Festivals are an indispensable part of our lives. They are events of celebrations and joy. Festivals may be associated with a cultural, national, or religious event. Every community celebrates festivals in its own way to break the monotony of life and bring some cheer to life. They are the occasions that bring us all together in the spirit of brotherhood and togetherness and remind us there is a lot of good in the world we live in. Like other communities Muslims across the globe celebrate two main festivals in a year viz; Eid-Ul-Fitr & Eid-ul-Azha with religious fervor and gaiety. These two festivals have religious importance and have different historical backgrounds but the purpose of celebrating them is to persuade Allah (SWT) and get closer to Allah (SWT) besides infusing the spirit of tolerance, and serving humanity irrespective of religion, color, creed, region, language etc.
When either of these two festivals approaches everyone gets busy with shopping for bakery, sweets, gifts, clothes, toys for kids, and whatnot. The children are more excited about festivals as they are particularly the ones who enjoy such occasions more than adults. Festivals to them mean new clothes, sweets, decorations, gifts, games, and other sources of fun. Kids are eagerly waiting for such occasions to approach, but the pain of a poor father on these occasions is beyond imagination and expression despite being highly qualified, and capable but unemployed, due to some or the other reason.
Let me narrate a small story (imaginary) in a locality of haves and have not there is a wider rather unimaginable income disparity among its inhabitants due to wrong economic policies added with some other reasons, there resides a man namely Zaid (not actual) who has two kids Zara & Zeeshan (imaginary names). Zaid is a highly qualified person and extremely capable as well, but due to the lack of Al-Adal in the society, he could not get the decent employment opportunity he deserved. on the day of Eid, The scene at his home was heart-touching and extremely painful, tears start trickling down his cheeks like a flowing stream at a time when his two innocent kids approached him with smiling faces, wearing old clothes, no toys in hands, least bothered about the terms like income, budget, ask for “Eidi”. He started searching his pocket despite knowing the fact that he has nothing in the pocket to offer but still putting his hand in the pocket waiting for some miracle to happen which seldom happens and not finding a single penny to give to his children as Eidi.
Zaid turned to be a statue, his face turned pale, and mouth shut. In the heart of hearts start trying to find the answer to a stream of questions as to why he is not able to give a small amount of Eidi to his children leaving all other things aside on this auspicious occasion. He tried to penetrate deep into his past to explore what went wrong? is it because of his personal mistakes that he remained unemployed/ did not get a chance to prove his mettle or does the fault lies in the system that could not accommodate him, or there is some fault in policy making process; reason can be either of the three for his unemployment/poverty, as a result, he does not accumulate the courage to look into the eyes of his children, he is ashamed and had only one sentence to say “sorry dear kids I have not done anything for you and you are born to a wrong person”?
This small story of Zaid represents the feelings and emotions of hundreds of such shattered fathers who are a part and parcel of our society but their story is not different from Zaid's. We as a community owe a responsibility toward such fathers. On one hand, there are our neighbors who spend lavishly on the occasion of EID but there are hundreds of zaids’ in our society who pine for a single penny. A good number of highly qualified fathers are known to me who are out of the system on one pretext or the other but are sailing in the same boat. The need of the hour at the administrative level is to review our policy-making process, rectify the faults in the system, adopt zero tolerance towards corruption and corrupt persons, explore new employment opportunities, ensure the right place for the right person, and at the community level, we need to develop such a mechanism so that issues of such fathers can be addressed to a point so that they will not get ashamed in front of their children on such occasions. Remember… God-fearing, love and kindness towards humanity, and be prepared for doomsday is the loud and clear message of Eid.
(Author is a writer and can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org)