Two Sikh men went out of their way to make sure their Muslim employees got their bonuses before Eid al-Fitr, despite riot-induced curfew getting in the way.
The city of Saharanpur in northern India has been struggling for a long time with undercurrents of tension between the Muslim and the Sikh populations. Many believe that this is due to the demolition of the Babri Mosque, in 1991, after a complicated land dispute between Guru Singh Sabha and former councillor Moharram Ali Pappu. The anger has continued to this very day, and it often leads to violence and destruction. In fact just a few days ago a wild riot left three people dead, and countless others injured. There are many that fear for their lives, and sadly Saharanpur has gained a reputation for being a dangerous city.
However, there are many that argue that the dispute was between two men, and not two religions.
One Sikh family, who own a business in Saharanpur that mainly employs Muslim workers, has made it quite clear that they consider the people around them to be just that: people. Raghubeer Singh and Prabhjot Singh, an uncle and nephew, knew that it was important for their workers to receive their pay – and their bonuses – before Eid al-Fitr, the important Muslim festival that is the highlight of the year. However, due to the curfews that were currently in place in Saharanpur, it was impossible for them to go to the bank and withdraw the money.
But the Singhs did not give up, and personally borrowed money from their friends in order to pay their workers. They also rang around all of those that they employed, and made sure that they knew to come to the factory during the safe hours to collect their money. Many believe that this act of good will and simple humanity contributed to the time of peace over Eid al-Fitr in the town of Saharanpur.