Recent unprecedented communal violence in West Bengal, would have transformed the state into an excruciating flare-up if an Imam had not soaked the fire with extraordinary generosity, love, compassion and forgiveness.
Hours after his sixteen-year-old son was observed dead, becoming the fourth casualty of viciousness spread over the state, Maulana Imdadul Rashidi, Imam of a mosque in Asansol, an encapsulation of love and sympathy, directed a meeting in which he appealed for peace. He warned the organization that he would leave the mosque and the city if there was any retaliation for his son’s demise. What he did changed there, was into this most difficult circumstances of losing a child to a rampaging crowd, other individual might have been loaded with disdain and reprisal for the culprits who brutally murdered his son Sibtulla Rashidi, who had recently given his high school examinations.
He was by all account not the only one at the period of his sadness. Innumerable from the gathering who were raging with shock had amassed to lament his end. Not just a statement of relief, even his silence would have allowed the exasperated youth, lamenting the death of a young individual, to search for correct requital, changing the already burning town into a hellhole. However, Maulana Imadul Rashidi seems to have been made of an alternate grit. As opposed to moving towards people to search for vindicate for the departed soul, what he said should be rewritten in gold.
Following the occurrence, on Thursday afternoon, as the Namaz-e-Janaaza or the burial service supplication started, the group, which was evaluated at 10,000 by the police, was apparently turning anxious. Understanding that the circumstance was quick slipping crazy Imdadullah, father of Sibgatullah, requested a microphone, which he normally never uses to convey a sermon.
It is undeniably past human inventive capacity to act so sensibly and in such forgiving route despite being tormented from such horrific event. S.Gopalakrishnan, while writing in The Indian Express titled, ‘A Mahatma in an Imam’, pays rich tribute to the imam, contrasting him and Mahatma Gandhi. At the point when politics plays recklessly in Asansol one can recall what Sucheta Kriplani, who had went with Gandhi in Naokhali, revealed to Madhu Dandavate: “Gandhi asked the Hindus and Muslims to leave their hutments for a typical prayer and a typical promise for peace. He sat tight for 30 minutes, not by any means one Hindu or Muslim turned up. Gandhi was exceptionally resourceful. He had carried a ball with him. Addressing children from the village he stated: ‘Small kids from this village, your parents are frightened of each other but what fright you can have? Elderly Hindus and Muslims might be frightened of one another. But children are innocent. You are children of God. I am inviting you to play the game of ball’ “wrote Gopalakrishnan.
He closed the article by including, “In 2018, Sibtulla Rashidi, a boy who just appeared for his Class 10 board examination was killed in Asansol. His father, the imam of a masjid in the city, in all likelihood, did not know what Gandhi had done in a similar situation in the past. But he interpreted his son’s death for the cause of peace“.
“There was chaos outside when he went out. He was picked up by a group of miscreants. My elder son went to police station to report the incident and seek their help in recovering his brother. We were later informed that a body had been recovered by the police. He was identified in the morning,” – Maulana Imdadul Rashidi, 48, Imam of Noorani Mosque in Chetladanga Nadi Par
“The Imam was instrumental in calming the angry youth and cooperated with the administration. We are proud of him. Despite the pain he is suffering following the loss of a son, he appealed for peace,” – Jitendra Tiwari, Mayor of Asansol.
“We did not expect this from a father who has just lost his son. This is an example, not only for Bengal but for the entire country. People started to cry after his speech. I was present there… I was awestruck. There was anger among the youth after the body was found, but the message for peace struck the right chord. He is popular in the area. If he had not appealed for peace, Asansol would have been caught in a fire,” – Mohammed Nasim Ansari, councilor of Ward 25 in Asansol, where the victim’s family lives.
