Sikh Man Donates Land For Building Mosque
PURKAZI (MUZAFFAR NAGAR) A Sikh family in Purkazi, a Muslim dominated town of Muzaffarnagar district, set an example of communal harmony recently by donating a piece of land to the Muslim community for the construction of a mosque. Amid sore memories of communal riots of Muzaffarnagar in 2013, this gesture came as ‘soothing news’ for many who still emphasised on the need for reviving harmony among different communities here. Purkazi town has only one Sikh family whose head is septuagenarian Sukhpal Singh Bedi. He handed over the letter of ownership of the land (100 yards) to Purkazi Nagar panchayat chairman Zaheer Farouqi during the auspicious month of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji.
“What could be more auspicious than the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji to do this seva? (he refuses to call it donation and refers to it as seva),” asked Bedi. “Guru Nanak never treated people as Hindus, Muslims or other communities. For him, all were human and service to humanity is true service to Wahe Guru,” he emphasized. One being asked why this ‘seva’ for a mosque, he replied: “Purkazi is a Muslim dominated town and I have approximately one acre land in the middle of the town where we are developing a colony. It is surrounded by Muslims. Therefore, I decided to give 100 yards land for the construction of a mosque so that people could come and offer namaz in a mosque close to their homes.”
The Purkazi block has 5,000 to 6,000 Sikhs, but in Purkazi town Bedi’s family is the only Sikh family. Sukhpal Bedi said: “I was born and brought up here. In the past 70 years this area never witnessed any disturbance, even during the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013. We want to keep this harmony intact for our coming generations.”
Purkazi nagar panchayat chairman Zaheer Farouqi said: “Bediji has set an example of communal harmony and he is an ideal for everyone in the town.” This is not the first time when he has extended support for a social cause. Farouqi recalled that last year funds were raised for purchase of furniture for the government school and Bedi was the first person to donate Rs 20,000 and assured for more, if required. The first women’s gym was established by the nagar panchayat in the town and it was inaugurated earlier this month. Farouqi said Bediji took responsibility of paying the gym fees for six poor women till they wanted to continue.
Bedi has a garment shop in the town and his two sons do their small business to earn their livelihood. He also has a daughter. Farouqui said that Bedi, along with other members of the Sikh community, handed him the letter for ownership of the land and hoped that a mosque would be built on it soon. He said even women of the Sikh community asked him to invite them during construction so that they could do ‘seva’.
In 2013, Muzaffarnagar witnessed communal riots that killed more than 60 people while over 50,000 were rendered homeless. Thousands of them didn’t return to their native villages and began their lives from scratch in colonies established for them (commonly known as colonies of ‘Danga Peedit’). Many mosques in the villages are still lying abandoned while a few were damaged during the violence.
(Extracted from hindustantimes.com)