Patna, India: Villagers at a distant hamlet in Bihar wake up every morning with the sounds of bells coming from a local temple.
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They have been doing this for the past several decades—the bell rings and they runs out of their beds to prepare for the day.
Nothing strange. This has been their daily routine. What is unusual here is that the very bell hanging at the local Hindu temple is rung by a Muslim villager who serves as the priest here.
Meet Sadique Miyan, 85, who has been serving as the priest at a temple dedicated to the Ram deity family at Sohsa village in central Bihar’s Arwal district, some 80 km from Patna. He is an enduring lesson for those who want to create frenzy and spread hatred in the name of religion.
Love and service
“All religions are same,” Miyan said. “They all talk about love and service to the humanity.”
At the far-end of his life, the octogenarian priest has only one wish: “I want my mortal remains to be flown away in the Ganges,” he says.
The Muslim priest, who has studied till intermediate and speaks Hindi, Urdu and Arabic with equal ease turned towards the Hindu religion while he studied in Class 3.
“I have been offering prayers at the temple since 1949 and faced no problems from anywhere,” he said.
“Religion must not be thrust upon anyone; let the people choose his own religion,” she said.
But he is not alone in the mission to create a new society based on communal brotherhood.
Quite like him, Muslim villagers in Bihar have set a new example of communal harmony by helping in the renovation of an old Hindu temple dedicated to money deity Hanuman.
Hindu villagers from Bakhari village in central Bihar’s Begusarai district were quite worried after an old temple reached in pitiable condition.
Also, the temple had no sufficient space: devotees faced trouble when their number swelled during a major religious event.
Recently, the local villagers planned to renovate the temple, but the lack of space and financial crunch stared them in the face.
When the Muslim villagers came to know about it, they hurriedly came forward and offered a helping hand — some donated their land for the temple expansion while offered financial help.
The end result: the Hindu temple got a new look.