At a time when Delhi administration has been found lacking in coming to the help of communities affected directly or indirectly due to the Delhi violence that hit global headlines, the much needed support and succour by the Sikh community highlights the Inter-Faith harmony and needed much more than mere praises and applause.
This comes close on the heels of thousands of Sikhs from across the country, more prominently from Punjab, joining the anti-citizenship law protesters at Shaheen Bagh for the withdrawal of the contentious legislation.
In a gesture of goodwill and brotherhood, not very far from Delhi, Saharanpur, in Uttar Pradesh, Muslims brought an end to a 10 year old land dispute with the Sikhs.
The long standing dispute was over a plot of land by the side of a Gurdwara, near Saharanpur railway station. The committee had purchased the land for expanding the Gurdwara complex. However, old structures that included a mosque on the same plot were demolished and thus the dispute arose.
The decade old dispute had reached to the level of Supreme Court. The Muslim party out of respect to the Sikh community as a whole, gave up its claim and decided to withdraw the case. In return, Sikhs too opened up and decided to give Muslims an alternate plot of land to build the mosque.
But now the Muslims have decided to forgo this as well, out of gratitude for the help given by the Sikhs to the people affected by the communal violence in Northeast Delhi, as well as the solidarity extended by the community to protests against the CAA-NRC-NPR
“In view of the great service and support rendered by the Sikhs to Muslims in Delhi throughout the protests and most recently during the riots in Delhi, the Masjid committee in Saharanpur decided to give up its claim over the land as a token of gratitude and thanksgiving,” said Nizam Pasha, who represented the Muslim side in the Supreme Court
According to Muharram Ali Pappu, the petitioner for the Muslim side, Sikhs are doing God’s work.
“Sikhs have done outstanding work towards upholding Humanity. They have helped people in need from all faiths. The helped those displaced from Myanmar at the Bangla border. They helped those in need in across geographical locations, be it Syria, Iraq or the USA. The latest being the extensive help extended to the people affected by the communal violence in Delhi. This is indeed God’s work,” said Ishaq Husain, associated with the resolution of the dispute.
Ishaq and several local Muslims had even participated in the Kar-Sewa towards the laying of foundation stone and the construction of Gurdwara recently.
“We are extremely happy that Muslims came for the Kar-Sewa of the Gurdwara. Even though the dispute was going on since 2010, we didn’t want it to harm relations between the two communities,” said Sunny, the representative from the Sikh side.
In 2014, the dispute had even led to some violent incidents in Saharanpur. But better sense prevailed over times and the relations between the two communities stand at their zenith today.
In a reciprocative gesture hundreds of local Sikhs have now volunteered and will be taking part in the foundation stone laying of the mosque. As brought out, Muharram Ali Pappu the main petitioner in the litigation that now stands closed, has arranged a piece of land for the Masjid, barely a kilometer away from the Gurdwara.
Saharanpur’s divisional commissioner, Sanjay Kumar, appreciated the efforts of the district administration and police in resolving the matter. “Both communities have set an example of Inter faith harmony and showed that any issue can be resolved through meaningful dialogue. They sat together on Wednesday and discussed the issue at length in the presence of police and administrative officials. They agreed to end the dispute to keep peace and harmony intact in the area.”
The Muslim Sikh brotherhood is on an all time high with many examples coming to the fore, not only in India but across the world.
In a reply to a question on Muslim Sikh harmony posed by a journalist as to Why Sikh Community was helping Muslims in Canada, Iraq, Syria and if they have forgotten their past, Gursahej Singh, a student, University of Queensland, Australia had replied and the same is quoted below.
“Firstly Sikhs don’t share any historical hatred against any religion. If you’re referring to the past where Mughal rulers executed Sikh Gurus and Massacred Guru Gobind Singh’s young children then I remind you that orders were issued by the Mughal throne but it was there Hindu ministers like Diwan Suchanand and Diwan Chandu Shah that pursuaded and lobbied for that to happen. So should we now hate Hindus too?
When a Sikh serves / helps anyone whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew he doesn’t differentiate on the basis of his religion nor what Color caste and creed he belongs to, he just sees the inner light that is the same in all of us. We are the sons and daughters of one true god and humanity is the greatest religion.
People in war torn countries like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Egypt are just like us. They have the same love and compassion like you and me and Sikh organisations like Khalsa Aid will support those people no matter what.”
The reply did not only shut up the question poser (name not disclosed) but highlighted the high ideals that the Sikhs as a community believed in which doesnt cave in despite all the wrong intended proddings.
In one incident in Canada, that went viral, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was praised world wide for his ‘calm and positive’ reaction to an anti-Muslim heckler.
Despite not being a Muslim and despite risks to his campaign and career as then Federal NDP leadership hopeful, Jagmeet Singh chose to come out against “All Forms Of Hate” instead of emphasizing that he was a Sikh and not a Muslim as the heckler mistook him to be.
A major example of inter-faith brotherhood and harmony was in September 2018, when the government of Pakistan unilaterally decided to open the corridor before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak for visa-free entry of 5000 Indian Sikhs per day from India to Pakistan.
The step was welcomed by Sikh community from across the world. Navjot Singh Sidhu representing the Sikhs at the inauguration of the event had lauded the friendly gesture of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, an old time friend of Sidhu on and off the cricketing field. Kartarpur Corridor was such a historic decision that it was welcomed by even the United Nations and United States Department of State.