While the rest of country may fight it out over what stands as nationalism and religious tolerance, here is an example set by Punjabi University in Patiala, Punjab, from which people can learn a lesson or two.
The varsity is set to examine and digitise a century-old printed copy of Quran which is written in Punjabi, as per a report by Indian Express.
The rare copy was found by Subash Parihar, a prominent historian who retired from the Museology Department of Central University of Punjab. It was printed way back in 1911. Parihar calls it the best example of Hindu-Muslim-Sikh goodwill.
However, what makes it uniquely special is not its date but the interesting story behind it.
- The copy, which was printed in April 1911, was translated into Gurmukhi from Arabic by Sant Vaidya Gurdit Singh Alomhari, a Nirmala Sikh (a sect of Sikhism devoted to literature) with an aim to spread the message of Quran to Hindus and Sikhs living in Punjab.
- The translation costs were borne by two Hindus – Bhagat Buddhamal Aadatli Mevjat and Vaidya Bhagat Guranditta Mal – and a Sikh named Sardar Mela Singh Attar Wazirabad.
- At least 1,000 copies of it were printed by another Sikh named as Budh Singh of Gurmat Press in Amritsar.
- The original owner of probably the last remaining copy was Sardar Jhanda Singh ‘Aarif’, a poet from Kotkapura. After his death, his son Natha Singh kept it safely with him for decades.
- Natha Singh later gave it to a Muslim man named Noor Mohammad.
- When historian Subash Parihar read about the copy in an encyclopedia, he approached Mohammad who readily gave it to him because it was for a literary assignment.
- The text has 786 pages, a number which is considered auspicious in Sufi Islam.