Yendayar has a real Kerala story to tell

Yendayar, a small hamlet perched on the Western Ghats, at the eastern tip of Kottayam district, shows the way forward for peaceful coexistence.
Sree Chelliyammal temple devaswom authorities receive the Nabidinam rally of the Badriyya Juma masjid, in Yendayar, on Thursday
Sree Chelliyammal temple devaswom authorities receive the Nabidinam rally of the Badriyya Juma masjid, in Yendayar, on Thursday

KOTTAYAM: Even the early morning downpour could not dampen their spirits. Led by President P S Rajendran, devaswom committee members of Sree Chelliyammal Kovil, in Yendayar, waited near the temple to greet their friends -- and reinforce religious harmony.

No sooner had the rally from Badriyya Juma masjid, led by chief Imam Taha Misbahi, approached than pleasantries and hugs were exchanged. Community leaders were honoured and sweet distributed. As they celebrated yet another Eid Milad Un-Nabi (Nabidinam) together, the state was witnessing a 'real' Kerala story.

Yendayar, a small hamlet perched on the Western Ghats, at the eastern tip of Kottayam district, shows the way forward for peaceful coexistence. For more than a decade, the religious festivals of the two communities have been celebrated together. Masjid authorities accord a reception to the 'ghoshayathra' (procession) being taken out during the annual temple festival during the Malayalam month of Makaram. They offer milk, dates, juice, and sweets to devotees as they make their way to near the masjid.

"We don't wish to differentiate people in the name of caste or religion. The villagers are united and collectively share in all celebrations," Rajendran said. There is no place for hatred or animosity here.

"Yendayar is a place of communal harmony. Every year, as part of Nabidinam, the masjid committee arranges community lunch (samooha sadya) in which all of us - taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers, lottery vendors, headload workers, politicians and traders in the town - irrespective of our caste or religion participate," said Ashraf, masjid committee secretary.

On Thursday, Imam Abdul Azeez Sakhafi, masjid committee president Abdul Latheef, and secretary Ashraf joined Misbahi in leading the Nabidinam rally. Amid attempts to upset communal harmony in various parts of the country, Yendayar stands as an example -- a scenario where devotees of different faiths co-exist peacefully. Having experienced calamities, including landslides and floods, they have learned to grow up together. Tragedies have failed to dampen their spirits. It is as if their resilience has inspired divine intervention, impressed with their never-ending spirit and bonhomie.

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