There is a mosque in Chaman village of Takhtbhai tehsil, in the district of Mardan, that was built by a Hindu in the pre-Partition era of the Subcontinent. Today it serves as a symbol of interfaith harmony.
The mosque was previously known as Chaman Jumaat. The mosque was built by Chaman Lal, a local Hindu businessman, for the Muslims of the area, in the 1920s. Chaman Lal, a Hindu devotee, is respected by the village elders even today. Chaman Mosque was later renamed as Allah-o-Akbar Masjid.
“It was initially built of mud, but was later rebuilt,” said by Haji Khan, a 100-year-old man, who also served as a muezzin in the mosque for 28 years. “Now the mosque bears very few signs of the old times.”
He added that Chaman Lal was a kind man and the village had been named after him. Haji Payenda said that 10-marla Chaman Masjid existed in the same area even today, while the building of Takhtbhai High Secondary School, located adjacent to the mosque, was once the residence of Chaman Lal.
“Chaman Lal moved to Katiala area of Mardan after the Subcontinent’s Partition and then migrated to India. But Chaman village and Chaman mosque stayed behind as a sign of Lal’s love for the Muslims,” he added.
However, the young generation of the area appears to be unaware of the fascinating history behind the creation of the mosque.
Journalist, Mehboob Jibran, told The Friday Times - Naya Daur that in the Mardan district as well as in other parts of Pakhtunkhwa, a number of such examples showing religious harmony in the area can exist.
“We must preserve these historical monuments in their own colors and shapes for future generations, so that an atmosphere of love, peace and harmony can prevail among other religions and faiths,” he said.