Eid Mubarak! A special write-up on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr
By – Zahir Zakaria
To Muslims around the world, Eid-ul-Fitr is a time of celebration and merrymaking. The preceding month of Ramadan is one when even those who are usually not the greatest sticklers of the various customs, try their utmost to be more observant. At the end of the thirty days of rigorous fasting and prayers comes Eid-ul-Fitr.
Apart from the religious rituals associated with the day, wearing new clothes and relishing savories are an integral part of the day. The faithful shake hands and embrace each other as they wish Eid Mubarak to one another. Friends and relatives drop in and more food happens. Laughter rings out from every house. Children, dressed in their best clothes are free that day. They need not tell their parents that they are stepping out. Everyone knows that the kids will form their Eid gangs as they go from house to house collecting Eid bounty—Eidie—from elders.
Everyone does not follow the same religion. But festivities are for everyone across religions. So just as is with Christmas or Durga Puja, the happiness and joviality of the celebration is not confined to Muslims alone. Each household becomes a miniature world where people from all faiths and beliefs are welcome to come and savour the food and be part of the celebration.
As a kid, I was thrilled by my father’s insistence to keep the door wide open on a few days every year—the two Eids and on Independence Day and Republic Day. “Everyone is welcome today”, he would say with a beaming smile and yet I would ask him every year about the reason why the doors should be left open on these days, just because his exact same reply did something to intensify the celebratory mood. On Durga Puja, we would go pandal-hopping and on Christmas, my father would take me out to the local Church that ran the school I studied in. So since my childhood, I have been taught to never miss a chance to celebrate and to partake in all celebrations and to welcome everyone else to celebrate with us.
For the last two years, things have changed a bit though. My father, in his seventies now, very depressingly asked us to do the opposite during the Eid of 2020. After a brief glimmer of hope, unfortunately, this Eid too will be celebrated under the gloom of a gigantic human tragedy. This is the second Eid under the shadow of the Corona Virus that is out on its unstoppable dance of death which it has unleashed on humanity. Celebrations must be toned down. Physical distances have to be maintained to stay safe and keep others around safe. And what celebration can one think of when tales of lakhs of people’s family members gasping for breath and fighting for lives pour in day in and day out?
If all this was not enough, you are greeted with tales of mindless violence taking the lives of innocents. No matter which side of the battle lines you are speaking of, isn’t it grief enough to see that people are at each other’s throats with all the devastating firepower in their arsenal even as survival itself is endangered because of the virus?
Yet for those of us who are still untouched by the virus or by the violence, those of us who are still alive and healthy when everything around us is conspiring either to have us dead or violently ill, this is a reason for being profoundly grateful.
The times are difficult. The reasons to be happy are few. And yet happiness we must spread. We must dream of and imagine a better tomorrow and hope that such a day will soon dawn when we shall all be able to go about life as before and that good sense will prevail and mindless violence will end. That hope for a better tomorrow must be kept alive at all costs because if anything can pierce through this darkness and open up a crevice of light for us, it’s the hope for a better tomorrow and Insha Allah, as they say, we shall overcome.
The author of this article, Zahir Zakaria has contributed to Sentinel, The Telegraph