Patna: After losing power in Bihar, BJP leaders are using every opportunity to corner Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) leaders, 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 allowed to enter the famous Gaya Temple, and this regulation has been in place for 100 years.
Later, the temple priests even performed a purification ritual after 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.
The Mazar of Data Anwar Shah Shahid, a famous Sufi saint, is located in Kendui village in Gaya district. Interestingly, there is not a single Muslim family in this village, which is Rajput dominated with over 500 caste families staying there.
Sunil Singh, a resident of Kendui, said, “Data Anwar Shah Shahid was a famous fakir in this region and our ancestors had great respect for him. This respect has been passed down from generation to generation, and this practice will continue in the future as well. When there is a lack of rain in the region, the villagers pray before Baba Anwar Shah for rain.
Another villager, Rajendra Mohan Singh, said, “Villagers have great respect for this Mazar. People come from Gaya and neighboring districts for ‘Mannat’, and their wishes come true soon after visiting the Mazar.
“We always start our Holi or Diwali celebrations from there and then we go to the temple. The villagers also raise 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 members of the Hindu community.
Rajiv Swami from Maadhi village said, “Being Hindus, we don’t know how to offer Azan or Namaz. So we recorded them and played them at the scheduled time every day.
“We don’t know who built this mosque. As no Muslim families were staying in this village, the villagers decided to repair the structure and delegated a three-member team for its upkeep,” Swami said.
This mosque is now a place of worship for people from the Hindu community. Whenever a wedding takes place in the village, the bride and groom go to the mosque to ask for blessings. Even after the birth of a child, parents go to the mosque in search of a long life for their child,” Swami added.
On April 10, people from the Hindu community formed a 7 km long human chain outside the Jama Masjid located on MG Road in Katihar on the occasion of Ram Navami.
The idea was to avoid clashes between the two communities and to convey the message that Hindus respect Muslim places of worship.
In Budhpur village, Gaya district, Muslims had donated land for the construction of a temple in 2018. Now those who belong to the Hindu community offer Puja at the temple named ‘Sadbhavna Mandir’.
The history of this temple is interesting. According to 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 until 2018. The financial condition of Hindus staying in the village was not good.
The villagers then convened a panchayat where they unanimously took the decision to build a temple in the village for 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 organize ‘bhandara’ which involves people from both communities,” said Ismyle Khan, from Budhpur village.
Reacting to the current communal atmosphere in the country, Ismyle said, “Communitarianism has limited wings, which extend within certain political parties. The broad strata of society don’t even care. We believe in brotherhood and our village has proven it.