Amid Row Over Mosque Loudspeakers, M'rashtra Village Passes Resolution to Keep Them
Maharashtra has garnered national attention in the last few weeks over the issue of loudspeakers in mosques. The issue became politicised after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray declared in a rally earlier this month that if mosque loudspeakers were not pulled down by May 3, his party would play Hanuman Chalisa in front of the mosques. May 3 is the date of Eid al-Fitr this year.
Thackeray's statement saw reactions from multiple corners of the state, with many organisations protesting against the MNS chief's communal politics.
Amid all this, Dhasla Pirwadi panchayat, under the Badnapur tehsil of the Jalna district in Marathwada, passed a unanimous resolution on April 24 in gram sabha to keep having mosque loudspeakers. The villagers declared that Azaan has become an essential part of their lifestyle.
Dhasla Pirwadi is a group gram panchayat formed with the union of two villages- Dhasla and Pirwadi. While Dhasla has a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims, Pirwadi is predominantly a Hindu village. The word pir in Pirwadi translates to a saint. All nine members of the panchayat body were present during the gram sabha meeting when the decision was taken to maintain peace and harmony in both the villages.
"The Azaan time is like an alarm bell for us. All of our daily activities are linked with it. This is not about religion. It is a part of our lives," said Ram Patil, sarpanch of Dhasla Pirwadi.
A panchayat member Kailas Pache explained it in detail.
"Villagers wake up and start their work with the morning Azaan. In the afternoon, people working on their farms stop for lunch breaks when they hear the Azaan. Similarly, workers call it a day when they hear the evening Azaan. At around 8:30 pm, villagers have their dinner after the Azaan call and proceed to sleep."
Another villager Ashok Naik told NewsClick that the decibel levels of the loudspeakers are as per the law.
"The village mosque has also taken permission for the loudspeaker, and it is legal. So, nothing could provoke unnecessary tension in the village with Azaan," said Naik.
The villagers also narrated how they celebrate all festivals and respect each other's beliefs.
"Be it Eid, Ganesh Chaturthi or Diwali; all the villagers celebrate them together. We do not discriminate against people on the line of religion or caste. Ultimately, everyone worships their god, and we respect their prayers," said Maulana Gulzar Beg Mirza.
Social organisations and political leaders have lauded the stance taken by Dhasla and Pirwadi villagers. Jalna guardian minister Rajesh Tope said that the Dhasla Pirwadi panchayat has set an example that reflects the proud tradition of unity of Marathwada.
"Our land (Marathwada) is a land of saints. They taught us to be united and not discriminate against people. Dhasla and Pirwadi villagers have shown that they believe in unity and peace against all the noise of communalism. I am sure this model will be reciprocated all over the state, and people will reject the call of communalism unitedly," said Tope.
Meanwhile, the state government held an all-party meeting in Mumbai on Monday, April 25, to discuss the issue of loudspeakers. The main opposition, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), boycotted the meeting. It was decided in the meeting that the state would leave it to the Supreme Court to deal with the issue of loudspeakers. The state government would also convey to the Central government, asking it to develop a policy regarding loudspeakers.
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