07, Oct 2022 | CJP Team
In a reassuring display of communal harmony between the Hindu and Muslim communities in Assam’s Sivasagar town, a Durga Puja Pandal has been erected sharing boundary with a mosque. As reported by IANS, the Puja was organised by a local club called Nabajuvak Durgatsav Samiti, which turns 62 this year. Earlier, the puja was held at a location somewhere else in the town, but with a space crunch there around 30 years ago, the organisers had to shift the Puja venue to the Thana Road area of the town where the pandal is next to the old local Beparipatty Masjid.
“The club members first tried to get space in a local park, but that could not happen. When they decided to shift it here, then district administration feared disturbance to communal harmony in the area,” the President of the Masjid Committee, Faridul Islam told IANS.He further added: “That time, my father used to be the president of the masjid committee. He, along with other people, approached the administration and urged them to conduct the Durga Puja here, with a specific assurance of not disturbing the harmony between the two communities.”
Amidst the systematic hate leading to growing anger and despair, it is important to showcase a lived reality of camaraderie, equality and sharing which is the bedrock of the Indian Constitution and secularism. That way we not only hold on to every thread of hope, but effectively project these narratives, lest we lose our will to fight the good fight. As part of our #EverydayHarmony series, CJP brings you instances where Indians share and care, every single day… our food, our businesses, our homes and our friendships. This instances show how we Indians continue to reject hateful and divisive agendas even while street violence and social media are used as part of a sinister, hate-filled political agenda to tell us otherwise. Let’s reinforce India’s everyday lived reality, and through that collectively and aggressively, uphold and defend a unique pluralism, a diverse culture and truly secular values. Donate now to help us combat hate and prejudice!
Since then, three decades have passed and the celebration of Durga Puja which began by sharing the same boundary wall with the Masjid has been running in a very friendly environment with the active cooperation of the Muslim community as well.When namaz is offered in the mosque, the loudspeakers in the Puja pandal are switched off.
Sanjay Pareekh, one of the organisers of the Puja said: “We have tremendous support from the Muslim community. They actively take part in carrying Durga idols, and offer support during visarjan (immersion).” Both the silver (25years) and golden jubilees (50 years) of this particular Durga Puja were celebrated with enthusiasm by the members of the Muslim community members as well, informed Pareekh.
Locals residing in the area expressed the hope that the festivities would become grander and more beautiful with the bond of brotherhood becoming stronger in the coming times.