Communal harmony and the joy of giving are best depicted during Id and the holy month of Ramzan in Bidar.
This border district that lies at the heart of the multi-cultural Deccan, has been adopting practices that showcase religious accord.
Among its rich traditions are of non-Muslims donating generously to agencies that collect Zakat/ Khairat or Sadkha amounts (a form of alms-giving in Islam). Merchants associations collect grain or vegetables, clothes or consumer goods, to distribute among the poor, while Iftar parties are organised by members of various communities.
“Members of Brahmin, Lingayat Maratha, Vaishya, Christian, Sikh and other communities show their commitment to communal harmony by expressing solidarity with us and sharing our joy,” says Quazi Alioddin, a writer.
Traditional business families like the Sambayya Bachcha group and the Gada family donate grains, dates and other materials; trader Baburao Lakshman has been supplying slippers; B.B. Pasare has been giving away clothes; the Halwai family has been distributing sweets.
The Patwari family has been gifting items like combs, mirrors and soaps. Christian community leaders such as Philomen Raj donate money to charity during Ramzan.
Hosting Iftars is a popular practice here. Manpreet Singh Khanuja, Bidar-based businessman, has been holding Iftar dinners for a decade now. “Invitees include our workers, friends and acquaintances — both Muslim and non-Muslim. We make it a point to keep it non-political,” says Mr. Singh, who is among the young Sikh leaders in the district.
The Teertha family from Hallikhed-B also regularly holds Iftars. “We also allow the faithful to pray on our premises. This has been the family tradition since 2003,” says Gundaiah Teertha, principal of the Basava Teertha Vidyapeetha school.
“Such practices have been in existence for several centuries here. This demonstrates the deep-rooted oneness of humanity,” says Moulana Fahimuddin, a religious scholar.