Muslim family’s old association with Ramnavami

April 14th, 2008 - 4:24 pm ICT by admin  

Darbhanga (Bihar), April 14 (IANS) Keeping alive a decades-old tradition, a Muslim family in Bihar Monday celebrated Ramnavami, the birth anniversary of Hindu god Lord Ram, in yet another example of communal amity in India. Shamim Ansari, in his late 20s, is proud of his family tradition that also includes helping Hindu neighbours in making preparations for holy offerings and rituals.

“We have been associated with the Ramnavami festival preparations and celebrations for over three decades,” said Ansari, who is also secretary of the Sarvajan Basanti Durga Pujotsav or festival committee at Chunabhatti locality in Darbhanga town, about 130 km from state capital Patna.

Suresh Kumar Jha, a businessman and neighbour, said: “Ansari’s family plays an important role in preparation of the festival - more than any Hindu family does.”

Shyam Narayan Prasad Bari, president of the committee, recalled: “Ansari’s father Mohammed Mohsin Ansari donated a portion of his land to the temple and he along with Baldev Bari was among the founders of this committee when it was set up 33 years ago.”

Ansari and his three brothers have been helping out in festival preparations every year.

“We don’t miss a chance to send out a message of communal harmony and peace by actively participating for the festival,” said Shamim’s brother Kalim Ansari, who is also a member of the committee.

This year, it was Kalim who collected donations for the festival celebrations in the locality.

Jha said the Ansari brothers also visit the sanctum sanctorum of the temple where the festival celebrations are held.

In Bihar, a number of Muslims also volunteered to clean up rivers, ponds and streets for the celebration of Chhath, the most popular Hindu festival in the state. They helped Hindus sanitise riverbanks in Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga.

Some poor Muslim families make chulhas, or earthen stoves, used to prepare the holy offering for the Chhath.

Many Hindus too observe fast during Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, across the state.

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