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Islam Sikhs Rebuild Mosque Demolished In 1947


1947-2014 (Archived)
By Zafarul-Islam Khan The Milli Gazette

In a historic gesture, Sikhs of Punjab have rebuilt a mosque demolished during the Partition riots of 1947 and handed it over to the Muslims of the area. The mosque is situated in village Sarwarpur which is situated at a distance of ten kilometers from Samrala town in Punjab. A function was held in the village on 22 May in which executive member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Jathedar Kirpal Singh Khernian, area MLA Jagjivan Singh and the Sikh community of the area took part. The Shahi Imam of Punjab Maulana Habibur Rahman Sani Ludhianwi was invited as a special guest. At the request of the representatives of the area, the Shahi Imam presented the keys of the mosque to Dada Muhammad Tufail, the eldest Muslim in the village.

Muslims raised the “Allah-o-Akbar” slogan and offered the first prayer in the mosque since Partition under the leadership of the Shahi Imam who congratulated the Sikhs for their noble gesture and said that the Sikh people have proved with their magnanimous behaviour their tolerance and brotherhood which has no match in the country. He said that this gesture of the Sikhs is a message to all communalists in the country that humanity means love not violence. Also present on the occasion was Muhammad Usman Rahmani Ludhianwi, chairman of the religious committee of the Punjab Waqf Board, who lauded this grand gesture of the Sikh brothers and announced that the Al-Habib Trust will soon complete all pending work in this mosque. Jathedar Khernian thanked the Shahi Imam for bonding Muslims and Sikhs together.

Sikhs rebuild mosque demolished in 1947


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1947-2014 (Archived)

The Friday prayers at the Mughal-era mosque of the village were the first in 63 years since the horrors of Partition. An NRI Sikh family from London is behind the move.

It's on a mission to “rebuild“ and “restore“ the historic mosques destroyed in the Punjab villages in 1947. Its inspiration has come from the tales of camaraderie between Guru Nanak Dev and his Muslim companion, Bhai Mardana.

On June 11 before offering “Namaz“ at the “rebuilt“ mosque in Sarwarpur, the family of Tuffail Mohammad, lone surviving Muslims in the village, received the shrine keys from Joga Singh, younger brother of NRI Sajjan Singh, who has stayed back in villageto look after ancestral property. The village is 43 km from Ludhiana and the mosque is centuries old. Legend has it that the Muslims received the plot as a “gift“ from the Mughals for carrying out the emperor's order of “driving out“ the Sikh families from the village.

“My ancestors told me how it had created a wedge between the two communities, and how the hatred had only grown stronger with time. Most Muslims abandoned the village during Partition and the rest migrated gradually thereafter,“ says Tuffail.

“The bitterness persisted for years even after Partition until a Sikh family decided to write a new chapter (of broth- erhood),“ says Babur Hussain, Tuffail's elder son.

The NRI family behind the change wants to remain low profile. Its work began 18 months ago when Sajjan and his brother, Joga, were on their way to a football match near the University of Birmingham.

“On the way, we noticed a beautiful mosque and a gurd- wara with a common wall. We found out that Saddam Hussain had built both places of wor- ship. It reminded us of the friendship between Guru Nanak Dev and Bhai Mardana, and their preaching about com- munal harmony. There, we con- ceived the project,“ Joga told HT. A year ago, the NRI fam- ily returned to the village to find the mosque site under encroachment.
Restoration wasn't easy, as many Sikh fam- ilies in the place were opposed to the project and unwilling to spare money for it.

The Hindu families in the vil- lage asked the NRI: “Why not a temple?“ Six months later, Joga requested Kirpal Singh Khirnia, member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, to intervene, and the villagers agreed in the end to support the mission.

At Joga's call, they put in `kar sewa' (volunteer labour) at the site and built the mosque anew.

Joga invited Imam Maulana Habib-Ur-Rahman to offer first prayers at the shrine and iden- tify more historic mosques in Punjab that his NRI brother could help renovate or rebuild.