Hindus, Muslims Pull Chariot Together In Orissa

July 18, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Mangalorean.com / IANS


There are no religious barriers between Hindu and Muslim residents in Orissa's port town of Paradeep, where members of both communities came together to celebrate the famous Rath Yatra (chariot festival).

There are strict restrictions preventing non-Hindus from entering the world famous temple of lord Jagannath in Puri. But in Paradeep, about 70 km from here, Hindus and Muslims joined hands Monday to pull the chariots of the lord Jagannath, lord Balabhadra and goddess Subhadra.

"This communal harmony comes at a time when good news and goodwill have both become rare commodities and violence, hatred and indifference to the dignity of human life have made people cynical," said religion researcher Prasanta Kumar Padhi.

This was not the first time that people from both communities pulled the chariots here during the Rath Yatra. Since time immemorial, this practice has been followed in the tiny village of Deulisahi, on the outskirts of Paradeep. Out of about 2,500 residents of the village, nearly 800 are Muslims.