Art knows no religion, believes Mohammad who heads a group of Hindu and Muslim artisans which has kept alive an over three-decade-old tradition of preparing Dusshera effigies here.
The artisans, all hailing from Uttar Pradesh work in tandem to assemble the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghdoot to be burnt on the festival that signifies the victory of good over evil.
"For the last 35 years, artisans from Uttar Pradesh have been making effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Megnath. Sri Sanatan Dharam Sabha, Geeta Bhawan in Jammu has been calling us for creating these effigies for the past many years. My father-in-law has also been working here for the past 35 years. I have been working here for 24 years now," said Mohammad.
The craftsmen arrived here with a truck full of bamboo sticks which they transformed into colourful effigies.
"A group of Hindu and Muslim artisans from a village in Uttar Pradesh, come here almost one month before Dussehra and work together in making effigies. I believe art unites individuals irrespective of their religion. Artisans work really hard in creating these effigies which are also transported to Leh, Srinagar, Poonch, Rajouri, Sunderb, Naushera and Udhampur," he added.
Mohammad further said that abrogation of Article 370 has not affected their work in any manner.
"Even when Article 370 existed, we never faced any problem and now when it has been abrogated, it doesn't affect us in any manner. Before abrogation, we used to send effigies to Leh and Srinagar without any hindrance. The revocation of Article 370 is a great example of the victory of good over evil. We will continue to celebrate this festival with the same enthusiasm and love," said Mohammad.
( With inputs from ANI )