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Ever read about Gujarat and its development, you will find that the economic numbers are fantastic. Despite the ground-breaking success of Gujarat the issue of Godhra is still an albatross around his neck. Godhra, the word itself is a reminder of the horrific train burning incident, and the riots that followed. There is another Godhra in the Kutch district of Gujarat, read on.

Godhra is a small village near Mandvi in Kutch. It was one of the places worst affected by the earthquake. It barely had any water and rains were rare. With the Narmada water, things have changed for Kutch. Agriculture is flourishing, and so are the people.

It has heritage value for me as my grandfather grew up there. He used to often visit Kutch, even after he started living in Bombay. Last time we went with him, he proudly introduced my father as his son. His friends made a huge Ambe mata temple, Along with a Vaishno Devi temple. They also made a place where people can stay, and a food mess where anyone can eat for free. They have an interesting custom here. All young girls of the village (around 180) participate in the aarti decorating competition. They all perform the aarti together and the winner is later declared.

During Navratri, a grand garba was organized in the Ambe dham, free for anyone to attend and enjoy. The musicians were brilliant, and there was no time limit. We stayed up till 4 dancing. The musician who played the piano was awesome. He made it look so effortless, as if he was just sliding his fingers over the keys. The Jain food mess also provided us with Pav bhaji at 3 in the morning, during a short break. The dancers were graceful , and it was just astonishing to watch the best players from the last 7 days battle it out in a final round on the last day.

So what is different here? My grandfather’s friend was a Jain making a temple, and organizing a function for Hindus. Most of the musicians were Muslims including the piano player. He actually donated money to the food mess. I was also told that most of the prize winners were Harijans. I couldn’t care less about these differences due to birth. We had two wonderful evenings due to all these amazing people. What more communal harmony do you want?

The Hindu festival of Navratri was organized by Jains, where Muslim musicians played and Harijans won prizes in this small village. This is also a Godhra.

-Jasmine Bhanushali
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