A small village with roughly 450 residents in Jammu and Kashmir elected Chowdhary Mohammad Hussain as Panch. It was quite unusual as Hussain belongs to the only Muslim family in the Hanga village. The community, with a majority of Hindu population, elected him unopposed as the Panchayat head in the ongoing Panchayat polls which were held on December 4.
54-year-old Hussain is a Gujjar who belongs to a family of cattle rearers. He lives with his wife, five sons and a daughter-in-law in Bhelan-Kharothi village of Hanga panchayat, reported a local daily.
“The villagers asked me to contest the polls, and unanimously decided that no other person would contest so that I’m elected unopposed, quoted The Telegraph as Hussain saying.
An example of communal harmony
A local resident, Duni Chand told PTI that he knows it is bizarre in a polarized and communally driven society, but they take pride in their shared brotherhood. Hussain was chosen by the entire community unanimously as the community wanted to set an example of harmonious coexistence and fellowship in the country.
He also said that through Hussain they want to spread this message to the nation and he assures that their community will be Hussain’s backbone through thick and thin. “The narrative of polarisation and division on the name of religion has not taken away our belief that we are part of the same family. If it has not destroyed our cohesion over the period, it won’t now,” added Chand.
This bold decision of the village has set an example for the students of the village as well. The children of Bhelan village feel fortunate to be born there. They hope that this will be a huge step for rebuilding people’s faith in mutual trust and togetherness.
People’s faith-Hussain’s incentive
Hussain is overwhelmed with the kind of trust villagers have shown through the unanimous election. He has been working round-the-clock for the betterment of his village and to solve all the issue that the village has been facing.
“We have been living in complete harmony and they never let me feel that I am the only Muslim living in their village”, said Hussain reported, The Indian Express. He adds that he feels indebted to the villagers and to their love and support to give him this opportunity unopposed.
Hussain’s top priority is the road connectivity to the village. “I will not only try my best to live up to their expectations but also would go an extra mile to do whatever possible”, he added.
With the never-ending conflicts of Jammu and Kashmir where thousands of people have lost their lives over communal issues, this village’s decision is a bold step and a message to the nation. The Logical Indian applauds the community’s humble decision and their effort to re-establish the fading secularity of the country.