In this quaint little village in Namakkal district, which has strong moorings to tradition, exists a decades-old practice that is perhaps one of the best examples of communal amity. At the Panguni Uthiram festival in Gurusamypalayam village, the Hindu devotees honoured their Muslim brethren, carrying forward the annual ritual.
The concluding day of the Panguni car festival of the Sri Sivasubramania Swamy Temple on Saturday witnessed both Hindus and Muslims exchanging pleasantries, besides taking out a procession jointly.
“We have been practicing this for about 100 years as a symbol of gratitude,” recalled K Balakrishnan, head of the temple administration. “The Muslims helped us ward off evils when our village was affected by the outbreak of plague, a deadly disease, by offering prayers sitting beneath a tamarind tree,” he maintained.“Since then, we have been honouring our Muslim brethren on the concluding day of the car festival,” he said.
The Hindus started the procession in which the Muslims join in to apply sandal paste on all the residents of the village as part of the custom. They would sit beneath the tamarind tree where turmeric and sandal paste would be applied on the hands of Muslims. Sugar candies and groundnut are also exchanged during the ceremony.