THIS IS OUR INDIA: A Photo Story From July 2011 - Being Indian is more about a state of mind than it is about the color of your skin or the God(s) you worship!
Every year Ahmedabad’s Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra passes through Muslim dominated areas of Jamalpur, Dariyapur, Shahpur and Kalupur. In the past, the Police used to put ‘Janata curfew’ in practice in Muslim areas with cooperation of local peace committee members. Under this mechanism, the Muslims used to observe self imposed curfew during the passing of Rath Yatra in their area. This means, the Muslims would not come out of their homes during the time of Rath Yatra. Police with help of local Muslim leaders continued this practice for several years.
However for last two-three years, Janata curfew has stopped. The Muslims now come out of their homes and line up to see the Rath Yatra on both sides of the roads. The children enjoy it most.
The photographs below presents a beautiful picture of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood. The Muslims are extending their hands for ‘prashad’ of Bhagwan Jagannath from a decorated motor truck of Rath Yatra procession.
Jagannath Mandir’s Mahant Shri Dilipdasji was equally welcomed and honored in Hindu and Muslim areas during the Rath Yatra. Before this, Jagannath Mandir Mahant would not visit Muslim areas, but this year a new younger Mahant visited Muslim areas too and received a grand respect and honor by the Muslims who welcomed him and greeted him overwhelmingly. So when a group of Muslims offered white shawl to Mahant, one of the trustees of Jagannath mandir offered sweet to the Muslims.
A group of Muslim women and children also offered prayer throughout the day wishing peaceful Rathyatra in Khanpur area.
And while in the past, the Police’s job was to become barrier between Hindus walking in Rath Yatra and Muslims in their areas of domination, this year the Police force were helping bridge the two communities. Earlier in Muslim areas, Police used to speed up the procession by constant whistling, hitting sticks on the roads and running behind and pressurizing the Rath Yatris, but this year the atmosphere was so friendly that Police didn’t feel such steps were needed to impose.
When in Muslim dominated Dariapur area, one of the Raths was facing some problem in its wheel mechanism, the local Muslims rushed there to offer help on their own. They brought the needed instruments and tools. Both Hindus and Muslims together repaired the Rath.