Gonda (Uttar Pradesh), November 27— While the nation witnessed dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi temple-Babri Masjid title in Ayodhya for many decades, Uttar Pradesh’s Wazirganj stood out with its example of social harmony and tolerance. The Hindus and Muslims here live in harmony respecting each other’s faith.
The “azaan” of the mosque ends when the sound of a conch echoes in the temple. Similarly, the bells of Goureshvarnath Shankarji temple stop ringing when prayers are offered at the mosque.
This tradition has been going on for many decades. Never has there been a dispute in the area.
Mohammad Ali Siddiqui, who manages the mosque, told IANS: “After retiring from the police department, I am looking after the madarasa and the mosque here.
“Only a boundary wall stands between the temple and the adjacent Wazirganj police station. The mosque in front of the temple is the hallmark of communal harmony.”
He said: “Here, “azaan” is stopped during “aarti”, then “aarti” stops during “azaan”. Such a unique rapport between people of both communities is rarely seen.”
Siddiqui said: “We celebrate the festival of Navadurga and Krishna Ashtami with great pomp and show. Till date the atmosphere has not deteriorated.”
On the Ayodhya decision, Siddiqui said, “Supreme Court’s decision must be accepted by all. However, we have nothing to do with this issue. We have to see our mutual brotherhood. Whatever the political people do they do.”
He said: “Brotherhood is first. The way people here live together is an example. There is harmony here and is possible only because people respect each other’s religion.”
The priest of the temple, Joginder Giri, said that there is Goureshvarnath Shankarji temple in the town of Wazirganj. The mosque is located a few feet away from here.
Joginder said: “We reduce the time of “aarti” and “azaan” by mutual coordination. When the “aarti” takes place in the morning, the “azaan” is done 15 minutes earlier. The same sequence runs from both sides.”
The priest said: “This process has been going on for many decades. Pooja and worship have been going on for many years. Earlier temples and mosques were small. After this, both the places developed. Our temple on Gonda- Faizabad road offers a unique example of mutual brotherhood. Even during the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, mutual brotherhood had continued. People here have joined the movement. But the atmosphere never deteriorated.”
The priest also said: “The azaan in the mosque and the aarti and hymn of the temple follow each other. They are in sync with each other. The Muslims and Hindus do not have any problems with this. If there is azaan, then people of other sects offer prayers. The same happens at the time of bhajan-kirtan. People of all religions participate enthusiastically in each other’s religious programmes.”
(This feature is part of a positive-journalism campaign by IANS and Frank Islam Foundation.)