New Delhi, Oct 28: Amidst misguided efforts to drive a communal wedge in Indian society, a Muslim father seeking urgent financial aid for the treatment of his seven-year-old thalassemic daughter was pleasantly surprised when his appeal found positive response among several Durga Puja committees in the capital - his plea raising more than Rs.23,000 through which his daughter's treatment is now possible.
"I approached Durga Puja committees in several south Delhi localities for financial assistance after my entreaties to mosque elders fell on deaf ears... I was always told to come later but no assistance was forthcoming," Munsi Nazibul, a craftsman from West Bengal, who works in an embroidery unit in South Delhi, told IANS.
Nazibul's daughter is recovering but needs a bone marrow transplant to completely eliminate the blood disorder.
"My appeal to the committees gave me a pleasant surprise in that I was able to collect more than Rs 23,000 towards treatment of my ailing daughter who needs a bone marrow transplant," Nazibul said.
While the media highlights conflicts and polarisation between Hindus and Muslims, fuelled by political elements and religious zealots on both sides, Nazibul said religion did not matter when it came to helping one another and this has always been so in this country at the people level.
"I might be a Muslim, but I will never turn away a person in need because of his religion and this is the exact treatment that I received while I was asking for the donations from the puja committees who are all Hindus," he added.
Samir Banerjee, General Secretary of Durgostav, Greater Kailash II, who gave Nazibul a donation of Rs. 10,000, praised him for his confidence to come to Hindu festival organisers for donation.
"Before he asked for the money, the first thing he said was 'I am a Muslim', and we asked, 'What difference does that make," Banerjee told IANS.
According to Banerjee, Nazibul approached the Durga Puja committees because he felt that they would respond to his plea on humanitarian grounds without making religion an issue.
Nazibul received the same treatment at every Puja committee he approached, his appeal was heard by all, he said, without anyone questioning his religion or turning him away because of his Muslim faith.
"Religion should never come in between humanity. Turning away a person in need is a bigger sin," Banerjee added.