Not far from Shaniwarwada,which dazzles in beautiful deepmalas,an ancient dargah lights up with diyas,candles and lanterns every Diwali to celebrate the unity of a mosaic that is India.
Baba Hazrat Maqbool Hussein Madani Baba dargah is decorated every Diwali for the past two decades,says Salim Hundekar,the caretaker. Around twenty years ago,a Hindu family requested me to allow them to light diyas at dargah on Diwali. Gradually,the practice was followed by others. Thats when we decided that apart from diyas,we will decorate the dargah with lanterns and candles also, Hundekar says.
So,three days before every Diwali,Hundekar and 20-25 Hindus and Muslims from Shaniwarwada pool in money to buy candles,diyas and lanterns and help decorate the dargah,built in 1244. Love Devpude,30,whose parents are sweepers at Shaniwarwada for the past 35 years,is one of them.
I have grown up playing around this dargah. If we can brighten up our homes and Shaniwarwada during the festival then why should Baba remain in darkness, Devpude asks. And no one has a problem with the dargah celebrating Diwali. People come here merely because of the faith they have in Baba and not because they are Hindus or Muslims, says Hundekar.
And not only Diwali,the dargah is also decked up for Gudi Padwa.We have been celebrating Gudi Padwa here for the past three years. Theres no particular reason as to why we do this. For us,all religions and festivals hold equal importance, says Sachin Chandrakant Bazaare,26, who is one of the group that helps with the decoration.