A village that symbolizes religious harmony

Successive governments, however, have neglected this historic village



In Trehgam village of frontier district Kupwara the Grand Mosque of this hamlet shares a common yard with a Hindu temple and nearby there’s a shrine of a great sufi saint Syed Ibrahim Bukhari (RA). Symbolizing communal harmony and peaceful coexistence of different faiths, the three religious entities—Shiv temple, Grand Mosque and the Shrine—are situated in a row and in front of them a famous pond is the main source of water for almost half a dozen nearby villages.
Trehgam, popularly known as the mother of Kashmir’s resistance movement, is the birth place of Shaheed Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, who was hanged in 1984 in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. His family still lives in the village.
Situated nine kilometers from the Kupwara town, in this village religious harmony has been a unifying factor among people of different faiths. Although no Kashmiri Pandit family lives in the Village, but many of them revisit their roots and offer Puja in the temple from time to time.
“During the times of conflict we protected Shiv temple not for publicity but we have the same reverence for the temple as we have for the Masjid,” says a 70-year-old local resident Muhammad Khalil.
Khalil says after the Kashmiri Pandits left the Valley, there was no one to protect their place of worship. “Now sometimes Pandits come and offer Puja in the temple. They feel like in their homes,” says Khalil. “And they appreciate us for taking the temple in our own custody when there was no one around to protect it,” he says.
The 400-year-old temple nowadays is in the custody of Indian army. “If we offer Puja here it is solely because of the people of Trehgam who have protected it over the years,” says a Hindu devotee Sukwinder. “We shall never forget their contribution in protecting the temple.”
The foundation of Grand Masjid near centuries-old Shiv temple was laid by Syed Ibrahim Bukhari (RA), who is believed to have come from Middle East along with Mir Syed Ali bin Shahab-ud-Din Hamadani (RA) via Hindu Kush Mountains. “The Grand Masjid was constructed after the temple was built. And when the Sufi saint passed away, he was laid to rest beside the Masjid,” says a local resident Abdul Aziz.
The pond is believed to be thousand year old and is currently the main source of water for almost half a dozen nearby villages. Sir Walter Lawrence in his famous book The Valley of Kashmir writes, “The pond of Trehgam indicates the utmost beauty of Kashmir.”
Villagers say the pond is a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity. “It is sacred to both Hindus and Muslims. Moreover, it is a lifeline for lakhs of people here as they are get pure water supply from the pond,” says a local resident. “Its water is also used to irrigate thousands of Kanals of paddy land in times of severe water crisis. It is a blessing of Almighty Allah,” says a village farmer Abdul Jabbar.
However, the local villagers say Trehgam has always been neglected by the successive governments when it comes to its overall development. Roads are in shambles in this village. Electricity supply is negligible. The locals say due to scarcity of these basic facilities student community is the worst sufferer. “We believe we are being neglected only because this village is the birth place of Shaheed Muhammad Maqbool Bhat,” the local residents say. “We approached the district administration many times regarding the lack of basic facilities in this village but there was no improvement on ground.”

Lastupdate on : Tue, 4 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 4 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 5 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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