Syed Sujeel Ahmed | India Tomorrow
BENGALURU—HGM Basha, a Muslim, has donated 1.5 guntas of land worth about Rs. 1 crore to a Hindu temple on the outskirts of Bengaluru, setting an example of compassion and tolerance, amidst an atmosphere of communal tension and hatred caused by some political outfits all over the country.
Sixty five-year-old Basha, speaking to India Tomorrow, said that he owns about three acres of land at Valagerepura gate in Hoskote Taluka, on the outskirts of Bengaluru, along the old highway of Bengaluru-Madras.
While visiting his land some six months back, he noticed that due to congested space, Hindu women and girls were circumambulating (Hindu ritual of making rounds in a circle around the deity) with much difficulty around the Hanuman temple located adjacent to his land.
Moved by the difficulty faced by the Hindu worshippers of the temple, Basha thought of donating a portion of his land to the temple to make it convenient for the worshippers to circumambulate.
With this intention, Basha approached members of Veeranjaneyaswami Devalaya Seva Trust that runs the temple, explaining his intent.
But Basha got a negative response as the trustees were not keen on revamping the temple due to lack of funds even if Basha had gifted them the land.
However, after a month of Basha’s proposal, the trustees changed their mind and decided to approach Basha with the temple expansion plan.
Basha was informed about the expansion plan in a gathering of about 2000 Hindu villagers called by the trustees. The trustees requested Basha to allocate about 1 gunta (1100 square feet) of land for expansion of the temple. To the shock of the gathering, Basha responded with a bigger offer and said, “Not one gunta, I would donate 1.5 guntas (1650 square feet) of land for the temple.”
The offer was met with skepticism by the gathering as they asked Basha, “You are a Muslim and you want to donate so much of land for a Hindu temple without any expectation?” To the query Basha confirmed saying, “I am a Muslim, and I am committed to what I have told.” He further told them, “Let me know if you need any other help in the construction activities.” Basha, a resident of Kadgudi area around IT hub of Bengaluru, prefixes his name with HGM – an abbreviation of the name of a local Sufi saint Hazrat Mardan-e-Gaib.
When asked about his intentions of such a largesse to a temple, he replied, “My intention was first to help the worshipers ease their difficulty. I also thought it would help build better relations with people of Hindu faith in the present environment of hate and mistrust.” Basha further emphasized that he wanted to make it known to the people of Hindu faith that “the Muslims do not believe in destructing places of worship of other faiths, rather Muslim help them in building such places and maintaining good relations with the people of other faiths.”
President of Veeranjaneyaswami Devalaya Seva Trust, Byre Gowda, while speaking to India Tomorrow said, “Due to road widening, space around the temple had shrunk. It is then that Basha approached us with his offer about 6-7 months back.”
Gowda further added, “We feel good and proud of his donation and put his picture on the board at the temple site which is under construction. After we put the board with his picture few weeks back, mediapersons started contacting us.”
Gowda informed that, “Basha was not in favour of putting his picture on the board but we convinced him saying that we wanted to inform our community that Muslims are not like how they are being projected currently in our country.”
This is not the first time that Basha has shown his generosity. Earlier too, he has donated land to a mosque and Muslim graveyard at the outskirts of Bengaluru.
Though Basha is uneducated but his two sons and a daughter are educated. His sons are engineering graduates and daughter a commerce graduate. “All of them are working in MNCs as managers”, Basha said.
Basha, who provides earthmoving equipment on rent, says, currently, he is out of business due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and suffered heavy losses.