Lucknow – an Example of Harmony for the World to Emulate?
Muslims stand outside a Hindu temple during a Hindu festival and hand out flowers and water to Hindus as they enter. Hindus do the same for Muslims during Muharram, one of the four sacred months of the year for Muslims.
How do these Muslims and Hindus get along so well?
These days when the world seems to be divided into factions that just can’t seem to get along, we tend to think that conflict is inevitable and that we’ll never be able to reconcile our differences.
Then you read about Lucknow, India, and optimism raises its head when you read that the population of 3.3 million which is 70% Hindu and almost 30% Muslim has never had any major problems between the two groups.
Lucknow was ruled by Nawabs, or Muslim monarchs, who were generally committed to the principle of secular government. Many Nawabs appointed Hindu officials and built Hindu temples. In fact Nawab Asaf-ad-Daula supposedly once said that his left eye was Muslim and his right was Hindu.
One of the main reasons for the historical harmony between both groups is probably a by-product of the economic integration of the communities. Since both groups worked in the same industries, any violence would put both groups out of work – at least temporarily.
Today, both Muslim and Hindu individuals often replace their greeting of salaam alaikum (Musliml) or namaste (Hindu) with aadaab which means respect.
The harmonious Hindu-Muslim culture, known as Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, of Lucknow is a wonderful example of co-existence.
Can we all take this example to heart and live in peace with each other? One can only hope.