Md. Masum Billah :
Ramzan appears every year with the message of self constraint, self-analysis, 'self-control, spiritual communion and also with the news of Eid-ul-Fitr which means a day of exchanging greetings, visiting relatives and friends and neighbours and having scrumptious dishes to strengthen the friendly and social ties. Really its an excellent way and ritual of Islam to make the followers socialise themselves and earn the ability to reshape and restart their lives with new vigour, promise and strength according to the teachings of Islam. The religious and God fearing persons really observe fast to have Divine blessings and reshape their lives after month-long fasting which helps remove the sins, mistakes and faults committed by humans every moment.
On the contrary, a group of businessmen take this month as a great opportunity to earn fortune cheating the customers. We see, no other item goes without price spiral at the advent of Ramadan every year. Local products transported to the cities from rural areas see exorbitant rate. On duty law enforcers and the cronies of muscleman collect tolls at higher rate during the month of Ramadan than they, do all other months of the year.
Political mastans extract more money from vendors to multinational companies as 'chanda' in this holy month. Fares of all kinds of transports increase at the closing days of Ramandan and with the advent of Eid. Questions arise in inquisitive and honest mind how these people take the teaching, meaning and significance of Ramadan and Eid. When these evil phenomena prevail more vehemently in the society than another eleven months of the year, the sensuous people fail to identify the relation between the touch of spirituality which is supposed to be gained through fasting and their more active role in earning worldly gains.
Political parties start their campaign and activities in the name of sumptuous and delicious 'Iftar Party' where rich items of food are served and they try to explain and relate the jobs they do with the teachings of Islam. Conscious people try to illustrate this effort as hoodwinking the people using religion.
The higher middle class and rich people continue arranging 'Iftar party' in their homes. Religious leaders start 'Milad Mahfil' and enjoy delicious items of food visiting the affluent section of the society. Overall food consumption increases during this month though we want to explain it as the month of controlling all kinds of - both physical and mental.
No sooner than one or two days of Ramzan pass the banner of various sizes, colours and slogans of different sorts to allure the customers for Eid shopping. One cannot but get astonished to learn that many people buy their Eid dresses before Eid and within one week of Eid. Then again, they buy before Eid just to visit different markets. Here also I don't get any smell of spirituality, just self-created customs and social norms. The gorgeous shops of the sophisticated market of the city become flooded with Indian 'saries' and 'panjabis'.
The price of these dresses goes beyond the imagination of lakhs of people like me who just cannot find any reason to buy those madly costly costumes.
One or two lakh taka sari and similar for panjabis. How strange is the conscience of these people being the citizens of a poor country like Bangladesh which is plagued by poverty, malnutrition, unemployment, natural calamities, frequent load-shedding, mosquito menace, severe traffic congestion and human rights violation at every sphere of life, in this poor land where the processions of 'fakirs and unfed people' crowd around the expensive private cars of the rich people at all the interceptions and crossings of this seemingly sumptuous city. This is a city, which hosts several hundred slums and shanties. This is a city where flood of flooded people migrate with the hope of earning their bread making this city uninhabitable for the posh people. Being a citizen of this country and seeing everything in their own eyes how they can so severely misuse the money? They must remember the downtrodden and deprived people of the land have share with their wealth. Keeping them unfed and half clad, they in no way can afford to misuse the money by buying so madly expensive costumes just for ' Eid' day. What kind of self-control and sympathy they have learnt from their physical fasting? Observing fasting and Eid will be meaningful and true when these people will be able to distribute those money for those who hardly can save their 'shame' by wearing clothes, who cannot send their children to school for want of money.
Rush of people flood the markets decorated with various colorful lights; even the country experiences frequent load shedding. What's the relation between fasting and pouring in the markets for buying very colourful and costly dresses?
Very contrasting pictures indeed! It seems just social and traditional custom, no religious teaching is attached with it. Yes, buying one dress or two may be taken as usual, but several sets of dresses through the competition how much costly dress one can buy from each other raises questions. Religion holds a very good message through fasting and Eid ul-fitr, which many people fail to grasp.
Spiritual communion, training to control one's lust for worldly things and physical soundness can be gained through real fasting. Ending the fast with Eid entails a social value to tie all the neigbours and relatives into one bond of friendship. It's a wonderful occasion once a year to further develop and renew the teachings of fraternity and friendship among the neighbours and relatives. But we the humans have developed some traditions, which hardly have any links with the real sprit of Ramadan and Eid.
Unscrupulous businessmen take the month of Ramadan as a 'profitable month' derogatorily as it is called the month of profit for the real believers and, virtuous. Some businessmen wait all the year round to make colossal amount of profit during the period of this month. They increase the price of necessary things, make the food adulterated, mix colour with the food to look charming, cheat the customers in many innovative ways.
Another cheating and reign of terror and uncertainty prevail in the transport sector. The mad rush of people to go home by land and sea claims lives every year registering a common affair.
Who listens to whom? It is absolutely true that the number of vehicles proves several times lower than the population of the country and the situation gets worse during the rush hours of Eid. This is taken as capital by the unscrupulous transport owners and workers to earn more and the whole governance of the country miserably failed to minimise this situation let alone address it. We, the ordinary people, just leave everything on our fate as our experiences amply give evidence that there is no ear to hear our cry.