On Ganesh Chaturthi, 25-year-old Azeem Khan, an event planner from Nagpur, like all Hindus, with all enthusiasm, welcomed Ganpati Bappa at his office in Bharat Nagar, Nagpur. Azeem is hosting the Ganpati celebrations for five days at his office. Needless to say, this act of breaking religious barriers is earning him praises from people who know him.
Speaking to Nation Next, Azeem says, “The intention is to spread multicultural values and instill a feeling of oneness in the society. During the Eid celebrations at my place, even my non-Muslim friends join us for the celebrations with enthusiasm. They keep waiting for Eid so that they come to eat Biryani at my house! So why can’t I celebrate Ganpati festival?” Azeem adds, “We have a staff of 18 people at our office. 90% of them are non-Muslims. I wanted my colleagues to enjoy the festival to the fullest. During these five days, we will be performing the Ganpati Aarti two times a day and we will also be enjoying a lot through various fun games and competitions at our office.”
While Azeem was praised by many for breaking religious barriers, there are a few detractors as well, who think that, being a Muslim, he shouldn’t celebrate a Hindu festival. Azeem says, “I don’t care what people say and think. There were a few people from my community who tried to demotivate me but I made them understand what I felt. And, they understood! We are human beings first and these things are a matter of faith and love.”
Fortunately, Azeem’s family is also very open-minded. After doing the Ganesh Sthapana at his office, Azeem, fearing that his family might not approve of his decision, did not tell about it to his parents for two days. When he finally confronted his father Dr Nadeem Khan, he was really supportive. Azeem says, “My father was really happy when I told him. He is a poet so he told me that he will write something on Lord Ganesha.”