//It's holi at this Dargah in A'bad!

It's holi at this Dargah in A'bad!

[ Tuesday, March 14, 2006 11:45:16 pmTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

 AHMEDABAD: This Holi, a dargah in Ahmedabad will be illuminated by an electricity line borrowed from a Hindu house, thereby strengthening a 70-year-old ‘connection’ between the two communities.

The tradition of Muslims and Hindus celebrating Holi and Dhuleti together at Khokhra is age old. All along, they have prayed together and held ‘sant vanis’ and ‘kathas’ at the nondescript Khokhar Pir Dargah.

The tradition at the dargah survived even the 2002 communal carnage, that saw hatred demolishing many a place of worship.

This year, however, there was uncertainty over the celebrations as the dargah was plunged into darkness as the electricity was snapped after unpaid bills ran up to over Rs 20,000.

 …"Ours is a small dargah where people offer Re 1 to Rs 5 as donation. One is not able to generate enough funds to pay a monthly electricity bill of Rs 400-500. The electricity connection of the dargah was cut as the outstanding bills piled up," Mohammad Dosumiyan, managing the dargah along with a Hindu saint Baldev Giri, told TOI.

Hope came in the form of neighbour Suresh Patel, a resident of Jai Bhole Society, whose house shares a boundary wall with the dargah. Honouring the sentiments of the local people, who were upset with the possible cancellation of the Holi event, Patel on Tuesday passed on a cable from his house to the dargah, lighting up the religious place.

"Hindu saints from around the state congregate at this dargah to hold religious kathas, bhajans and dayra programmes. Muslim religious leaders from mosques at Pirana, Raska and neighbouring places come to offer ‘chadar’ at the dargah. It is our duty to ensure that this tradition continues, come what may," said Patel.

Local social activist Harshad Patel said that Khokhar Pir Dargah is one of the few places in Ahmedabad where both communities participate in Holi festivities.