Shahtaj Khan / Pune
A recent study by a global think tank Pew said Indians of all faiths have respect and tolerance for all religions. Nothing illustrates this finding in brick and moral and as a testimony of routine life than the life of people in Ghorpadi village of Pune, Maharashtra
In the village, Ahle Sunnat Jama Masjid and the grand Kashi Vishweshwar temple of Lord Shiva is juxtaposed. A wall separates the premises of the two yet all the windows on the mosque’s top floor open in the courtyard of the temple.
Haji Abdul Qadir says that this mosque is about 125 years old. Since its condition was bad, it was rebuilt in 1989. While the construction of the mosque was going on, this temple was also built. In 1992, this temple was opened for the devotees.
The priest of the temple, Harish Joshi adds, “Here the voices do not collide, but respect each other. When there is azaan and it is time for namaz, we keep the sound of aarti very low so that there is no disturbance in namaz. By the way, it is very rare when the time of Namaz and Aarti is the same.
Harish Joshi told that we have not faced any problem till date, because we all fully respect each other's religious sentiments and take care that no problem of any kind should arise.
Confirming the words of the priest Harish Joshi, the Imam of the mosque, Maulana Irfan, says that due to the lockdown, the mosque and the temple are currently closed and there is silence here. But on normal days also there is a similar silence at the time of Namaz. Everyone takes care that there is no disturbance in Namaz. Imam Sahib also tells that he has never had to ask the priest of the temple to lower the level of bhajan or aarti coming from the temple.
A resident Sanjay Kawade says that our entire Ghorpadi village celebrates Eid, Diwali, Shivratri, Muharram and Ganpati festival together.” You come to our village during the Ganpati festival, you will get to eat shirkhurma in the pandal,” he says.
He and other villagers are proud of their tradition of harmony and unity even in the name of religion.
The skyline of village Ghorpadi
Another local Salim Khan says that religion does not teach to keep enmity amongst each other….every religion teaches to respect other religions. A beautiful example of this is this temple mosque in our village, between which there is no space for any wall.
Unity and peace are most essential for a strong society. Zahid Merchant quotes poet Bashir Badr puthis point of view, “Bury the hate in seven boxes for the man needs a lot of love today.”