Deft Muslims crown Hindu Gods in secular shine
Lucknow, Apr 4: Pursuing a secular legacy passed over by the last four generations, over 50 Muslim families in the holy city of Varanasi, have been endlessly crafting dazzling crowns for idols of Hindu gods and goddesses, housed in temples across the world.
''Allah ne hume saanse di, pur bhagwan ne roti di'' (While the Almighty brought us in the world, the Hindu gods and goddesses are providing our families with means of subsistence), said Anis Ahmad (40), who owns one the ten units in the snaking alleys of Omkaleshwar, specialising in the art of Zardozi, creating gaudy crowns and clothes out of Zari.
More than 50 Muslim families, have been engaged in the art of crafting crowns and props for Hindu deities, whose idols are installed in temples across the world, he added.
''None other than Muslims and that too in Varanasi specialise in the craft of making Mukuts for Devi-Devtas,'' said Anis, who has the art transferred as heirloom by at least last four generations.
We get the orders from wholesale dealers in Bulanala area of Varanasi for crowns and other gliterring props like Kawach and Kundal worn by Hindu idols through out the year especially during festivals of Srikrishnajanamasthami and Ramnavami falling on April 6.
The same Hindu dealers, who get orders from across the world, later provide us with necessary raw material including dazzling Zari, glass, silk and precious stones, Anis added.
The work on the golden crown, props or even the clothes begins at our unit and it takes two to four days to complete the order depending on the size of the crown.
''The deft fingers of artists in the ten units that provide succour to over 1000 Muslims, can create crowns for Bal to Vikral Roop (child to larger than life form of idols),'' maintained Anis.
The thought was seconded by others involved in the trade including Shoaib and Jiyauddin, who like Anis, were angered by the March 7 blast at the Sankatmochan temple in Varanasi.
''Only the growth of Hinduism through increased numbers temples can provide food to our coming generations... how can one even dream of desecrating the same temples with bloody deeds,'' Anis fumed.
''Bhagwan ke ashirwad se hi humara ghar aabad hai,' said Shoaib.
The families in Omkaleshwar, are not the only ones earning their bread by curving the Hindu deities, but nearly ten more Muslim families in Ausanganj and Chippitola localities have been earning their livelihood by printing ''Ramnami chadars and gumchas'' (scarfs printed with Ram Nam).
''We have been hand printing the scarfs with Ram Naam for the last 50 years and this art has been taught to Muslim artists in other places like Farrukhabad and New Delhi by us only,'' said Asma (50) who heads the family of over 30 in Ausanganj, which has provided the devouts and foreign tourists alike with the Ramnami scarfs in all hues and sizes.
The Muslim families alone have been making this art sell in markets spanning from India to France to US and Australia... We only repose faith in the art of artists from Ausanganj and Chippitola,'' said Avadh Bihari Khanna, a wholesale dealer and exporter of the Ramnami delight.
''Allah ne humein jahan ka rasta dikhaya, pur Ram ne hum yaha rehne layak banaya (The Almighty paved our way to the world, but Lord Ram alone has helped us prosper on this earth,'' said Asma.