Khushwant Singh has written a article in today’s Hindustan Times mentioning an incident in a village in Punjab. The Sikhs of the village decided to rebuild the mosque that was destroyed during the partition.
On the front page of Syed Shahabuddin’s weekly The Milli Shahabuddin’s weekly The Milli Gazette there was a news item written by its editor Zafarul Islam Khan, which I felt should have made to the head- lines of every national daily and TV channels. But I did not see it appear in any other journal and felt saddened that our media had failed to perform its duty. The article was headlined “Sikhs rebuild mosque demolished in 1947“. I give a short summary of its contents.
Sarwarpur, a village ten kilometres from Samrala town, in Punjab has a sizeable Muslim population. In the communal civil strife which accompa- nied the partition of Punjab in August 1947, most of the Muslims fled to Pakistan and the mosque was demol- ished by rampaging mobs of Hindus and Sikhs. Last year the Sikhs of the village decided to rebuild the mosque.
On May 22, Jathedar Kirpal Singh of the SGPC (Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee), the MLA of the village Jaagjivan Singh and all vil- lagers welcomed Maulana Habibur Rehman Sani Ludhianvi and present- ed the keys of the mosque to the old- est Muslim villager Dada Mohammed Tufail. There were triumphant cries of Allah-o-Akbar (God-o-Creator). Among those present was Mohammed Usman Radanvi, Chairman of the Punjab Wakf Board.
My heart swelled with pride at what members of my community had done. Something what Guru Nanak, whose first disciple Bhai Mardana remained Muslim to the end of his life, would have liked them to do; they had done what the Fifth Guru Arjan, compiler of the adi-granth and builder of the Harmandir (today’s Golden Temple), whose foundation stone had been laid by the Sufi Saint Hazrat Mian Mir of Lahore, would have applauded. And so would Maharaja Ranjit Singh, one of whose Maharanis built the white marble Dargah of Data Ganj Baksh, the most popular Sufi shrine in Lahore today.
Well, I totally agree with him. It is the way forward. Hate can never do anyone good. And working towards healing the wounds caused by communal hate is a great way to solve the mess we are in.
But most of the reaction to the article have been like “Senile old man, trying to peddle ‘harmless islam’”.
While I don’t like such thinking, I don’t really have any way to prove them wrong. And that’s a sad truth about Indian Muslims. While we have initiatives taken by other communities to improve relations with the Muslims. There really aren’t many initiatives from the sides of Muslims. or at least not many are visible. Instead all that we hear from them are messages of extremism and separatism. While there is a Zakir Naik to spread hatred; is there any other counter him? Some one to spread love and unity from within the Muslim community? Where are the moderate Muslim leaders?
While I really hope that Muslims themselves take initiatives to bridge the communal divide asap but if they don’t do it soon enough, it might just be too late. For how long can other religions keep extending their arm of friendship only to be rudely turned down or worse get slapped in the face?
It is time Indian Islam is reborn. It is time Indian Muslims take charge and throw out these hate mongers. It is time some moderate Muslim leaders are born. It is time.
Original Article Link : Rebuilding secularism, Gandhi style