MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 April 2024

Kerala: Holy moments can be marked like this, too

‘The temple bells rang midway through the azan, creating an unbelievable ambience and a model of the communal harmony that our state has exemplified for years’

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 12.04.23, 06:40 AM
Imam VP Suhaib Maulavi breaks the fast along with state public works minister PA Mohammed Riyas (in check shirt) and Satheesan (to the right of the minister)

Imam VP Suhaib Maulavi breaks the fast along with state public works minister PA Mohammed Riyas (in check shirt) and Satheesan (to the right of the minister) Sourced by the Telegraph

The azan blending with the peals of temple bells is not uncommon in Kerala where religious places of different communities coexist in close proximity.

It was the azan and temple bells sounding from the same venue that made the Santhigiri Ashram in Kozhikode stand out on Sunday.

ADVERTISEMENT

This rare confluence of sounds — which to many people has taken on a meaning beyond its immediate circumstances, given the prevailing atmosphere in the country — happened while the ashram was dedicating to the country a newly built block, Vishwajnana Mandiram.

Among those seated on the dais were interfaith leaders and senior politicians, such as Congress leader V.D. Satheesan, the imam of the Palayam mosque in Thiruvananthapuram, V.P. Suhaib Maulavi, and state public works minister P.A. Mohammed Riyas.

When Satheesan, the leader of the Opposition in Kerala, was about to address the audience, he realised that for some of the guests, it was time for their evening prayers. Satheesan said he would start his presidential address after the imam and the others had broken their fast.

Then a person took the mike and gave the call to prayers. Footage from a video Satheesan uploaded later suggested that many in the audience stood up in respect while the call to the prayers was being sounded.

“The evening session of the daylong event was into its 40th minute when it was time for the azan to break the Ramazan fast,” Swami Gururethnam Jnana Thapaswi, head of the ashram, told The Telegraph on Tuesday. “I saw Mohammed (a Malappuram-based leader of the Indian Union Muslim League) walk to the mike and sound the azan,” he added.

Sourced by The Telegraph

Sourced by The Telegraph

The monk said: “The bells of our temple too started ringing shortly afterwards since it was time for our daily evening aaraadhana, making it a unique moment and a memorable symbol of communal harmony.”

Gururethnam stressed that it was “neither planned nor scripted”, incidentally underscoring a natural and unassuming syncretism that allowed a Muslim to rise and sound the azan at a religious event in a Hindu ashram without a second thought.

“It was a pleasant coincidence that ended up being a mark of brotherhood and interfaith camaraderie,” said Gururethnam, renowned for making pithy and thought-provoking statements.

Some of his previous observations that have gained traction on social media are:

■ Shoes meant for our feet are kept in air-conditioned showrooms. The vegetables and fish that we consume are on the footpath, gathering dust.

■ At restaurants, we are willing to wait for long after placing the order. But what do we do at our home?

■ One kilo rice costs Rs 60. Sim cards? They are free

Satheesan told this newspaper: “I had never seen anything like this. The temple bells rang midway through the azan, creating an unbelievable ambience and a model of the communal harmony that our state has exemplified for years.”

He too underlined that “the beauty of it was that the whole thing happened spontaneously, without any planning”.

“There were sanyasis in their saffron attire and Muslim men sporting beards and their religious caps. I got very emotional,” the politician said.

The imam said the incident held “huge relevance” for Indian society.

“While this is nothing new for Kerala where communal harmony exists in normal life, this is an example for our country and the whole of humankind,” he told this newspaper.

“This gesture gives all Muslims confidence that even a sacred place for Hindus like an ashram is open to allowing us space and food to break our fast, just like we do at our mosques and homes.”

The ashram provided food and water to the handful of Muslims present so they could break their fast before the programme resumed.

“We quickly arranged for some dates, dry fruits and snacks and brought them to the venue to help our brothers break their fast,” Gururethnam said.

Satheesan said the incident was an “appropriate answer” to those trying to divide people on the basis of caste and religion.

“This is a reply to those like Karnataka ministerMunirathna who recently said that Christians should be beaten up and chased away, and those behind the campaign against selling houses to Muslims in Delhi,” he said.

Karnataka horticulture minister and BJP lawmaker Munirathna was last week booked for hate speech after his comments on Christians. Posters have come up in Brahmapuri, Shahdara, in Delhi urging people not to sell properties to Muslims.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT