In the midst of ongoing raging debate over intolerance, there are some eye-opening instances which are enough to prove that culturally-rich India’s integrity and harmony is intact. It’s the same country which has seen rulers like Akbar who had allowed his Hindu wife Jodha Bai to practice her all her rituals despite a strong opposition by Ulemas.
Keeping up the spirit of unity in diversity for Ujjain’s Bakir Hussain, the intolerance debate is meaningless. Hussain opines that if the row continues, it will have negative impact on several other Hussains and their dependents. The story of Hussain, a resident of Ujjain city in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, is not much different. He works in odd hours for survival of his family, which consist of his ailing wife and three children.
But there are some special characteristics in Hussain as he could be noticed by any Lord Shiva worshipper; whoever visits to pay obeisance to the most powerful form of Lord Shiva--- Mahakal —in the city of gods.
The 50-year-old Hussain earns his livelihood by selling photographs of Lord Shiva and lords’ statues. Hussain, who offers five-time namaz in the nearby mosque, is very busy man otherwise earning livelihood selling photographs in the vicinity of Mahakal temple. Hussain doesn’t withhold his identity, rather he wears the complete dress that any person of his community sports comprising of skull cap on his head.
Hussain is in this business for the last 13 years and haven’t faced any problem yet. “I don’t know why people are fighting over religious issues. Since, I’m in this business for a long, I have realised humankind should follow the only one religion, which is sincerity towards their work. Religion is just a way to thank allah or bhagwan for their kindness in showing right path. We have to do our bit to earn two-time meal,” Hussain said.
In reply to a question as what people thing about you, Hussain said, “It’s fact that devotees who come here are Hindus, but surprisingly, nobody talks with me “other” way. They all buy the photographs of Mahakal from me happily and in some instances, they also click pictures with me for their memory.”
On the issue of killing of Akhlaq in Dadari, Hussain said, “Such incidents should not have happened in the best interest of country’s peace and harmony. Killing a poor man just on suspicion is not justified.” He also had never faced any opposition from management committee of the temple, which is paving the way for other self-earners to explore other opportunities near to temple. Right from hotel operators, auto-rickshaw drivers, rickshaw pullers, photographers, tea-sellers, chaat vendors from minority community are also busy in extending their best available services to Mahakal devotees.
Devotees also praised the work of Hussain. Terming the Hussain as role model for others, Sneha Kumari, who had come to pay obeisance to Mahakal from Delhi, said, “Hussain is just performing his part for the sake of brotherhood and it should not be taken in other way. I have just bought some photographs of Lord Shiva from him. First of all he is a father, who is standing in harsh sunlight to earn for his children.”
Speaking to Millennium Post over the issue, Chintamani Malviya, who represents Ujjain parliamentary seat in Lok Sabha, said, “There is no intolerance in MP. The example of Hussain is self-explanatory as it shows better law and order in the state. The people from minority community feel very safe in Ujjain as the atmosphere of the areas is brotherly.”
No doubt, Hussain model is doing well not only in Ujjain but there are several other places where such examples of brotherhood are teaching a lesson of unity in diversity. Such a similar case is of Malda district in West Bengal, where Muslims organises Durga Puja for their Hindu brothers for the last several decades.
The case is of Talgram village, which is near Kumaidpur railway station, in Malda district where Hindus are in minority in above 1 lakh populated area. The area, which have houses of both Muslims and Hindus adjoining boundary walls of each others, have never seen any community clashes in the past 40 years, according to Zahangir Alam, who is actively take part in organising Durga Puja.
“Apart from dancing to tune of bhkati songs played during the festivities, we even offer prayers at Puja pandals. We all live here like brothers and sisters and participate in each other’s festivals with equal cultural fervour. We also celebrate Dussehra, Diwali, Chhath Puja, Holi and they also equally participate in our celebrations,” Alam said, adding that it’s a natural bonding right from our forefather’s time and the challenge is for us to carry forward the preserved legacy in right way.
The story of Talgram is that there is Haat Committee which has members of both communities majorly represented by Muslims and known as School Committee as it’s headed by principal of Sadlichak High School. The committee collects tax from vendors for using particular area of the Haat and a portion of collected money is spent on organising Durga Puja, which involves establishing the statue of Goddess Durga, cultural programmes, preparation of Prasad, etc.
Appreciating the brotherhood initiates in the village, Mohan Saha said, “It’s a very good example of unity, which may act as an eye-opener for others too. We are in minority as the ratio is of 20:80, but we are not scared. Our children, family are very safe in the village.”
It will not go wrong if one would say that the incidents like Dadari lynching, killing of M. M. Kalburgi in Karnataka, etc have defamed the county’s secular image at global front. So is the reason that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his maiden visit to London, clearly said that there was no place for intolerance in India.
Describing India as the land of Gandhi and Buddha, Modi acknowledged there had been some incidents saying, “Any event in any corner of India - it doesn’t matter if there are even one or two incidents - we will not tolerate it and the law will deal with it strictly. It does not matter whether such an incident is significant for a country of 125 crore people. For us, every incident is serious.”