Back when it was good ol’ Madras, it was known primarily as a port city and one of the biggest British settlements in South India.
Now that it’s Chennai, it’s evolved into the healthcare capital of the country, and one of the major ‘temple towns’ in Tamil Nadu.
However, Chennai isn’t mainly Hindu- it has a sizeable Muslim and Christian population, with pockets of Jain settlements as well.
A Tense Time
Chennai’s New College is known to have mainly Muslim staff and students. However, the lane beside the college has a Hindu population that celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi.
In Muslim-dominated localities in Chennai like Thousand Lights, Royapettah, Triplicane, etc. Ganesh Chaturthi is usually a tense time.
When the idol is taken through the streets for visarjan, it happens under the strict eye of a heavy police guard.
However, this year, the students and professors of New College decided to build a bridge of brotherhood with the Hindu community settled nearby in Srinivasa Sannidhi Perumal Street.
New College, New Mindset
Chennai was treated to the rare sight of Hindus and Muslims coming together to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi.
Under police protection to prevent problems from more orthodox people of both religions, the procession made its way for the visarjan.
It was heartwarming to see Hindus in traditional dress and Muslims with skull caps walking side by side, holding idols of Ganesha.
The attendees from New College said they wanted to provide lassi to their inviters, but due to lack of time, they weren’t able to do so.
However, they stated that they plan to take part in the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations every year from now on.
Must Be Reciprocal
In this age of religious conflict in the country, something egged on by certain politicians and parties, it’s absolutely beautiful to see this kind of communal acceptance and harmony.
However, it’s as important to make this a two-way street, with everyone participating in each other’s festivals, and not only Hindu festivals being celebrated.
I hope this amazing, progressive mindset is upheld over the years, and that Chennai stands as a shining example of maturity and harmony to the rest of the country.
Image Credits: Google Images, The Hindu
Find the author online at: @samyukthanair_