Ranthambore: Famous as one of India's finest tiger sanctuaries, Ranthambore is now also a shining example of India's secular traditions after a Muslim industrialist took the initiative to renovate and rebuild a Hindu temple that was in a dilapidated condition for years.
The Ganesh Dham temple on the periphery of the Ranthambore tiger reserve was in ruins till last year. But when Mumbai-based Muslim industrialist, Ashik Ali Nathani saw its terrible condition, he was inspired to revamp the temple as a means to promote communal harmony.
"It was Ganpati Bappa and our 33 crore deities who inspired me. Through their help and the blessings of Allah, I've been able to accomplish this mission. I don't see any difference between a temple and mosque, they are all places of worship," said Ashik Ali Nathani.
Even though, some purists attacked the move as promoting idol worship which is prohibited under Islam, Nathani refused to budge and employed some of the finest artisans and spent over Rs two crore to restore the temple.
And his deed has brought him accolades from all those who have come to know of his work.
"From a humanist viewpoint and to promote goodwill among Hindus and Muslims, he has set a really special example for us," said one person, while the other said, "From his work, we need to learn that Hindus and Muslims are one and we should never fight among ourselves."
Now enthused by this positive response Nathani has also promised to open a school and a hospital to serve people in this area.
The whole event is a reflection of the deep roots of India's composite culture. And no matter what efforts are made to polarise communities, this temple will now inspire generations to build bonds of brotherhood beyond religious boundaries.