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At Kashi Vishwanath Temple, flowers power Muslim duo’s faith

For decades, Mohammad Sabir and Rahat Ali have been sending garlands for the shayan aarti of Lord Vishwanath at the temple. They say it is because of the deity’s grace that they are able to earn enough to make ends meet.

lucknow Updated: Apr 16, 2017 13:31 IST
Sudhir Kumar
Sudhir Kumar
Lucknow, Hindustan Times
Muslims,communal harmony,flowers
Muslims selling flowers and puja beads near Chhata Dwar of Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi.(Rajesh Kumar/ HT Photo)

Mohammad Sabir and Rahat Ali sell flowers, Rudraksha beads and prasad, especially dry fruits, for a living at their kiosks close to the Chhatta Dwar of Kashi Vishwanath temple.

For decades, they have been sending garlands for the shayan aarti (night vesper service) of Lord Vishwanath at the temple.

Their garlands, along with those sent by other shopkeepers in the lane, are offered before the deity is put to bed. This is a regular practice. Sabir and Rahat Ali say it is because of the deity’s grace that they are able to earn enough to make ends meet.

Sabir and Rahat Ali employ two Hindu youths—Shekhar Madrasi and Arun Kumar— to help them. They look after the shops in the absence of Sabir and Rahat Ali.

“By the grace of Baba (Lord Shiva Kashi Vishwanath), we earn enough to meet the expenses of our families daily. Baba never disappoints us. We regularly send garlands to Baba for shayan aarti. We have been doing this for many decades,” Rahat says.

Sabir also sells cotton wicks, small bells, copper pots and other materials used in puja. He opens his shop in the wee hours and closes it late in the evening. “I am carrying forward the business set up by my father Mohammad Abdul Jabbar,” Sabir says.

His employee Shekhar Madrasi says: “Sabir treats me more like a friend than an employee. He trusts me completely. If he has to leave for home early in the evening, he ensures that the garland reaches Baba before shayan aarti.”

“Ye Baba ka durbar hai, yahan unki kripa sab par rahti hai. (This is Lord Shiva’s abode. Baba offers his blessings to one and all alike),” he adds.

Rahat switched to selling rosary beads around three decades ago from the business of bangles. He is popular among the local shopkeepers for his generosity and support.

Rahat Ali doesn’t want to talk about politics.

He says, “Regimes change every five years, but business goes on as usual here. Baba keeps offering his blessings on devotees all the time. For him, change of regime hardly makes any difference in Kashi. By the grace of Baba, we are quite happy.”

Read more: UP village that boasts of Shiva temple made, managed by Muslims

First Published: Apr 16, 2017 13:29 IST