Division of Eid Under Classes
After the blessed month of Ramzan, the religious festival of ‘Eid ul Fitr’ or ‘Meethi Eid’ is a dazzling, multi-colored extravaganza. However, it is also an occasion when sheer poverty does not permit poor to rejoice and celebrate like the well off ñ except for high hopes end up in disappointment, exasperation and nervous tension.
On the contrary, affluent class of the country seems least concerned about the skyrocketing prices. They spend thousands of rupees for only one ‘Lawn Suit’. The increasing petrol prices, electricity and groceries haven’t even placed a slight burden on their shoulders. This is an ample example of great divide between poor and rich. Inflation has not targeted the lifestyle of the upper class but has enormously widened the income gap of rich and poor.
The elite segment of the society spends as per their choice while other struggles in absolute poverty. For People who bring in only Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000 monthly to their homes, festivals like Eid become less significant, as it is difficult to meet the rampant price hike.
Eid does not bring any extraordinary significance for people who are termed as ‘poor’ except it comes and goes like every other day. Their children never get new dresses, shoes or food on Eid ñ it’s all a daydream for them.
Eid is perhaps the only occasion when the divide between the rich and the poor is quite visible. The latter want to celebrate this festival like the former, but they can’t. A lower middle-income worker Naseem Ahmad is living this notion practically. ìI see the children of my boss buying even moon any day, but I can’t fetch a new garment for my kid on a special occasion like Eid,î Ahmad lamented. This comparison worsens the frustration of the low-income holders further. ìI feel poor when I witness how other people are enjoying life,î Ahmad said.
Ahmad is not the only one who bears bitter hardships, countless families belonging to lower and lower middle class with meager earnings, and who struggle day-to-day for daily essentials, hardly make both ends meet due to rising inflation. They can’t sustain the regular kitchen expenses let alone Ramzan or Eid. For them, brisk preparations as well as enthusiastic longing for Eid fiesta become a gigantic encumbrance.
Labourers and domestic servants, who spend day and night in tremendous hard work, just to fulfill the obligation of two meals but usually sleep with empty stomachs, hardly share this event’s delight and cheerfulness because of dire poverty.
Street children and destitute people endure pains of deprivation and untold sufferings. There is absolutely nothing for them in this blissful affair. They all know one thing; Eid is for the affluent class and not for the poor people like them.
In any case, Eid-ul-Fitr is a time of humiliation for the poor segment of society. ìThe society humiliates me every day because of my poverty, but on Eid I feel humiliated in front of my wife and children for not being able to fulfill their desires,î Hamza, a construction worker, said. Unlike Christmas and Diwali, Eid-ul-Fitr has a different economics, an economist Faisal Aaqib said. Usually, Muslims spend a lot of money on food during the 30 days preceding the festival. And, due to higher prices of food items during Ramzan, they don’t have much in pockets at the end the month.
Therefore, the poorer segments of society find it hard to cope with the additional expenses needed to buy new clothing and shoes for the family members for Eid, Aaqib said. On the other hands, for Christmas and Diwali, devotees from various classes spare some resources to spend on clothing, etc. during these festivals. While government cannot be absolved of its responsibility of price control, people with meager resources should also save some money every month year-round to spend on Eid and Ramzan-related shopping. Likewise, middle class families who face financial problems as they pay Zakat on gold during Ramzan could avert the money shortage on the occasion by partly doling out Zakat throughout a year, Aaqib said.
On the government/administration level, all exercise to check the price lists of daily commodities; is absolutely a big failure. Retailers and wholesalers enjoy highest earning season during Ramzan and Eid. This serves as icing on the cake; consequently poorest households suffer most from uncontrolled inflation.
The genuine enjoyment of Eid cannot be achieved if a major portion of the population suffers just because of no or less money. It cannot be an auspicious Eid-day, if lots of poor children remain without food, cloths and shoes. The cheerfulness of an Eid get-together will be deflating, if needy people remain starved and neglected.
Eid is the time of the year to practice self-control, self-responsibility as well as to be more attentive towards the desires of the poor and unprivileged people.
