iconimg Friday, August 28, 2015

Aarefa Johari, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, September 11, 2009
The Iftar party was by and for the women only. The event organised by Christians and Hindus for Muslim women at Dharavi’s St Anthony’s Church on Thursday was not lavish, but sent out a message of unity. Outside a small Dharavi church, men who accompanied scores of women who thronged the party, waited patiently for the feast to get over.

“Normally, Iftar parties are only for men and the women are in the house,” said Sister Bibiana, director of the Dayasadan Community Centre, which organised the party along with the Dharavi Mohalla Committee Movement Trust.

The hall, flooded with more than 200 local women and children of all communities, was decorated with a poster declaring, “Hum sab ek hai” (We are one).

The tables were laden with fast-disappearing paper-plates of fruits, dates, samosas and bhajias.

“It is a pleasure to see that someone has thought of this; women can give the message of unity to their children,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police Harvinder Kaur Waraich, who also attended the event.

“We women of different castes live more peacefully together than men,” said Fatima Sheikh, a member of the Mohalla Committee.

“It is also the first time we got to learn the customs of our Muslim neighbours,” said Saraswati Shinde, a housewife.