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HomeNationalOf Lahore’s spirit of love, Diwali, and Krishna Mandir’s head priest

Of Lahore’s spirit of love, Diwali, and Krishna Mandir’s head priest

Temple’s head pujari says despite having a temple in Mardan, he prefers to live in Lahore because of the love of its people

Krishna Mandir – named after Hindu lord of love Krishna – is standing tall for centuries in the city of Lahore, which is also known for its spirit of love.

Rajinder Singh Bedi, a famous Indian writer, who was born in Sialkot in 1915, once wrote, “عشق Ú©Û’ لیے لاہورسے بہتر دنیا میں کوئی اور جگہ نہیں,” meaning there is no place better than Lahore in the world when it comes to love. For the sake of love and his people, Kashi Ram, the head Pujari (head priest) of Krishna Mandir shifted his family from Mardan 20 years ago.

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“My hometown is Mardan. There, we also have a temple, but this city and the love of the people here is unmatchable. I am living here with my family for the last 20 years and the safety and brotherhood which I have felt here from our Muslim brothers is great,” Kashi Ram stated to Minute Mirror.

Kashi Ram’s family lives inside the Mandir and his 11-year-old son Shivam has best friends named Muhammad and Yasir.

“I am a topper of my class. My friend’s house is near and sometimes he comes to my place to play cricket or I go at his house,” Shivam told Minute Mirror.

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Shivam also decorated the streets on 12th Rabi ul Awwal and takes part in rallies.

“I love decorating my street. And I also contribute to the rally and exhibitions happening in my street,” said Shivam.

In Mardan, Kashi Ram’s family also has their own temple, but he does not prefer to live there.

“This city has given me so much love, we have so many places here in the name of Lord Krishna i.e. Krishan Nagar, Krishna streets, Ram Street, Lakshmi Chowk, etc. I never felt that I am in a strange city. People of Lahore have given me so much love that I do not want to go back to Mardan. My family celebrates all the festivals here in Lahore,” said Kashi Ram.

Diwali is a Hindu festival that symbolizes the divine victory of light over darkness. After a break of two years due to the pandemic, this year, the spirit of the festival doubled.

Kashi Ram after completing the Diwali Pooja said, “This festival of light is associated with Lakshmi who is the goddess of prosperity. Diwali is a week-long festival and its third day falls on the darkest day of our lunar month Kartik.”

Diwali is celebrated in the honour of Hindu deities Rama and Sita’s return to Ayodhya after their exile of 14 years. Along with that, on this day, Goddess Durga destroyed a demon called Mahisha. Moreover, the foundation of the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid on Diwali in 1577.

While decorating the Mandir for Diwali, Hindu Welfare Council Pakistan Chairman Dr. Munawar Chand, whose family at the time of partition chose to stay in Pakistan, said, “This temple is here even before the partition and on the occasions of Navratri, Diwali, Holi and all other festivals, our Muslim brothers come here and celebrate with us. Even the deputy commissioner and commissioner of the city make sure that we get foolproof security during our festivals.”

He pointed towards a girl named Kiran and said, “She even ties rakhi [a bracelet which a sister ties to the wrist of her brother for granting him her own protection] to all of her Muslim brothers in the street and they protect her and respect her as their own sister.”

Dr. Munawar Chand and his wife Sunita manage all the chores during the festivals. Sunita does her part with the help of female volunteers and prepares special prasad [sweets] for the devotees.

Photo by Kiran Butt

“We start the preparation weeks before any event because we have to serve the devotees a variety of non-vegetarian dishes. Even our Muslim sisters participate in this and visit us in the hours of pooja,” said Sunita.

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