July 18, 2015

Odisha Channel Bureau Kendrapara, July 18: For 67-year-old Shaukat Ali, it has become customary to catch glimpse of the triad of deities – Jagannath, Balabhadra and sister Subhadra – as they emerge out of their temple abode every year.Despite divergent religious belief, the man from the minority community living in this town is an ardent participant in the annual festivities.It is not because the religion that he adheres to demands it, but because of tradition and mutual respect.I along with family members celebrated Eid festival today.Later in the day, I went to the grand road to watch the car festival.Every year, we never miss to witness the car festival, quipped Ali. “When I was a teenager, I first witnessed the event.Since then, it has become an annual ritual for my family.Hindus appreciate our participation in the festival.The trend has passed on to the next generation.Now my grand children watch the pulling of chariot every year,” remarked Ali.There is nothing wrong in paying mutual respect towards to tradition of another religion.Our religion does not promote hatred towards other faiths, he said.Like him, many from the minority community play a part in the annual car festival with the melting of religious barriers.As the chariot slowly makes its way through the streets in a time – honoured tradition, the grand event continues to evoke considerable enthusiasm among the Muslims.Amity has taken the better of religious divide as it has become a tradition of sort for Muslims to get involved in the annual car festival of Lord Baldevjew in the district headquarters township.And this spirit of amity is not restricted to the Rath Yatra alone.Hindus also participate in festivals observed by Muslims.”Hindus join in our Eid and other festivals.The two communities also attend each other’s marriages and other ceremonies,” said Mir Obeda, a local resident.“Kendrapara municipality is enriched with legacy of communal amity and brotherhood.Both the Hindu and Muslim communities have been displaying peaceful co-existence and amity at a time when frenzied religious discord has become the order of the day elsewhere,” said Mohammad Akbar Ali, former chairman, Kendrapara municipality.Muslims comprise around one/third of the population in the urban areas.Leaving aside stray cases of disharmony, both the communities pay respect each other’s religious practice, custom, culture and tradition.Muslims take part in major festivals like Laxmi Puja and Rath Yatra while Hindus reciprocate by participating in Eid.The Hindu temples are built in close proximity of mosques.It bears testimony to the harmonious co-existence of the locals, Ali observed.“Muslims turn up in large number to watch the Rath Yatra.There is no religious barrier as Jagannath is the lord of the universe.People cutting across the religious barrier witness the grand annual Yatra.Though there is a strict restriction on non-Hindus from entering the world famous temple in Puri, there is no bar on them to participate in car festival,” said Nrusingha Patri, a servitor.“Participation and involvement of members of minority community in Hindu festivals were not in large scale in past years.But things have changed in recent years.Both the communities are reciprocating their participation in religious festivals now in a bigger way.Hindu community also admirably reciprocates their love and affection by actively participating in our festivals like Id-ul-Zuha and Eid-ul-Fitr.Communal amity has become the order of the day in the township” said Bijoy Kumar Das, a local resident.“I actively participate in the Rath Yatra.I have pulled the chariot.I derive immense pleasure in doing so,” said Shabir Khan from Jayipura locality of the town.

July 18, 2015 0 Comment

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