ANI Photo | Fostering religious harmony, Muslim 1971 War veteran makes idols of Hindu gods for devotees

In a great display of religious harmony, a former serviceman, who is a Muslim by faith has sculpted idols of various Hindu gods for the devotee soldiers in Lakshadweep.
Former serviceman from Lakshadweep, PP Cheriyakoya is an example of religious unity in the island as being a Muslim by faith he sculpted Hindu god idols for the devotee soldiers.
fostering religious harmony muslim 1971 war veteran makes idols of hindu gods for devotees 1 – The News Mill
Ex-serviceman, PP Cheriyakoya, sculpted the idol of Lord Hanuman in Andhroth island and Lord Ganesh in Kavratti temple after the request of the Madhya Pradesh special force which was posted there in the 1970s.
The 79-year-old is also a war veteran who fought during the 1971 war. After that, he became a professional artist and also worked as an art teacher.
fostering religious harmony muslim 1971 war veteran makes idols of hindu gods for devotees 2 – The News Mill
Speaking to ANI, Cheriyakoya said, “In 1972, Madhya Pradesh special force soldiers wanted to worship. They requested me to sculpt Lord Hanuman and I did it happily. I am happy that they were able to worship the god. Similarly, I made Lord Ganesh an idol after I received a request from Kavaratti.”
“I haven’t learnt sculpting in a school. My father used to do carving and I learnt from him only by observing him carefully. I enjoy carving more than painting.”
fostering religious harmony muslim 1971 war veteran makes idols of hindu gods for devotees 3 – The News Mill
Shailendra Singh Parihar, special secretary posted in Lakshadweep administration said that Cheriyakoya has contributed in promoting religious harmony.
“Kavratti is the capital of Lakshadweep and it has only one Hindu temple. In 1978, the Kavratti temple was established by Madhya Pradesh paramilitary force. To cater for the demand of the soldiers, a local native PP Cheriyakoya who was in military service hand sculpted Lord Ganesh’s idol in Kavratti. He also sculpted Lord Hanuman’s idol in Andhroth. This has contributed towards fostering religious harmony in the island, where all faiths coexist peacefully.”
The priest of the temple, Chitranjan Mishra also thanked Cheriyakoya for his contribution. Mishra is an Indian Reserve Battalion Force soldier who volunteers as a priest in Karvatti temple.
“The temple was inaugurated in 1978 by MP special force. Then IRB took over and we do celebrate all festivals. Ganesh idol was sculpted by Cheriyakoya as there was no sculptor present but he volunteered and made the idols,” he stated

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