Patna: After losing power in Bihar, BJP leaders are using every single opportunity to corner the leaders of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance), including the Vishnupad temple controversy in Gaya where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had recently gone to pray accompanied by a Muslim Cabinet colleague.
Non-Hindu worshipers are not permitted to enter the famed temple in Gaya, and this regulation has been in place for the past 100 years.
The temple priests later even performed a purification ritual after state IT Minister Mohammad Israil Mansuri accompanied the Chief Minister inside the Vishnupad temple.
However, there are also various religious sites spread across the state where Hindus and Muslims respect and protect each other’s faith.
The Mazar of Data Anwar Shah Shahid, a famous Sufi saint, is located at Kendui village in Gaya district. Interestingly, there is not a single Muslim family in this village, which is dominated by Rajputs with over 500 families belonging to the caste staying there.
Sunil Singh, a resident of Kendui, said: “Data Anwar Shah Shahid was a famous Fakir from this region and our ancestors had great respect for him. This respect has been passed on from one generation to the next, and this practice will continue in the future as well. When there is lack of rain in the region, the villagers pray before Baba Anwar Shah for rain.”
Another villager, Rajendra Mohan Singh, said, “The villagers have great respect for this Mazar. People come from Gaya and adjoining districts for ‘Mannat’, and their wishes get fulfilled soon after visiting the Mazar.
“We always begin our Holi or Diwali celebrations from this place, and then go to the temple. The villagers also collect funds for the maintenance of this Mazar,” Singh said.
Maadhi is another such village in Nalanda district where recorded Namaz is recited five times a day and Azan is played from a 200-year-old mosque by the people from the Hindu community.
Rajiv Swami, a native of Maadhi village, said: “Being Hindu, we do not know how to offer Azan or Namaz. So we have recorded them and play them at the scheduled time every day.
“We do not know who built this mosque. As there was no Muslim family staying in this village, the villagers decided to repair the structure and deputed a three-member team for its maintenance,” Swami said.
This mosque is now a religious place for the people from the Hindu community. Every time a marriage takes place in the village, the bride and the groom visit the mosque to seek blessings. Even after the birth of a child, the parents go to the mosque seeking long life of their kid,” Swami added.
On April 10, people from the Hindu community formed a 7-km long human chain outside the Jama Masjid located on M.G. road in Katihar on the occasion of Ram Navami.
The idea was to avoid clashes between the two communities and send across a message that Hindus respect Muslim religious places.
At Budhpur village in Gaya district, Muslims had donated land for the construction of a temple in 2018. Now those belonging to the Hindu community offer Puja at the temple named ‘Sadbhavna Mandir’.
The history of this temple is interesting. As per the villagers, Muslims formed the majority of Budhpur’s population of over 10,000 people. The village had a number of mosques, but not a single temple before 2018. The financial position of the Hindus staying in the village was not good.
The villagers then called a panchayat where they unanimously took the decision to build a temple in the village for the Hindu families.
Mohammad Mokhtar donated the land for the temple while the villagers raised funds for its construction.
“This temple is a symbol of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood. On the suggestion of Mohammad Mokhtar, we named it Sadbhavna Mandir. We also organise ‘bhandara’ in which people from both the communities participate,” said Ismyle Khan, a native of Budhpur village.
Reacting on the current communal atmosphere in the country, Ismyle said: “Communalism has limited wings, which spread within certain political parties. The large sections of the society are hardly even bothered about it. We believe in brotherhood and our village has proved that.”