Surrounded by hatred and fear in violence-hit western Assam, Jamaluddin Sheikh, 43, a relief camp inmate in the Muslim-majority Dhubri district, entrusted his 19-year-old daughter’s life to a Hindu he met for the first time at the camp and took an instant liking to.
“I was worried for my daughter, Jasmina, who was feeling insecure in the relief camp. I confided in baapdai and he didn’t hesitate to take her home,” Sheikh said.
And baapdai (father of fathers) Balai Barman, 62, a respected figure in the nearby village of Hindu Bengalis and Rajbongshis, more than amply reciprocated that trust.
He found a suitable Muslim groom for Jasmina and got her married on August 18 — 29 days after the Bodo-Muslim violence erupted. Barman hosted the
marriage in his house and paid much of the Rs. 35,000 spent on the nikaah ceremony and a modest feast for select villagers and camp inmates.
“It’s a weight off my chest,” he said on Friday.