Where have the Iftar ‘parties’ gone?

Breaking the fast in the holy month of Ramzan was always something to look forward to. It was a gathering of friends and good cheer. But things are changing

Photo by Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Humra Quraishi

This Ramzan I received not a single invite for an Iftar get-together. Overcome with nostalgia, I sit thinking of those Ramzans when all possible politicians, business heads and bureaucrats would host Iftars. On one hand, one can heave a sigh of relief that the hypocrisy is over, but on the other, we cannot deny that these Iftars did provide a platform to meet and bond during the month of fasting, when rozadars, ‘breaking bread together’ opened their roza along with friends and colleagues.

Why have Iftars taken a backseat? Quite obviously because of the stifling political climate. Its trickle-down effect is sadly visible in all possible walks of life.

But thankfully all is not lost. The fabric isn’t totally ruptured. Traces of sensitivity and togetherness can still be witnessed. Last Sunday, the Brahma Kumaris of the Om Shanti Retreat Centre at Manesar, had organised a day long media meet. Several journalists were fasting. Late afternoon as we were returning home, each one of us—the fasting and also the non-fasting ones—was given a small basket of fruit, a packet of dates and a bottle of water. All tucked into a well -designed khadi bag with ‘Ramzan Mubarak’ embroidered on it.

A touching gesture. A rarity in the times we are living in.

Marital discords behind farmers’ unrest ?

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, doctor, engineer beggar, thief…hey, why no mention of our farmers in this long list of the varying professions!

We just have to get out of the city confines to see how our farmer is trying to survive. His weak and malnourished body, brooding look, their homes and kitchens somewhat bare, schools under sheds or in crumbling buildings reflect a somewhat bleak present and dismal future. To top it all, our farmers, who had so far remained away from communal rage, are now being used by vested interests to spread the venom of communal hatred. Unemployment and sheer poverty is driving the young to join communal brigades.

Something is seriously wrong in our rural stretches and yet smug we sit! Unruffled even as our farmers are shot dead by cops. Little bothered, as debt ridden farmers are killing themselves before politician order for their execution. What happened in Madhya Pradesh should have sent shock waves. On a single day in one little town, six farmers were shot dead by the police, followed by three farmers committing suicide. They preferred to hang themselves than get shot by the police!

And what did the politicians do? Well, nothing much, except that the Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, made some quick announcements, promising ₹1 crore as compensation for the families of each of the victims (the District Collector eventually handed over a cheque of ₹4 lakhs to each) and he also went on a day-long token fast.

No, Chouhan couldn’t remain hungry for very long and broke his ‘indefinite fast’ after about 24 hours. After all, he is not used to ruling…er, misruling without ample nourishment. But whilst he didn’t utter much, his Home Minister did and linked these farmer suicides to marital discords. Probably the minister himself is facing a crisis at home?

If we go by his theory and look at the rising number of unhappy marriages in the country, then most warring couples would be found hanging! And yet another minister of Madhya Pradesh decided to distract, by dragging into it Rahul Gandhi’s trip to Italy to meet his grandmother. Can we stop lampooning Rahul Gandhi and instead focus on our dying farmers?

Beware of Women!

Till date one had heard the clichéd one liner - beware of men! Well, now comes this latest from the authorities manning the Delhi Metro. They are telling us to be beware of women. To be precise, of women thieves!

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is responsible for the security at Delhi Metro stations, says that women thieves are responsible for over 90% of the incidents of pickpocketing in Delhi metro. In 2017 so far, the CISF has caught 373 pickpockets of which 329 were women. The CISF has also identified Kashmere Gate, Chandni Chowk, Shahdara, HUDA City Centre, Rajiv Chowk, Kirti Nagar, New Delhi and Tughlakabad stations as most vulnerable to pickpocketing.

Who says women cannot be crafty, clever and cunning! One cannot give those hackneyed clean chits to women! Women can be as layered and dangerous as some men can be! Don’t go by the ‘men’ and ‘women’ slots. It may be dicey specially if you are commuting by Metro!

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Published: 17 Jun 2017, 5:03 PM