An Eid without fervour

Sobriety, up cycling get preference over celebrations, writes Kulsum Mustafa

Ey hawa tuhi usey Eid Mubarak kahiyyo; Aur kahiyyo ki koyee yaad kiya karta hai (O breeze, greet her on Eid and inform her that someone remembers her). This simple sentence sort of sums up the feelings of Muslims in general and Indian Muslims in particular. The affluent Muslims of the country have through aggressive campaigns and extensive appeals on social media ensured that the community left the celebrations out of this year Eid and replaced celebrations with all-round blessedness. They kept themselves off shopping, lavish food spreads and expensive gifts. Eid this year indeed had to be on a low key with unprecedented misery unleashed on mankind by pandemic COVID 19, the plight and desperation of lakhs of hungry migrant labourers rushing home, piling on overloaded trucks and thereby getting killed in road accidents, these eight crores adding their burden to the already around twenty-six crores jobless youth. As if this was not enough the devastating cyclone affecting West Bengal and Orissa where hundreds died took all joy out of any celebration.

Thus, the last Friday of Ramazan which actually is a prelude to Eid also went by silently. The excitement at the sighting of the moon on Sunday eve was missing too. Many years back an article I had penned in one of my articles the ‘Hu Hua” chants” one heard just before the sighting of Eid moon was totally missing. It seemed that the devouts would have preferred the fasting period to be prolonged.

While Ramadan is a month of prayers, piety, charity, self-control, Eid -the biggest social festival signifies the time to feast, binge, laugh, celebrate with family and friends and thank Allah for his bounties. But this year it is so different. It is just family, no friends or relatives. No wonder this year it is throwback pictures, nostalgia and remembrance of yesteryear celebrations. Along with all this are prayers on all lips that Mankind never has to celebrate Eid or any other festival ever under such restrictions.

Tehelka spoke to a cross-section of people to document how things have changed from previous years.

The Ahmads, have a very intensive social circuit. Their house used to be full on Eid day. Sabiha is a gracious hostess and her Husband  Qazi Ahmad  senior officer in the Railways enjoys socializing. In the previous years, the Eid celebrations at their tastefully decorated bungalows continued into the wee hours of the morning. This time it is just family.

Ravi Kapoor, is a celebrity photographer of the town. Living in old Lucknow he has imbibed and follows all age-old traditions. On Eid he dressed up in a Kurta Pyjama put on his dupalli topi and looking like a real nawab of Lucknow he would visit Muslim families,where he is always treated like an extended member of the family. This year it is nostalgia and scanning of old photographs.

Lalita Pradeep is a senior government official in the education department. A regular and very popular guest she and her son Tanmay, a lawyer visited many of the Muslim households on Eid. Secular to the core every year Lalita fasts for one day in Ramadan in solidarity with her Muslim friends. She did it this year too and will continue this all her life

Lalita, fitness freak cum foodie, said she was missing the get-togethers and the groovy food. “Kuch gharo may to hamarey bina Eid hi nahi hotee, “ she said with her typical deep throated laugh, adding “Yeh Carona bhi na ….”

Qamar Javed is a senior officer in NABARD. Hailing from Uttar Pradesh for the last two years he has been is posted in Srinagar.

As Kashmir and Kerala celebrated Eid on Sunday whereas in the rest of the country it is on Monday. Javed shared some beautiful Eid Pictures from the Valley, complying with social distancing norms.

Farah Sarosh is a mental health activist. She is always in a mode to find positivity in everything.

No wonder she has been able to explain to her teenage children the importance of Eid as a thanksgiving day after following the Will of Allah and fasting for a full 30 days. She explained to them that this year Eid there will be celebrations in Eid, it will be just contemplation and spirituality.

Bushra Masood is an artist and social worker. Eid has always been very special for her “I cook traditional family recipes on Eid which include sewai, qorma and biryani. After a month of fasting it is feasting time with family and friends, “says Bushra. Though Bushra is not making any new clothes this year she says she will cook the same dishes in smaller quantity for the family.

Asma and Irfaan Ahmad, hailing from a well-known Muslim family, are both connoisseurs of good Avadhi food and Urdu poetry. There is an endless flow of guests at her place on Eid but not this year.

Arshi Alvi is also missing her friends and the full house on Eid. She is engaged in making throwback videos to share with family and friends.

For Qamar Khan and wife Bushra the biggest setback is that they are not able to see their two granddaughters, the youngest just a few months old. As their house is in hot spot they do not know how long they will be confined to the house. Whatsapp video calls are all that they can do.

“Kya lutfey Eid hai jo ham apno sey door hain….(what joy is there when we are separated from our loved ones) is how Qamar Saheb expresses himself. One can sensel his voice is laced with tears. This in fact, is exactly how many elderly people who cannot see their grandchildren are feeling this Eid.