Where Hindus and Muslims pray together

Gaddeajijpur village, located on the outskirts of  Hardoi district, some 110 km from state capital Lucknow, sees Hindus and Muslims pray together at the Lord Hanuman Temple and the Jind Peer Baba Mazar that are adjacent to each other.

According to locals, any prayer offered only at the mazar or the temple is not fulfilled, as the almighty, according to them, answers only those prayers that are offered at both the places.

"You can term it a specialty of this place...Whosoever comes here pays equal obeisance to Baba and Hanumanji...In fact, it has become a ritual for this place," said Kanta Pushpak, 59, who runs a grocery shop in Gaddeajijpur village.

Locals say both the temple and the mausoleum came up nearly 80 years ago, but the mazar was set up a few months before the temple was built.

"Around 1930, Muslim devotees built the mazar to pay homage to Jind Peer Baba, who cured the chronic and dreaded diseases of several thousands of people," Ahmad Mobeen, 61, who owns a garment shop in Hardoi's Pali town, told IANS on telephone.

Due to his spiritual powers, the Baba not only became popular among Muslims but was also revered among Hindus, who also later started visiting him to seek a cure for health problems, according to villagers. "Gradually, Hindus started worshipping Baba by making his idols. However, when Baba came to know about it, he asked Hindus not to worship his idols and pray only before the idols of their deities," Mobeen said.

"He even asked Muslims to take a pledge to help Hindus in their prayers and other rituals. Keeping their promise, after the death of Baba, Muslims invited Hindus to build a temple just near the mazar," he added.

Though the temple and the mausoleum remain abuzz with activities all seven days a week, devotees turn up at the religious place in huge numbers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. "Special prayers are offered on these two days and it is believed that those paying obeisance on the two days get instant blessing by the almighty," said Satya Brat Kumar, an ayurveda medical practitioner in the village.

Locals are proud to have such a religious place in their village and say it should be a lesson for those who make every effort to widen the rift between Hindus and Muslims for vested interests. "The temple and the mazar should be known to all, particularly the politicians of our country, who don't hesitate in raking up issues which amount to animosity between members of the two communities," said Ijaz Waris, 37, who runs a battery shop in the village. "We feel privileged to be part of a village which projects the unique Hindu-Muslim bonding and brotherhood," he added.

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