When was the last time you picked up the newspaper and did not read any bad news? But, good deeds happen every day. Deeds that restore our faith in humanity and prove why we still live in a beautiful country.
A similar story comes to us from up north, in Kashmir, where people from all faiths united at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Srinagar to ring the bell for the first time in 50 years!
The church was established in 1896 and was part of an arson attack in 1967, which left the original church bell damaged. But now, after 50 years, the church finally got a new bell, courtesy of a local Christian family.
The bell, weighing 105 kgs, was brought from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesha and inaugurated on Sunday, 29th October.
The most important part of the function was that people from all faiths were present to ring the new bell, together.
The church released a statement that read:
“By this assembly of different faiths, the church in Kashmir wants to share its joy with people of all communities. It wants to give out the message to all communities that human race is one and questions of minority and majority are only a matter of numbers, while harmonious co-existence of all creation is the fundamental truth of life and more so in Kashmir.”
Sydney Mark Rath, an organiser of the event, told The Wire, “Our intention of inviting people from different faiths was to share our joy with the whole community. We might be a small community but at the end of the day, we are all Kashmiris here and have been living in harmony with people of other faiths without any problems for the past several decades.”
While Manzoor Ahmad Malik, representing the local Muslim community in the ceremony, said, “We want to send out a message of peace and communal harmony to the world as many misconceptions are being spread about Kashmiri people. People from all faiths have been living in harmony with Kashmiri Muslims for ages.”
“We all want Kashmiri Pandits to come back here and live like we used to earlier. Many Kashmiri Pandits who didn’t leave the Valley in the 1990s are living in peace among their Kashmiri Muslim neighbours here,” he added.
Father Matthews, the head priest, told the Wire, “We have been living in the Valley in harmony with people of all other faiths. We wanted to tell everyone that we, as people, are one in Kashmir no matter what our belief or faith is. This message of communal harmony and oneness of Kashmiris – irrespective of their faiths – should go out to the world.”
This beautiful gesture transcended all religions. In a small corner of Kashmir, people of different faiths united to restore the faith in humanity. Let’s hope their message is heard the world over.