"I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."
Breaking the shackles of religion, humanity won over intolerance when three Muslim brothers in a town in Gujarat gave a Hindu funeral to their father’s Brahmin friend of four decades.
Bhanushankar Pandya’s adopted family in Savarkundla town of Amreli district in Gujarat is extremely conservative. Brothers Abu, Naseer and Zuber Qureshi are daily-wage labourers. They have never skipped a Ramzan fast and make sure they offer namaz five times a day.
However, while performing the last rites of Pandya, who had been living with them for several years, each brother wore dhotis and a janeu (sacred thread) to cremate their “uncle”.
“When Bhanushankar uncle was on his death bed, we procured Ganga jal for him from a Hindu family. When he passed away, we told our neighbours that we wanted to perform his last rites in accordance with rituals followed by Brahmin families. We were told that the janeu was a must to lift the bier. We readily agreed to it,” The Times Of India quoted Zuber as saying.
Naseer’s son Arman lit the pyre. Following Hindu customs, Arman’s head will be tonsured on the 12th day, Naseer said.
Bhanushankar, who did not have a family, fractured his leg many years ago, and that is when the father asked him to move in with the family.
“Our children used to address him as ‘Dada’ and our wives would touch his feet to seek his blessings. Uncle would wholeheartedly participate in Eid festivities, never forgetting to buy gifts for the kids,” Naseer said.
The Qureshis would always prepare separate pure vegetarian means for Bhanushankar.
“By performing Bhanushankar’s last rites in accordance with Hindu rituals, Abu, Naseer and Zuber have set an example in communal harmony,” said Parag Trivedi, vice-president of Amreli Jilla Brahm Samaj.
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