Can we really enjoy this Eid?

The bitter experience of how even during the holy month people, who fast dutifully, commit wrongs that defeat the very purpose of fasting
Representational Image
Representational Image

With the Covid Pandemic spreading like bushfire, engulfing countless lives, it is THE talk of the deadly virus that dominates dinner table conversations, official discussions, and social gatherings, limited as they are. In the past year masks, sanitizers and social distancing had become part of the new normal, and there is no end in sight for them yet. The papers are filled with grim stories of lives being lost, scenes of pandemonium at hospitals and there is hardly a home left which has not been afflicted by Corona.

Though the death is dancing at the doorsteps of every home, yet flouting of norms is commonplace in our Valley, as I discovered on my visit to the local butcher. I was shocked to see people pushing their way through, in complete disregard to social distancing standards and their own safety, while the smug faced butcher sat high like an overlord watching his serfs. I tried my best to be in line and maintain social distancing, in the hope that others would follow the same, but to no avail. Another shock ensued when the butcher himself decided the quantity of meat that I should take, paying no heed to my need, thereby maintaining perfect distancing from courtesy and social etiquette; though it would have been far better if he would have maintained social distance instead.

Similar is the case with fruit sellers who quote sky high prices, knowing the customers' hands are tied, with fruits being indispensable during the Holy month of Ramadhan. Take the example of milk seller who mixes milk with water for monetary benefits during this month which is a month of repentance. The bitter experiences led me to introspect how even during the holy month, people who fast dutifully commit moral and social wrongs that defeat its very purpose.

Profiteering, amassing ill gotten wealth- the deep cultural  malaise afflicting our society, remains unchecked because we choose to condone rather castigate. What is particularly worrisome is that even crimes of moral turpitude, earlier unheard of, no longer prick our society's collective conscience let alone warrant severe condemnation. Rather they are finding their feat within our social fabric, at the  cost of our moral values that continue to erode. This  is the society which damn cares for this moral degradation and instead is deeply involved in  squabbling and bickering over whether the loudspeaker is to be used during Namaz or not; hence wrangling inside mosques which is a sign that we are mentally, and morally a sick people.

Take the case of a girl from Pattan, District Baramulla, who, as per the reports, murdered her husband with the help of her paramour, that too during the month of Ramdhan. The woman had, reportedly, illicit relation with a man and conspired against her husband and brutally killed him leaving the body near the cowshed to let people and family believe that he had slipped down and died a natural death. The reaction by religious groups, media and other sections of the society was chaotic. In reaction to this shocking and shameful incident, the lukewarm reaction by the society perhaps marks a change and transition in our moral values.

My son who has returned to the valley from his official duty after a long time, was sharing Sehri just besides us in our sitting room during Ramdhan when out of nowhere he said that he had been proud of our clean moral and cultural record when it came to criminal acts such as murder, illicit relations, conspiracies against family members and immoral activities. but this Pattan episode had forced him to think otherwise. This sentence of his put us in a flashback mode. Having seen the larger part of the previous few decades, such crimes we can recall were never a part of our society. Our society may have had a number of problems, we may have been accused of being turncoats, collaborators, arrogant, hoarders, irritating, unpredictable, rumour-mongers, even treacherous at some point of time, but never has our society had this "criminal" tendency. But what is happening in our society now clearly enunciates our moral degradation and collective downfall as a society. We have gone from bad to worse.

As already mentioned a number of crimes have been normalised in our society as if they are a part of our routine schedule. The element of huge profiteering, black marketing, adulteration, and hoarding in the month of Ramzan has already received a social approval with the  business groups and shopkeepers not irked by their conscience to stay away from such practices. Here, it is heart wrenching that our businessmen  increase rates more than the approved ones during Ramdhan and Eid. Similarly the practice of corruption and bribery by other sections does stop at any point of time. We have lost decency to talk, the art of conversation is missing, our arguments turn into fights and abuses and without even looking at who is standing on the other side we start shouting. Such "social degradations" unfortunately have been normalized in our society and we keep blaming others for this; for how long. Blaming something of a political nature for something which is societal in nature is tantamount to comparing apples with oranges.

The threat that is lurking around like a tiger in ambush waiting for his prey is "normalisation of this heinous crime now". It doesn't take long before something is normalized and before it is relegated from front page news to page 5 news. When something is an exception and happens in exceptional circumstances, it gives birth to a strong reaction, but when something happens repeatedly over a period of time with one or two cases reported every single day, it just becomes a part of your life.

In the month of Ramdhan Muslims focus on purifying themselves, try to get closer to Allah, and grow in their knowledge/faith. The completion of such spiritual training is rejoiced on the day of Eid Ul Fitr. Now the question is: have we really achieved such salvation so that we could celebrate Eid.

I leave this question to the readers?

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