Until recently, a dozen or so Muslim families living in Jitwal Kalan had to travel to other villages to pray on special days like Eid. A Sikh family from the  Jitwal Kalan village in the Ahmedgarh subdivision of the newly formed district has donated their ancestral land  to construct a mosque. 

During Eid and other special occasions, around a dozen Muslim families residing in the village, situated about 15 kilometres from the district headquarters, had to go to neighbouring villages to offer prayers.

Jagmail Singh, 40, whose family owns a sizable plot of land, announced to donate 6 biswa (about 8,000 square feet) in the village's centre for the construction of a mosque. Muslims gathered there to pray, including those from the nearby village of Malerkotla.

Jagmail Singh's family has been associated with the Muslim community in their village for three generations. This long-standing connection has fostered a close relationship and developed a deep understanding and respect for Muslim traditions and culture over the years“There are around 12 Muslim families in the village. They have to go to other villages to offer prayers. I knew they could not buy land, as they mostly work as labourers and are poor,” said Jagmail Singh.

 Representatives from both Muslim and Sikh communities gathered at the site where the mosque is set to be built in Malerkotla's Ahmedgarh subdivision. This event highlights the spirit of unity and mutual respect between different faiths, promoting peace and goodwill in the society.

Malerkotla serves as an example to the rest of the country. Here is what people of both faiths share-

Iqbal Singh, a member of the Sikh family, said that the construction of the mosque would commence once Covid-19 restrictions ease, and they are also willing to contribute financially to its construction. 

Roshan Khan, a local Muslim, expressed that they have had a cordial relationship with the Sikhs and have been residing harmoniously in the village for many years. 

According to Abdul Rashid, a truck driver, the Muslim community in the village is economically disadvantaged and could not afford to purchase land for a mosque, and the Sikh family's magnanimous gesture has moved them. 

Gurwinder Singh, another local, emphasized that Malerkotla has a long history of Sikh-Muslim unity and that donating land for the mosque would further strengthen their bond of brotherhood.

Malerkotla, a historic town, has long been known for its religious diversity and coexistence. It gained fame when Nawab Sher Mohammed Khan condemned the brutal killing of Guru Gobind Singh's sons. Moreover, the town remained peaceful during the traumatic Partition of 1947.

Amid the frequent threats to the secular fabric of the country, this generous act of communal harmony serves as a true ray of hope.

  • Based on an article by Avtar Singh published in HT on Jun 08, 2021

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