By Imran Khan,
Budhupur (Bihar) : After Mansoor Ansari donated land and Mokhtar Alam donated money to build a temple while other Muslims helped in its construction. The villagers also got together to play host to Hindu seers and devotees at inauguration of the temple here earlier this week.
Budhupur is largely a Muslim-populated village with less than a dozen Hindu families.
At a time when hate crimes are increasing, many see it as a shining example of communal harmony. Cousin brothers Mokhtar and Mansoor had come forward to help build the temple to Goddess Durga. Other Muslims joined them by contributed in different ways and also by supervising its construction.
Mansoor donated 2.5 katha land (One Katha is 750 sq ft, at least) for the temple and Mokhtar gave Rs 3.5 lakh for construction. Both are resident of Budhupur.
After helping build the temple under Ghatera panchayat in Guraru block in Gaya district, 140 km from Patna, mostly Muslim villagers welcomed Hindu seers and hundreds of devotees from neighbouring villages as guests during a “Yagna” to mark the inauguration of the first temple in the village.
“We had played hosts to Hindu seers and devotees earlier too when “Chandi Yagna” and special prayers were offered,” Mokhtar told IANS here. Mokhtar recalled that his family had also donated land for a madrassa and a mosque in the village. Mansoor said they had been living together with the Hindus for for years and taking care of each other. “It is a gesture for communal harmony,” he added.
The villagers used the madrassa as a guest house for the invitees and the mosque acted as a service centre.
Dozens of Muslims in this village donated foodgrains, milk, edible oil and LPG cylinders for the the week long rituals. The temple was opened for prayers and worship after installation of the idol of Goddes Durga following the “Yagna” which concluded on Thursday.
Hindu villagers have been lauding and praising the Muslim villagers for their act. “It was not possible without their help,” Umesh Manjhi, a Dalit villager, said. He was particularly impressed that the youth worked as volunteers and women chipped in to help.
Kailash Yadav said earlier they would offer prayers and performed rituals on a platform under the open sky. “Contribution of Muslims is something historical for us,” he added. The head of the village body, Ranvijay Das said the temple had now become a “matter of pride” for them.
Bhagwan Bhaskar, a political activist in Gaya, said the development would send a strong message of harmony and peace. “People active in public life should propagate how Muslims helped build a temple,” he said.
Dr Roomi, a homeopathic practioner, said such a cooperation should be encouraged. “If Muslims can help build a temple, Hindus should now come forward to help Muslims in their projects,” he said.
This is not the first such case. Last year, a Muslim family donated its land for the upgradation of a temple in the state’s Gopalganj district. Three years ago, some Muslims in Bihar’s east Champaran district donated land to help build one of the largest Hindu temples with a capacity to seat 20,000 people. “Without help of Muslims, it would have been difficult to realise this dream project,” Acharya Kishore Kunal, secretary of the Patna-based Mahavir Mandir Trust, that is undertaking to build the ambitious project, said.
Muslims form 16.5 per cent of Bihar’s 105 million population. In the Seemanchal region, they account for nearly 67 per cent in Kishanganj, 37 per cent in Purnea, 43 per cent in Katihar and nearly 40 per cent in Araria.
(Imran Khan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)