Sombre celebrations, but the message of the festival has been reinforced
This year’s Eid-ul-Fitr marking the end of the holy month of Ramzan has indeed been very different. Being observed in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the usual community prayers, coming together of families and friends, and the hustle-bustle of Eid markets have been missing. Imams and community leaders the world over have asked the faithful to abide by Covid guidelines and restrictions throughout Ramzan and Eid.
Eid, of course, is all about congregation and expressions of fraternity (profession). In that sense it is comparable to the Hindu festival of Holi, which is about contact and intimacy. However, given the Covid pandemic that’s raging, such celebrations necessarily have to be subdued (downcast). And compliance hasn’t been a problem this Eid. Then there were heartening examples of communal amity. A church in Germany opened its doors to Muslim worshippers for Friday namaz as mosques couldn’t accommodate all devotees due to social distancing rules. Here in India, the Vaishno Devi Shrine provided sehri and iftari to over 500 Muslims under quarantine, while Sikh volunteers conducted a massive sanitisation drive at Delhi’s Jama Masjid. Such examples reinforce the true message of Ramzan and Eid, which is compassion.
Such compassion is required more than ever at this moment, given the massive economic crisis that has been sparked by the Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. That has led to an unprecedented number of job losses – urban and rural unemployment are estimated to be at 22.7% and 25% currently, both unprecedented numbers – and a massive exodus (withdrawal) of migrant urban workers due to lack of social security. This sombre Eid should sharpen our focus on some of the things that are really important – self-discipline, helping those less privileged, boosting communal harmony, and striving to be better human beings.