TIRUNELVELI: It was a picturesque scene to be cherished forever by the Hindus who have arrived at Thamirabarani on Sunday to celebrate ‘Maha Pushkaram’ when they bumped into groups of Muslims and Christians, who were already engaged in paying respect to the perennial river, as a gesture of religious harmony.
The ‘Thamirabarani Maha Pushkaram’, which is being observed by Hindus after 144 years is attracting a great number of Hindus from across the nation. Devotees are performing rituals and taking holy bath at more than 40 ghats that dot the 125-kilometre stretch river which courses through Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi.
On Sunday, a group of 100 Muslims from Melaseval village including 85 who are working at Chennai arrived here and took a dip in Thamirabarani as a respect to the perennial river that quenches the thirst of people from time immemorial. They also offered prayers at the riverbank along with Hindu men and women to emphasise their amity towards the latter.
Speaking about the act, villagers of Melaseval have said, “River is not representing any religion. It quenches the thirst of a person irrespective of his/her caste or religion. People from four districts are drinking the water of Thamirabarani. It is the time to thank Thamirabarani which is perennial and offers livelihood to numerous people and especially those who reside near the bank.”
Of the 100 Muslims, 85 arrived here all the way from Chennai to pay their respect to Thamirabarani. Sharing his thoughts on this friendly gesture, Mohammad Jamal, who works at Chennai, has said, “While the arrangements for Thamirabarani Maha Pushkaram were going on, I had a discussion with my friends in Chennai and we have decided pay respect to Thamirabarani which fulfils our water needs.”
Meanwhile, more than 50 Christians from the same village have arrived at Thamirabarani riverbank and offered prayers for its longevity and cleanliness. Commenting on this, I Sewin, who led the Christians for prayer has said, “Though Melaseval is inhabited with people from different religions, it never witnessed a religious clash. When we (Christians) built a high school in 1992, it was a Muslim who constructed a block and a Hindu had donated a large sum and helped acquiring permission.
This deed is to highlight our religious solidarity.” Speaking to Express, P Dharmaraj, former MLA of Palayamkottai Assembly Constituency and one of the organisers of this gesture of goodwill, has said, “Since the Hindus, Muslims and Christians from this constituency are living as brothers and sisters, it was easy for me to help organise this event. They (Muslims) publicly announced their plan in their mosque to offer a prayer for Thamirabarani. I am proud of the people of my constituency,” he prided.