Gujarat floods: Muslims’ help clean flood-hit temples


Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 02 August 2017| 09 Zhul Qadha 1438

In times of death and destruction, the lotus of communal harmony has bloomed in the muck of flood-ravaged Dhanera in Banaskantha, a district which has lost 64 lives and is still counting its dead.

In this Hindu-dominated town, some 3,500 Muslims from Dhanera, Deesa, Palanpur and nearby villages trooped in to the aid of the town, cleaning places of worship and residence alike, after waters started receding slowly. The town was submerged under 10ft of flood waters that coursed its way through thousands of homes, leaving behind a trail of destruction, tonnes of earth, sand and scare of an epidemic.

Their first mission was to remove muck from 22 temples and three major mosques in Dhanera town. “In this difficult hour, we felt that people needed hope and spiritual support to help them pull back their lives. This is why we began cleaning the temples first with the help of locals. Floods have brought each one of us together,” says Mohammed Rafiq Memon of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind.

The volunteers under the aegis of JUH cleaned some major temples in Dhanera like the Ganapati, Hanuman, Satimata, Lilashah and Ashapura Mata temples in the first two days itself with the help of a few locals.

Dhanera Nagapalika vice-president Jagdish Thakkar told TOI, “It took our Muslim brothers close to six to eight hours to help us clean temples including the 115-year-old Lord Ganapati temple and three others. The locals joined hands and helped cleaning three mosques, including Khureshi Masjid, not far from the Ganapati temple in Khatkiwad. Besides religious places, volunteers also cleaned the Nagarpalika office, post office and homes,” says Thakker.

Abdul Hassan Sewani, a volunteer from Sidhpur, told TOI, “Calamity sees no religion and neither did we. In the end, we are humans, brothers in distress who helped each other. We cleaned temples and mosques so the troubled could find some solace,” says Sewani, who continues to camp in Dhanera and is helping authorities with the massive clean-up operations to prevent disease outbreak.

“Floods had swept away everything, including one’s home and confidence to put it all together. Together, we realized we could help each other tide over these difficult times,” says Memon.

Source – Times of India