On Monday, June 4th, an iftar dinner was organized at the 500-year-old Saryu Kunj temple in Ayodhya to spread the message of peace. Mahant Jugal Kishore Sharan Shastri, chief cleric of the Saryu Kunj temple, when asked why there was no politically involved person invited, he said, “This is because we want to send a message that our move is not political in any way. We just want to spread the message of peace from Ayodhya to the world.”
A lot of Muslims from Ayodhya and Faizabad attended the auspicious gathering. Mahant Raghusharan Das of the temple described the event saying, “We are of the opinion that efforts must be made to bridge the gap between the two communities, and hosting iftar for Muslim brothers is a good opportunity to bring both communities closer. So, we decided to send the message of peace through this roza iftar.”
Preceding the iftar dinner was a colloquium discouraging communalism and polarization, which was attended by copious students and teachers from nearby colleges. Dates and Laddus were distributed to the attendees during iftar, these were Prasads of the revered Hanuman Garhi temple in Ayodhya. Post iftar, namaz-e-maghrib was held there, which too was a part of the effort to bring the two communities together.
An attendee belonging to Ayodhya said that despite being a minority, he never felt unsafe there, for the simple reason that the majority Hindu community never made him feel so.
Interestingly, this event occurred a little distance away from the disputed Babri
Masjid-Ram Mandir site, which has been a subject of dispute for so many years. During such times where discrimination, polarization and throwing slander have become a global phenomenon, such noble and righteous acts of promoting peace make one’s faith in the Indian idea of secularism and “वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्” (the world is a family) stronger, and kindles hope for a better future.