Minutes after the call to dhuhr (midday prayer) went out on Sunday, the courtyard of Juma Masjid at Cheravally in Kerala’s Alappuzha district turned into the venue for a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony.
A nilavilakku (traditional lamp) with seven wicks was lit on the makeshift mandap and wedding mantras were recited as Sarath Sasidharan tied the knot with Anju Ashokan with Masjid committee leaders and scores of Muslim men and women as witness. After the rituals, the Masjid committee hosted a dinner for the guests, including politicians from across party lines.
Anju lost her father Ashokan two years ago. Since then, her mother Bindu had been struggling to find resources to organise her daughter’s wedding. Recently, she approached the local mosque for financial help. The Masjid committee then decided to bear the wedding expenses.
Masjid committee member P Nazir stepped in with 10 gold sovereigns and Rs 2 lakh towards the marriage expenses. The committee’s members were at the forefront of the arrangements for the ceremony. The gates of the mosque were decorated in traditional Hindu style. Before the auspicious time for the wedding, Muslim women ushered in the bride and the bridegroom.
Hailing the gesture of the Masjid committee, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a Facebook post, “Kerala has always put forward lovely models of religious harmony. The marriage at Cheravally has scripted a new chapter in that chronicle of religious harmony. When concerted attempts are going on to divide people, they have inspired us to break such religious barriers. We can loudly say that we are one,’’ he said.
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