While the whole of India has been debating over growing religious intolerance in the country, this year’s tragic rains and ensuing floods in the southern part of the Deccan Plateau have resulted in a phenomenal display of unity and compassion between Hindus, Muslims and people of all other religions.
Several Islamic organizations and individual followers of the faith have been actively participating in the rescue and relief of those that have been affected by the recent deluge in Chennai. Social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, are filled with messages from Hindus of their gratitude toward Muslims, who dared to enter the absolute interiors and highly inundated areas that kept even the media’s spotlight at bay. Without losing determination, Muslim rescuers continued to extract locals from these submerged areas and offer them much-needed relief.
Last week, after a group of individuals who lost all their belongings in the floods, were accommodated at Sri Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane, Chennai, volunteers from the Muslim community stepped into the Hindu premises for the first time to serve food and hand over basic amenities to those seeking refuge there.
Likewise, several Hindus, including women, have been accommodated at mosques, where even Muslim women are not allowed to enter according to the core tenets of the religion. A group of Muslim relief workers has reportedly volunteered to clean the premises of another temple that has been submerged in sewage and wastage for days.
Several Hindu organizations have been participating in these rescue and relief operations as well. Without discriminating between religions or castes, these volunteers have been saving the lives of hundreds trapped in the floods by offering relief and serving food to them. Another group of Hindus apparently helped a pregnant Muslim woman give birth to her baby by escorting her to a safe and hygienic place in this time of crisis.
Also, a congregation of churches in Chennai recently announced that they would not be organizing any events to celebrate Christmas this year so their funds could be allocated to those suffering because of the torrential downpour.
Members of the city’s minority Jain community have also played an important role in the ongoing rescue operations by supplying food and clean water to the rain affected interiors. They were joined by Sikhs, who helped in every way they could. Some of the homeless and needy also spoke of the help offered to them by Marwaris, who left no stone unturned to provide basic necessities such as food and water.
Like every other country, India too may have significant religious differences but this year’s incessant rain and its tragic aftermath managed to trigger a rare display of secularism and religious unity among all citizens.
Photo Credits: New Indian Express