Hindu women devotees of Lord Shiva, marching shoulder to shoulder with their men kanwariyas, is a common sight during the holy month of Shravan, but it was a different experience for Indoreans watching hundreds of women belonging to Muslim and Parsi communities also participating in a ‘Kanwar Yatra’ on Monday.
The Kanwar Yatra, organised by Backward and Minority Finance Corporation ex-chairman and Madhya Pradesh BJP working committee member Sam Pawari under the banner of Sanstha Sajha Sanskriti Manch, witnessed people from all taking part with an aim to deliver social harmony message for others.
Union minister of steel, mines, labour and employment Narendra Singh Tomar graced the occasion. According to Pawari, 4,000 women, including 1,500 from the minority community, took part in the yatra.
Chanting ‘bol bam’ and ‘Jai Shiv Shankar’, Hindu and Muslim women, who gathered at Madhumilan square-situated Hanuman temple from different parts of the state marched, towards Geeta Bhawan temple. Later, Hindu women offered holy water at Lord Shiva temple in Geeta Bhawan temple.
I-cards to avoid any controversy
Taking a cue from the past burqa controversy, this time organisers had asked the women belonging to the minority community to wear identity cards issued by the government.
Though the organisers attempted to keep programme controversy-free, claims by some women that they were paid between Rs 300 and Rs 400 to attend the programme and that they were promised a loan of Rs 1 lakh raised questions.
Reacting to the allegations, Sam Pawari said, “We have complete information about each and every participant, as they had given us a written confirmation that they had come to participate in Kanwar Yatra on their own and nobody had lured them or forced them for the same. If anyone apart from that participated in the procession, I’ve no idea.”