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The spirit of Ramzan and Eid-ul-Fitr

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25th-Jun-2017       
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Muhammad Quamrul Islam :
Now that we are around 76 years of age fellow septuagenarians want me to write on the subject as we have seen and observed holy month of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fiter with what devotions and intense feelings in our respective family, different strata of society and surroundings happily, which are mostly missing now, so that new generation do not forget to research history and culture and find out Islamic values and way of life for them to tread nationally and internationally with success.
In a nutshell, at childhood, School, College and University life we performed following our parents did in the traditional way in an atmosphere of gaiety and greetings to all.  We were brought up in Bengali Muslim culture in the spirit of Islam perfectly. We were in harmony with Hindus and other religious communities living in this geographic area from time immemorial.  At home and educational institutions we read Arabic, Islamic History and Culture and other subjects to acquire knowledge, performed Namaj, Roza (fasting- Iftar- Shehri), and celebrated Eid with all, properly.
The setting sun of British rule in India at our childhood and its partition in 1947 we were in the eastern wing of Pakistan. It did not disturb our cultural life, although two wings were separated by thousand miles, at individual, family and social levels.  The communal tension left by riots in Kolkata 1946 and elsewhere left an imprint in our child memory and as we grew up in our educational institutions in East Pakistan, felt the impact of migration both ways -  Hindus migrating to India and Muslims coming to East Pakistan. We felt sorry for our Hindu friends who left and accepted new found Muslim friends who substituted them in our cultural framework.
While at SM Hall Dhaka University from 1957 to 1961 residing away from the family we observed Roza in the traditional way with our roommates and Hall mates individually and collectively at own expenses enthusiastically, which moments are still alive. Our 1961 batch mate Abdul Mannan   used to take me to Iftar at old Dhaka during 1960s which we reminisce when we meet now and feel pain how those feelings lost in Bangladesh.
Since independence 1971 the campus lost academic excellences gradually, which was not expected; violence in various shapes and proportions persisting as fronts of political parties. What consequences it would be hardly imaginable unless the university teachers leave partisan lines and take up traditional role of teaching. It no longer holds traditional harmony in Ramadan.
Likewise cultural values started to fall deviating from traditional way due to unwanted political interventions in all walks of life in our country, politicization by turn, over the preceding decades. It was accentuated by Ershad regime deposing the democratically elected President Justice Satter in 1982, and neo-elite of Bangladesh forced it down from top.
Ershad assumed power started visiting Peers and hosting Iftar Parties to hoodwink innocent Muslims and perpetuate in power. It raised questions, but went unnoticed by successive regimes also though he was fallen by mass upsurge documented in 11th amendment to the Constitution on the plea it is a sensitive issue and money is provided in the approved Budget.  How many of them who are invited to Iftar Party and shown in the media are real Rozadars (fasters), say Maghrib, Esha, Tarawi prayers and take Sehri to lead pious religious life? What are their impacts in socio-economic- political life of the country?
It is against the spirit of Ramadan that corruptions of all sorts breaking moral backbone of the country, reported in various international media and indices to date going unnoticed by neo-wealthy and powerful who are seeking shelters in western developed countries.   
Former Indian President Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam who was religious minded Muslim did not host Iftar Party at President House during his tenure, reported  a national daily of Bangladesh on June17 2017/ 21 Ramadan1438. When it was put up as per usual custom to host the Party, he asked his Secretary why he would arrange it. The invited guests of such parties are habituated to good dishes. President wanted to know what it costs. It was submitted about Rs 22 lakh. President Kalam ordered to buy food, dress and woolen blanket by this money, and donate these in some Etimkhanas (Muslim orphanages) for which he formed a committee to select Etimkhana. After the selection, President called his Secretary and gave him a cheque of Rs 1 lakh, which was from his personal savings. It is bright example worth emulating by all Muslims in respective spheres.
In our country, at individual, family and community levels centered on Masjid, Dua, Iftar Mahfils are held in traditional way at individual's invitation and expense. In Madrasha Mosque at Road 6, Sector10 Uttara Dhaka it was so held on June 9 where all teachers and students of Madrasha, Musallis, relatives and friends were invited. After taking Iftari we offered Maghrib, Esha and Tarawi. Each night translation interpretation in Bengali of Suras of Holy Quran recited at Tarawi is rendered just before Esha Namaj by a learned Mufti of Madrasha fluently to complete reading Quran in Ramadan. Insha'Allah such effective programme would continue and spread near and far.  
We pray Allah bless us. Eid Mubarak.
(The writer is an economist, advocate and activist. E-mail: mqislambd@ hotmail.com)

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