Monkey’s death bridges religious divide: Ahmedabad

AHMEDABAD: It was a monkey known to the neighbourhood for long, eating off the hands of local residents with his abode in a dargah in one of the most communally sensitive areas of the city. When the primate fell off its tree in the dargah in Halim ni Khadki, Shahpur and succumbed to injuries on Saturday, it turned into a rare event of communal amity.

The monkey was given proper last rites by the locals — both Hindus and Muslims — after a procession. The locals chanted ‘Ram Dhun’ right outside the dargah from where it was found and from where the procession started.

“Monkeys are believed to be ‘swaroop’ (incarnation) of Lord Hanuman. It was a coincidence that the death took place on a Saturday, the day associated closely with the lord. Thus, we took it as a sign and decided to perform all the rites for the departed soul,” said Ramesh Rathod, a resident of Sadumata ni Pol, Shahpur.

Rathod and others were informed about the injured monkey in the premises of the dargah of Ladhan Saiyad Bawa in Halim ni Khadki area by the maulvi. A team of paramedics nearby checked the animal for signs of life but could not find any. Members of both the communities then joined hands to perform its last rites.

Bharat Bhavsar, another local resident, who was part of the procession, said that the monkey was bathed, wrapped in a cloth and was applied vermilion on head like the animal was part of their family. “Many joined in the procession to a nearby plot where the body was buried. We will remember the monkey as an incarnation of Lord Hanuman,” he said.

Bashir Ali Mohammad Mansuri, the maulvi at the dargah, said that everyone knows about the legend of Lord Rama and Hanuman.

“I knew of the affection the locals had towards the monkey and thus when I spotted the ape in the premises immobile on Saturday evening, I informed them at once. The group did not allow us to spend a paisa as they took it upon themselves to bid the animal a proper farewell. We also joined in as it was a noble act,” he said.