The Ram Janaki temple in Pandaveswar village has been built with the collective efforts from Muslims, Christians, Hindu and Sikh community.
Asansol| When elections are around the corner, you can be sure that the chants of Ram Temple will echo in the campaigns very often. For over two decades now, the issue of Ram Temple being built has been the epicentre of polarisation techniques used by political parties. Sometimes, as seen and witnessed in the past, people tend to fall for the appeal. But once in a while, people decide to reject the divisiveness and set an example for everyone to follow…like the Pandaveswar village in West Bengal.
The village of about 5000 residents on Tuesday gathered around the Ram-Janaki temple as it was being inaugurated. Built with marble floors and statues of cows on either side of the entrance, the temple sent out a message- of peace, harmony and co-existence.
The Ram Janaki temple in Pandaveswar village has been built with the collective efforts from Muslims, Christians, Hindu and Sikh community of the village. While Muslims contributed 10,000 bricks for the temple construction, Christians and Sikhs joined hands to help the cause.
“The temple is our answer to the religious polarization,” one of the villagers told a news organisation.
It was back in 2016, amidst the rising incidents of communal violence, that the proposal to build a Ram Temple with community effort was first tabled. Residents of the Pandeswar village took the proposal to the mayor Jitendra Tiwari. As Tiwari was already drafting a plan to renovate the religious structures in the village, he lent his support to the cause as well.
A year later, in December 2017, the foundation stone was laid by TMC MLA Arup Biswas. After that locals started a crowd-sourcing campaign for its construction. While some people contributed cash, others contributed the construction materials ranging from marbles, tiles, etc.
The Asansol Riots last year on March 25, during the Ram Navami procession, had turned violent leading to violent clashes between the two communities. A 16-year-old son of Imam of Noorani Mosque was also killed in the clashes. Asansol has been one of the sensitive areas during the communal clashes.
However, the locals of Pandeswar expressed hope that the Ram-Janaki temple would serve an example for the rest of the country.
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