The Chennakeshava temple in Karnataka’s Belur began its Rathotsava (chariot festival) by having a maulvi read out a few verses from the Quran. In Kerala, the Chathangadu Sree Maha Vishnu Temple held an iftar party on its premises for over 200 Muslims. These instances come at a time when the country is witnessing incidents of communal discord
At a time when the country is witnessing communal discord over the hijab, or halal meat or even the violence that flared up across states on Ram Navami, here are two examples that re-imposes our belief in the country’s secular credentials.
While a temple in Karnataka began its chariot festival after reciting passages from the Quran, another in Kerala hosted an iftar dinner for the Muslim community. And it wasn’t just Muslims, but even Hindus living in the locality that took part in the iftar.
Karnataka temple’s Quran recital
The Chennakeshava temple in Belur in Hassan district of Karnataka kept tradition alive by kicking off the Rathotsava (chariot festival) after reciting passages from the Quran.
The move gains special significance this year as the Karnataka government had issued a notice barring Muslim traders from setting up stalls at temple fairs. It was in this backdrop that the temple went ahead with its tradition, inviting praise from the locals.
“The recital of verses from the Quran has been a tradition for generations and it has come from my ancestors. Whatever may be the differences, Hindus and Muslims should live in a united manner and let God bless all,” Qazi Syed Sajeed Pasha, who recited the verses in the presence of thousands of Hindu devotees, was quoted as saying to The News Minute.
According to ritual, a maulvi reads out excerpts from the Quran to mark the beginning of the celebrations at the Chennakeshava temple.
The rathotsava is a two-day affair during which Channakeshava’s idol is adorned with gold and diamond jewellery gifted by the erstwhile kings of the kingdom of Mysuru.
Earlier, some Hindu organisations had objected to the recital of the Quran, citing the prevalent tensions in the state. Karnataka has been on edge since the beginning of 2022.
First it was the controversy over the hijab in classrooms where Muslim girls were not allowed inside with their headscarves. They moved the Karnataka High Court, but the ban on the attire was upheld by the court.
Following this, came the issue of halal meat and stopping Muslim traders from setting up their stalls during temple fairs.
Also, recently four alleged members of the fringe Sri Rama Sene were arrested in Dharwad for vandalising fruit carts belonging to Muslims.
Kerala temple’s iftar party
The Chathangadu Sree Maha Vishnu Temple in Kerala’s Malappuram district hosted an iftar party, as per a report published by The Hindu.
The temple at Vaniyannur near Tirur saw more than 200 Muslim men, women and children enjoying the festivities inside the temple complex, making it the first in the state to do so.
Sukumaran V, the secretary of the temple committee, was quoted by The Hindu as saying, ““What made us think about the Iftar was the fact that many of our Muslim friends could not attend the annual mass feast held as part of the temple festival because of Ramzan. For us, it would be a big miss as we used to conduct the festival with the help and support of our Muslim brothers and sisters.”
The temple president and treasurer said that such an event sent a message that communal harmony was the need of the hour and religious institutions shouldn’t segregate people.
With inputs from agencies
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.