A battle for space has pitched man against man in Assam: Migrant Muslims versus the rest of the state. But in a tiny corner of Sivasagar district, a group of Hindus and Muslims has taken a small step towards amity by making space for each other’s god.
On Sunday, the Hindus in Mornoikinar — 360km east of Guwahati — donated an 800 sq ft plot for a mosque. In adjoining Amguri, Muslims reciprocated by taking up a project to reconstruct a 73-year-old Vaishnavite prayer hall for their neighbours in Raang Chalihagaon, a hamlet of 12 Hindu families.
The gesture is all the more remarkable, since over the last fortnight, vandals destroyed a Kali temple in Dhubri town and damaged 20-odd idols of Vishwakarma in Bongaigaon district’s Jogighopa.
The crumbling Namghar, a community prayer hall conceptualised by 15th century saint-reformer Srimanta Sankardeva, was established in 1939. On Sunday, Muslim leaders of the village, led by cleric Abidur Rahman, laid its foundation stone.
“This is another example of communal harmony typical of Assam since the medieval period,” said a local, Ashok Dutta, who retired recently from the post of a joint director of the health department.