A Bihar village where Hindus maintain centuries-old mosque

Patna: In the village of Madhi, in Nalanda district of Bihar, there are Hindus who quietly manage a mosque and conduct its regular prayers even though the village is now virtually empty of Muslim residents who have all migrated to other parts of the country.

The village also celebrates Hindu and Muslim festivals together in keeping with the country's traditional syncretic culture.

The Maadhi village situated 100 km from here and conaining just 1,200 household, once known for its large Shia Muslim population, has no Muslims now, but namaz is offered here five times a day by the Hindus.

The Hindus also take care of the maintenance of the lone mosque. "We (Hindus) don't know the 'azaan', but a pen drive (with a recording of the azaan) is played every day to perform the ritual," said Hans Kumar, a village resident.

According to the villagers, Maadhi once had a sizeable Muslim population, but people from here gradually went away for better opportunities. "There was no one to take care of the mosque, so the Hindus had to come forward," said Gautam, who takes care of the mosque.

Gautam said no one knows when the mosque was constructed and by whom, but local residents say on the basis of folklore that the mosque is 200 to 250 years old.

There is also a tomb in front of the mosque where people offer prayers. "The mosque is cleaned and prayers are offered every morning and evening.

Whenever there is a problem, people come here for redressal," said Janki Pandit, the village priest. After a wedding, even newly-wed couples come here first to take blessings, said a villager.

By Manoj Pathak