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Ibadatkhana — Promoting Interfaith Harmony, One Event At A Time

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Justice Katju writes about Ibatdatkhana function, an event where Muslim, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs living in US and Canada would be brought together to mark their religious festivals under one roof. It would help strengthen interfaith harmony in the community.
A historical meeting was held on Tuesday in Mirchi Cafe, Fremont Blvd, Fremont, California, attended by several non-residential Indians (NRIs) and myself.
The occasion for the meeting was this: 27th October is Diwali, 10th November is Eid un Nabi or Eid al Milad (birthday of the Prophet Mohammed), 12th November is Gurpurab (birthday of Guru Nanak ), and 25th December is Christmas.

The Indian community in Dallas, Texas decided to hold Eid-Diwali Milan on 9th November, and that gave me the idea that people in the Bay Area of California (where I am presently located) can also have a similar event, but including celebration of Gurupurab and Christmas too (though in advance).
So I conveyed my idea to several people here, who were thrilled by it. Consequently they decided to hold a preparatory meeting to discuss the proposal.
A meeting lasting about 2 hours was held on Tuesday in Mirchi Cafe, with participants discussing the idea enthusiastically.
It was decided that the name of the event will be ‘Ibadatatkhana function’ and it will be held annually. NRIs, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis all over USA and Canada are requested to hold it in every city annually.
This year, following the lead given by the Dallas NRI community, it will be held on 9th November (Saturday), and we appeal to NRIs, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in all cities in North America to do the same on that date.
For the Bay Area, it was decided that the Chairman of the committee for preparing the function will be Tasawwar Jalali (email [email protected] ), who is a Kashmiri and lives in San Jose. The participants in the meeting, and any others co-opted by Tasawwar, will be members of the Executive Committee.
The word ‘Ibadatkhana’ was the name of the House of Worship constructed by the great Emperor Akbar in Fatehpur Sikri (see online), where people of different religions presented their views amicably and rationally. In the Ibadatkhana function, we plan to hold a morning session (starting at 10 or 11 AM) in which speakers of different religions will explain how their religion contributed to benefit the mankind. Thereafter, there will be a community lunch, followed by a cultural programme.
Copies of my article ‘Emperor Akbar, the real Father of the Indian Nation’ ( available online and on my blog Satyam Bruyat) will be distributed to all. The purpose of the function is to contribute to world peace by spreading the message of religious amity.
I suggested in the meeting that the community lunch be vegetarian, following the example of the Ajmer Dargah Sharif, which Emperor Akbar used to visit regularly. Though the Dargah is managed by Muslims, the meals served there (cooked in huge vessels which were donations of the Mughal Emperors) are always vegetarian out of respect for the large number of Hindu devotees, many of whom may be vegetarian.
People of all religions are requested to participate, and send their valuable suggestions to Tasawwur, on his email ID mentioned above.
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