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99 Yatra
In this village, lesson in communal amity
24 February 2007

Bhuj: DURING the day it is Bhagavat katha, and in the evening it is taqrir from the Quran. All this is happening at a small and nondescript village named Mota Varnora under Bhuj taluka of Kutch. The venue for a week-long katha is again a shrine of a Muslim pir, the four-century-old Durgah of Dada Jusubshah. And the audience at both the religious discourses is mixed _ Hindu and Muslim devotees of a Muslim saint. 
The first-ever on-going katha in the ‘Muslim premises’ in this border district which boasts of 33 per cent Muslim population, the largest in any district of the State, has been organised by Sufi saint, Alisain Bapu, a well-known Bhavnagar-based Muslim ascetic working for communal harmony for last three decades.

According sources close to Alisain Bapu, he originally hails from Kutch.Though married and having a family at Varnora village, Alisain preferred to be an ascetic in his prime age and settled down at Mesanka village under Gariyadhar taluka of Bhavnagar district.

Alisain, who lives the life of a fakir at the Durgah of Lilapir Bapu for last three decades, is a well-known saintly figure in Bhavnagar and other adjoining districts of Saurashtra. Known for his work in promoting communal harmony, he has till now organised 35 kathas in the region. He came to his native border district of Kutch after more than 20 years on hearing of the devastation caused by the January 2001 quake. Not only he helped people in their rehabilitation work, he also rebuilt the Durgah of Jusabshah Dada that had been destroyed in the quake. The durgah here has now the same look as the one in Bhavnagar.

‘’The present katha at Varnora village is his brainchild. A frequent visitor to his village after the quake, when he visited it four months ago and met his Hindu devotees _ mainly Harijans and Ahirs _ and Muslims and asked what they wanted, they demanded Bhagavat katha. He readily agreed and started working on it. He brought renowned Kathakar Shastri Prafulchandra Kanada and his band from Bhavnagar. Now the village is happy,’’ Mohmmed Sidhik Junejo, a local organiser told this paper on Thursday. He said all the communities of the village joined in the ‘Pothi yatra’ (taking the scripture ceremoniously in a procession) which started from the Shiv temple in the village and ended at the Durgah of Jusabshah Dada.

Hailing this to be an historic event in Kutch which is known for its communal harmony for ages, Maulana Alif Naxbandhi, a local cleric, in his very first religious speech said that Kutch provided the best example of communal amity.The katha will end on February 28.

Courtesy: Ahmedabad Newsline - Ahmedabad,India kutchhis globally , from Mumbai

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