In an exceptional case of inter-religion bonhomie, members of a gurdwara (a place of assembly and worship for Sikhs) committee of Buttaran village and other residents on Thursday handed over a manuscript of the Quran, which had been in their safe custody since (India-Pakistan) Partition, to the caretakers of a mosque.
Elderly people in the village said three Muslim families used to live in the vicinity of the one-room gurdwara before Partition. Since they were to migrate to Pakistan, they handed over the Holy Book to the then custodian of the gurdwara to ensure its safety. Since then, the gurdwara had been maintaining it, keeping it wrapped in a cloth along with other holy scriptures and ensuring full respect to it.
About four years ago, when Gurmel Singh joined as the granthi of the gurdwara, he proposed to the villagers that the holy book should be safely handed over to the Muslim community. “We used to open it only when villagers or other visitors who knew about it requested us for its darshan. Though someone in Lahore had penned it in pre-Independence times, it is still in a good condition. We initially thought that we could hand it over to some Gujjar families in the village but then someone suggested that the old Imam Nasir mosque in Jalandhar city was the most appropriate place where it could be kept,” said the granthi.
He said, “I, along with gurdwara committee members and some villagers, went to the Imam Nasir mosque and met Maulana Mohammad Adnan Jamai there. He told us to bring it to them, but then someone suggested that the maulvi should be invited to the gurdwara to receive it. When the mosque custodians came yesterday, we requested them to read out its details as we cannot read Urdu. They told us that this handwritten copy had been readied in 1938. They happily took it with them.”
The granthi said, “The occasion was special for me. It gives me such a huge sense of satisfaction that the Quran has reached where it ideally should have been. I am thankful to the Almighty for having chosen me for this holy cause.”
The gurdwara members also presented a siropa (honorary clothing) to the special guests. Among those present on the occasion were gurdwara president Kulvir Singh, former president Mohinder Singh, Maulana Shamshad and Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui.