Multi-faith get-together in Asansol of West Bengal to bridge communal divides
Asansol (West Bengal), July 16: Mazhab nahi sikhata aapas me bair rakhna (Religion does not teach us enmity among ourselves), Muhammad Iqbal noted in his famous song "Sare Jahan se achhca," which is sung by every Indian with immense fervour and sense of patriotism.
Yet we fail to follow these words of wisdom and harbour apprehensions about our neighbours, simply on pretexts that they belong to other communities. The lack of interaction or socio-cultural exchange results in all kinds of fears and misunderstanding against each other.
Keeping this in mind, Association SNAP in collaboration with Tipu Sultan Memorial Society organised a communal harmony program at the Red Cross Society Bhawan in Asansol on 16th July 2017 under the banner, ‘Know Your Neighbour' (KYN) campaign.
In view of the recent communal violence in Basirhat of the state, such multi-faith gathering carries much significance.
The KYN campaign started in 2016 in Kolkata, and this is the first time that the KYN campaign moved beyond Kolkata to the rest of Bengal and its maiden destination outside the state capital was Asansol. The program was a combined effort of local SNAP volunteer Kasturi Ghatak and Md Sohail of Tipu Sultan Memorial Society.
"This event is an initiative to promote conversation between different communities in Asansol, to foster a sense of bonding to prevent any future communal tensions," said Kasturi Ghatak, one of the organisers of the KYN campaign.
Around 100 people attended the event; and the audience included people from different communities and all walks of life.
Some of the eminent personalities who attended the program including, Swami Bharupanand of Ramkrishna Mission, imam of local mosque Mufti Md Saeed Asad Qasmi, Father Anil Kumar Tirkey of local church, author and Sahitya Akademi Awardee Jaya Mitra, scientist Amirul Islam of Burnpur Steel Plant, Professor of BC college (Asanosol) Amitabha Mukhopadhyay; and several other academicians, teachers, social activists, students and common residents. Fifteen journalists, academicians and activists from Kolkata also attended the program.
Father Tirkey appreciated the idea of trying to know our neighbours and urged the community members to organise such programs at different levels. Swami Bharupanand Ji said that we all should strive towards becoming a better friend or neighbour rather than seeking one. Mufti Qasmi reminded that our combined identity outside the country is that we all are Indians, irrespective of our faith, adding that all religions teach humanity and brotherhood.
NOTE: Association SNAP wishes to organize such events across Bengal. If anyone likes to conduct one such program in his/her community, please write to [email protected].