The usual cheerful hugs and handshakes and the hustle and bustle witnessed after Eid prayers every year were missing this year in Hyderabad as celebrations remained a low-key affair this year.
On Friday morning, Hyderabad’s famous Eidgah of Mir Alam Mandi in the Old city remained deserted and a chain with a lock hung on the main gate. A similar sight was visible at other Eidgahs and mosques across the city.
Eid prayers, for the first time in several decades, were offered not in the mosques, but at homes.
With social distancing becoming the watchword due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Eid greetings shifted to social media, with community elders asking everyone to stay indoors. There were no traditional Iftar parties or community dinners. No night long recitation of Taraweeh, or cultural programmes were held.
Every year, during the month of Ramzan, lanes around the Charminar remain abuzz with people shopping for new clothes and accessories. The markets teem with people scurrying eateries selling haleem, juicy kebabs, dahi bade, fruit chat, special juices, roohafza with sabza, keema samosa (minced meat samosa), cheese samosa.
The lockdown not only hit business, but also left people with no disposable income. “This has never been the case here. A friend of mine who runs a chain of ethnic wear shops used to make around Rs 8 lakh a day during the last days of Ramzan. This year he could not make more than Rs 35,000 a day,” said Syed Mohammed, a private employee.
Asif, another resident of Hyderabad’s old city, said Monday seemed like any other day, with people staying indoors. “There is no festivity mood this year. No one went out for namaaz. We just called up relatives, exchanged greetings, and visited elders who stay nearby. Due to the lockdown, no one will be able to go out on the day after Eid, which is a tradition,” he said.
Nawab Najaf Ali Khan, a grandson of the last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, and the president of the Nizam Family Welfare Association, said amid the lockdown, the month of Ramzan had opened the eyes of many who sit with their filled pantries while others struggle to find a proper meal.
“Humanity was united and it was heartwarming to see people from all walks of life coming forward to help others. I witnessed so many people who came to me and talked about their struggles. Many of them were widows, families without a breadwinner, and people born and raised all their life in poverty,” he said.
Though the month of Ramzan has been like never before this year, Hamid Mohammed Khan, president of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Telangana, said, “Usually I spend only one or two days with family during Ramadan. This year I was home the entire month and it has had a positive impact on my mind and body. I had all 30 peaceful Iftar parties with family at home,” he said.
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