Muslim devotee of Ganesh keeps promise
MUMBAI: Jaffar H Khan (60) will celebrate twice over on Saturday. The railway employee, a devout Muslim who fasts every Ramzan has, at the same time, organised a Ganpati puja at Malad station for most of his service tenure. This will be the first puja after his retirement on June 30, but things have not changed for the elephant god's Muslim fan as Ganesh Chaturthi and Eid coincide.
Contributions from station staff have already poured in and on Friday, Khan's friends chose a 2-ft Ganesha from the Somari bazaar at Malad (W), which was placed in the ticket checking office adjoining the station master's room at the northern end of platform 1, like every year. " Post 5pm staff members got the idol. The decorations are ousourced and there will be music and snacks for all. Thousands of commuters come every year for darshan," said Khan, a resident of Andheri (E). Khan was not there to welcome the deity this year as he was unwell. However he said: "I will be there for the visarjan. I cannot miss that."
After spending one-and-a-half days at the station, the idol is taken by tempo and immersed at Bhujang Talao. This year 'visarjan' procession will start at 5:30pm on Sunday. "We get donations of around Rs 10,000 every year of which Rs 2,000 is spent on the idol. We distribute snacks, cold drinks like rose milk and modaks to devotees and prasad after the visarjan," he said. Records for the donations are maintained, he said.
Khan served the railways for 29 years of which he spent five at Dadar station and 20 years at Malad. He began his career as a station master and retired as station manager. Before joining the Railways, he worked for nine years as an aircraft instrument mechanic and even served in the 1971 war. "I have medals for serving in the war. However I had to leave as my mother used to keep ill and I didn't have a settled life there," Khan said.
Muslim devotee of Ganesh keeps promise - The Times of India