A Muslim trader teams up with a local masjid committee to distribute bottled water and sherbat (sweetened drinks with syrups and ice cubes) to devotees taking part in Ramnavami procession setting an example of harmony.
The 50-year-old Abdul Rafique, who runs an air conditioning repairing shop at Kiriburu, which is a township of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) for its iron ore mining units at Chiria and Meghahataburu, in West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand is keeping roja (fast) for the Ramadan but still distributed sherbat and bottled water for the participants of the Ramnavami procession.
“Last year, during the Ramnavami procession held in summer (in April) wecould see the devotees thirsting for water due to the hot weather. I had then decided that this year I would be distributing sweet water and bottled mineral water at my own expense. I am happy that the masjid committee has also agreed to help me out,” said Abdul Rafique.
The Muslim trader had ordered for more than 500 mineral water bottles (each of one litre capacity), ice cubes, milk and rooh afza (flavoured syrup) for Thursday’s Ramnavami procession.
“I along with my three Muslim staff and my two sons were at the temporary stall alongside the Meena Bazar to distribute mineral waters and those who want sweetened cold drinks. Some masjid committee members have also helped me,” said Rafique.
On Wednesday, when asked if this disturbed his iftar schedules, Rafique said: “Our iftar (breaking of fast) is scheduled at 6pm and the procession will be over by 5pm. It would not affect our schedule. It would be a bit tiring but we are prepared to toil a bit extra for our Hindu Bhai.”
“Kiriburu is still untouched by polarisation and both communities celebrate festivals together and I hope and pray that we remain untouched from the frenzy happening in other parts of the country in the name of politics,” added Rafique.
Kiriburu Masjid Committee official Abrar Ahmed also agreed that there never has been any communal flare-up in the township so far.
“We stay and celebrate both festivals with peace and harmony. We will be helping Abdul in his mission to serve the Ram bhakts during the procession.
“In fact in several partsof Jharkhand we have Muslims making Ramnavami flags for our Hindu brethren for several decades without any discord,” said Ahmad on Wednesday.
Incidentally, in several parts of Jharkhand, including Chatra and Ranchi, Ramnavami flags are prepared by Muslims.
A youth from Kiriburu, Mohammed Naseem takes part in Eid fast and also observes Ramnavami rituals.