Hyderabad: The most defining image of Ramzan is the sahriwalas who come to wake you up for the pre-dawn meal. Even in this age of smartphone when many rise to one’s favourite music, the sahriwalas make their presence felt year after year. But this Ramzan they are not to be seen. Lockdown has robbed us of many delights – even this fascinating tradition prevalent in most parts of the world.
As children most of us used to keenly look forward to these street criers who move through Muslim localities to wake up people for the suhoor. Over the years, their modus-operandi has changed from firing of cannons to beating of drums and now playing recorded songs. Who are these good Samaritans ensuring that you don’t oversleep and miss the fast? You will know only on the Id day when they come to collect alms for the effort they put in the whole month.
Ramzan is not just fasting and partaking of delicacies at the time of iftar. It’s much more. At its basic level it is abstinence – denying the body to elevate the soul. Fasting is primarily aimed at developing taqwa (God-consciousness) and to tame the evils of ego. It is training in humility but one might come across some rozadars who display undesirable traits like anger, jealousy, malice and arrogance. It only means that they have not stuck to the principles of abstinence.
Another important aspect of Ramzan is to withdraw from the material world and move towards the spiritual one. The present lockdown actually helps achieve this noble objective. Forced to stay at home, most of us have had no social interaction during the last two months. This wouldn’t have been possible during normal times. Many feel lockdown in Ramzan is a blessing in disguise. It has restored the real spirit of Ramzan by distancing us from the immoderate life we are so used to.
As if nature has pressed the pause button to stop humanity from playing God. Lockdown has also given us time to reflect on the ephemerality of life and smallness of man. Moving images of people caught in distress should serve one to be grateful for the small mercies of life.
Ramzan is the time for sharing and caring. The present lockdown provides more opportunities to show concern not just to one’s kith and kin but utter strangers. The pandemic has put many in dire straits. They all deserve our attention irrespective of who they are. It is gratifying to see many inviting the policemen on road during iftar. The frontline fighters against corona sure deserve empathy.
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