Inter-religious bonhomie at its best - Hindus & muslims partake in each other's ceremonies

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By RESHAM MUKHERJEE in Dhanbad
  • Published 18.10.07
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Dhanbad, Oct. 18: Bhuli township of Dhanbad, considered to be Asia’s largest labour colony, has stood as an epitome of communal harmony for over five decades.

The colony with its huge population of Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) employees, is the only place in the coal capital where Hindus started Muharram and Muslims began to celebrate Durga Puja around 57 years ago. In block A of the township, one Md Faiz started Durga Puja in 1949. Though people hardly recall him in Bhuli and where he went after he left Dhanbad, but his contribution to Bhuli is still honoured.

At present, a quarter of its 80-member strong puja committee comprises Muslims. After Faiz, Sudhir Kumar Mukherjee, a provident fund in-charge of Telumari colliery, took up the reins of the puja management in 1950.

“Faiz uncle was hardly three to four years in Bhuli before my father took over. My father passed away in 2002, but we have continued the puja,” said Chandan Mukherjee (51), Sudhir Mukherjee’s son. This year, A block has made a replica of a temple out of plywood. Along with the deity and arrangements, the committee has a budget of Rs 3.11 lakh.

Following Md Faiz’s Durga Puja, blocks B and C also started celebrating the puja. The puja committee of block B with around six Muslims has made a replica of the Lotus Temple at a cost of Rs 2.5 lakh.

Kumar Sanjay, the committee’s vice-president said that the concept of the pandal itself is secular. Thanking the Muslim residents, he further said that they had contributed even during Ramazan when the pandal was coming up. As a contribution to these Muslim brothers Sudhir Mukherjee once started observing Muharram, mainly the bamboo stick fight during the Tajiya procession.

Taking an initiative, Mukherjee waved the traditional flag on Muharram and announced its observation. Ever since, it is observed in Bhuli.

Block A puja committee now accommodates Muslim brothers in the traditional arti, while B block committee welcomes them at Ravanbadh on Vijaya Dashami, the last day of Durga Puja.