Malerkotla: Malerkotla — Punjab’s lone Muslim-majority city is known for its harmony among the Hindu-Muslim-Sikh community.
Dr. Mohammad Jamil U R Rehman, member, district peace committee, says, “Those who inflamed the situation and incited violence were not locals: one was from Jind in Haryana, the others from Pathankot. The mob were people who shifted to Malerkotla from either Bihar or UP and are unaware of our history and legacy; they are ignorant,”
He adds: “We were in the namaz when we heard about the incident and immediately called a meeting. We first buried the pages of Quran and then addressed the masses. We told them that we cannot let down the teaching of Baba Haidar Sheikh, by being violent.”
“Religion that divides is nothing but a disgrace,”
Mohammad Javed Irshad, a 10th generation Qawal of the family says, “Religion that divides is nothing but a disgrace.”
Running his shop of handcrafted badges since 1947, Dharam Chand artisans are Muslims.
“I owe my life to a Muslim who saved me during the dark hour of Partition. I have over 10 Muslim artisans working for me for the past 25 years. Their hands are nimble and their work-cut to perfection. I learnt it from a Muslim myself,” he says.
“Why would I ever have any ill feelings for them? The temple or the god is not feeding me and my family, it is this business and I cannot imagine it without my Muslim brothers,” he adds.
“I have grown up with my Muslim friends and know about their religion better than mine. We exchange gifts on Eid, Diwali, Holi. During Ramzan, I go with them to end Roza (fast). It has been like this for generations. Now people are spoiling it for political gains. But I am sure that people of Malerkotla are smart enough to ignore them,” he laughs.
With Hindustan Times input