A temple where Hindus welcome Muslims for prayers


Every year during Ramzan, a temple in this village becomes the hub of activity. Muslims assemble in its premises, offer namaz and then break their fast with a feast prepared by their Hindu friends. The Sankatmochan temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman in this village in Chandauli district,  about 300 km from the state capital Lucknow, is believed to be over 150 years old and has been witnessing this secular tradition since time immemorial, say locals. Naubatpur has a population of nearly 3,000 people, of which about 800 are Muslims.

"Serving Muslims during the holy month gives us a unique sense of satisfaction and, in a way, we also get associated with Ramzan that teaches spirituality, honesty, modesty, non-violence, patience and self-reformation," Indrajeet Pandey, a 48-year-old resident of Naubatpur, told reporters. "We really take pride to have such a temple in our village that displays the perfect blend of secular values," added a proud Alakh Narayan Singh, a social worker in the village.

Muslims come to offer the evening namaz at the temple gallery, which is outside the sanctum sanctorum but within the premises. The villagers - Muslim and Hindu - raise funds and contribute in their own little way to the Iftar gatherings held in the temple. "Most of the villagers voluntarily make contributions for arranging Iftar parties. While some villagers give cash for arranging the meals, others contribute by cooking delicacies like sewai, kheer and kachauri," said D K Singh, a teacher in Naubatpur.

The residents hope their inter-religious bond and social harmony inspires people outside their village too. "We want the message of this unique Hindu-Muslim friendship to be loud and clear...It should convey to society that when people are fighting in the name of religion, our village has a special Hindu-Muslim bond," said Assad Akhtar, who owns a tailoring shop. Added Shabi Haider, another villager: "We feel proud and privileged that our village is keeping the secular character of our country alive."

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