Restoring the faith

about 11 days ago
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Say, “Pulwama” and the only thought which comes to mind is the deadly attack. One feels that the air in that town would be resonating with doubt, suspicion and disquiet. But there is a heartwarming story developing there too; one of communal harmony.

Neighbours from Muslim and Hindu communities have started restoring a temple in Acchan, a village in the militancy-stronghold district of Pulwama in South Kashmir. Known as Swami Jaggarnath Asthapan, the Hindu temple will probably be opened for prayers and worship in the coming week.

The 80-year-old temple’s structure would remain the same – dome-like rooftop, a bell hanging from the ceiling and colourful walls surrounding the sacred Shiva Ling.

Adjacent to the temple lies a mosque, making the village’s religious landscape unique. Both mosque and temple share the same path.

This was a village where 60 Pandit families lived but all migrated in 1990s, except for one lone pandit – Bhushan Lal. He continues to stay there today with his three brothers. His father was the preist for this temple and today, the temple is dilapidated and needs restoration. The entire Muslim community is getting together and making the temple. Shabir Ahmad Mir, a painter by profession, is currently working at the temple. Among the other labourers who are working at the temple are Ghulam Nabi Sheikh, Mushtaq Ahmad Malik, Tanveer Ahmad Malik and Bhushan’s youngest brother Ashok Kumar.

And here, living so far away from the Kashmir, we have hatred in the heart. Surely humanity is above all emotions and such stories go on to restore our faith in mankind.

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