Ayodhya: Muslims weaving garland for Hindu deities
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Last Updated: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 20:32
  
Ayodhya: This temple town in Uttar Pradesh, where the Babri Masjid was demolished 18 years ago, Muslim traders in a lane close to the disputed site continue to weave garlands offered to Hindu deities, setting a unique example of communal harmony.

Many shops run by Muslims on either side of the crowded lane on the outer premises of Hanuman Garhi temple, just a few metres away from the makeshift Ram Temple erected on the debris of Babri Masjid, are packed with items used in temples and worshipping Hindu deities.

Amid the crowd of Sadhus and visiting Hindu devotees in the lane where the atmosphere is loaded with the mixed sounds of chanting of bhajans and bells tolling in the Hanuman Garhi and the adjacent Dashrath Mahal temples it is difficult for an outsider to imagine a Muslim dealing in purely Hindu ritual items in that area but there are many.

50-year-old Zohra Khatoon, who runs a shop outside her home in the area, sells items of worship like drums, manjira, sindur (vermilion), bangles, dafli, chheenka, kartal, dhoop, lota and several other things used in temples.

Zohra, a widow, who supports her family with what she earns from this business says, "We are not new to Ayodhya. Nor have we migrated from Afghanistan or Pakistan. We are living here for the last 300 years and get a lot of respect from the Hindus here. There is no Hindu-Muslim feeling."

Echoing Zohra, another businessman in the area Muhammad Kaleem says, "Hindus and Muslims are living here peacefully and happily. It is only outsiders who create problems and provoke locals."

Besides these shop owners in the area there are Muslim artisans too who continue to make floral decorations for Hindu devotees as they have done for several generations and believe that any political change induced by the Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi dispute will not affect the ties between the two communities.

Weaving bonds of communal amity, around 15 Muslim families in the Asharfi Bhawan area of Ayodhya have been involved in making floral garlands and decorative offerings for Hindu devotees.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 20:32


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