Kolkata: At a time when Islamophobia is rife and a video of Muslim vendors being told not to enter Hindu-dominated areas till the pandemic ends is going viral, news of Muslims coming forward to help their Hindu neighbours in Bengal’s Birbhum district is heartening.
When Shyamashis Chatterjee, a resident of Siuri city, Birbhum died on April 9 his brother Shibashish Chatterjee was troubled by how he would perform his brother’s last rites amid the lockdown.
Both Shyamashis and Shibashish were unmarried and lived together with a domestic help residing with them. Shyamashis ran a small business.
Speaking to eNewsroom Chatterjee said: “None of my relatives were able to come for my brother’s funeral because of the on-going lockdown. So, I approached my Muslim neighbour to help me in making arrangements for my brother’s last rites. He along with his son and a couple of other Muslim men came forward to help me perform the ceremony”.
Kazi Abu Badshah who helped them in their hour of need said: “We are neighbours, we reside on the same plot, how could I, not help Shibashish perform the last rites of a man who had become a friend over the years”.
Watch the video of the last rites of Shyamashis
“Shyamashis was my junior, but he was suffering from a kidney problem and was under treatment. When the doctors said that there was little hope to save him we brought him back home. The brothers are unmarried and live on their own. The lockdown prevented their relatives and friends from coming to the funeral and he was all alone. So I got my son and other men from the local Muslim community to come and help another human being,” he added.
Speaking about the incident Chatterjee said: “Given the times that we are living in such action, especially during a crisis is laudable. I shall always be grateful to my Muslim neighbours for helping me in my hour of need”.
He paused and then added: “This incident shows that humanity is alive. And it’s because of such people that the world is still surviving in such difficult times.”
Chatterjee said ever since his brother’s death Badshah and his son regularly meet him and enquire about his health and well-being.
There have been a few similar cases where people have set aside their religious beliefs to help one and another. Members of the Muslim community have come forward to perform the last rites of their Hindu neighbours in Indore and Mumbai.