It could have been the perfect setting for acrimonious discord or mob violence –what with both Ganesh Chaturthi and Visarjan and Moharrum taking place on the same dates. However, Pune has set up a shining example for others to follow.
For the last one week, Hindus and Muslims have come together to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi and Muharram in same pandal (marquee0 in Khadki area in Pune.
The Madhla Bazaar Mitra Mandal which has been celebrating the Ganesh festival for last 94 yrs & Pailwan Taziya Khadki which has been taking out the procession for Muharram from last 115 yrs came together this year to set up a joint pandal where the Muharram tazia was kept side by side with the Ganesh idol installed on the other side on the occasion of the 1st of Muharram which also marked the Establishment of Ganesha idols in most Maharashtrian households.
Chants of Ganpati Bappa Morya blended with sounds of Ya Hussein and Ya Ali as the two communities observed their rituals side by side. As a mark of respect to their Hindu brethren, the Muslim devotees decided not to offer any non-vegetarian offerings at the pandal. Alam processions and traditional Muharram ceremonies were conducted, facilitated and participated in by the Hindu community members whilst Muslims also participated in the Ganesh Chaturthi festivities.
There was not even a murmur of dissent as the two communities collaborated to set a perfect example of communal harmony in this festive season. It is after more than three decades that the two festivals have coincided. What could have led to a rift has actually resulted in giving the perfect example of the plurality that India truly stands for. Goes on to show that anything is possible if we set out minds to make it happen.