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Lord Krishna takes birth in Muslim devotee’s house

KANPUR: It is a general notion that one person alone cannot change the world, but this man from Kanpur is all set to bring changes in the society. "Mandir, masjid aur shivala ne baant diya bhagwan ko, nadiya baanti, sagar baante, ab na baanto insaan ko," says S Ahmed of Kanpur, who has been celebrating Janmashtami since past 27 years. He wants to spread the message of brotherhood among all religions.

In a quest to strengthen the bond of love and togetherness between Hindus and Muslims, Ahmed celebrates all Hindu festivals like Holi and Diwali every year with his family. "I have been celebrating Janmashtami since the past 27 years. It gives me immense pleasure to do so. I keep fast and offer prayers to the Lord at midnight, which is believed to be his birth time," he said.

Ahmed, who is the principal of a municipal school, believes that religion does not teach hatred or rivalry, instead it promotes love and fraternity among people of different castes. "I have always been a firm believer in God. This is why I don't follow one religion. I celebrate Janmashtami with my family and all local friends. Around 300 people gathered here at the time of aarti, which was done by Manju Mishra, my Hindu sister."

People gather in large numbers to see Lord Krishna's in tableau set up by Ahmed. Janmashtami celebration that starts with the birth of Lord Krishna, ends with 'chhati' pooja. "On the sixth day of Janmashtami on August 23, we will organise chhati puja, followed by cultural programmes. Troupes from Mathura will perform raas-lila, while people of our society will sing bhajans and keertans to welcome the Lord. Schoolchildren will come dressed as Radha-Krishna and gopikas. Leaving religious boundaries far behind, all of us chant 'Hare Rama, Hare Krishna' mantra together," he said.

Ahmed, a resident of Barra, said that he got inspired by one of his Hindu friends in late 90s, who used to celebrate this festival with enthusiasm. He also makes sure that he distributes clothes among widows and poor from the money he gets as bank interest.

When asked if he has been criticized by Muslim community, he said that in 2010, a fatwa was issued against him. The matter was later resolved. Ahmed added that he was felicitated by former mayor Anil Kumar Sharma.
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