neighbour

Appeal to local police to allow wedding of Muslim widow's daughter amidst prohibitory orders, welcome guests, arrange for safe transport

17 Jun 2022

Hindu muslim unityImage courtesy: TV9

The union of marriage is known to bring families together. However, in this particular instance on June 12, 2022 the union brought together families from two religions. A Hindu family reached out to the local police in the Uluberia region of Howrah, West Bengal to ensure that their neighbour Pakiza enjoyed a joyous and worry-free wedding, despite prohibitory orders issued due to an eruption of violence in the area.

According to a report in The New Indian Express, a Muslim widow Iddenesa Mullick was able to conduct her daughter’s wedding with the help of her Hindu neighbours. Mullick lived in a small house off the national highway 6 with three daughters and one son. On Sunday she had planned to marry off one of her daughters Pakiza Sheikh Mokkabir.

However, Mullick had not anticipated the June 10 protests that broke out in condemnation of suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma’s remarks on Times Now. Their neighbourhood came within the purview of prohibitory orders issued under Section 144, in wake of the anti-Nupur Sharma protests. Unsure of how to arrange for her daughter’s travel and the reception of guests, Mullick resolved to postpone the wedding entirely. It was then that her neighbours came to her rescue. According to the widow, Tapas Kodali, Lakhikanta Kayal and Uttam Dolui promised to take care of everything. From welcoming the groom and guests to ensuring Pakiza’s safe journey to her in-laws’ house, the family participated in the marriage function.

A person from the Hindu family told the publication that the two families had grown up in the same village. Although Mullick had lost her husband eight years ago, they watched the mother with her children participating in events organised by the local club. They resolved to support Mullick and approached the police to get permission for the marriage assembly.

Around 300 guests were invited for the wedding although only 150 turned up. Mullick said that the Hindu neighbours welcomed all of them and took care of food and other preparations. Further the family also helped arrange for a car to take Pakiza to her new home. Mullick said, "I will be grateful to her neighbours for the rest of my life." Meanwhile, Kayal said, "It is our duty as citizens to stand with Mullick." Even the groom Mokkabir said he was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome and thanked the family for the smooth ceremony.

At a time when the hardliners and extremist groups are busy spreading communal hatred, such heartening examples of communities coming together to help each other in times of need, help strengthen India's unique secular fabric and constitutional values.

 

Related:

Udupi to march for secularism on May 14

Hindu sisters donate land to Eidgah to honour father's dying wish

Friday protests: At least 325 arrests in UP alone!

Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma

Ranchi: 2 dead and Muslim boy terrorised for Friday protests

Howrah: Hindu families help ensure peaceful wedding for Muslim neighbour

Appeal to local police to allow wedding of Muslim widow's daughter amidst prohibitory orders, welcome guests, arrange for safe transport

Hindu muslim unityImage courtesy: TV9

The union of marriage is known to bring families together. However, in this particular instance on June 12, 2022 the union brought together families from two religions. A Hindu family reached out to the local police in the Uluberia region of Howrah, West Bengal to ensure that their neighbour Pakiza enjoyed a joyous and worry-free wedding, despite prohibitory orders issued due to an eruption of violence in the area.

According to a report in The New Indian Express, a Muslim widow Iddenesa Mullick was able to conduct her daughter’s wedding with the help of her Hindu neighbours. Mullick lived in a small house off the national highway 6 with three daughters and one son. On Sunday she had planned to marry off one of her daughters Pakiza Sheikh Mokkabir.

However, Mullick had not anticipated the June 10 protests that broke out in condemnation of suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma’s remarks on Times Now. Their neighbourhood came within the purview of prohibitory orders issued under Section 144, in wake of the anti-Nupur Sharma protests. Unsure of how to arrange for her daughter’s travel and the reception of guests, Mullick resolved to postpone the wedding entirely. It was then that her neighbours came to her rescue. According to the widow, Tapas Kodali, Lakhikanta Kayal and Uttam Dolui promised to take care of everything. From welcoming the groom and guests to ensuring Pakiza’s safe journey to her in-laws’ house, the family participated in the marriage function.

A person from the Hindu family told the publication that the two families had grown up in the same village. Although Mullick had lost her husband eight years ago, they watched the mother with her children participating in events organised by the local club. They resolved to support Mullick and approached the police to get permission for the marriage assembly.

Around 300 guests were invited for the wedding although only 150 turned up. Mullick said that the Hindu neighbours welcomed all of them and took care of food and other preparations. Further the family also helped arrange for a car to take Pakiza to her new home. Mullick said, "I will be grateful to her neighbours for the rest of my life." Meanwhile, Kayal said, "It is our duty as citizens to stand with Mullick." Even the groom Mokkabir said he was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome and thanked the family for the smooth ceremony.

At a time when the hardliners and extremist groups are busy spreading communal hatred, such heartening examples of communities coming together to help each other in times of need, help strengthen India's unique secular fabric and constitutional values.

 

Related:

Udupi to march for secularism on May 14

Hindu sisters donate land to Eidgah to honour father's dying wish

Friday protests: At least 325 arrests in UP alone!

Spontaneous pan-India protests against Nupur Sharma

Ranchi: 2 dead and Muslim boy terrorised for Friday protests

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Subscribe to Secularism