Even as several instances of religious intolerance have been sparking outrages and protests over the past few weeks in India, there are also signs that religious harmony exists.
A 45-year-old Muslim woman has been a devotee of goddess Durga for the last ten to fifteen years, to the extent, that she helped rebuild a ruined temple by collecting donations from the neighbourhood.
Sugra Bi, who lives in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, found the ruins of a Durga temple a few years ago and decided to get it fixed. A daily labourer who earns about Rs 4,000 per month, went around nearby localities, soliciting donations as small as Rs 2.
"I have been worshipping goddess Durga for a long time now. In the beginning I used to pray to the deity of Durga kept on a platform in our locality. But one night, the Goddess came in my dream and asked me to build a temple for her," Sughra told PTI.
A mother of three, Sugra asked for donations from the people to rebuild the temple. Later on, others joined and formed a society to build the temple.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, Sugra comes to the now built Sitla Mata Mandir and sings praises of goddess Durga during Navratri. She also keeps a fast on Ashtami, the eighth day of Navratri, Sitla Mata Mandir Samiti president Bherulal Barhat said, adding that the Hindus staying in the locality are all praise for her zeal and devotion towards the deity.
Sughra's husband Ismail Khan, who works as a welder, says he too raised money for building the temple. "I raised a total donation of Rs 27,000 for constructing the temple. The local MLA too donated Rs 1 lakh for the temple in which the idol of Goddess was consecrated three years ago," Khan said.
(With inputs from PTI)