At a time when the secular structure of the nation is often under siege, Punjab is providing a new ray of hope. Shortly on the heels of the creation of a new district Malerkotla with a Muslim majority, the State has reported two heart-waming incidents of communal harmony and appreciation for each other’s religion. In Malerkotla, a Sikh man has donated his ancestral land to local Muslims to construct a mosque. In Moga’s Bhalloor village, Sikh and Hindu residents came together to help rebuild a mosque that has been in ruins since Partition in 1947.
After Partition, it may be recalled, a significant section of Muslims from North India went over to Pakistan and many mosques either fell into disuse or were converted into places of worship of other religions. In Bhalloor, too, the village mosque fell into disuse and gradual ruin. As there are only a handful of Muslim families in the village, the village head Pala Singh took the initiative to restore the mosque. “We are proud to be part of this initiative,” Singh told mediapersons. The mosque’s foundation stone laying ceremony was attended by people of all faiths.
“After Partition, most Muslim families left for Pakistan and the mosque went into ruins after that. The new mosque will be built on the same land,” Singh said.
“Some people donated Rs.200,000 at the venue itself and more help was assured,” Anwar Khan, head of the mosque’s managing committee, told Arab News, adding that many non-resident Indians from Punjab had also pledged support for the mosque.