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Muslim family helps Hindu neighbor in cremating their loved one

By Shabina Akhtar, TwoCircles.net

Kolkata:  “This is the right time to show Hindu-Muslim brotherhood,” says Kazi Abu Badsha.

At a time when hate is being peddled via videos and social media to vilify the Muslim community in the wake of COVID19 pandemic, a Muslim man has chosen to rise to the occasion and reject the Hindu-Muslim divide in West Bengal’s Birbhum district.

Shyamashis Chatterjee, a resident of Birbhum’s Siuri city, was a kidney patient who died on April 9 after prolonged illness. Shyamashis’s death left his brother Shibashis Chatterjee in a fix for being unable to have relatives come over to Siuri for his brother’s funeral. Making matters worse was the fact that both the brothers were unmarried and were living by themselves.

“I asked my Muslim neighbor if he and a few boys from his community could help me in performing the last rites of my brother. And they didn’t let me down,” recounted Shibashis Chatterjee. This Muslim neighbor he mentions is a 58-year-old businessman, Kazi Abu Badsha, to whom his brother had sold off half his property.

“We stay in the same premise. How could I say no to Shibashis?” said Kaz. Kazi opines that Irrespective of the religion we follow, we can’t deny the fact that despite all the differences we are all humans. Hence, out of humanity, he said, he decided to help them perform the last rites of Shyamashis.

Elaborating the relationship they shared, Kazi narrated, “Shyamashis, was younger to me.” He had been unwell for long with some kidney-related problem and was undergoing a treatment when the doctors eventually gave up. He added that Shyamashis was then brought home and he breathed his last on April 9. It was then that Kazi, along with his son volunteered to help the family with the funeral.

However, it wasn’t just the father-son duo who arranged and participated in the funeral but also several men from the Muslim community who helped in cremating Shyamashis.

An overwhelmed, Shibashis added, “The time that we are living in, is not very good for the cultivation of humanity. Such acts, especially during this time are unprecedented.” He expressed that he would always be grateful to Badsha and his son, who now regularly visit him to know about his well-being. He added, “Muslims coming to my aid shows that humanity is not dead,” resonating that it is people like Badsha that the world is still moving.

Amid the mainstream media’s portrayal of Muslims as Super Spreaders and systemic demonization of the community, Badsha helping the Chatterjees is not a standalone example of Muslims helping Hindu families to cremate their loved ones. In the recent past, there has been news of Muslims helping families in Indore and Bandra to perform the last rites of their loved ones when their relatives couldn’t make it during the COVID-19 pandemic.