Maulvi inaugurates temple that Muslims helped restore after demolition

Members of the community had raised money to rebuild the Kali temple which was demolished for a village road-widening project

Image courtesy: Reuters (Representational)

Basapura in the Nanoor area of West Bengal’s Birbhum district is often in the news for being a hotbed for political fights.

But, an event in the past week has put Basapura in the headlines for fostering equality and shunning communal hate.

On Sunday night, NasiruddinMandal, a maulvi of the local mosque, inaugurated a temple dedicated to goddess Kali, on the night the state was observing Kali Puja, the Hindustan Times reported.

Not only this, members of the Muslim community in Basapura also donated money to rebuild the Kali temple that was demolished almost two years for widening a village road. They had also purchased land for the relocation of the temple.

“I have inaugurated mosques and madrasas. But this is the first time I have inaugurated a Hindu temple. It’s a different feeling altogether,” Mandal said.

The Muslim community constitutes 35 percent of the population of Nanoor block. They had raised 7 lakh of the total 10 lakh required for rebuilding the temple.

“The 30-year-old temple was demolished for widening a road that was an urgent need of the locals,” a resident Nikhil Bhattacharya said.

“We discussed the issue of rebuilding the temple with locals most of whom are from the Muslim community. They collected funds. Of the Rs 10 lakh spent for the temple, Rs 7 lakhs was raised by Muslims,” Sunil Saha, president of the temple’s puja committee, said.

Kerim Khan, the official in charge of road affairs in BirbhumZillaParishad, who hails from the area, said, “We are not ready to regard it as an issue involving two communities. We all live together peacefully. We stand beside each other and this is our culture. We have played a small role in the rebuilding of the temple.”

The members of the Muslim community had also helped in organizing the Durga Puja last year and again this year. In the absence of the temple, local Muslims had helped with logistical support to organize the ceremony.

“If local Muslims did not help us, organising the puja and rebuilding the temple would not have been possible. So we invited NasiruddinMandal to inaugurate the temple on Sunday evening,” said Saha.

This hasn’t been the only act of solidarity that the locals have portrayed in West Bengal.

In December 2018, Mohammad Faruq, a 58-year-old resident of Dubrajpur area in Birbhum district, donated land for setting up a crematorium for Hindus.

In 2017, a Muharram committee of Kharagpur town in West Midnapore district decided not to organise Tajia and gave the money to a Hindu cancer patient for his treatment. In the same year, dhakis at Durga Puja in Suvur village of Bhatar area of East Burdwan district performed at a Tajia in Muharram.

In another similar incident in November 2017, a group of Muslims came forward to fund the wedding of a Hindu woman in Khanpur village of Malda district, when her family could not afford it.

In Durgapur too, communal harmony prevailed. Muslims living in Durgapur village in Sonamura along the Indo-Bangladesh border in Tripura also celebrated Kali Puja. Durgapur village has a 90 percent Muslim population, many of whom were actively involved in arranging funds for the celebrations, creating Puja idols and building pandals, The Telegraph reported.

It was nice to hear BJP’s Vice President of the Birbhum district unit saying, “It’s indeed nice that people from both communities came together in the construction of the temple. We do believe in living together and not to be divided by religion.”

In August 2019, Ghosh had been booked for his aggressive remarks when he instructed BJP workers at a public meetingto beat up Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers and even police personnel in case of an attack.

While the nation is still embroiled in an eternal tussle over the Ayodhya land dispute case, it is heartwarming to see such instances of communal harmony taking place where they matter the most. This just goes to show that even after all the hatred that is trying to be spread, especially at the grassroots level, the people can see the truth for themselves and choose humanity over everything else.

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