By Kulsum Mustafa
The biggest day of celebrations in the Islamic calendar, Eid, is a gift from Allah after 30 days of fasting. It has through the years been a day of rejoicing, celebration and exchange of gifts. Last year too due to the advent of COVID-19 there was no gaiety; people were advised to stay indoors in the countrywide lockdown during Eid. But this year, the huge loss of human life and the total collapse of healthcare the system has inflicted untold miseries on the human race and Eid has definitely lost its sheen. Entire families have been wiped off by the virus, many of who have lost their dead ones are themselves severely infected and in serious condition. Many do not even have been told about the passing away of their loved ones.
When the entire humanity is in the grip of a pandemic Eid cannot be celebrated with bohemia, Eid this year is only and only a day of thanksgiving and prayers.
While last year on Eid, respecting the misery of migrant laborers, huge monetary loss, unemployment the Muslim community had voluntarily downsized Eid celebrations, but this year the gravity of the pandemic has hit so hard that even the thought of Eid celebration looks out of place People are grieving, mourning the death of their loved ones, they are full of pain and grief so celebrations is not on the card.
“Arrey hum to tazindigi apnee nazar may bahut chootey ho gaaey, hum apney azeezo ko kandha bhi na dey sakey (I have fallen in my own esteem, I was not able to even give a shoulder to the coffin of my loved ones,) wails Mohd Qamar Khan, a retired banker, and honorary teacher at Urdu Academy, Lucknow.
Seventy-year-old, Khan sahib lost some very close relatives and he is distressed and says that it is feeling of utter distress that he will carry all his that he could not attend their last rites despite being in the same city but due to the Covid protocol he was confined within his home.
He also bemoaned the fact that he was not even able to follow the ritual wherein on first Eid relatives visited the home of a relative where there had been a bereavement. They carry sewai, food and new clothes for the family.
But Khan sahib is not the only one with these heart-wrenching tales of regrets. There are many like him who is inconsolable as they could not say their last goodbye to their loved ones or lend a shoulder to cry on to the kins of the relatives.
“Hum kya nayey kapdey banaaeygay jub humarey apno ko coffin tak mayassar nahi hua (How can I make new clothes when our loved ones did not even get coffin),” says Hina Fatima, who lost her mother to Covid recently.
Alhamra Khan is an electronic journalist who lost her mother to the virus and herself she was hospitalized in a serious condition and is still fighting post covid complications. In the earlier years she was always the first to post pictures of Eid celebrations in her house but today she can only cry as she recalls those fun-filled Eids gone before. Eid she says for her will never be the same again.
Rubina Murtaza, poetess, and social activist, says that she shivers every time she recalls the difficult days she and her family, all Covid positive spent. When they returned from the hospital after a brave fight, weak, suffering from post covid complications they found out that they had lost so many of their relatives while they had been away. The news had been hidden from them seeing their ill health.