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Building Harmony: Sikh gives 900 sq. ft. land for mosque in violence hotbed of UP

Sukhpal Singh Bedi had earlier also given up land for a road in the village

Sabrangindia 03 Dec 2019

Sikh man

There is no place for hate in India. Far away from the chest-thumping Hindutva that has reached a fever pitch in the country, a 70-year-old man is quietly setting examples on communal harmony in the quiet town Purqazi in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzzaffarnagar district, Rediff.com reported.

Sukhpal Singh Bedi, a Sikh cloth merchant who has been living in Purqazi for more than five decades, donated a 900 sq. ft. plot to build a mosque on the eve of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary celebrations. Bedi, a social activist, handed over the property to Nagar Panchayat Chairman Zahir Farooqui at the event.

"This is the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak. Sukh Pal Singh Bedi wanted to do something special to celebrate Guru Nanak's birthday and so he donated the land to build a mosque," Town Panchayat Chairman Zaheer Farooqui told Rediff.com.

"There are many masjids in our town, but this one will be special as the land has been donated by a Sikh to celebrate his religion. There is total communal harmony in this town. We celebrate each other’s festivals." Farooqui added.

"Sukh Pal Singh is not very rich where money is concerned, but his heart is rich. He is a cloth merchant, an ordinary man like you and me,” Farooqui expressed heartwarmingly.

Purqazi is a small town in UP’s Muzzaffarnagar, almost 800-km from the long disputed Ayodhya temple site, with a population of about 30,000 of which two-thirds are Muslims. The town has less than 200 Sikh families. The border town that falls between UP and Uttarakhand, is famous for its Suli Wala Bagh, where 500 freedom fighters were hung by the British in the First War of Independence in 1857.

Bedi was born in Delhi three years after Independence. His family moved to Purqazi when he was three and he has been living there ever since, running his cloth business that he started in 1967. He reminisced on the phone to Rediff.com about how he had once travelled to Mumbai once in the eighties.

"Our Guru told us that all people are equal and we must respect all religions and that is what I am doing," says Sukh Pal Singh Bedi. "It is our Guru's 550th birth anniversary and Sikhs are celebrating the world over. I wanted to do something special to commemorate the event and I am sure my deed must have made my Guru happy. "When I decided to donate the land I consulted my family. They all agreed that it was for a good cause and I must do it. They all supported me," he said happily.

Bedi, who has worked his whole life towards propagating peace had also 20 years ago given up land when the town needed it to build a road. "God gives us everything, we must use it for the good of the maximum people possible," Bedi said. "We must always share whatever we have because everything is given by God. Nothing belongs to us."

It is really touching to see such instances of social harmony emanating from the hotbed of violence that UP has always been. In 2017, UP topped the list of states with maximum communal violence 195 incidents of communal violence related to religious factors, land and property disputes, gender related offences, social media related issues and other factors. This, after UP CM Yogi Adityanath claimed that there had been no riots in his two years as CM from 2017 – 2019. Communal incidents in UP had increased 47% from 133 in 2014 to 195 in 2017, Business Standard reported. According to a Huffington Post report, India ranked fourth in the world in 2015 after Syria, Nigeria and Iraq for highest social hostilities involving religion.

During Yogi’s tenure, towns like Shabbirpur, Bulandshahr, Saharanpur and Kasganj among others witnessed incidents of communal violence.

The situation in UP’s Ayodhya is still tense after the Supreme Court’s verdict that the disputed land in question be given for the construction of the temple and that the Muslims be given a 5 acre plot in the city for the construction of a mosque.

While UP has been embroiled in incidents that upset social unity with lynchings on the rise and caste related offences, it is inspiring to see people like Bedi who are working hard towards keeping equality alive and keep communal hatred at bay.

 

Related:

UP’s dis-honourable dad kills daughter for loving the ‘wrong’ man
Uttar Pradesh records highest crimes against Dalits: NCRB
Hindus and Muslims help renovate a gurudwara in Pakistan
Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb: Muslims help with Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations
“Allah and Ram are one”: Muslim youth who cleans mosques and temples
Maulvi inaugurates temple that Muslims helped restore after demolition
In Tamil Nadu, Hindus observe ‘Allah Festival’ on eve of Muharram
Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb: Muslims help with Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations

Building Harmony: Sikh gives 900 sq. ft. land for mosque in violence hotbed of UP

Sukhpal Singh Bedi had earlier also given up land for a road in the village

Sikh man

There is no place for hate in India. Far away from the chest-thumping Hindutva that has reached a fever pitch in the country, a 70-year-old man is quietly setting examples on communal harmony in the quiet town Purqazi in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzzaffarnagar district, Rediff.com reported.

