M R Venkatesh, Chennai, July 21: Two Muslim families of modest means in Tamil Nadu turned models of magnanimity, setting aside religious orthodoxy to emerge as unique exemplars imparting a new dimension to communal harmony.
As Parameshwari, a 29-year-old Hindu orphan girl adopted by a Muslim couple, bowed her head at a Kali Temple at Tiruchirappalli for 34-year-old Nagendran, a Hindu orphan boy who also grew up in a Muslim household, to tie the sacred knot, it was more than just a traditional wedding.
R Kader Batcha and his wife Fathima shed tears of joy as their adopted daughter got married as per Hindu customs performed by a regular priest at “Ilamkattu Mariammal Kovil” in that temple town on Friday last as the low-profile event also lit a new lamp of religious amity.
Several eyebrows were raised in the “Karumandapam” locality which has less than 50 Muslim families. But “many others, including from the Islamic clergy, praised us,” Kader Batcha, a chartered accountant by profession, told Deccan Herald over the phone from Tiruchi.
Along with our three children, “we brought up Parameshwari as one of our own kids from a tender age of five when she took refuge in our house,” said Kader Batcha.
“The girl was part of our family and I have been looking for a good match for her since she attained the marriageable age,” he said.
Through a friend, Kader who is from composite Thanjavur district—where, as he put it, “in the villages Hindus and Muslims go about their daily lives without any conscious religious divide or identity”—–finally reached out to another Muslim couple in Salem, Ibrahim and Thahira Banu. The groom, Nagendran, was working as a “cutting master” in a garment-making unit in which his foster-father Ibrahim is a partner along with another Sekar. “The boy came to Tiruchi and saw the girl. Both liked each other after which the alliance was settled,” said Kader.
“We could have got our daughter Parameshwari married to a Muslim boy, but we respected Hindu sentiments. It is by sheer god’s grace that I was able to find a suitable Hindu boy for her who had grown up in similar circumstances like her,” Kader explained.
Then, last Friday, with “the help of my Hindu friends,” the wedding was organised at the local Kali Temple at the auspicious hour, Kader said. “Naturally, we (the Muslim foster-parents from both sides) went to the temple and blessed the couple. I gave no dowry for my daughter but bequeathed her decent amount of jewels as any father would,” he said.
Many pilgrims were moved by the incredible scene of elderly Muslims wishing their foster-children good luck at the simple Hindu marriage ceremony amid chanting of “mantras” . The pilgrims who thronged the temple for worship that day also blessed the couple.
“None of the clerics from even our local mosque objected to it as the entire episode drew widespread goodwill and commendation from people of both communities,” says Kader. At his own small auditor’s office in Tiruchi, this chartered accountant is assisted by a Hindu and a Christian.
Courtesy: Deccan Herald