While we wake and sleep to stories of violence in the name of religion, there is the occasional incident that makes us believe communal harmony is possible. After the celebration of Durga Puja, which coincided with Muharram, West Bengal witnessed something unusual. While the political parties fought amongst themselves on the clash of two major festivals, Muslims in Kharagpur cancelled their Muharram procession to save the money and sponsor the treatment of a Hindu neighbour who is battling cancer.
Samaj Sangha Club in Kharagpur’s Puratan Bazar will raise Rs 50,000 for Abir Bhunia (35), who is suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, said a Hindustan Times report. The club, which crowdfunds money from local residents, has decided to redirect the money towards his treatment. Abir is a mobile recharge shop owner and needs Rs 12 lakh for treatment that includes bone marrow transplantation. He is undergoing chemotherapy at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre.
I don't know whether I will be cured finally. But what my neighbours did for me has touched my heart," Abir told HT.
Muharram processions can be organised every year. But we have to save the life first. We have started raising money. On Friday, after the namaz we will ask the imam in the mosque to announce a donation drive for Abir. We hope to raise a bigger amount than the budget for our procession.
For the last few days, the state has been facing political unrest with the Bengal CM announcing that Durga idol immersion wouldn't take place on Vijaya Dashami (Dussehra in other states), which coincided with Muharram, owing to religious clashes which could create a law and order problem. The Calcutta High Court, however, revoked the government's order to restrict immersions.