The Shia Muslim community in West Bengal's Kharagpur have not celebrated the Muharram procession, as they decided to donate the money raised for the event to a Hindu neighbour who is suffering from cancer.
Samaj Sangha Club, the organiser of the procession, had initially raised Rs 50,000 with a view to carrying out a joyous Muharram celebration, but later decided to change its plans for a more humanitarian cause, reports Hindustan Times.
The patient is 35-year-old Abir Bhunia, a mobile recharge shop owner who has been suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma - a cancer that affects white blood cells called lymphocytes.
Bhunia is undergoing chemotherapy at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre in Kolkata and in an urgent need of Rs1.2 million for his treatment. The treatment includes a bone marrow transplant.
"Muharram processions can be organised every year. But we have to save a life first," said Amjad Khan, secretary of Samaj Sangha, as quoted by Hindustan Times.
"We have started raising money. On Friday, after the namaz, we will ask the imam in the mosque to announce a donation drive for Abir. We hope to raise a bigger amount than the budget for our procession," Amjad Khan said.
Abir, who was at a loss for words to express his gratitude, said, "I don't know whether I will be cured finally. But what my neighbours did for me has touched my heart."
Mohammad Bilal, a member of the Muharram committee of Puratan Bazar said: “God would be satisfied if we serve the people".
"He is suffering from cancer and fighting with death. We should stand by him," Bilal said.