As Bareilly simmers with violence there are streaks of silver lining

By TCN Special Correspondent,

Lucknow: Devotees of Lord Shiva clashed with Muslims leaving several dead, properties gutted and the claims of communal harmony once again shattered. Those dead will not come back but time will probably heal the wounds, monetary loss may be covered but the line demarcating the
two communities has become thicker, bolder creating a rift which is hard to fill.

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While the devotees of Lord Shiva clashed with Muslims on the claim that the Gangajal which they had brought from Hardwar was touched by Muslims making it impure and earthen vessel broken. Perhaps, Muslims remain a pariah and untouchable.

Hardly anyone of them were aware that devotees who had gone to Amarnath thousands of kilometres away in Jammu and Kashmir could successfully complete their pilgrimage in Lord Shiva’s darbar because of selfless help from Muslims.

Retired teacher couple Dr S K Agarwal and Asha Agarwal both resident of Bareilly while sitting in their home remember their journey days hardly 20 days ago when they had visited Amarnath to pay their reverence before Lord Shiva. The couple admit that without the help of Muslims they would not have been able to complete their pilgrimage and darshan at Amarnath. Dr Agarwal is a retired Chemistry teacher at Bareilly college and his wife Asha Agarwal is a retired teacher from St Maria College Bareilly. They had returned from their Amarnath pilgrimage on July 2.

Remembering their pilgrimage the Agarwal couple mentioned that while they were moving on foot from Panchtarni towards Amarnath Cave for darshan at Barfani Baba, Muslims helped them on way. “We were tired and not able to walk even a step further. We just sat and then a policeman noticed us. He approached us and took care of us. Under his guidance and support we were taken to the Amarnath Cave and our darshan was facilitated,” said Agarwal. The policeman was Sheikh Adil Basheer—a Muslim.

While returning when the couple reached Shalimar Garden and stopped to take rest admiring the beauty. While they rested, a family busy in picnic nearby approached them. On knowing that they were returning from Amarnath pilgrimage, the family offered them delicious Kashmiri
food and took good care. While departing they told their names—all were Muslims.

Dr Agarwal recollecting his memories stated that they stayed in a hotel at Srinagar. On the day of journey they had to leave at 5 am. Getting up at such an early hour was a tough task for the couple. And further they had to make arrangements for breakfast and some lunch for their onward journey. The hotel cook arrived at right time, woke them up, offered hot cup of tea, breakfast and also lunch packets. He bade them goodbye with advice to eat the lunch on their way. Many would think that it was his duty but the cook did not take any money from them. He was Ghulam Mohiuddin—a Muslim.

So for the devotees of Lord Shiva, Muslims are not untouchable and pariah.