This Eid demands patience and calmness from our side as overruling the barriers of restrictions may prove fatal
Come Eid and women would sing rouf (Kashmiri folk songs) and people would remain busy with different activities but this time unlike any, everything is wearing a deserted look. There is an eerie silence. Markets are off the customers with shops shattered, movement of people restricted, wearing masks have become an essential norm, mosques are deprived of the worshippers with homebound prayers, some are roofless, some are still quarantined, some hungry, some are penny less and some stranded.
Everyone in one way or the other is caught up in his/her hardships of life owing to the global outbreak of the pandemic that has stalled the whole world of ours. Ahead of Eid, unique power of jubilation would overpower us. There used to have a great thrill, but alas! The situation now is quite disheartening. People would eagerly wait for the Eid-day to come. While women would go down the yaarbal stairs (stream stairs) to wash the clothes, men would busy themselves in doing shopping to make the day more memorable. But this time with Coronavirus crisis, not to talk of extra gaiety, there are so many of us who are still in quarantine or not in a position to celebrate the eve due to pandemic. What could be more unfortunate for us like this? The joyfulness of the day seems to have been snatched by the pandemic. It has thrown life out of gear.
There used to be a buffer stock of essential commodities available in the markets ahead of Eid but now the markets have a bizarre and deserted look. Concertina wires and traffic barricades on roads are seen everywhere, in toto a different arena of things on Eid celebrations.
Eid is an Arabic word meaning ‘festivity’, Eid is customary, a festival that involves large gathering of relatives and friends, sharing meals, sweets, and visits to the houses of friends, neighbors and relatives. But the pandemic and lockdown have messed up ordinary life and the social fabric has broken down. Due to the fast-spreading virus, Eid is overshadowed as social distancing measures are kept in place amid lockdown to combat this fatal virus/disease.
This is the second Eid to be celebrated amid pandemic this year. Eid-ul-Fitr, this year too was celebrated amid lockdown with strict restriction all around. Eid-ul-Adha, the second Islamic festival of the year is too being celebrated midst a lockdown. During this Eid, Muslims slaughter sheep, beef, or other livestock as a form of sacrifice known in Islamic terminology ‘Qurbani’. The Hajj, one of the basic tenants of Islam, this year was not performed from across the globe. Eid used to be celebrated with hugs, kisses and coming together of friends, family, and all. Lockdown due to pandemic has lost its glory and jubilation. There used to be great hustle and bustle all around ahead of the occasion but this time the Eid is observed with a diminished fervor and gaiety.
With the pandemic coming down heavily across the world these days and strict stay at home orders circulated, there is no denying to the fact that the festivity is little dull and deflated. Observing social distancing with, covering face with the mask, sanitizing hands with proper Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs), is need of the hour to stop the virus from escalating more.
All of us are enduring the difficult and worst times for more than six months now. Millions of people are struck due to the unprecedented crisis and are finding it hard to regulate their lives. Just like it has been a historic Eid-ul-Fitr, it is going to be historic Eid-ul-Adha as well. Traditions have to be broken; friends and relatives will be thwarted. This Eid demands patience and calmness from our side as overruling or crossing the barriers of restrictions may prove fatal.
The history of Islam is packed with examples of feasts that happened during the times of uncertainty. This Eid is also being celebrated in uncertainty. So, we should be happy with whatever we posses.
The Eid should be celebrated with great simplicity, taking care of those who are around you. Islam is the religion of peace, love and prosperity. It lays great stress on charity and carefulness. As the famous English saying goes that ‘this too shall pass’, similarly virus too shall mitigate. Let’s pray on this Eid for the well-being of all humanity to be freed from the clutches of this fatal virus.
Author is pursuing Doctorate, Department of English, University of Kashmir