Social gatherings with family and friends, streets lined with vendors selling food, and shopping are some of the highlights of Ramzan. But this year, as Ramzan comes to a close, Muslim families in Bengaluru are looking at muted Id-ul-Fitr celebrations as the COVID-19 continues to spread across the country.
With people tightening their purse strings, vendors and traders, too, have been hit in what should have been a profitable festive season. Ramzan this year has been very different and unprecedented. We are celebrating in silence and as you see, the streets and shops are empty. Businesses have been hit badly as the purchasing capacity of people has reduced, said Idrees Choudhury, a dates and dry fruits trader. During this time of the year, people buy new clothes, bangles, and celebrate. But no one is spending, Mr. Choudhury said.
But the charitable spirit that marks the month remains strong. Maqsood Imam Rashadi, chief imam of Jumma Masjid at K.R. Market, said that apart from observing fast and offering prayers, it has always been customary to help the downtrodden during Ramzan. Everybody is financially under great distress and it has reflected in their buying behaviour. But the charity work is somehow going on, he said.
Siddiq Alduri, who works with a Urdu newspaper, and other residents hold a similar view. People have been offering prayers at home and sharing food with the poor. Many have donated their zakaat to COVID-19 related causes and some have given more than usual amount, said Mr. Alduri.
Ameen-e-Mudassar, a career counsellor, said, Having a sumptuous meal and buying clothes is a part of Ramzan, but caring for those in distress is more important. Hence, many have cut their spending and have donated it to charitable organisations helping people who are in financial distress because of the lockdown.
Muslim religious leaders have also been appealing people to celebrate Id in a simple way. We have advised people against spending on unnecessary things and help the needy instead. On the other hand, even people are not in a situation to spend, an imam said.