Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hindu temple bears Islamic, Christian, Sikh symbols: Communal Harmony Project-19

The temple that bears symbols of four religions
It was a chance discovery when I spotted this unique temple in a dense locality.

It was a small temple, just like many shrines on road sides, in India. However, it had symbols of all religions on the front as well as side walls.

As there was heavy traffic on the road and it was risky to suddenly stop the vehicle, I went ahead and then came back from the next traffic intersection, to have a close look at the 'Mandir'.

There is no need for any person who is a caretaker at a shrine to put up signs of other faiths. It doesn't lead to more collection in the 'donation box' and no community would generously laud the temple-administration for such a step.

It was purely a goodwill gesture. I met the priest. He introduced himself as Om Sai Ram, rather than his original name, which he uses only in official documents now. For him, all faiths are the same. The locality is predominantly Hindu [65%] and has around 35% Muslims, however, there is hardly any Christian or Sikh population.

The temple authorities didn't do it to please followers of other faiths. No one objected when Islamic crescent and cross were painted on the walls along with Om. There was a 'trishul' on other other side and a black stone that bore the words 'Shani Dev'. I was offered water.

The Saffron-robed pandit ji told me enthusiastically about the events held at the temple and how he is supported by everyone.

Some other people also came when they saw us talking. Unfortunately, my photographer friend was in a hurry, and we left, after exchanging our telephone numbers.

Fascinating, isn't it! But that's India. At every nook and corner, mostly in dense localities and 'bastis', if you wander, you find such amazing stories of communal harmony scattered all around.