A copy of the Holy Quran translated into Punjabi and printed by two Hindu men along with another Sikh. As impossible as this may sound today, a historian in Punjab has dug up one such copy that was printed way back in 1911. A good 105 years later, the book has transcended many boundaries by travelling from the hands of a Sikh to a Muslim and is now in the possession of a Hindu academic, all of whom see it as a prized possession.
Subash Parihar, who retired from the museology department of Central University of Punjab, is planning to have details of the Quran into the encyclopedia of Sufism that he is preparing. Parihar, who is at present teaching at a private college in Kotkapura, says, “This Quran was translated into Gurmukhi from Arabic by Sant Vaidya Gurdit Singh Alomhari, a Nirmala Sikh (sect of Sikhism devoted to literary pursuits). The printing expenses were borne by two Hindus, Bhagat Budhamal Adatli Mevjat and Vaidya Bhagat Guraditta Mal, with another Sikh man, Mela Singh Attar Wazirabad.”
As many as 1,000 copies were printed by Budh Singh of Gurmat Press in Amritsar.Adds Parihar that Sant Alomhari wanted to spread message of the Quran to people of other faiths. He intentionally made two Hindus and a Sikh to bear cost of printing the translated version.
“I do not think that there can be a better example of Muslim-Hindu-Sikh goodwill in the beginning of the 20th century,” he says. “These people rightly deserve to be called ‘religious’ in the true sense of the word.This rare Quran originally belonged to Sardar Jhanda Singh ‘Aarif’, a poet from Kotkapura. After his death, his elder son Natha Singh presented it to a Muslim Noor Muhammad, believing he will understand its real worth.
“I was looking for some rare book in Punjabi for the encyclopedia and came to know that Noor Mohammad had this copy. When I approached him, he happily handed over the treasure trove to me,” adds Parihar.