In a rare historic coincidence the beginnings of the month of Ramadan on the Islamic calendar and Baishakh on the Bangla calendar coalesce together on the same day. But this remarkable coincidence of the two occasions has happened at a time of unprecedented crisis triggered by the most colossal pandemic ever to ravage the planet. Ramadan, the month of siam, however offers an opportunity of deeper introspection. It is a time for self abnegation and through prayer connecting to the power of the Almighty. The process thus helps establish a bond between the mortal world and that of the spiritual. A complete supplication also provides sustenance for brotherly feeling for the fellow humankinds. Mortality and divinity make a tryst at some point lifting the ordinary to an elevated realm. Unfortunately, not many can go beyond the mundane to experience this religious illumination.
This is why the holy month becomes for many an occasion for fleecing the consumers and the plight of the poor gets overlooked. If the true spirit of brotherhood of the Muslim Ummah was at work, the conflicts in Sudan, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan would not have been so bloody and prolonged. In the same way, the influential and affluent could not be mindlessly indifferent to the sufferings of the common people in the war-torn regions and the plight of the poor elsewhere. No society is perfect but when outrageous disparities leave the poor and hapless with hardly any means to observe religious obligations, the privileged and the fortunate cannot claim to have done their duties to their fellow human beings. Islam teaches one to be kind to one's neighbours and others in utter helplessness. But the teaching remains largely ignored which is blatantly in display with the consumption of foods of extraordinary high quality and the low and meager morsels.
Ramadan and the Bangla New Year would be great occasions together in terms of religion and culture had there been no coronavirus on its fresh rampage. For successive years, people have been deprived of the usual fervours of these two occasions. This is highly frustrating for people who have remained quarantined for long. Now a stricter lockdown is going to be imposed from today -- the first day of Ramadan and the Bangla New year. There is hardly any alternative to containing the increasing rates of deaths and infections with a greater demonstration of social awareness, responsibility and mutual distancing. Let the hearts beat in unison at this hour of paramount need.
Traders from street vendors to big commercial ventures look to both the Bangla New Year and the holy month of Ramadan leading to the greatest religious festival of this land, Eid-ul-Fitr for business bonanza and well-being. These are occasions when people spend generously on fashionable apparels, jewellery and cosmetics. Even home appliances are in great demand. All such commercial transactions may have been seriously hampered because of the pandemic. If trade suffers, so does the country's economy. The general public and businesspeople were gradually recovering from the first economic shockwave; the experience should come in handy in meeting the second surge. Let's all pray for the pandemic to go away soon.