Hindu and Sikh villagers set an example of communal harmony by helping Muslims repair a mosque in Punjab
Indian society is pluralistic from the religious point of view. Communalism is a prevalent phenomenon in Indian public life and communal violence is particularly an ugly expression of it. The multiracial, multireligious, multilingual and multicultural polity is bound to have conflicting interests. This force has had the devastating consequences for the nation in the past, and has gravely retarded the process of integration in the post independence period. Communalism was responsible for the division of the country into India and Pakistan. Although the partition was expected to resolve the riddle, there is yet to develop the neighborhood living pattern between Hindus and Muslims.
However, while one part of the country finds itself drenched in anti-secularism, a village in Ludhiana, Punjab finds itself untouched by religious differences. Despite the rising communal tensions over the Dabri lynching and beef row, it has not stopped Sikh and Hindu community members of Nathowal from helping Muslims repair an old mosque and even have a second storey constructed. In fact, the non-Muslims are bearing more than 65% of the expenses.
Nathowal in Ludhiana has a population of around 7,000 of which around 500 are Muslims and around 50 members are Hindus. The communities lived in peace in the village even before partition. During Partition, 10 to 12 Muslim families migrated to Pakistan, but 50 families stayed back as their Sikh brothers didn’t allow them to leave.
Repairing work of the mosque started six months ago. Out of Rs 25 lakh invested in the project, around Rs 15 lakh have been contributed by Sikhs and Hindus. As the work is progressing now, non Muslims are helping by ferrying bricks, cement and sand for the construction. Before this, members of the Muslim and Hindu community had also contributed towards Gurdwara work. The Sikh community takes pride in the village’s communal peace.
There may be communal tension in any part of the country, but this village has always been peaceful. The villagers have even planned to build a temple. The villagers celebrate festivals of all communities, including Diwali, Dusshera, Rakhi, Eid and Gurupurab.
In order to bring communal harmony, there must be harmony in the minds of the people. The danger of communalism can be averted if the self-defeating and suicidal slogans like ‘my state’, ‘my caste’, ‘my religion’, give way to the noble sentiment of India first and last always. It will integrate our emotions and aspirations and ensure communal harmony and national integration of the country. Only when the internal security is ensured, a nation can embark on the path towards development and economic advancement.
Image credit: dailypakistan