“I want peace. My boy has been taken away. I don’t want any more families to lose their loved ones. I don’t want any more houses to burn… I will leave Asansol if there is any kind of retaliation… If you love me, you will not raise a finger. I have been an Imam for the last 30 years. It is important that I give the right message to the people – a message of peace. I need to get over my personal loss.”- Maulana Imdadul Rashidi, 48, Imam of Noorani Mosque in Chetladanga Nadi Par
“He has set an example by calming down the crowd and controlling emotions. Even after the death of his son he ensured that the situation did not go out of control,” – Mr. Dilip Ghosh, State President, BJP
“The situation would have been “worse if the Imam had not reacted fast” standing in front of his dead son’s body”– Eminent Bengali writer Joya Mitra, a resident of Asansol
“It was clear to me that my child had died, there was nothing we could do about that, and it was thus my duty to ensure no other child died, no house was torched, no family bereaved. I knew I had to stop this, I knew this was necessary for harmony in my shahr (town) and in my country” – Maulana Imdadul Rashidi, 48, Imam of Noorani Mosque in Chetladanga Nadi Par
“Islam is a religion of peace and amity, it does not preach violence and revenge. Please do all you can to ensure there is peace and unity. And no one is able to break that.” – Maulana Imdadul Rashidi, 48, Imam of Noorani Mosque in Chetladanga Nadi Par
“I have decided not to name anyone as suspect in my son’s murder since I was not a witness. I cannot let any innocent person land in trouble. Let the police investigate and find out who is guilty,” – Maulana Imdadul Rashidi, 48, Imam of Noorani Mosque in Chetladanga Nadi Par
“If they do not want to come here it is their wish. If anyone comes to meet me I will meet him. But I will not allow anyone to gain political mileage through such meetings,” – Maulana Imdadul Rashidi, 48, Imam of Noorani Mosque in Chetladanga Nadi Par
In the meantime, motivated by Rashidi’s sermon, nearby Muslim youths have begun guarding shops and property belonging to a bunch of Hindu families that live at Shitla Dangal zone where Nurani mosque is localized.
“After Sibtullah’s body was found some youths got furious. But we calmed them down. Not a single house, shop or the lone Shiva temple was attacked,”- Mehtab Alam, a local resident.
Another local resident, Md Kalam, said Muslims are keeping a close watch on properties owned by Hindus so that no outsider can create fresh trouble. “We will stop a riot- like situation from recurring,” he said.
R K Verma, a local jeweler, thanked his Muslim neighbors for protecting his shop. “I was not in town when the riots took place. I got very scared because there was valuable jewelry inside. When I called up my neighbors assured me that everything would be safe,” said Verma.
In the same month, one more “Gandhi” emerged in another city under similar conditions !!
Setting a case of public agreement, a Hindu doctor spares lives of no less than 70 Muslims by giving safe house in his home amid the current communal riots in Bihar.
Rosara town of Samastipur was raging with strain after mutual brutality at first split out at Bhagalpur and up a fortnight, rapidly spread transversely over more than 8 unique regions of Bihar. On 27th March, a tumultuous pack of more than 3,000 people from neighboring towns ambushed the Ziya ul uloom Madarsa, where 80-90 kids were contemplating along with six staff individuals. The swarm burst into the madrasa and vandalized everything that was previously them including study tables and seats.
Doctor Ashok Kumar Mishra’s home appends the madrasa. As children and staff individuals surged upstairs, Dr. Ashok, stepped up with regards to save them. He helped the kids to move over the basic divider and take refuge at his place. He suited 40 children and other staff individuals until the point that the horde left the place.
As indicated by reports, around 50 shops were scorched or plundered by revolting swarms in the area which, older people expressed, never watched such level of common furor beforehand. The place reeled under shared brutality for four days as the authorities needed to contend hard to restore peace.
“As we saw the mob coming to our madrasa from a distance. I along with other staff members, rapidly pushed children upstairs,” said Maulana Nazir Ahmed Nazvi.
“We are grateful to Doctor Ashok who helped us – else we would have died,” said Maulana.
“This incident was unprecedented,” said 28-year-old Manish, who runs a stationery shop and is a social activist. “In 28 years of my life, I have never seen this. We have always lived with love and unity.” he added.
“You don’t know how much we love our Hindu neighbors. During Ramadan, when we are not here, they take care of our madrasa,” said Maulana.
“The mob had a sizeable number of youngsters between 18-20 years of age and nobody was from our village. They all were outsiders who were brain-washed,” said Ram Krishan Mandal, who was sitting next to Maulana.
Dr. Mishra said that it was his duty to keep humanity above all. The satisfaction he would have felt on that day as he calmed down the kids and assured them safety was his reward.
“Nothing has changed amongst us even after this incident. We understand politics but our love and unity is far stronger than that,” said everyone unequivocally in the madrasa.