Shunning the old order is never easy, especially when it comes to deep-seated cultural and religious practices. But unprecedented times call for equally strong overhauls. As virtual becomes the new reality, Muslims across the country plan to offer Eid prayers from home and wish each other on video calls.
“Eid for us has always been about opening our homes and hearts to our friends and celebrating with them with good food and banter. This Eid, we’ve decided to donate to various NGOs and charities that are looking after the most affected populations across the country,” says filmmaker Faraz Arif Ansari. The Sheer Qorma director has a message for all: “As a responsible citizen, we have to make sure we take every precautionary measure to stop a catastrophic spread of the virus. Congregating to perform the prayer could endanger lives, an act that is strictly forbidden in Islam. It is absolutely crucial that we celebrate Eid at home. Look out for one another, be compassionate and kind. Kindness will save the world.”
When we talk about Eid in Delhi, it is hard to not mention Jama Masjid and the Walled City. People from all over, irrespective of religion, flock to this part of the Capital to partake in the revelries. The air is redolent of the aroma of delectable kebabs being slow-roasted over coal fire. Mosques have a steady stream of the faithful offering prayers. Abu Sufiyan, founder of Purani Dilli Walo ki Baatein, has been involved in community service, helping those affected severely by COVID-19.“Old Delhi has always been the centre of our syncretic Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, and this time too, we are coming forward to help those in need, irrespective of their religion, region or ethnicity. With #EidApnoKeLiye, we plan to help raise funds and ration for migrant labours and other marginalised communities. To extend a helping hand in the hour of need is the true essence of Eid.”
Author Rana Safvi, who has been known to host gala feasts and keep an open house, echoes the sentiment. “ Iss baar Eid nahi, Eidi manaao. Hum har saal apne baccho ko toh Eidi dete hi hain, par iss saal unn logo ko bhi ration-paani do jinke paas kuch nahi hai. I will make something sweet for the family in the morning, but the celebrations would not be of the same scale,” she says.
Festivities are incomplete without the constant buzz of the doorbell, neighbours and family sharing traditional delicacies, and the little ones prancing about in shiny new clothes. But this is no time for nostalgia. “No one should have any FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Don’t be afraid of the situation as we are all in the same boat. There is no point in putting yourself and others around you at risk,” says 32-year old visual artist Nasheet Shadani. Sharing his plans for the day, he says it is going to be an e-Eid. “I plan to do video calls and share photos of the celebrations from my home. For the kids, Eidi (token money and gifts) will be transferred online,” he says, adding that he, along with some friends, is helping raise funds and ration for those who cannot afford it. “It is important to help those in the lower-income groups who have been rendered jobless. They are too self-respecting to ask for any charity. So we are identifying these people and providing ration to them,” he says.
Even in the bleakest of time, a ray of hope shines through. Author Nazia Erum feels that one should look at the positives. “This too shall pass and next year we will have Eid where we will be with our loved ones. These are testing times for all of humanity, not just a particular community or country. Help those who need it the most. The money you would usually spend on Eid, divert it to the lesser-privileged,” she says. The pandemic has also brought with it new opportunities to express creativity, she feels. “I made and hand-painted paper lanterns at home with my kid. We also made toys at home using ice-cream sticks for a baby cousin,” she adds.
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