Representational image. Hazarat Mehaboob Subani Darga in a Karnataka village truly represents the secular traditions of India as it is built on a land donated by Hindus
While usually prayers are offered in the masjid in Urdu or Arabic, a mosque in a village in Karnataka conveys the message of God in the local language, that is Kannada.
This practice has been going on for nearly 150 years as Muslims in Chikkabbar village of Haveri district, Karnataka offer prayers in Kannada instead of Arabic or Urdu. The place where this is followed is the Hazarat Mehaboob Subani Darga.
There are nearly 400 families staying in the village. Majority of these residents can speak and understand Kannada only – their mother tongue and they don’t know Arabic or Urdu. Keeping in mind this fact, the Maulvi addresses the faithful in their own tongue that is Kannada.
Even though many children have started learning Urdu in schools in the last 10 years, Kannada still is the lingua franca and thus prayers are conducted in this language. The signboards in the mosque too are in Kannada.
Talking to the media, the present Maulvi Mohammad Peeransab observed: “Language is not the important factor here. It is the meaning of the prayer and understanding the essence of the teachings. Earlier Maulvis also taught in Kannada and I have continued the same.”
Making the same point, Hussenssab Billalli of the Anjuman Islam committee that is in charge of the religious place remarked: “If people can’t understand a language, there is no point in having prayer meet in it. They would definitely not follow. Even the uneducated ones in the community can follow the religious practices in Kannada. Over the years, the bond between the people have only grown closer.”
With the prayers being offered in Kannada, many other local residents too are able to hear and understand them. Sharing this, Sharanappa, a resident of the village said: “First time when I actually paid attention and listened to what the Maulvi was saying on the loudspeaker, I was shocked. This is exactly what Hindu Gods also say. I realized then, that every religion teaches the same.”
There is another interesting fact about this mosque. The land for its construction was donated by one of the Hindu families from the village three generations ago. Displaying harmony, the residents of this village have been living in peace for years and generations and take part in each other’s festivals.