Muslim mason sculpts shrines for Bangladesh’s Hindu lifeless | Latest News Table

Muslim mason sculpts shrines for Bangladesh’s Hindu lifeless

A Muslim artisan has devoted his skills to shepherding the lifeless amongst Bangladesh’s Hindu minority alongside a peaceable journey to the subsequent life.

Taher Ali Khan has crafted hundreds of shrines to departed family members across the tranquil grounds of Barisal Mahashashan, the nation’s largest Hindu crematorium.

The religious mason prays 5 occasions a day and adheres to all of the precepts of the Islamic religion, however has usually discovered himself keeping off criticism from individuals who query his calling.

“My prophet mentioned to search out bread by sincere work. And he suggested us to chorus from stealing, hurting others or committing any crimes,” Khan, 60, advised the AFP information company.

“I work right here setting up tombs,” he added. “I don’t see something that may jeopardise my faith.”

Taher Ali Khan posing for an image on the Barisal Mahashashan Hindu crematorium floor [Munir Uz Zaman/AFP]

Hindus account for about 10 p.c of the majority-Muslim nation’s 169 million folks and are nicely represented in politics, enterprise and the civil service.

However their numbers have dwindled from roughly 1 / 4 of the inhabitants in 1947, when hundreds of thousands of Hindus and Muslims fled to India and Pakistan respectively after the partition of the subcontinent into two separate nations alongside non secular strains.

One other mass exodus coincided with the nine-month Bangladesh warfare of independence in 1971.

Information of the current non secular violence, wherein at the least six folks together with two Hindus had been killed, upset Khan, who spent the next days calling on Hindu buddies to ask about their security.

“I contemplate Hindus to be my brothers and sisters,” he says.

“They love me due to my work. I pour my coronary heart out into setting up tombs as a result of everybody desires to construct one thing lovely for his or her lifeless.”

Taher Ali Khan, proper, engaged on a tomb on the Barisal Mahashashan Hindu crematorium floor [Munir Uz Zaman/AFP]

Khan spends most of his time on the crematorium, labouring away at ornate samadhi shrines that crisscross the grounds across the funeral pyre.

The extra humble monuments are small and unassuming concrete slabs, comparable in model to Western tombstones, with ashes from the lifeless buried beneath.

The biggest are elaborate, multitiered edifices with vibrant spires that tower over the small man-made pond that greets guests on the graveyard’s entrance, which might promote for as much as 250,000 taka ($3,000).

“If I construct a lovely Samadhi for the lifeless, it provides me huge satisfaction,” he says. “I really feel like I’ve completed one thing to assist them really feel good and to mourn their lifeless nicely.”

Khan discovered his commerce 35 years in the past and by his estimation has constructed greater than 10,000 samadhis within the time since – most of these round Barisal crematorium are his handiwork.

“Have a look at this lovely one,” he says, gesturing at one of many shrines throughout a tour of the graveyard.

“The household needed one thing lovely for his or her younger boy, who died instantly. I did it with all my love and care.”

Khan spends most of his time on the crematorium, labouring away at ornate samadhi shrines [Munir Uz Zaman/AFP]

His work is in excessive demand from Hindus dwelling in Barisal and from far-flung farming communities across the southern river port.

“It doesn’t matter whether or not he’s a Muslim, he does a stable job,” mentioned Gouranga Das, who got here to the grounds to cremate his mom and once more search Khan’s companies.

“He made my grandfather’s tomb and it was very good.”

Yearly in the course of the Bhoot Chaturdashi competition, when Hindu worshippers honour their lifeless by adorning samadhis with candles, he receives dozens of invites to commemorate family members.

After spending greater than half his life working at Barisal Mahashashan, its house owners additionally contemplate him household, despite the fact that he nonetheless nominally works as a freelancer.

“Folks come to him for setting up tombstones for his or her family members as he’s the most effective,” mentioned Tamal Malakar, the crematorium’s basic secretary.

“We love him and his work.”

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