Amidst scores of pandals distributing prasad on the occasion of Bada Mangal on Tuesday, these stalls in the Muslim-dominated Qaiserbagh stood out. Taking a day off from their routine work, a number of Muslims had set up stalls near the Qaiserbagh crossing to distribute prasad like their Hindu brethren.
Sharif Baba, who, along with his family, joined hands with his Hindu friends for the celebration, said, “It gives immense satisfaction to be a part of this religious occasion. I spent hours giving away prasad to the people who thronged our pandal. The pleasant weather added to the experience.” When asked what prompted him to contribute for a Hindu event, he said, “More than religion, this festival signifies peace and prosperity. And when our Hindu brothers can celebrate Eid with us, why can’t we participate in their festivals?” He said the city has always been a perfect example of brotherhood between different communities and activities like these would strengthen the ties.
Mayor Dinesh Sharma, who was special invitee to one such stall, was moved to see how people of different communities came together for an occasion.
Meanwhile, residents had a field day sampling the offerings in different localities. “I have seen the trend rising over the years. What began with mere distribution of water and sugar syrup has now taken the shape of complete meals. The variety too has increased,” said Dhruv Srivastava, who put up stalls on all four Tuesdays at Kapoorthala crossing.
Mahendra Pratap Singh, a senior citizen from Indira Nagar, said, “It is good that people religiously donate money for food distribution on Bada Mangal. It would be great if people do not restrict themselves to four Tuesdays and feed the needy all through the year.”
Ajay Singh, a traffic subinspector, had especially invited his parents from Agra to help him man his stall at Sadar traffic police line. “I spent nearly Rs 45,000 this time. I plan to set up a pandal next year too,” he said.
Another police sub-inspector Atul Srivastava set up a stall at Charbagh crossing near Ravindralaya auditorium. Similarly, a paan shop owner distributed fried rice and chholey opposite the SSP office in Sapru Marg. Kheer was also distributed later in the day.