Muslim family builds Hindu temple in TN village

via published on June 2, 2008
KILLAI : Showcasing secular values in this remote village of Tamil Nadu, a devout Muslim couple have built a temple for Hindu Goddess Mariamman in the backyard of their house and conduct regular poojas, arousing interest and curiosity in this region, which remains a citadel of communal harmony.

It all started with a dream that M Bashirbi (50) had in her sleep and her husband Mohammed Ali Jinnah (55) without any hesitation gave his full backing for building the small temple 10 years back in the backyard of their thatched house in this town, near Chidambaram, about 250 km south of Chennai.

“We built the temple 10 years back after the Amman appeared in my wife’s dream. When she told me about this, I immediately accepted. I did not consult anyone… for me all religions are the same,” Jinnah, who runs a tea shop, said.

Bashiribi raised money by selling her jewels and through other means to build the temple. “We went to Kumbakonam, known for idol making, to purchase the idols,” she said.

Since then Bashiribi has been conducting poojas and even holding annual festivals when the utsav idol of the Goddess is taken around the town.

The family doesn’t find any contradictions in being Muslims and at the same time tending to a Hindu Goddess. Though Jinnah has stopped offering namaz and visits to the mosque for Friday prayers, his sons still offer namaz and attend Friday prayers.

Such has been Bashiribi’s reverence to the Goddess, she even has the picture of the Mariamman tattooed on one of her hands.

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