Relief fosters religious harmony

Barriers broken, bonds formed

Flood victims at a madrasa in Terdal, Bagalkot.

Unprecedented rains and floods may have devastated lives and properties in parts of North Karnataka. However, these foods and rains bridged the gulf between communities that were at loggerheads for decades.

Life will be meaningful and beautiful if human beings transcend religious barriers. This is what nature’s fury seems to have taught many people in the region.

Two incidents from Bagalkot and Belagavi fostered a sense of brotherhood between Hindus and Muslims. 

Kind-hearted Muslims played the role of good Samaritans, broke all traditions by extending a helping hand to Hindu women and children in distress.

Members of the committee managing a madrasa on Hidkal Road near Terdal in Bagalkot redefined the relationship between Hindus and Muslims in the communally sensitive district by their act.

A few families from a village in Athani taluk were relocated from a sugar factory as the situation went out of control. These families, mostly comprising women and children, were brought to Teredal for shelter.

As the news spread, the madrasa committee members spoke to officials and volunteered to provide shelter.

“Until then, the doors of the madrasa were shut for other communities. We had no words when the committee members volunteered to help flood victims,” an officer, involved in relief works, said.

“Allah, the almighty, provided us with an opportunity to serve human beings,” remarks Maulana Mufti Irfan of the madrasa. 

“Allah wanted us to serve human beings in distress. We opened the doors of the madrasa breaking the tradition only to serve those who were displaced,” he said.

The committee members allotted all rooms at the madrasa for the victims, besides offering food and water.

Two days later, the committee members celebrated Bakrid with the flood victims. With this act of kindness, the committee members won the hearts of the Hindu families.

Mallamma, a homemaker, who took shelter at the madrasa, said that she was in two minds about entering it as she had never visited one.

“There are no words to describe the compassion and hospitality we received. We forgot the tragedy that had hit us. Our hope in humanity has now been revived,” she said.

Human bonds reign supreme

The rain fury introduced Maulasab Nadaf, a resident of Patil Mal in Belagavi, to another facet of human beings. 

Recently, Nadaf borrowed Rs 4 lakh loan from private moneylenders for his second daughter Asiya’s wedding, scheduled on August 25. The floods shattered his dream by washing all the materials he had collected for the wedding.

Mud walls of his rented house came crashing down, forcing the family to move out.

Nadaf, a wireman with a private firm, earns Rs 8,000 per month. He needs medicine worth Rs 3,500 per month for his wife who is suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, Nadaf’s son is mentally ill. His gold ornaments and new clothes were washed away in the floods.

Media carried Nadaf’s heart-rendering tale that evoked a widespread response as many came forward to help him.

Somashekhar from Shivamogga deposited Rs 25,000, Prakash from Hospet Rs 5,000, Moulasab from Hubballi Rs 10,000 and a person from New Zealand deposited Rs 25,000.

“Many people have called me assuring funds. Some of them have promised that they would meet me in person and help me. I don’t know how to thank these people,” he said.

(With inputs from Mahesh Bhagiratha in Belagavi and Ravi Balutagi in Bagalkot)

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