Ayodhya: Muslim Cleric Wins Panchayat Poll in Hindu-Dominated Village

Hafiz Azeemuddin is part of the only Muslim family in Rajanpur village.

Ayodhya: In an unprecedented show of brotherhood that reaffirms the syncretic soul of Ayodhya, a Muslim cleric who is part of a lone Muslim family in Hindu-dominated Rajanpur village in Ayodhya district won the gram pradhan election with a thumping margin, defeating six other candidates in the fray — all from the majority Hindu community.

Hafiz Azeemuddin, who considers the panchayat poll victory as his Eid gift, attributes his success to his Hindu brethren, who reposed faith in his leadership. This win, however small it may be, once again buried the concept of majority-minority vote-bank politics in what may be considered the symbolic epicentre of Hindutva — Ayodhya.

Azeemuddin and his 27 family members are the only Muslim voters in the village. He received 300 of the total 600 votes polled. “I am sure that of the 200 votes I secured, only 27 will be from Muslims – because in my village there are only 27 Muslim voters,” Azeemuddin told The Wire.

Rajanpur village, which comes under the Mawai police station area of Rudauli assembly constituency in Ayodhya district, has proved that bonhomie and trust between Hindus and Muslims continues to live on.

Azeemuddin is a farmer by profession and graduated from an Islamic madrasa. He also taught in a madrasa for ten years before moving on to take care of his family’s 50-bigha farm.

Reacting to this election result, where Hindu voters came together in favour of a Muslim candidate, Girish Rawat , a local, said, “This is an example of how the fabric of communal harmony is intrinsic to our society.”

“We have not voted on the base of religion, we have voted for the person who would be good for us. Despite being religious Hindus, we voted for a Muslim cleric. This shows to what extent our souls are secular,” said Shekhar Shau.

“It is a manifestation of our pluralism. It is quite obvious that our idea of a syncretic India survives despite all the odds. Let us strengthen such bonds of harmony and fraternity,” said Athar Hussain, secretary of the Ayodhya Mosque Trust.