Religious Harmony through Lotus Farming

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India is a vast country, with people belonging to different religions living amicably for centuries together. The rich tradition with tolerance, perseverance, plurality and assimilation keep the identity of the country intact, and civilization thriving.

Mustafa at his Lotus Farm

Now, when religion is a soft spot that everyone debates about, a group of about 30 Muslim families in Thirunavaya Village of Malappuram District in Kerala  meticulously tends lotus flowers in a pond and supply to various Hindu temples in the region for years.

Lotus cultivation

Following the age-old tradition, lotus flowers are offered to the presiding deity at the Sri Krishna temple at Guruvayur.  This pilgrimage centre, apart from others, is known for its rich privilege and customs. People following other religious practises are not allowed to enter the temple. Interestingly, the lotus flowers which are offered here are grown and picked by Muslim families.

Most of offering flowers of Guravayur temple come from of Mohammad Mustafa’s farm in Thirunavaya. Mustafa grow lotus flowers in the pond spread accross 25 acres of ‘aqua farms’. Over 400 flowers are collected on a daily basis for Guruvayur temple alone.

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Temple

Mustafa says, “There is no restriction on us in providing lotus flowers to temples. We supply flowers to temples like Thripunitara Temple, Guruvayur, Kadampurzha and various other important temples in Kerala. The temple’s managing committees have no problems so far and there is no restriction from our community as well. Everyone appreciates us for this work,”

Mustafa encourages  his friends, both Hindus and Muslims, to do lotus farming which is now a means of livelihood for many families. Majority of the farmers working there has not completed their schoolings.

However, they know the basic essence of life that all men are equal   and to differentiate religion and fanaticism.