| Youngsters practise for the Muharram procession. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, Feb. 17: The 1967 communal riots had tarred the capital's image. This year on Muharram, Muslims and Hindus are set to come together again, as part of a healing process that began years ago.
Different Hindu organisations will take a lead role in observing the Muharram rituals this year. The bodies have decided to set up stalls and camps at various places of the capital to provide water, sherbet and grams to their Muslim brothers taking part in the main Muharram procession. Other organisations including the local puja committees have decided to tie turbans and organise felicitation ceremonies for the akhara members taking part in the procession.
The puja committees and social bodies have also decided to give away prizes to the best performing akharas.
Many organisations like the Mahavir Mandal, Durga Puja Samitis, Sadbhavna Samiti, Ravidas Mahasabha and Chaiti Durga Puja Samitis have pledged full support to the Muslims and will organise different programmes on the occasion.
Jay Kumar Yadav, an official of the Mahavir Mandal said, 'After the riots of 1967, the situation in the city was very tense. Members of both communities did not visit each other's localities for the fear of being attacked. So the seniors of both the communities held meetings to defuse the tension. From then on, Hindus have actively taken part in Muharram. This year, our involvement has increased further,' said Yadav.
' Some of our members will even take part in the mock sword battle in the procession,' he said.
Rajkumar Gupta, president of the Chaiti Durga Puja Samiti echoed Yadav.
Gupta maintained that the participation of members of other communities sends out a very good message. ' We are all brothers and there should not be any sort of discrimination against each other. Our members will take part in the mock sword-fight in the procession and perform the duties along with our Muslim brothers,' said Gupta.
Members of the Muslim community are full of appreciation for their Hindu brothers and pointed out that this amity was the result of a mutual process. Mohammad Ikram Pappu, joint secretary of the Central Muharram committee, said Muslims take part with equal gusto in Ramnavami celebrations. 'We are going to felicitate the members of the different Hindu organisations today for their wholehearted support to us in our celebrations as well as the various social work we undertake,' said Pappu.