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Muslim merchant Rafique Bilakhaiya finds Ganesha shaped rough diamond

Mumbai, Aug 22 (Calcutta Tube) A Muslim diamond merchant has found a ‘unique and auspicious’ gem — a rough diamond in the shape of Lord Ganesha, and has vowed never to sell the ‘good omen’ to anyone.

Rafique Bilakhaiya, 38, who is from suburban Malad, buys rough, uncut diamonds from the local diamond markets in Mumbai and sells these to diamond vendors in the city and abroad.

‘I have never come across such a unique and auspicious diamond in my career in this industry. The fact that Lord Ganesha has come to me unsought is the best omen. I feel I am truly blessed by the Vignaharta (the remover of obstacles) – especially with the 10-day Ganapathi festival starting next month (Sep 11),’ Bilakhaiya said, folding his hands reverentially.

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According to Bilakhaiya, the shape of the diamond bears an uncanny resemblance to Lord Ganesha idol in Mumbai’s famous Siddhivinayak temple, in Dadar.

‘I am a Muslim, but have grown up in Maharashtra and hence know that Lord Ganesha is the remover of all obstacles and he grants boon to all His devotees. I don’t want to give Him away,’ he added.

Bilakhaiya pointed out that he has neither polished nor cut the precious diamond, but has directly set it onto a gold pendant of 10 grams.

‘If I cut it or polish it, the diamond will lose its divine shape and so will the Lord Ganesha be gone forever…,’ he said.

Bilakhaiya says he bought the diamond, weighing 6.41 carat, from the local diamond market of Mumbai last month.

It was only after some days that he realised that it was in the shape of Ganesha. ‘I am relieved I did not polish it,’ said Bilakhaiya, who is observing fasts in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The diamond market in suburban Malad, from where Bilakhaiya operates, is in a Hindu dominated area, with a large population of Jains and Gujaratis.

After hearing of Bilakhaiya’s prized rock, his office has become a veritable pilgrimage centre – scores of people queue up daily for a ‘darshan’ of Lord Ganesha in the raw, uncut diamond.

Bilakhaiya says once a diamond is polished, it loses 60-70 percent of its volume. ‘So, the diamond that is 6.41 carat right now will be reduced to around 2.5 carat after cutting and polishing it, but its value will go up phenomenally, more than six times.’

Bilakhaiya bought the uncut diamond for around Rs.400,000, but after cutting and polishing it, he can sell it for over Rs.25 lakh.

‘Many vendors, after having seen the Ganesha shaped diamond, offered to buy it from me at any price. But I really don’t have the heart to give away the good Lord who has chosen to come to my house,’ Bilakhaiya said.

But he did say, in an afterthought, ‘However, I might change my mind and sell it to someone who is a true devotee of Lord Ganesha.’

(Mauli Buch can be contacted at mauli.b@ians.in)

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