In 2013 when there were riots in Muzaffarnagar and the city was choked with communal tension, a 120-year-old mosque was demolished by a group of rioters, and in staunch defense, Ramveer Kashyap gathered other villagers in his support.
Since then five years have passed and the 59-year-old mascon is still taking care of the only mosque in Muzaffarnagar’s Nanheda village. He cleans the mosque during the day and lights the candle in the evening. Not just that, during Ramzan, he also gets the structure whitewashed. He feels that it is his religious duty and his faith teaches him to respect all places of worship. We have also seen how a 61-year-old Muslim man is building a Lord Ganesha temple in Karnataka after the idol got stolen.
This village is Jat-dominated village and there is no single member from the Muslim community. Apart from that, a few Dalits and OBCs also reside there and the village is located 40km from the district headquarters.
According to the TOI report, Ramveer said the Muslim population in the village was huge before Independence. “However, they moved out. Now, an occasional visitor offers namaz here once in a while,” he said.
Khusnaseeb Ahmad, who is a healthcare professional in a nearby Khedi Firozabad village said that he visited the village a few years ago and was overwhelmed to see that a Hindu man was maintaining the mosque. Adding to this he said, “I offered namaz there. There are many examples of love to counter hate.”
For the last 25 years, Ramveer has been sweeping the mosque premises and takes care of the basic maintenance. While talking to TOI he said, “I played around it as a child. For me, it is a place of worship, which deserves respect. As there was no one to take care of it, I took on the responsibility.”
He stays about 100 meters away from the mosque and even bears the expenses related to the mosque. The Pradhan of the village Dara Singh praised Ramveer for his noble act. He said, “He even spends his own money to get it whitewashed once before every Ramzan. At times, his family members also assist him in cleaning up the place.”
Ashraf Usmani, in-charge, organization and development department of Darul Uloom, said, “It is this aspect of India that makes it great. Examples like Nanheda are spread all across India.” He further mentioned, that after the partition, all the Muslims who were particularly from Punjab moved to Pakistan. The Sikhs and Hindus who stayed in this region, protected and preserved the mosques and if one visits the place, they can still find the religious buildings here. Similarly, there are several examples of Muslims protecting temples in many places.
This unity in diversity is what makes India an incredible India. Isn’t it?