Everyday problems, unique solutions



    Muslims and Jains of Pydhonie in south Mumbai –incidentally a part of the city that has borne the brunt of communal venom – have, over the past two years, successfully build a relationship of trust and camaraderie.

    Every year, when Mahavir Jayanti and Bakri Eid approached in the past–often the two festivals would fall on the same day – tension would result. Last year, Jains decided to forego their customary procession in view of the ‘sensitive’ character of their area. When some Muslim organisations of the area heard about this, they approached the Jain leaders and convinced them to take out their procession. With the protection from young Muslim volunteers! It passed peacefully through Muslim-dominated localities from Dongri Char Nal to Noor Bag.

    This year, in a unique show of renewed cameraderie, the trustees of both the Jain temples and Masjids – at three places in Pyhonie they face each other –met for the first time. Local people discovered that despite this physical proximity, there was no acquaintance between the trustees of both religious places. How could the religious leaders speak with each other if moments of tension arose, when they did not even know each other in peace time? In this effort, trustees from the Shri Godji Maharaj Jain Temple Trust, the Khatri Masjid Trust, the Shri Adeshwarji Maharaj Jain temple trust and the Zakariya Masjid Trust engaged in detailed deliberations.

    The members of both communities who have come together for the effort wish, if it is successful, for the experiment to extend to other areas in Mumbai like Byculla where mandirs, masjids and churches exist cheek by jowl.

    Ebrahim Taj, of the Muslim Council, told the media that " If we bring the trustees of mosques and temples to get to know each other, it will be easy to talk to each other in times of tension and trouble." Balchand Baldota of the Pydhonie Nagrik Mandal echoed the sentiment, "When there is namaz on the road and simultaneously occasion for a Jain or Hindu procession to pass through, we decide in advance how the issue is to be handled. We do not want a fight and want to avoid problems."

    Archived from Communalism Combat, May 2000. Year 7, No. 59, Breaking Barriers 1