While communal tensions are on an all-time high in the country, examples of communal harmony are not becoming any rare. As one of the worst cases of communal disharmony and human insensitiveness, the Dadri lynching incident has brought infamy for Uttar Pradesh. But at the same time the state capital continues to punctuate the flow of intolerance sweeping across the state. One such example can be seen in Alam Nagar area of Lucknow.
The priest of a Hanuman Temple in the area, Shyam Sunder Das, lives in a pitiable financial condition.
The temple rented out space to 30 odd shops along its boundary, but the priest alleges that for the last three years not one of them has paid their rent.
He says that the shopkeepers have made their union and do not even allow devotees to enter the temple, thereby depriving the temple off its earnings from donations. The priest told Dainik Jagran
that when he protested against the non-payment of rent, the shopkeepers thrashed him. In February this year he filed an FIR in the police station, but no action was taken.
Due to a lack of donations, the upkeep of the temple has become impossible. Funds crunch left the temple priest finding it difficult to make ends meet. It was here that Naved Akhtar stepped in.
Akhtar runs a flour mill in front of the temple. Seeing the pitiable condition of the priest and the temple, Akhtar decided to help in whichever way he could.
The priest himself praised Akhtar stating that the latter provides him with flour, oil and essential supplies so that he can eat well. He also gives the priest money for necessary upkeep of the temple.
The priest said that Akhtar’s noble deed is in sharp contrast to the way the shopkeepers at the temple treated him. Akhtar says that he will do everything for the temple and the priest as long as he can. Akhtar is a devout Muslim and offers prayers five times a day. Recalling what his father Babu Mian taught him, Akhtar says that religion is important but humanity and righteousness are above all.