Sukhpal Singh Bedi, a Sikh cloth merchant who has been living in Purqazi for more than five decades, donated a 900 sq. ft. plot to build a mosque on the eve of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary celebrations. Bedi, a social activist, handed over the property to Nagar Panchayat Chairman Zahir Farooqui at the event.

"This is the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak. Sukh Pal Singh Bedi wanted to do something special to celebrate Guru Nanak's birthday and so he donated the land to build a mosque," Town Panchayat Chairman Zaheer Farooqui told Rediff.com.

"There are many masjids in our town, but this one will be special as the land has been donated by a Sikh to celebrate his religion. There is total communal harmony in this town. We celebrate each other’s festivals." Farooqui added.

"Sukh Pal Singh is not very rich where money is concerned, but his heart is rich. He is a cloth merchant, an ordinary man like you and me,” Farooqui expressed heartwarmingly.

Purqazi is a small town in UP’s Muzzaffarnagar, almost 800-km from the long disputed Ayodhya temple site, with a population of about 30,000 of which two-thirds are Muslims. The town has less than 200 Sikh families. The border town that falls between UP and Uttarakhand, is famous for its Suli Wala Bagh, where 500 freedom fighters were hung by the British in the First War of Independence in 1857.

Bedi was born in Delhi three years after Independence. His family moved to Purqazi when he was three and he has been living there ever since, running his cloth business that he started in 1967. He reminisced on the phone to Rediff.com about how he had once travelled to Mumbai once in the eighties.

"Our Guru told us that all people are equal and we must respect all religions and that is what I am doing," says Sukh Pal Singh Bedi. "It is our Guru's 550th birth anniversary and Sikhs are celebrating the world over. I wanted to do something special to commemorate the event and I am sure my deed must have made my Guru happy. "When I decided to donate the land I consulted my family. They all agreed that it was for a good cause and I must do it. They all supported me," he said happily.

Bedi, who has worked his whole life towards propagating peace had also 20 years ago given up land when the town needed it to build a road. "God gives us everything, we must use it for the good of the maximum people possible," Bedi said. "We must always share whatever we have because everything is given by God. Nothing belongs to us."

It is really touching to see such instances of social harmony emanating from the hotbed of violence that UP has always been. In 2017, UP topped the list of states with maximum communal violence 195 incidents of communal violence related to religious factors, land and property disputes, gender related offences, social media related issues and other factors. This, after UP CM Yogi Adityanath claimed that there had been no riots in his two years as CM from 2017 – 2019. Communal incidents in UP had increased 47% from 133 in 2014 to 195 in 2017, Business Standard reported. According to a Huffington Post report, India ranked fourth in the world in 2015 after Syria, Nigeria and Iraq for highest social hostilities involving religion.

During Yogi’s tenure, towns like Shabbirpur, Bulandshahr, Saharanpur and Kasganj among others witnessed incidents of communal violence.

The situation in UP’s Ayodhya is still tense after the Supreme Court’s verdict that the disputed land in question be given for the construction of the temple and that the Muslims be given a 5 acre plot in the city for the construction of a mosque.

While UP has been embroiled in incidents that upset social unity with lynchings on the rise and caste related offences, it is inspiring to see people like Bedi who are working hard towards keeping equality alive and keep communal hatred at bay.

 

Related:

UP’s dis-honourable dad kills daughter for loving the ‘wrong’ man
Uttar Pradesh records highest crimes against Dalits: NCRB
Hindus and Muslims help renovate a gurudwara in Pakistan
Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb: Muslims help with Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations
“Allah and Ram are one”: Muslim youth who cleans mosques and temples
Maulvi inaugurates temple that Muslims helped restore after demolition
In Tamil Nadu, Hindus observe ‘Allah Festival’ on eve of Muharram
Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb: Muslims help with Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations

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