Eid is an ideal and wonderful chance to create harmony and affection among the diverse classes of the society. The whole happiness of this festival will be tarnished, if needy people remain famished and unloved.
The true essence of Eid is to share pleasure, delight, joy and happiness with the less fortunate to reduce their misery ó after all sharing is caring.
“Occasions like Eid are torturous for me as I see the burning desire in the eyes of my children for new cloths, bangles and shoes,” Azhar, who is a skilled worker at an engineering concern, said. The hard labour at the factory he works leaves his body in pain at every evening. “But, the agony and fear I spent the last 15 days of Ramzan with is more than anything else,” he remarked. “I just pray I get my salary on time to meet at least the routine expenses,” Azhar said. Another labourer Zeeshan considers festivals like Eid as a luxury for his family. ìIn the present circumstances, a poor feels lucky if he manages to provide two square meals a day to his family “Eid is a luxury my family cannot afford,” Zeeshan bewailed.
“Near Eid, I feel ashamed of myself for not providing enough money to my wife for the event. I feel utter embarrassment in front of my children whenever they ask for Eid shopping” said Abbas, a clerk by profession.
He disclosed that last year he borrowed money for Ramzan and Eid, unfortunately he is still unable to pay that amount. “This year, I did part time job to make some additional income but it’s still not enough money to buy new cloths, footwear and other necessities. My poverty is an acute humiliation,” he added.
“I always face rigid expressions whenever I ask for a little increase in my wages, even though I accept abuse, crudeness and lack of sympathy, “said Farheen, who works as a domestic servant. ìRegardless of entire uphill struggle, my children still can’t have the enjoyment of Eid. I do not even have a holiday on Eid-day” she lamented.
Farheen went to a low priced Bazaar to buy used cloths and footwear for her children but came back home empty-handed, as prices were too high for even secondhand things.
“Ek ghareeb Maa apne bacche ko bade pyaar se yun manati hai, Phir bana lenge naye kapde ye EID to har saal aati hai…”
Every year, we miss this unique chance to create harmony and love in the country and to cover the distance between rich and poor and to decrease the social disparity.
Although, numerous ways are there to assist our poor brothers and sisters who are not gifted with much wealth. Islam has a strong stance for peace, love, harmony and equality among all the Muslims. Islam is a perfect religion as everyone knows and it teaches how to regulate money from rich man to the poor in the form of Zakat al- Fitr
Zakat is as important as namaz. And it is best if people give donations before Eid namaz.
A large number of economically well off Muslims give Zakat from their wealth to poor on Eid. The essence of Zakat — one of the five pillars of Islam — is to help the poor and needy to achieve their goals. In Islam, it is mandatory for every economically sound person to donate Zakat, which comprises 2.5% of his or her wealth.
Muslims do this obligatory charity in a number of ways. Paying Zakat to kith and kin is the best way. The followers of Islam also make donations to the madarsaís, to religious NGOs and other social organizations. Many also sponsor a child’s education or give charity to those seeking medical aid.
The best time to pay Zakat is on ‘chand raat’. Most people do Zakat, either in cash or kind on chand raat or before the Eid namaz. The idea is that the wealth should reach the poor in time so that they can use it to celebrate Eid.
Why not this time we celebrate this occasion with those who are waiting for someone to come & let them know the meaning of this occasion. Lets celebrate this EID with the people who deserve the very same happiness as the elite genre of the society but cannot afford that.
No it’s not a time to feel bad for the poor and show pity on them, instead.
What it seems like is a time to tell ‘Allah’ -see, I just deprived myself a whole month for you and your poor people, who, for some reason you too neglect, so go ahead reserve me that piece of land in paradise.
I just spent a whole month outsmarting you and investing up there And here it is a definite gain for all of us; we’ll gain their smiles, love, prayers & blessings. So dear all why not we all join hands in this noble cause & tell them they are not alone in this world.
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us,
What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal” – Albert Pike
Writer is a student, an aspiring painter & calligrapher
(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 2 Issue 16, Dated 05 July 2015)