For the last couple of days, Bengal witnessed a major fracas-- the Durga idol bhashan (immersions) coinciding with Muharram. First, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that Durga idol immersion won't take place on Vijaya Dashami (Dussehra in other states), which coincides with Muharram. The BJP opposed the decision. Banerjee then justified the administrative order on grounds that the government wants to avoid any law and order problems. Meanwhile, the BJP was quick to call this as another example of Banerjee's "appeasement of Muslims". Last week, the Calcutta high court cancelled the West Bengal government's decision to restrict the immersions.
While the parties and politicians fought, Bengal proved once again that there's so scope for hate there.
This year, Muslims in West Bengal's Kharagpur cancelled their Muharram procession all because they wanted to save the money and use it for the treatment of a Hindu neighbour, a cancer patient.
According to a Hindustan Times report, a local club which organises Muharram procession in Kharagpur's Puratan Bazar, raises around Rs 50,000 every year for the celebration. This year, they are raising the same amount, but not to celebrate. They will give it to Abir Bhunia, a resident in the same area, who is suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma. Bhunia, a mobile recharge shop owner needs Rs 12 lakh for a treatment that includes bone marrow transplantation.
"I don't know whether I will be cured finally. But what my neighbours did for me have touched my heart," Bhunia told HT. He is undergoing chemotherapy at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre.
The club has plans to raise more money than the usual amount for the celebration.
"Muharram processions can be organised every year. But we have to save the life first," Amjad Khan, secretary of Samaj Sangha told the newspaper.
But this isn't all. Finding examples of communal harmony in Bengal isn't difficult at all.
On Sunday, at Sunur, a village about 125 km from Kolkata, drummers (dhakis) of a local Durga puja beat the drums for a Muharram procession, when those hired for the tazia procession did not turn up.
"In our village we celebrate all religious programmes together. Members of the Muslim community join us in Durga puja. The women folk of Hindu households also observe a fast on Muharram till they offer puja after the procession," said the secretary of the club that organises the Durga Puja.
Now, this is Bengal for you. Are the politicians listening to the dhak beats?
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