Special Reports

Muslim keeper of ancient temples

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Kolkata: While the country was waiting for the Ayodhya verdict, a Muslim in West Bengal has made it his life's mission to protect a group of 30 medieval temples. Yasin Pathan of Patra village in West Midnapore is a peon at a local school, he devoted all his spare time, since 1971, to protect this cluster of 30 temples that are at least 300-years-old.

Pathan says that most Hindus, Muslims and Adivasis of the village want him to work with the temples. However, there are some Hindu and Muslim fundamental elements who say leave the temples alone, go away. But I have not succumbed.

Pathan's unique mission earned him the President's Kabir Award for communal harmony in 1994. Though, he's been diagnosed with cardiac trouble he has no money for treatment. However, nothing can take away his sense of achievement. In 2003, at Pathan's persuasion, the Archeological Survey of India took over the temples and recently sanctioned Rs. four and a half crores for his beloved monuments.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 October 2010 on page no. 17

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