A major attraction in Guwahati’s Rangamahal village is a 500-year-old Shiva temple and is well-known to the state’s people. However, what most people do not know is that it is being taken care of by a Muslim family for generations now, and both Hindus and Muslims have a strong belief in the deity.
According to Matibar Rehman, the caretaker, the ‘Lord Shiva’ deity is like his maternal grandfather. “I call him Nana (maternal grandfather). It’s a 500-year-old temple, our family looks after the temple. People from both the religions – Hindu and Muslim – come here to offer prayers,” he said.
He further said that while the Hindus perform ‘puja’, the Muslims perform ‘dua’ in the temple, and everybody’s wishes are fulfilled here. In the ‘Shivalaya’, Shiva temple, Rehman himself offers dua.
The temple situated on the bank of Assam’s river Brahmaputra, which is considered the epitome of Hindu-Muslim unity in the particular region, is being taken care of by this Muslim family for ages now. Their dedication is praised by the devotees who visit the temple, reported The Times of India.
Assam: A Muslim family looks after a Shiva temple for last 500-year in Rangamahal village, Guwahati. The caretaker Matibar Rehman says,' It's a 500-year-old temple, our family looks after the temple. People from both the religions- Hindu and Muslim- come here to offer prayers.' pic.twitter.com/6HZTGtPhAy
— ANI (@ANI) March 2, 2019
In Kashmir Valley, similarly, a 900-year-old Lord Shiva temple is looked after by Mohammad Abdullah and Ghulam Hassan, two Muslim priests. This is the only holy shrine in the valley which has Muslim priests. Ever since the migration of the Kashmiri pandits from the valley, they began taking care of the temple.
No matter how many forces try to create a divide between religions, no matter how many people threaten to separate us, despite all the violence around the country, people like Matibar Rehman keeps love, compassion and hope alive in our hearts. The temple and the family are indeed symbols of tolerance and communal harmony.