Angadippuram (Malappuram): The ‘Illam Nira’ ceremony is held in temples and households for bringing prosperity and wealth throughout the year. A true sign of harmony and tolerance, Alikkal Hamza, a Muslim man, has been supplying the bunch of paddy for the ‘Illam Nira’ ritual held in the temples of Malappuram and Palakkad districts for the past four decades.
Hamza started the custom in 1976 by offering bunch of paddy from his field to Thirumandhamkunnu Temple here. Later, he stopped paddy cultivation, but did not stop supplying the bunch of paddy to temples.
Hamza was determined that unavailability of paddy should not put an end to the ritual and brought paddy from Kollengode in Palakkad district. When paddy was not available in sufficient quantity there, he went to Tamil Nadu to collect paddy for the ceremony.
The paddy sowed in ‘Vishu’ season and harvested in the Malayalam month of ‘Karkidakam’ is used for ‘Illam Nira’ ritual. Hamza supplies bunch of paddy for 75 temples in Malappuram and the temples in Mannarkkad area in Palakkad.
This year, Hamza collected 600 units of paddy bunches for temples. He sends the bunches of paddy for the temples in Mumbai via flight. He said he is happy for being able to supply paddy for the ritual for 44 years without fail. He receives only a very meagre remuneration for it.