Eid behind the closed doors of the quarantine

Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 11, 2021

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As the third Eid during the pandemic rolls around, tensions remain high. India is not the only country feeling the strain of the situation. All over the world, governments prepare for the surge in cases that could occur due to gatherings. 

Eid ul-Fitr masks the end of Ramadan, the month during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk in an act of devotion and worship. In 2020, Ramadan came around shortly after the lockdown was implemented in most places. The internet was flooded with messages with sympathy and solidarity for those spending the month alone, isolated from their loved ones. A year from then, the narrative has become less wholesome. 

Eid celebration in 2021 is comes with Oman canceling Eid prayers, Malaysia imposing a travel ban, Pakistan imposing a complete lockdown etc. 

Ramadan is not simply a month of personal spiritual growth. Ramadan and Eid are seen as community events, with Iftaar (breaking of the fast) get-togethers and congregated prayers. It is celebrated with joint meals, giving charity, giving food to the needy. Eid generally begins with a congregated Eid prayer in the community, which is followed by a sermon. 

People dress in new clothes. The girls put on mehendi. The houses are filled with the aroma of biryani cooking. Like any other celebration, it is a community coming together to share in each other’s joy. 

The atmosphere right now, however, is grim. The COVID situation in India is capturing global attention as children are orphaned and corpses are abandoned by their families in fear of infection. There is a pervading sense of fear and dread in the air, and it is not without a cause. 

Despite all this, awareness and understanding of the virus is not as widespread as it should be. Even now, COVID safety protocols are not being followed unanimously. Even as news channels report the piling of bodies in crematoriums, the people in the crematoriums are clustered together, not all of them wearing masks. 

Many Muslims struggle to cope with this version of Ramadan with no taraweeh (congregated evening prayers) and the heavy burden of grief and loss of loved ones. However, in that sense, we as a plural society are united. The feeling of being fearful for one’s safety, and they safety of one’s loved ones, the constant pain of death in the family, the isolation, these have become universal feelings. 

The financial strain brought about by the pandemic is another unifying feeling. Several people have lost their jobs due to COVID. People who work on daily wage have taken a terrible financial hit. The mounting hospital bills, the funeral costs, the air fares that skyrocketed during the pandemic etc. all contribute to it. 

There simply isn’t much room for festivity.

Every celebration in the past year has been muted and subdued. While there certainly were outliers who preferred to shirk the COVID guidelines, for the most part, all the festivals have faced a damper. Even the iconic crystal ball drop on New Year’s Eve in Times Square was done on a fairly empty square, as compared the usual throng of people. 

Eid ul-Fitr 2021 will be the same. 

While many organizations clamor to get food to those who need it, there is no doubt that the number of people who will go hungry this year will be higher than usual. Even charity has to be done from a distance. 

Yet, the foreboding atmosphere is not all there is to it. Even if charity is being done from a distance, it is happening. People are trying to feed the needy. Volunteers are running helplines. There are people surging up to assist each other with finding beds, oxygen etc. 

No singular ritual embodies the idea of Eid the way the feeling of community, gratitude and service done in the way of belief does. Despite the grim times we are in, the palms will still go red with mehendi, and the community will rise to aid one another. 

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News Network
February 7,2023

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Istanbul, Feb 7: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday declared a three-month-long emergency across ten provinces ravaged by the earthquake which has killed more than 3,500 people alone in the country.

"We have decided to declare a state of emergency to ensure that our (rescue and recovery) work can be carried out quickly," Erdogan said in a televised address.

“We are declaring ten cities impacted by the earthquake disaster zone”, the Turkish president said, adding that the death toll had risen to 3,549.

Noting that 70 countries had offered help in search and rescue operations, Erdogan announced that the government planned to open up hotels in Antalya to temporarily house people affected by the earthquakes, Reuters reported.

According to the Turkish authorities, some 1.35 crore people were affected in the area which spanned 450 kilometres from Adana in the west to Diyarbakir in the east and from Malatya in the north to Hatay in the south.

Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said 5,775 buildings had been destroyed in the quake, which was followed by 285 aftershocks, and that 20,426 people had been injured.

In Syria, the death toll stood at just over 1,600, according to the government and a rescue service in the insurgent-held northwest, Reuters reported.

"It's now a race against time," World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva. "Every minute, every hour that passes, the chances of finding survivors alive diminishes."

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News Network
February 2,2023

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Bengaluru: A female dentist from Lucknow committed suicide in Bengaluru after being constantly harassed by a colleague at a prestigious hospital, police said.

The victim worked at the MS Ramaiah Memorial Hospital in Bengaluru.

According to the police, she was being pestered by her colleague, identified as Sumit who worked in the same hospital.

It is alleged that Sumit had forced the victim to marry him and also compelled her to consume alcohol and smoke.

The accused was also pestering the deceased to give him money. But she turned down all his requests, the police said.

Enraged by this, Sumit allegedly spread rumours about the the victim's character at the hospital, following which she took the drastic step.

The incident had taken place on January 25 and the Sanjaynagar police are investigating the case.

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News Network
February 3,2023

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Bengaluru, Feb 3: The ruling BJP in Karnataka is preparing to handover the alleged sex CD scandal case of former minister and BJP MLA Ramesh Jarakiholi to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Minister of Home for Karnataka, Araga Jnanendra, meanwhile, said on Thursday that a decision will be taken regarding handing over the CD case of Jarakiholi to the CBI, after a discussion with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

"Ramesh Jarkiholi met me in this regard. He had given sufficient information and requested to handover the case to CBI. Whether or not to handover the case to CBI will be decided after discussing the matter with the CM Bommai," he said.

"It is wrong to defame someone through a CD. No one should indulge in this. If it is done, police will take action," Jnanendra said.

The former Minister had been urging the state government to handover the sex CD scandal matter to the CBI.

Jarkiholi further demanded the arrest of some persons in connection with the matter.

He challenged that he would send Karnataka Congress President D.K. Shivakumar to jail, adding that hundreds of politicians from state, officers and top officers in Bengaluru are trapped in CD conspiracy. "I have 120 pieces of evidence. I am not releasing them here. The matter has to be investigated by the CBI."

Jarkiholi alleged that Shivakumar had hit him by hatching a conspiracy and got that video made to finish him off politically.

The alleged sex CD released in March 2021 created a huge controversy in the state.

Following the embarrassment, the ruling BJP in Karnataka dropped Jarkiholi from the cabinet.

Jarkiholi had played a prominent role in 'Operation Lotus' carried out by the BJP to come to power in the state. He was at the forefront of the collapse of the coalition government headed by the JD-S and the Congress.

Earlier, the Special Investigation Team probing allegations of rape against Jarkiholi had filed a 'B report' in the case, stating that no evidence to prove the charge or the other allegations made against him.

Currently, Jarkiholi is seeking a cabinet position in the state. 

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