In India, we have just entered the fourth version of the lockdown series. The number of positive COVID 19 cases have been rising incessantly, with the significant increase in the growth rate in recent times. If we look at Assam specifically, the situation is now moving towards tougher days with containment zones increasing every day ,as more and more suspected cases are feared. Major business hubs of the country stand sealed now. In Assam too ,Fancy Bazar and many surrounding areas have witnessed such containment activities in recent times to stop the spread. Government of India has given relaxations significantly in the current version of the lockdown with an eye on saving the economy, saving the society concerning our day to day life and living. However, these relaxations should not be mistaken by the public as going back to the earlier normal lives in the Pre COVID times.
In Assam, the festival season had already begun in April. Bihu, the biggest spring festival could not be celebrated with grandeur, unlike in previous years. In the Pre COVID times, Assamese people from various states of the country would gather at their home locations to celebrate Bihu along with their family and loved ones. Shopping spree, get-togethers, good food, stage performances have now become things of the past in recent times. As if the year 2020 has wiped off such grand moments from people’s lives. A cruel year for all humans on this earth. We are now made to believe by this small virus that festivals are now a matter of the heart. If we understand the underlying logic and meaning of every religious preaching, then celebrating the festival at homes would not have become this weird which we all might have been currently feeling. Festivals are an extension of what we were made to believe in various religions since time immemorial. It is high time to understand the actual spirit, the underlying meaning of every festival that we have been otherwise celebrating in grand scale until 2019.
Now, that Eid is just around the corner and the situation being critical, people must abide by all the rules of social distancing. Governments have highlighted the guidelines for strict adherence to social distancing and maintaining public hygiene. No mass gatherings or congregations in religious places will be allowed. The Muslim folk have already been abiding by the lockdown rules very well since the very start. It is evident on every Fridays when they are supposed to offer Jummah Prayer and also special Taravi Prayers at night during the holy month of Ramadan. These prayers have been peacefully offered at their respective homes in the lockdown era. However, at the very start of the lockdown, it was a bit tough to accept this new normal by a few Muslim followers in a few parts of the country. The same is true in the case of other religions too. There were a handful of cases in various places of the country flouting the rules due to ignorance, blind faith or lack of education.
Until 2019, whenever a festival was around the corner, people were seen thronging the markets and the malls to pick up the best dresses in town. Buying the best clothes in the festive season and getting decked up has now become a thing of the past. Let us now adopt the new normal overlooking these small things which were a matter of joy then. Let us now learn how to live our day to day lives around this virus. The virus will surely stay on this planet until a vaccine comes up. We must stop regretting of the good old days of shopping and dressing up, eating out the best dishes at home or the favourite eateries in town. Rather let us learn to be thankful to God that we are still alive till date to celebrate every festival that is on its way. The scale of celebration may be a minuscule now. But the happiest part is being at home, worshipping God at homes along with family and celebrating festivals at homes. Had we learned the essence and science behind every religion, I am sure we would not complain about celebrating festivals within the four walls of our homes and without wearing new clothes. Thanks to the internet, at least we are connected virtually with almost everyone during tough times. The same situation needs to be thoroughly explained or educated to the young generation staying with us at our home confinements.Let us enrich our hearts with spirituality rather than blind faith in any religion. The vaccine is a matter of time but we humans have to live our lives normally until the good news comes. As Eid is just knocking at the door, let us welcome it with a positive smile. Just like Bihu, we are ready to celebrate this festival too without new clothes, without visiting mosques and idgahs. Let this festival be a special and a memorable one this year ,with an increase in spending on financial support to the needy and downtrodden during pandemic times. Already, for all Muslim followers, during this festival it is mandatory to offer fitr and zakat(financial support to the needy and poor) during this holy month of Ramadan.
In a nutshell, I would like to conclude-Let this Eid be everyone’s Eid. A moment of sharing and caring for all the needy and poor people irrespective of any religion. If we feed our brain the true essence of the science behind every religion, we can overcome any situation, the toughest of tough situations too. We can learn to be truly happy without new clothes and good food too. To conclude, Eid is not only about wearing new clothes and savouring mouth watering dishes, rather it has a far deeper meaning. It is about feeling other’s pain and hunger. It is about brotherhood, caring and sharing. Even if someone is unable to do fasting due to some illness or medical conditions, but if one is generous enough to support the needy people around him or her during these tough times, nothing can be more rewarding than this. Let us emphasize more on the spirituality part of every religion. Let spirituality win over blind faiths of any religion. If this achieved, humanity wins automatically. Eid Mubarak in advance!