In a pleasent display of communal harmony between the Hindu and Muslim communities in Assam’s Sivasagar town, a Durga Puja Pandal is erected sharing boundary with a mosque.
The Puja is organised by a local club called Nabajuvak Durgatsav Samiti, which turns 62 this year. It was earlier celebrated somewhere else in the town, but with a space crunch there around 30 years ago, the organisers had to shift the Puja venue to the Thana Road area of the town where the pandal is next to the old local Beparipatty Masjid.
“The club members first tried to get space in a local park, but that could not happen. When they decided to shift it here, then district administration feared disturbance to communal harmony in the area,” the President of the Masjid Committee, Faridul Islam told IANS.
He added: “That time, my father used to be the president of the masjid committee. He, along with other people, approached the administration and urged to conduct the Durga Puja here only with an assurance of not disturbing the harmony between the two communities.”
The celebration of Durga Puja which began by sharing the same boundary wall with the Masjid has been running in a very friendly environment with the active cooperation of the Muslim community as well.
When namaz is offered in the mosque, the loudspeakers in the Puja pandal are switched off.
Sanjay Pareekh, one of the organisers of the Puja said: “We have tremendous support from the Muslim community. They actively take part in carrying Durga idols, and offer support during visarjan.”
Both the silver and golden jubilees of this Durga Puja were celebrated with enthusiasm from Mulsim community members as well, informed Pareekh.
Locals residing in the area expressed that the festivities would become grander and more beautiful with the bond of brotherhood becoming stronger in the coming times.