The Muslim and Sanatani communities perform their respective religious rituals of prayer and puja, at this time the ‘Sharodiyo’ Durga Puja, peacefully alongside each other
Muslims and the hindu Sanatani community in the district town of Lalmonirhat, set a unique example of communal harmony. They hold their respective religious rituals peacefully, next to each other at a muslim mosque and a hindu temple, both in the same square in town.
The Sanatani community is now celebrating Durga Puja, their greatest religious festival, with ‘Ulludhoni’ or ululating, and festive music, in their temple at one end of the square, while Muslims perform their daily prayers five times a day at a mosque at another end of the square.
Talking to BSS, local people and leaders of the Muslim and Sanatani communities said the Puran Bazar Jam-e-Mosque and Central Kalibari Temple were built on the same courtyard in Kalibari of Lalmonirhat town over a 150 years ago.
The head priest or ‘purohit’ of the temple, Shree Sankar Thakur, says the two religious establishments in the same courtyard are a shining example of religious freedom and harmony for all people in this land of ours.
“When the ‘muezzin’ gives the ‘azaan’ or the call to prayer for muslims, the hindu Sanatani community goes silent in worship at their Puja mandap, showing respect to their fellow muslims,” he said.
The Muslim and Sanatani communities perform their respective religious rituals of prayer and puja, at this time the ‘Sharodiyo’ Durga Puja, peacefully alongside each other.
“It is a delight for everyone to witness the peaceful practice of prayers and puja at mosque and temple in one and the same square,” the purohit added.
Talking to BSS, President of the Puran Bazar Jam-e-Mosque Managing Committee, Md. Fazal Mian, also said the peaceful coexistence of mosque and temple in the same square has been a powerful testimony to communal and religious harmony for many decades.
“The Muslims and Sanatani community perform their respective religious festivals without any conflict, setting a unique example of communal harmony in Bangladesh,” he said.
Prayers(Namaj) and Puja worships have been there in the same courtyard for ages and the temple is full of worshippers when prayers are over at the mosque.
“Many foreign dignitaries, Ambassadors, and High Commissioners, like Dan Mozena, former US Ambassador to Bangladesh, , have visited the place to personally witness this peaceful coexistence of mosque and temple inn the same square,” Fazal Mian added.
According to Treasurer of Central Kalibari Temple Committee, Shree Sanad Chandra Saha, the temple was established at Kalibari in 1836, initially as a Kali temple or mandir.
Later, a market started to flourish there when local traders and pious muslims built the mosque near the temple in 1900 in consultation and agreement with the Sanatani community.
“Since then, the two communities have been performing their respective religious duties peacefully at their two religious establishments without any dispute or conflict, setting a shining example of communal harmony,” Saha added.
Local leader of the Sanatani community, Komol Kanti Roy, said the main purpose of temple and mosque are prayers and worship.
“The Muslim and Sanatani communities perform their respective religious rituals in consultation and agreement with their leaders without any trouble. We celebrate all religious festivals together,” Roy said.
Elderly citizens Mahbubar Rahman, Aminul Islam, and Abdul Hakim of Lalmonirhat town said the people of both religious communities have never witnessed any disputes, problems, chaos, or disagreements in the area, arising from religious differences.
Pious muslims and the devout Sanatanitani community of the village have been performing and celebrating their own religious rituals and festivals with mutual cooperation and enthusiasm for decades now.
“The Temple and Mosque committees sit together and undertake decisions before the Puja begins. Accordingly, all sound, including temple loudspeakers and drums remain silent from the time of ‘azan’ till the end of prayers,” Rahman added.
Aminul Islam said: “During muslim prayers, the purohit conducts hindu worship rituals silently without beating the drums. After the prayers, temple music and activities resume again.”
Talking to local reporters, Deputy Commissioner of Lalmonirhat, Md. Abu Jafar, said the people of Lalmonirhat, irrespective of caste, creed, and religion, have a close bond. According to him, there has been peaceful coexistence, religious harmony, and brotherhood, in Lalmonirhat for a very long time now.
“Local people firmly believe in the practice of religion being personal, and see festivals as universal,” he said, adding that the coexistence of temple and mosque in the same square of Lalmonirhat is dazzling proof of the spirit of peace and harmony.