For Janmashtami, this Muslim is most sought-after

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KANPUR: You would think his name of `Gubbare wale chacha’ is a misnomer, considering this practising Muslim is known for the range of dresses and accessories he sells for Hindu gods especially for Janmashtami. But, he reveals with a smile, he started out as a balloon seller and the name stayed.

Crowds of Hindus flock to his shop on Meston Road for buying Lord Krishna’s crown, his dresses, flute, tableau and other decorative items to be used in Janmashtami `jhankis’. In a white `kurta-pyjama’ and a traditional skull cap, 70-year-old Kaleem has stocked his shop with decorative items for Janmashtami. Retailers from neighbouring districts like Unnao, Farrukhabad, Hardoi and Kasganj come to him to buy decorative stuff.

“I have been in this business for the past 40-45 years.Hundreds of Hindu bhais buy decorative items from my shop to be used at homes as well as in temples. I have to ma intain a decent stock of items related to Kanhaiya (Krishna).From beautiful dresses to eye-catching crowns embedded with silver beads, I have all the items needed for decorating Kanha on his birthday ,” he said.

He also deals in artificial flowers, stars, frills and bright chandelier to decorate Janmashtami `jhankis’. De voted to his trade, Kale em appreciates the im portance of the event.

“Even after the riots of March 2003, Hindu buy ers came to me for Janmashtami shopping. Such gestures only strengthen the trust between the two communities,” said Kaleem.
“The goodwill generated over the years has earned me a huge customer base. I have Hindu friends not only in the state, but abroad also who buy Janmashtami items from me.”
Kaleem said: “During a visit to Mumbai some years ago, Ihad stayed with a Hindu businessman. I woke up in the morning for the `Fajr’ prayer but there was no mosque in the locality . My host then took me to a mosque which was quite far.The incident has strengthened my belief in human bonds.”


Article Courtesy – by Mohammad Kamil & Abhinav Malhotra | Times of India

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