Nestled in a narrow bylane in the Muslim-dominated locality of Mohatsimganj here, the Saraswati Puja at Suraradhana Sangeet Vidyalaya has been a symbol of communal harmony and bonhomie with both Hindus and Muslims eagerly looking forward to the annual festival.
The over-a-decade-old puja, near the Civil Lines bus station in this city in Uttar Pradesh, draws the young and the old from both communities.
"The atmosphere is absolutely good and lively," said Moazzam Raza, a hafiz at Badi Masjid Mohatsimganj, just a stone's throw from the music school.
Seventy-year-old Naseeruddin, who runs a salon below the mosque, said, "I have been witnessing the Saraswati Puja for over a decade, and it is one of the joyous occasion that children in the locality look forward to."
He said that people belonging to both communities have been living in the area peacefully. It remained peaceful even when large parts of the country witnessed communal violence in the wake of the demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya in 1992, he said.
Anjan Ghosh, one of the organisers, said the puja at Suraradhana Sangeet Vidyalaya started in 1995.
The puja also draws people from far flung areas of Allahabad, he said. Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge and learning.
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