Wounds inflicted by using religion as a tool…

Posted: January 20, 2010 in Political
Tags: , , , , ,

"The Book on Religious Tolerance"

The book that everybody has read but has never pondered much about.

Designed and implemented by me (Sudarshan).

Dhar, Madhya Pradesh.

Just ahead of the 2004 general election, a saffron outfit decided to push the Hindutva agenda in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh, for some extra mileage.

The centuries-old Bhojshala complex, where Muslims prayed every Friday, should be converted into a temple and Muslims banned, the Hindu Jagran Manch declared, because inscriptions inside suggested it was once a Sanskrit college and even housed an idol of Saraswati.

Six years later, the saffron agenda had backfired.

Hindus and Muslims were both praying at the ancient stone structure, in a remarkable show of communal harmony in a traditionally restive town. Hindus pray to Saraswati on Tuesdays; Muslims to Allah on Fridays.

The issue is considered settled and no one wants to discuss it any more. No one wants a repeat of the unrest hat unfollowed the 2003 campaign.

For two months, as curfew was repeatedly imposed and skirmishes heightened the tension, shops stayed shut for days at a time in the commercial town.

Wounds that had been healing since the Ayodhya mosque demolition thirteen years earlier were reopened.

And business was lousy.

Rohit Jai (29), who runs a furniture shop on the road leading to Bhojshala, said he remembers how every argument on the street was fraught with danger. ‘We were pulled back at least a hundred years in terms of progress because of the tension. Those curfews are no good for our business,’ he said.

The town, 248 kms south-west of the capital Bhopal, remains wary of politicians.

‘They come before the elections and say things to get votes. We are left to suffer the consequences,’ said Munshi Mohammed Dharvi (65).

‘If I had my way,’ added Jain, as he sipped tea with Mohammad Rizvi (35), who owns a furniture shop next door, ‘I would convert the structure into a school or hospital.’

Story credits – Piyusha Chatterjee (for India Yatra)

Other credits – dafont.com, psdtuts+

Creative Commons License
Religionator by Sudarshan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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