Agra (Uttar Pradesh): Agra, the historic city of Taj Mahal can be called a role model when it comes to communal amity and bonhomie between the followers of different religions. Hindus and Muslims live side by side in great harmony with their traditions and shared past.
The historic harmony is quite visible even now. When this correspondent reached the Sanjay Nagar locality of the city he was startled to see a Muslim family taking care of Ganesha festival. Very close to this spot, a Hindu teenager Puja Kushwaha was teaching Qur’an to Muslim children while sitting inside a local temple.
When the locals found me visibly startled, they said they may be followers of two different religions, nonetheless they respect and revere both the religions. They also said that festivals of both the religious communities are celebrated on a grand scale in the historic town where epitome of love Shahjahan and Mumtaz Mahal’s mausoleum is located. So Eid and Diwali are celebrated at massive scale here.
The more startling was the fact that the girl who was teaching holy Qur’an to Muslim kids was actually an active member of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). She told this correspondent that she has been writing letters to local and state authorities for construction of roads and improvement in civic amenities in the locality.
When Puja Kushwaha was asked as to how she learnt reciting Qur’an, she said “when I used to go for tuition to Ms Sangeeta, one of my friends and other kids were taught Qur’an too. I also showed my enthusiasm to learn Qur’an. My visible enthusiasm forced the teacher to start teaching me Qur’an too”. When asked as to how was the response of her parents about her being taught Qur’an, she said they didn’t oppose it. Now Puja and her friend Simran both study Qur’an after doing mandatory ablution.
Puja, herself is studying in 12th class and teaches Qur’an in her free time. Two Muslim kids have completed Qur’an while being taught by Puja. In the meantime, locals say there is no communal tension and no hard feeling for people professing different faiths here. (Inquilab)