MALAPPURAM: As India debates a virtual meat ban across the country that is allegedly targeting minorities, a temple at Punnathala in Malappuram district hosted an Iftar party for around 500 men and women on Tuesday evening during the Muslim holy month of Ramzan. The exemplary event was organised as part of the ongoing deity restoration celebration at the Shree Lakshminarasimhamurthy Vishnu Temple here. Over 200 Muslim families in the vicinity of the temple turned up to be a part of the spectacular show of harmony.
“We take each and every family in the locality into consideration irrespective of religious affiliations to plan our programmes and celebrations. Earlier, we had planned a mass banquet as part of the temple celebrations. However, as it is the month of Ramzan, we changed our plan and decided to organise a mass iftar so that our Muslim brothers and sisters too could participate,” says Cherusseri Unnikrishnan Nair, president of the temple committee. The Iftar and the cultural conference are the highlights of the week long Punaprathishta (restoration) and Naveekarana Kalasham (renovation) at the temple. The dilapidated idol of the deity at the temple, which is centuries old, will be restored on Sunday. The Muslim families in the locality too have given funds for the restoration of the once neglected temple.
“There is no religious divide here. Nobody turned their face when asked for donations for the temple restoration, Instead they promoted the drive. We help each other for our family functions too. This is the tradition handed over to us by our ancestors. We want to impart this culture to our next generation as well to show that cohesion is important when the younger generation are increasingly exposed to hatred and religious enmity,” says Nair. “The event was a great success with overwhelming support from the youngsters,” he said.