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Eid and Navratras go together in India
This year, by a strike of celestial coincidence, Navratras and Id-ul-Fitr have fallen in the same week. People from both the religious groups are celebrating the festivals and sharing joy, thereby setting ideal examples of religious co-existence.
IT IS THE season of religious festivity in entire India. While Hindus are celebrating Navratrasand preparing for festivals like Durga Puja, Dussehra and Diwali, the Muslims are busy in making final arrangements for the Id Ul Fitr, to be celebrated in the entire nation on October 14.
And the beauty of this religious festivity is that while the Muslims are helping Hindus in their celebrations, Hindus are eagerly waiting for the dawn of Sunday to descend so as to visit and embrace Muslim brethren after Eid prayers in Idgahs and mosques. Can there be a more perfect scene of communal amity than this?
Recall the ugly days of the partition when people holding different faiths were killing each other. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, had then seen a ray of hope emerging from Jammu and Kashmir, where the people had outrightly rejected communal violence and resorted to universal brotherhood in saving each other. The same ray of hope is visible even this time, not only in this border state, but also across the entire nation. It becomes more important considering the fact that a number of unscrupulous elements have been making vain attempts during the past 60 years of Independence to vitiate the otherwise peaceful atmosphere in the country based on co-existence.
While Navratras started on Friday, the religious clergies have declared the Eid to be celebrated on Sunday, thereby announcing the end of the Islamic fasting month of ramzan. The impact of this rare celestial harmony - Navratras and Eid falling in the same week - is visible on the ground in many states across the country.
Most of the temples in Jammu, including the famous Raghunath Mandir (that has already been targeted by the terrorists in past), have been decorated with lights and buntings. Interestingly, among those who are on the job include some Muslim decorators, who are in this business for several years. Equally, the Hindu youth are extending the helping hand in leveling and shaping the main Idgahs ground at Jammu, where the devout Muslims will offer Id Ul Fitr prayers on Sunday.
And what could be a better example of religious co-existence than the Muslim workers from Uttar Pradesh giving the final shape to the biggest effigy of Ravana to be burnt in Parade Ground, Jammu on the occasion of Dussehra on October 21. And hold on! At the famous Kheerbhavani Temple at Tulmulla, Kashmir local Muslims have been managing and selling ``Puja’’ material since ages, including flowers, candles, earthen ``dweeps’’, milk and other offerings for hundreds of visiting Hindus, who offer prayers at this famous shrine. Even on the occasion of this Navratra, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits, including families of security personnel, are thronging the temple to have the glimpse of Goddess Durga at this spring shrine.
There are hundreds of places in India where such examples of religious co-existence can be found attached with every shrine. Be it the temple of Tirupati in South, Jagannath Puri in East or ``Ziyarat’’ of Ajmer Sharief in West, the same harmony transcending religious borders can be seen.
Can the fundamentalists read between the lines, after going through these real examples of peaceful co-existence, that religious tolerance is in the blood of every Indian. If it is so, then why fight against each other? Instead of preying on each other, why don’t they pray for everlasting peace for everyone? No doubt, there have been the   instances of communal disturbances in India, but the beauty is in forgetting the bitterness and remembering the examples and instances of religious tolerance. For some, Ram Setu may or may not be there, but the fact is that good and evil exist in our society. Let us burn the evil and the evil forces this Dussehra… Amen!
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