Amidst everyday reports of politically fuelled communal acrimony, tedious intolerance debates on news channels, vitiating social harmony, blatant religious stereotyping and increasing mutual distrust and suspicion, it is heartwarming and like a whiff of fresh air to come across stories of normal citizens cherishing India’s civilisational values of pluralism, syncretism, tolerance, secularism and peaceful co-existence.
One such story is of 66-year-old Yasin Pathan, who belongs to Pathra, a small village in West Bengal. Mr. Pathan, who retired as a school peon, leads a movement to preserve ancient temples. He started ‘Save the Temples’ project to protect 18th century Shiva and Vishnu temples in Partha village. As a result of his sustained campaign 18 out of 34 temples in Partha have been restored by the Archeological Survey of India( ASI).
He has faced opposition from villagers too who objected to a Muslim associating himself with temples, but Mr. Pathan went on energetically to preserve nation’s cultural heritage, in his own words. He wrote many letters to authorities, apprising them about the ruined conditions of ancient temples. Now Mr. Pathan has earned applause from the state authorities for his initiative. We need more truly secular-minded and conscientious citizens like Mr. Pathan in India.
Trivia and history buff. Likes watching movies and reading fiction.