Eid in the shadow of lockdown: Quiet, subdued

New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) The fragrance of ‘sewain’, the giggle of little ones running amok in the house, the stain on the new ‘kurta’ caused by spilling mutton ‘rogan josh’ — all these trademark moments of Eid are bound to get subdued this Eid, as people continue to struggle against a deadly global pandemic which has already infected more than one lakh persons in the country.
Ever thought how Eid and social distancing could find place in the same sentence?
Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi was the Chief Election Commissioner and a distinguished administrator. He, like most of those who practice Islam, loves to spend Eid with close family and friends. However, it would not be the same this time around.
“My plans are simple. Stay at home, offer namaz alone, pray for peace in India and the world,” Qureshi told IANS.
He said that rather than interpersonal greetings, he will send his best wishes through phone calls and social media this time. “Be positive. Remember this is a special Eid. It will be remembered for long” — is how he sees Eid under the shadow of lockdown.
In the power circles of Lutyens’ Delhi, one of the most famous Eid celebrations take place at BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain’s residence since decades. Journalists and top political leaders cutting across party lines assemble there over glasses of Rooh Afza and a scrumptious lunch. During the course, the most sworn political enemies laugh it out over chats where politics is a taboo for a day. But this year, Hussain too will have a rather quiet Eid.
“I have been having this Eid luncheon for 21 years now. But this time things are different. No invitation has been sent. I will spend the Eid in a simple way by distributing food among the poor,” said Hussain.
The contagious virus that can spread through physical contact or even close proximity has infected more than 1,25,000 people in India. In the national capital itself, the death toll has reached 231, with 23 deaths getting reported in the past 24 hours, the Delhi Health Department said on Saturday. Such data leave very little room for anyone to be dismissive of the dystopian self-restriction rules.
Most places of religious worship continue to be off limits for people due to the lockdown. In spite of relaxation of restrictions, footfalls in market places have been minimal.
Globally, Eid restrictions are quite stringent with Turkey announcing a four-day curfew during the festival while Saudi Arabia will implement a 24-hour nationwide curfew on Eid.
Ghuam Nabi Azad, a senior leader of the Congress party and a powerful voice inside the Parliament, will also stay at home this Eid.
“When we can’t meet each other, there will be no prayers at the Eidgah, what can I say? Stay home and stay safe,” Azad told IANS when asked about his Eid plans.

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