For more than four decades, a retired school peon Mohammad Yeasin Pathan is fighting all odds, indifference and intolerance to preserve and restore 34 Hindu medieval temples near the Kansai river in West Bengal’s Midnapore.

The 64-year-old is a resident of Hatihalka village in West Midnapur district and started his journey to save these temples in 1976.

In 1994, Pathan was honoured with ‘Kabir Award’ by the President of India for promoting communal harmony.

“We will remain united. When the temple was constructed, Hindu brothers came together and helped. We had formed a committee to preserve these temples. We also made people understand that temple, mosque and churches are treasures. It’s important to preserve these temples in order to portray the past,” Pathan said.

“On July 16, 2003, the Government of processed a notification to acquire 34 temples and a premises of 25 bighas. Until now, the Archaeological Survey has preserved 19 temples in this area and the remaining 15 will be preserved soon,” he added.

Local Hindu and Muslim people are happy with Pathan’s work.

“This is a very old temple and since our childhood, we have been preserving these temples. Though, Pathan is a Muslim, he is still working to preserve the temples,” said Tarak Nath Halder, a local.