Religions

Hindu families in Rajasthan villages fast during Ramzan

June 21, 2017 10:19 PM
Nakoda Temple in Barmer, Rajasthan

Jaipur: In the times when heighten tensions between India and Pakistan are talked about, villages situated on India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan continue to observe syncretic traditions and spread religious harmony across border. 

Fasts are mostly observed by Meghwal community, who call themselves followers of Pir Pithora, a Rajput saint whose shrine is located in Pakistan’s Sindh province. 

Many Hindu families living in Barmer and Jaisalmer district situated alongside of 2,500 km Indo-Pak border observe 'roza' fasts during the holy month of Ramzan.

Fasts are mostly observed by Meghwal community, who call themselves followers of Pir Pithora, a Rajput saint whose shrine is located in Pakistan’s Sindh province. For an outsider it is hard to differentiate between Muslims and Hindus during Ramzan month.

 However not making it a compulsion, some observe for a week some for two weeks and some for even five days. They observe roza, and at the time of iftar (opening of fast), they turn their faces towards the west (a symbolic direction for mecca) and offer prayers.

Megh Ram Gadhveer, an Associate professor of History at JNVU Jodhpur, who is observing rozas from last three decades told DH, "We are the followers of Saint Pir Pathora who himself was a follower of Baha-ud-Din Zakariya, who is buried in Multan. Some also observe Ramzan because they follow Jaitaan - a muslim female saint who is now buried in Multan." The practice is quite common among refugees who arrived in India during the wars of 1965 and 1971 and are now wide spread in border villages of Godhad Ka Tala, Rabasar, Sata, Sinhania, Bakhasar, Kelnore and many more.

However Gadhveer points out that there is decline in Hindus over the years who observe rozas. "Since we can't force our new generation and the feeling should come within, “he added. Sharaha Ram, a local hindu priest shares, "Observing fasts in Ramzan brings us closer to our Pir who is buried in Sindh. Fasting also helps to cleanseour body and soul. Also the experience is serene to observe both religions closely."

Sociologists call such practices an important part of culture in bringing two religions and countries close. "Nowadays we hear about unfortunate incidence such as cow vigilantism and Lynching especially with reference to Rajasthan. Such rituals are needed to bring down rising intolerance in our society", said Asha Sharma, a sociologist.

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