Arshad Afzaal Khan
AYODHYA—In an unprecedented show of brotherhood that reaffirms the syncretic soul of Ayodhya, the member of a lone Muslim family and a Muslim cleric in Hindu-dominated Rajanpur village in Ayodhya district won the ‘gram pradhan’(village head) election by a thumping margin, defeating six other candidates in the fray — all from the majority Hindu community.
Hafiz Azeemuddin, who considers the panchayat poll victory as his ‘Eid gift’, attributes his success to his Hindu brethren, who reposed faith in his leadership. This win, however small it may be, once again buried the concept of majority-minority vote-bank politics in India’s epicentre of Hindutva, the Ayodhya.
Hafiz Azeemuddin , a Muslim cleric anda resident of Rajanpur village in Ayodhya district, where only he and his 27 family members are the Muslim voters, won the election for village pradhan in Hindu- dominated village defeating six of his rival Hindu candidates where he secured highest 300 votes, out of 600 voters.
The village is identified as one of the hub of non-Muslim electorates. The election of Hafiz Azeemuddin as village head of Rajanpur village under Mawai police station area of Rudauli assembly constituency of Ayodhya district, has proved that the bonding of love and beliefs between Hindus and Muslims is unbreakable as the majority of Hindu electorates chose a Muslim cleric as their village Pradhan.
A farmer by profession and passout of Islamic Madarsa having the degree of Hafiz and Aalim, Azeemuddin, who taught for 10 years in a ‘madrasa’, is back in his family’s traditional business of farming, harvesting crops including cereals, vegetables and fruits in his 50 bighas farm.
Reacting over this election result, where Hindu polarization was done in favour of Muslim, Girish Rawat, a local, said, “This is the example of how strong is the communal harmony in our society.”
“We have not voted on the base of religion. We have voted whom we thought is good for us, and we being a staunch Hindu elected a Muslim cleric as our head, is proof of our being secular and liberal,” said Shekhar Shau, another village resident.
“It is a manifestation of our pluralism. Quite obvious that our idea of a syncretic India survives despite all the odds. Let us strengthen such bonds of harmony and fraternity,” reacted Athar Hussain, secretary of the Ayodhya Mosque Trust.
“I am sure that in 300 votes that I secured, only 27 will be from Muslims, because in my village there are only 27 Muslim voters. The rest of the votes have been polled by Hindu voters in my favour,” said Hafiz Azeemuddin.