Ludhiana(Chandigarh): It’s been 70 years since Muslims in this village of Ludhiana in Punjab left for Pakistan after India’s partition. But a pre-partition mosque still stands tall in Hedon Bet village & nobody ever talked of demolishing this place of worship.
It’s the best example of communal harmony that the residents of Hedon Bet village have set for all to see.
The village, 55 km from Ludhiana, used to host 50 Muslim families before partition. Since partition of the country, no Muslim family resides in the village leaving the mosque in a dilapidated state.
The caretaker of the mosque, Prem Singh, said once a pipal tree endangered the structure of the mosque when its branches entered inside the mosque. He said the branches were cut to save the mosque.
“The mosque has always been here. No one has ever talked of demolishing it. It is the house of God,” the report quoted one 95-year-young Dhanwant Kaur, who visited village from Sialkot in Pakistan.
According to another villager Bhagat Singh, who is now 88, the mosque was built between 1910-20 and the village never witnessed any communal tension. Singh said this mosque and the other one at Salana, 6 km away from Hedon Bet, were built by the same mason.
After the partition, the mason asked the Muslim village residents to migrate to newly formed Pakistan citing threat to their life during the mayhem of the partition.
“The houses surrounding the mosque were of Muslims. When people started living here after the Partition, no one cared for the mosque. All members of a family living in a house behind the mosque were afflicted with serious ailments. Many of them died and those who survived left the place,” Prem Singh told the media.
Prem Singh further says that people in the village had some years ago asked him to clean the mosque and light an earthen lamp everyday. Now, Singh says everything is fine in the village.
WHO TAKES CARE OF THE MOSQUE?
In dire need of repair, the mosque is cleaned every day. A copy of the Quran is also kept inside.
Prem Singh, who acts as its caretaker, said the mosque was endangered by a Pipal tree growing on its roof. “We cut its branches which had entered inside the structure,” he said.
He said some villagers donate rice and milk and prepare food at langar (community kitchen) every year in May.
“The houses surrounding the mosque were of Muslims. When people started living here after the Partition, no one cared for the mosque. All members of a family living in a house behind the mosque were afflicted with serious ailments. Many of them died and those who survived left the place,” said Prem Singh. The house he mentioned is now completely in ruins. There are many other houses also where no one lives now.
“It was some 3-years ago that villagers asked me to clean the place and light a diya (earthen lamp) every day. Now everything is fine,” Prem Singh said.
THE HOUSE OF GOD
Sarpanch Gurpal Singh said the mosque was in the periphery of Red Line (Lal Dora). The village has 3-temples and a gurdwara, apart from the mosque.
“The village has no Muslim population and people from other communities go to all the places of worship, including the mosque,” Gurpal Singh said.
Villagers said in a nearby village, a gurdwara was constructed after demolishing a mosque. “However, no one has ever talked of razing the mosque here as all believe it is a place of worship. How does it matter if no Muslim lives here? It is the house of God,” they said.