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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hindu Saints, Ulema come together in Lucknow

The demonstration-cum-rally organised in Lucknow under the aegis of Ulema Council was a refreshing change.

The reason was that Hindu Saints (Sadhus and Sants) were present in substantial number at the stage and also among the participants.

Though the issues were varied. The protesters were angry over defaming Azamgarh district and their placards carried messages blaming politicians who divide the society on communal lines. But there was a notable difference this time as there were many Saffron robes in the gathering.

"We will stand united with the Muslims who have been deprived of their rights," said Swamy Haridayal Mishra of Hindu group of Ayodhya, a town of temples on the bank of the Saryu river, reported The Hindu. He had come along with his band of sants.

Ironically this wasn't adequately reported and these photographs were not published. What was printed was the stone pelting incident in a village when a bus carrying the participants on its way back was targeted the next day.

Since mid-80s when the Ayodhya movement and Rath Yatra led to polarisation, much water has flown down the Ganges (and the Saryu). Many saints and Hindus in Ayodhya also see the political agenda behind dividing Hindus and Muslims.

The Sadhu-Sants and Ulama-Maulvis of Oudh and United Provinces had fought together against British rule in 1857 and had scripted saga of sacrifices together. They must take a lead again to recreate the harmony.

It is quite clear that the religious figures are no less fed up of the atmosphere of suspicion and hatred that was created between communities that have lived together and side by side in the Indo-gangetic plane for over a millennium.

Most of them understand true essence of religion and spirituality. And if they guide the society by showing the masses the message of amity and true religion sans fundamentalism, it can definitely bring a change.

Gestures like speaking and standing for each other can also go a long way towards changing mindsets.