A Muslim care taker of a temple in Budgam
After migration of Kashmiri Hindus, hundreds of Hindu religious places got damaged and most of them wear a deserted look today. But there are some places where minority community not only preserved and protected these religious places but continued the practice of rituals also.Gulzar Ahmed , a local resident of Budgam has set a unique example by ttaking care of the shiv Mandir located in Budgam town of central Kashmir.This temple too would have been in a bad shape like hundreds of other temples of Kashmir valley which remained un attended after the migration of Kashmiri pandits in early nineties . Gulzar Ahmed of Budgam , a laborer by profession has been taking care of this temple for last twenty five years. After offering morning prayers in a local mosque Gulzar Ahmed arrives at the temple and cleans it. Not only this, he makes it sure that he reaches the temple at dusk ”Sandhya samay” and lits a lamp “deep’ here. Although Gulzar Ahmed is not financially self sufficient as the income generated by toiling hard during the day hardly makes his both ends meet, However he doesn’t charge anything as a care taker of the temple” I come here regularly. I had promised my Pandit brethren that I will take care of the temple in their absence. This gives me immense pleasure as I have been fulfilling my promise’ Says gulzar. A very few Kashmir pandit families who reside in the same district are all the praise for Gulzar Ahmed. A Local Kashmir pandit Ashok Ji who runs a medical shop in the town says that the gesture of Gulzar symbolizes the old tradition of communal harmony of the land of Rishis.” This is what the sufis and saints have been teaching us , Kashmiri pandits and Muslims lived like brothers and would help each other whenever it was needed. Says Ashok Ji. . Although there has been gap between the communities after migration of Kashmiri Pandits, the spiriti of communal harmony is still deep embedded in the hearts and minds of Kashmiri which brings a hope that reunion people of Kashmir is possible in future.