Ramveer Kashyap: Who Takes Care Of A Mosque He Saved In 2013 Muzaffarnagar Riots
Muzaffarnagar: We may have different religions, different languages, different coloured skin but we all belong to one human race. We all share the basic human values. Every religion teaches compassion, liberty, equality and fraternity. They all profess the divinity of the supreme creator who governs the life of every individual. While the name of this creator differs, we all worship him in one form or the other.
Ramveer Kashyap is one such person for whom religion is all about worshipping god regardless of his form or name. As a part of his religious duty, the 59-year-old mason from Muzaffarnagar’s Nanheda village is taking care of a 120-year-old mosque. He cleans the mosque at the break of dawn, lights the evening candle after sunset and even gets the structure painted before the holy month of Ramzan. During the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 when communal tensions were at their peak, Kashyap had fought everyone to save this mosque from getting demolished by rioters.
Nanheda is Jat-dominated village located some 40 odd kilometres away from Muzaffarnagar. Currently, the village has no Muslims and only a few dalits and OBCs live there. Reminiscing that fateful day, Ramveer says that his faith teaches him to respect all religions and places of worship. He informs that the village had a large number of Muslim inhabitants during the British era who migrated to Pakistan during independence. After their departure, the mosque became somewhat deserted, with occasional visitor or a passer-by offering namaz here once in a while.
Ramveer lives barely 100 metres away from the mosque. His childhood was spent playing in the vicinity of the structure. For him, it was a holy place which commanded respect. Even as a young man, he took it upon himself to take care of the mosque and since 25 years, he has discharging his duty obediently. Being a skilled mason, Ramveer easily took care of the occasional wear and tear in the structure. He spends his own money for all this and surprisingly, his family members also assist him in this task.
Ramveer’s selfless service towards the mosque has made him a respected figure in the village. Exhaulting him, the head of Nanheda village Dara Singh says it has been nearly 50 years since the last Muslim family moved out of the village. But Ramveer has ensured that the sanctity of the mosque remained intact even after the absence of worshippers. Muslims from neighbouring towns and villages are surprised when they see Ramveer, a hindu man taking care of the mosque.
In times of disharmony and communal unrest, people tend to get get swayed away by anger and distrust, forgetting basic human values. Indian culture emphasizes on tolerance and brotherhood and people like Ramveer are living examples of the fact that love and harmony can counter hate.