Eid is an occasion for festivity and reflection, charity and compassion, sharing and communication, joy and celebration for Muslims all over the world. Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha have been a part and parcel of Bangladesh's religious and cultural heritage for many centuries. It has many dimensions in the local and global milieus, such as spiritual, social, religious, ethical, economic and cultural.
Eid festival in Bangladesh in recent years appears to be integral to the economy and the business sector. Though there has not been any official survey on the Eid economy lately, the World Bank estimated it to be at around US$12 billion in 2014. Taking into account the growth rate of GDP during the past four years, the amount is likely to have soared to around $15.50 billion or Taka 1,250 billion by 2018. The sectors involved in this constantly swelling Eid economy are varied and diverse. They range from garments and textiles to leather and electronic goods, jewelleries and food items, transportation and communication, tourism and sports, entertainment and the mass media.
The run-up to this year's Eid-ul-Fitr has not been very peaceful and harmonious. The weather has been behaving strangely this summer giving the impression of a premature monsoon. Although intermittent rains throughout the Ramadan reduced the summer-heat to some extent, water-loggings and concomitant traffic jams on the roadways have bedevilled the city-dwellers. The paddy farmers suffered due to excessive imports of rice by some opportunist sections among the businesses, taking advantage of duty waiver. The resultant reduction in prices of rice in the market did not augur well for the poor growers. The re-imposition of duties on imported rice through the budget statement of the finance minister appeared to be too late. This may dampen the Eid celebration of millions of poor peasants in rural Bangladesh. The prices of essentials have continued to rise inappropriately in the run-up to the Eid, affecting all segments of the consumers. This rising trend has not been mellowed down by the announcement of the budget.
Still, the Eid does call out to all to get together in a spirit of harmony. It is here that it is more than just jubilation; it is more about getting to know the neighbours and fellow humans better, in empathy and in a soul-searching compassion and generosity of the heart. The month-long restraint-- the teaching of the Ramadan, signifies it as a day uniquely distinctive for the Muslims across the world to pursue peaceful coexistence. This is particularly important in this strife-torn world divided, sadly, on many unwelcome fronts. It is thus the expectation that all concerned would fervently try to shed the differences in an attempt to unite in peace and harmony and rejoice the blessings of common human bonding. The FE wishes all its readers and patrons a happy, peaceful and joyous Eid. It cherishes the hope that collective wellbeing of all humans - irrespective of their race, religion, nationality and colour -- would serve as the primordial message of this solemn occasion to every citizen of the country.
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