Gorakhpur: Belying his image as a Hindutva rabble-rouser, Yogi Adityanath seems to be having cordial relations with a number of Muslims. One such example is Yasin
Ansari who also keeps an account of the Gorakhnath temple. He has been supervising all construction work inside the temple for the past 35 years.
Yasin Ansari calls Yogi as Chhote Maharaj (as Yogi is referred to in the monastery). Ansari says he moves freely in Yogi’s living quarters, from the kitchen to his bedroom, and also takes meals with Yogi. Yogi is having such affable relations with Ansari that he even participates in Ansari’s family marriage functions. Ansari finds Yogi helpful to poor irrespective of their religion or caste.
A number of shops in the temple precincts are run by Muslims. Azizunnisa also runs a shop at the temple; and she never felt any disrespect or discrimination on the part of Yogiji.
Mohammad Mutaqim, who has been running a bangle shop in the temple for the last 20 years, says there are a number of Muslim families inside the temple who earn and live fearlessly.
Temple kitchen was looked after Yasin’s uncle during the priesthood of Mahant Digvijaynath. While Ansari’s mother-in-law, Hamida Begum, was supervisor of the kitchen and his father-in-law was a gardener, Ansari was the temple cashier from 1977-83. Since 1984, he has been the temple’s construction supervisor.
Nisar Ahmed was the first engineer of Gorakhnath temple who later became the principal of Maharana Pratap Polytechnic.
Maan Mohammmed is the chief caretaker of 400 bovines in the temple. His father took care of the cows earlier.