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India: Festivals & Communal Harmony
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
An Indian lady

India, a land of different religions, cultures & faiths, is a country where now it is a season of festivals. This will continue for a few days. In comparison to other religions the Hindus & the Muslims are in majority & as it is so, the festivals, in large number of these two communities are celebrated with great pump & show. The celebration of the Hindu festivals is based on calculation of Vikrami Samvat Calendar whereas the Muslim festivals are celebrated on the calculation of Islamic Calendar or Hijri. At present Vikrami Samvat is 2063 whereas the year of Islamic Calendar is Hijri 1427. Regarding dates, there is no similarity & there can be no comparison between Hindi Vikrami Samvat & Hijri year of the Islamic Calendar. Regarding faith, the Muslim community favours oneness of God whereas the Hindu community worships 33 crores of Gods & Goddesses. In spite of it, in a country like India, both the communities, the Hindus & the Muslims celebrate the festivals of each other collectively & enjoy & greet one another.

It is a matter of great sorrow that some communal powers living in India envy the communal harmony & some foreign powers want to destroy the communal harmony & communal unity, whenever they get time. In the last five years, there have been many attempts to hurt the communal unity of India. For these ill wills, there was an attack on the Raghunath Temple & even the Akshardham Temple was also attacked. The historical Sankat Mochan Temple had also been the aim of these dreaded terrorists & sometimes these unreligious people attacked the innocent & unarmed pilgrims of Amarnath Pilgrimage & thus gave a proof of their barbarism. But the Indians gave right attention towards the activities of the terrorists & reached the conclusion that the motive of these unwanted activities was to destroy the existing communal harmony of the Indians. So, even in spite of the attacks on the ancient & pious places of the Hindus, the chain of communal harmony could not be broken & the terrorist couldn't get success to fulfill their wrong desires.

After that, the terrorists who were defeated by the tolerance shown by the Hindu community, tried to hurt both the communities, the Hindus & the Muslims, when both the festivals the Diwali & the Eid were to be celebrated within one week. On October 29, 2005 evening in Delhi, the capital of India, when the Hindus & the Muslims were busy in purchasing goods for their respective festivals, there were serial bomb blasts at many places, well known shopping centres, where 65 persons were killed & 217 were injured. The dead & the injured were from both the communities. This was the biggest terrorist attack on the common citizens in the capital of the country. But this severe attack couldn't shatter the communal harmony of the country. After that on July 11, 2006, there were serial bomb blasts in local trains in the metropolitan Mumbai where a large number of citizens were killed. Even this too, couldn't break the chain of communal harmony & the peace & calmness prevailed there. Within 24 hours Bombay that is called the commercial capital of India was normal & its life come on the track again.

It seemed that the continuous attacks on the Hindu holy places & temples, the terrorist attack on the parliament of India, the attacks in busy markets during the festive seasons etc. couldn't satisfy the unreligious terrorists. That's why the dreaded terrorists who called themselves the keepers of the Islam aimed at a city named Malegaon in Maharashtra in India, a very sensitive city, where about 75% inhabitants are the Muslims & the remaining 25% are the Hindus. On last September 8, on Friday, when people of the Muslims community were making Friday prayers to god & at the same time it was their ( Shab-E-Baraat) festival day, there were many serial bomb blasts on the places where there was a great crowd in Malegaon. It was in mosques & in graveyards. It is doubted that these were attacks of suicide bombers. 40 persons lost their lives & more than 200 were injured in these attacks. The persons who died & were injured in these attacks mostly belonged to the Muslim community. There were many women & children among the dead & the injured.

The terrorist attack in Malegaon made it clear that the terrorists have yielded to the tolerance of Indian Hindu community & being fed up that they have started to aim at the Muslim shrines & the Muslim community only to avenge so that members of one community may stand against the members of the other community. They want the communal riots in the all country so that here becomes an atmosphere of instability. This will fulfill the unholy desire of the terrorists & so called crusaders. But this time too, they couldn't succeed in their desire. Even after the Malegaon blasts, there remained the calmness & the foes of humanity had to give in.

On the one side, the terrorists in India are trying to hurt the communal harmony & on the other side because of the paradox of dates & years, for the last three years, the festivals of the Hindus & the Muslims are falling on the near dates. Clearly, it can be seen that some bad & misguided persons may try to keep apart the Hindus & the Muslims by their cruel & inhuman actions but God is not in favour of the terrorists. For example, the most famous & sacred festival of the Hindus, the Diwali & the most well known & pious festival of the Muslims, the Eid-Ul-Fitr are being celebrated on the near dates. In the last days, Shradhs, that are days for pacifying the departed souls of the family among the Hindus, & Shab-E-Baraat festival, by the Muslims, fell on the near days. Surprisingly, as there seems similarity in the names of these two festivals as Sharadhs & Shab-E-Baraat look having similar pronunciation, in the same way motive of the two communities behind the celebration of these two festivals is almost the same. In the Hindu religion, as during Shradh days, people give charity, food & clothes in the memory of their dead relatives, similarly the Muslims, among Shab-E-Baraat days go to the graves of their dead relatives & pray to god for the peace of their soul. They give charity etc.

God hasn't only compelled the Hindus & the Muslims to celebrate these two festivals but the festival of Navratras for nine days are also being celebrated along with the most pious Islamic festival Ramzan. There is surprising similarity between these. The people of both the communities observe fast on these festivals. The difference is only of words. The fast observed among Navratras is called 'Vratt' & the fast observed for Ramazan is called ' Roza.' During this Ramazan, there fall the famous festivals of Durga Pooja & Dushehra of the Hindus.

Even despite of all differences of dates & calendar, the celebration of the above festivals that look alike & have the alike motives by both the communities, are not a proof of communal harmony that God wants to keep among both the communities? God will keep peace & harmony, however hard the narrow minded, enemy of humanity demons like terrorists may try to break the bonds of mutual love between the two communities. Certainly it is not a chance but a miracle. On the one side, the terrorists are trying continuously to strike on the humanity & faiths of the people & on other side God is making the path by these festivals to unite the human beings. We peace loving Indians believe that our communal unity will remain as it is & god will help us to remain united & the terrorists will never succeed in their wicked aims.

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Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes in a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is a member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.






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