PATNA: In a brilliant example of communal harmony, Muslims have been managing the Durga puja committee of a temple in Bihar to help Hindus celebrate the Navratra festival with a difference.
‘Navratra’ is a nine-day Hindu festival celebrated by Hindus in India to pay obeisance to deity Durga. This year, the nine-day festival concludes on tomorrow (Friday).
The place which is offering unique scene of communal brotherhood is Kirodimal Gajannad Durga temple located in Begusarai, some 140 km east of Patna.
What is even more surprising, Muslims have been dominating the Kirodimal Gajannad Durga temple committee which manages the festival, conducts temple rituals of daily prayers and even distributes offerings among the devotees which visit the temple. Of the total 24 members in the temple committee 17 are Muslims.
True to their representation, Muslims are proving their worth with ample service. They can be seen joining the Hindus cleaning the temple floors, decorating the temple, and making every arrangement for the festival in coordination with the Hindus.
“It’s a matter of great pride for us that we have been arranging the festival together for years. We live in harmony and celebrate all festivals together,” temple committee members Mohammad Anwar and Mohammad Akbar Khan said.
According to them, this tradition is continuing for the past 97 years since the temple was established in 1921.
“We offer all kind of helps. Be it cleaning, decorating the temple, taking care of the visiting crowd or serving offerings to the devotees, we do it with enthusiasm. We find it our responsibility,” said another temple committee member Mohammad Habib.
Temple committee president Ashok Kumar Goenka said they can’t think of celebrating the festival without the support of the Muslims.
“In the 24-member Kirodimal Gajanand Durga Puja Committee, there are 17 Muslims and only seven Hindus. It is a unique Durga Puja Committee in Bihar that celebrates Durga Puja with fanfare,” says Committee President Goenka with great pride.
But that is not one-sided. Hindus too stop temple’s public address system during namaz so that religious songs don’t disturb the prayers of the Muslim brotheren.
Also, the Hindus join them in arranging Muharram procession in celebrating Eid. Muslims offer namaz five times a day at the local mosque.
Earlier in April this year, Muslims helped renovate a Hindu temple in Bakhari block of the same Begusarai district. The said temple was in a very dilapidated condition.
Taking note of its pitiable condition, a Muslim family not only donated the land for the temple but also helped renovate it by offering physical labour and money.
Story courtesy: GULF NEWS, Dubai