Hyderabad: It has been a dull Ramzan month for many, literally. With the lockdown continuing for over 50 days at a stretch, the usual charm associated with the festival of Ramzan is missing across the city although the festival is just a day away.
Ramzan for many means a month of prayer and also feasting. The mosques usually witness full attendance with people spilling on to the roads and occupying the rooftops in the mosques.
“People are very pious during Ramzan and make it to the mosque five times a day. Many attend the late night taraveeh prayers regularly throughout the month. Nevertheless, it was missing this year due to the lockdown,” says Mohammed Shaukath, a management committee member of a mosque at Aghapura.
Also missing were the regular gatherings at the mosque where even strangers share their eatables with each other during ‘iftar’.
“People especially who work in offices or shops in the commercial areas of the city would rush to the mosque half-an-hour before the iftar time to see that they get a comfortable place in the mosque to break the fast. Else one would be forced to go onto the terrace,” recalls Syed Zulfeqar Ali, who works as a supervisor at a private firm on Abid’s Road.
The scenes of people relishing the immensely popular ‘haleem’ too were missing this year. A few restaurants have launched take-away facilities but again, the excitement of relishing the delicacy standing in front of the restaurant or comfortably sitting on a motorcycle or car is something different, feel many.
The hustle and bustle associated with Eid shopping is also not to be seen in markets across the city. Crowds at the Pathergatti market, the Ramzan Bazaar at Charminar or in the scores of temporary local markets making last minute purchases are missing from the scene.
“The old city markets are mostly filled with the working class in the run up to Eid. Nevertheless, with the lockdown, many are without work and hence no money to shop. Again everything has to shut by 6 pm, so if at all anything is to be purchased, it is done from the markets near home,” says Syed Mukarram, a school teacher from Moghalpura.
Scores of traders are however still trying to do whatever business they can in the run up to the festival by setting up shops, though the dull response is leaving many dejected.
“For us, Ramzan meant the season to earn money to survive the rest of the year. It is not so this year. By the time the restrictions were relaxed, people are without money,” says Salman Khan, a vendor at the Bibi Ka Chasma road in old city.
Sumptuous iftar parties amiss due to curfew
The grand iftar parties usually held from day one of the Ramzan month were missing this year with the night curfew and restrictions on large gatherings.
A lavish spread of food items would be tabled during the iftar parties even as several social organisations and religious scholars denounced the practice. Nevertheless, this year it was different with not a single ‘dawaat-e-iftaar’ organised anywhere across the city.
“Instead, people who usually hold the gatherings spent the money in reaching out to needy people who were in need of essential commodities. Many distributed ration kits and a few arranged for medicines for those in distress,” said Inayath Ali Baqri, TRS leader from the old city.
Even the iftars organised by the government departments were postponed following the lockdown.
Pandemic brings little cheer to biz people
Business has been low and dull during the Ramzan month. Muslims usually purchase attar, skull caps, religious books and other related articles in the beginning of the Ramzan month.
“As a practice, people purchase it in the first five days of the Ramzan month or even before the month commences. This year, we did not have any business due to the lockdown. Only a handful of people are coming to purchase attar and skull caps as they are not expecting many guests at their house on Eid day,” complains S A Gaffar, who owns a perfume shop at Mahboob Chowk.
There are over 50 attar stalls in the city and the prominent ones are those located between the stretch between Charminar and Madina building. Locals and tourists make a beeline to the attar shops to purchase various brands of perfumes packed in beautiful glass bottles.
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