Srinagar: This Sikh man, hailing from Punjab, who ekes out a livelihood by selling cloth material on pavements here, has overnight turned into a hero online, at least on the social media, which is flooded with appreciation for his gesture of communal harmony.
The other day, the Musalees aspiring to offer Salah at Syed Karam Shah (RA) Masjid at Gole Market, Karan Nagar area were about to return dejected as there was no space left for them on prayers mats anywhere not even on the main road of this busy area.
This was exactly when Swaran Singh, selling cloth on the pavement, had surprise in store for them. The old man with long flowing beard complimentarily offered fresh suit pieces out of his stock as prayer mats.
Many of the Nimazees couldnt believe their eyes that the man from another community was offering them his showcased suit pieces to be laid down on the main road. Dont worry, use it, what better can be its use than to offer prayers on it, the old man said with a smile on his face only to draw appreciation from the bystanders.
While one of the men offered him some money in return, Singh replied: This is no business. I do it to please the Almighty.
Singh, a resident of Ludhiana, has been coming to restive Kashmir during summers, for several years. I was a young man when I started coming to Kashmir to earn a livelihood. I owe a lot to the people of this land. Though media would often project a wrong picture of this place, I never found it unsafe, he told Kashmir Observer while selling cloth outside the Karan Nagar Masjid after Zuhr Salah.
This has been my favorite spot. It gives me solace to sell goods outside Masjid, where people pray to one Almighty, which is similarly true for Sikhism, Singh said.
He said over the years he discovered that by offering some of the suit pieces to Nimazees doesnt affect his business but actually brings fortune. My business has been doing well due to this and so I make it a point that no one on the road misses his prayers due to shortage of prayer mats, he said.
The Masjid Intizaamiya is all praise for the vendor. While hailing Singh, Ghulam Qadir Batloo, the President of the Masjid Intizamiya, said: This has been his contribution for several years that he is always ready to offer help to the Nimazees.
Batloo said though the Masjid has a dedicated stock of prayer mats reserved for main roads, during Ramzan ,Musalees often outnumber prayer mats.
Interestingly, Singh would have continued to be an unsung hero had popular radio station 92.7 Big FM not highlighted his story of communal harmony.
It so happened, that RJ Sameen was headed for Salah at the Masjid, when he discovered the gesture only to share the story on air, even as he clicked some pictures on smart phone, to upload them on radios social media accounts, from where it went viral. We are soon calling Mr Singh for an interview, said a source at the radio station.
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