Pune, Varkaris & the Death of a Muslim Techie

June 6, 2014

On Aashadhi Ekadashi, considered one of the most auspicious days of devotion, hundreds & thousands devotees from all over Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa, come to Pandharpur in Maharashtra. Starting from Alandi and Dehu near Pune, the devotees walk about 250kms to get one Darshan of Pandurang, commonly referred to as Vitthal by locals, the God of Vaishnavas. Their stopovers en route to Pandharpur are facilitated by the locals.

Over 200 Varkaris (pilgrims of Vaishnavite movement) from Kolhapur stay in the Hazrat Raza Shah Taqiya Masjid in Pune. Surprised, aren’t you? Yes! Hindu devotees on a pilgrimage, stopover at a Muslim mosque, where they not only eat, sleep & take rest, but also chant abhangs and sing bhajans. The Mosque trust takes care of the devotees with so much of love & devotion that Varkaris say that their bond of friendship strengthens with each year’s stopover. This annual stopover has been going on for over 12years now. Such is the socio-cultural fabric of Pune, which has been subjected to worst criticism due to the killing of a Muslim techie by a few hooligans who proclaim themselves as Hindu hardliners. It’s unfortunate that one incident has maligned a city that has been the home to people from different religions, regions, languages, faiths & beliefs for centuries. Magnanimity of His highness Agha Khan strived alongside the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi, the biggest festival of the city.

Radically liberal OSHO movement found home where conservative Jews preserve their coveted Ohel David Synagogue built by David Sasson before he breathed his last in the city. With Catholics, Protestants, Jains, Sikhs, Budhists Jews, Parsees besides Hindus & Muslims, Pune by far has the most illustrious tale to tell in communal & social harmony throughout the Indian history.

Today, Pune has evolved to become one of the dream destinations for young, bright minds from across the country, who come here to study, to live their dreams especially in the Information technology (IT) arena. I feel enraged when somebody tries to break the social fabric of Pune, so rare in our country, divided & dominated by conflicts whether religious or ethnic. The ones who brought shame by brutal killing of an aspiring youngster need to be brought to book not only for the mere act, but also for bringing shame to the peaceful city of Pune & to my religion Hinduism, which has only taught to include all faiths & beliefs.

You can check the below link on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivcXi_uI1HM

What ever happened in Pune is highly condemnable and the law must take strict action against those who have indulged in such violent acts.

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