In India’s Punjab, a rebuilt mosque stirs hope
By Rick Westhead
One of the most revered figures in the Sikh religion, Guru Hargobind built it for the local Muslim community at the same time as the Taj Mahal was being constructed in central India. But in 1947, the Guru Ki Maseet was ransacked and fell into disrepair after Muslims living here migrated to Pakistan following partition.
Nowadays, there are about 15 Muslim families living in Sri Hargobindpur and the closest operable mosque is an hour’s drive away.
Besides preserving what is arguably an archaeological site, the repair means Muslim families here will have a place of worship within walking distance. A Sikh foundation in the U.S. has contributed $20,000 for the project, with the Punjab state government adding another $88,000.
“I think if Gandhi could see this he would pat us on the back,” said Harjeet Bhalla, 60, president of Sri Hargobindpur’s municipal council.
“Ours is a multilingual, multi-religious country so it’s important that we do this.”
Several locals say they hope the project sends a message beyond this remote farming community.
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