In yet another example of communal harmony, a poor Muslim farmer in West Bengal's Nadia district donated a portion of his land to construct a temple.
Located next to the fencing of the Indo-Bangla border, the village of Bhimpur has 150 Muslim families out of the total 450 residing in the area . Hindu villagers use vacant land beside the border road for Kali Puja, but every year, they need to seek permission from BSF.
This year, BSF was not initially ready to give permission, and that is when Hannan Mondal decided to solve the issue permanently. The small farmer donated a part of his land to construct a permanent Kali temple.
Ahead of the high-octane Assembly polls, Nadia district was in the list of BJP's bigwigs, as it is dominated by Matuas, a Hindu religious sect that migrated from Bangladesh. During the election campaign, BJP leaders tried to woo the Hindu refugee electorate by discussing alleged atrocities by Muslims in Bangladesh and explaining why Matuas had to migrate from there during Partition.
"This is the real India. Bengal has always been known for its communal harmony and communal divide has no place here. We all are thankful to Hannan for setting up an example of brotherhood," Bimal Sarkar, president of the Kali Puja committee told The New Indian Express.
The farmer donated a portion of land measuring up to around 460 square feet to the committee. "Every year, residents used to be worried about BSF's green signal to organise the Kali Puja. I never had an idea that the Puja would not be held due to this land issue. So, I decided to donate the part of my plot so that a permanent Kali temple can be constructed there," said Hannan.
Villagers Laud The Decision
Welcoming the step, Hindu villagers of Bhimpur said that the political parties, who tried to play the religious card to get votes during the polls, should take a lesson from this gesture of a poor farmer.
"We witnessed a never-seen-before attempt to polarise the voters on religious lines ahead of the Assembly elections. But Hannan's sacrifice makes it clear that such line of politics will not work in the state," said a villager.
Before Assembly elections in West Bengal earlier this year, there were attempts to divide voters along religious lines. Bhimpur residents where the Muslim farmer has donated a portion of his land for the temple, say that this incident shows such tactics will not work in Bengal.