| A young customer tries a shirt at Sabzibagh market in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
The universal message of Id is same, but time, space, culture and market force, or call it, market weakness, have their impact on the festivity.
Whiteness is palpable everywhere because most male members of the society who assemble to offer namaz at respective Idgahs or mosques are clad in white, local colours have their influence. After all, the women folk are not as colourless.
Only a couple of years back, the yellowness of artificial mehndi created havoc in Patna and some other places, as many girls turned pale and fainted after applying it on the eve of Id.
Technology, too, is adding different hues and shades to the occasion. Id, in the post-television age, is making people somewhat more self-centred than in the past. Yet, the rush among youngsters to cinemas to watch movies in the evening has not receded.
Id-ul-Fitr in Patna of big bazaars is different from one celebrated in towns or villages of small markets. In fact, today’s Id is not the same as it used to be here a couple of decades ago.
The melas and thelas are gradually vanishing as youths and children are opting for hi-tech entertainment. Two-wheelers would zoom on the streets. Unlike in the past, the light, sound and fury contribute more to the noise pollution. Loudspeakers blaring songs would roar at different corners of Muslim localities — a significant departure from the past.
Though both Id-ul-Fitr and Id-uz-Zoha (also known as Bakr-Id) are the best-levellers, they are the perfect occasion of family reunion too. The near and the dear ones long for this day to see each other after a while.
However, more than Id, it is the pre-Id shopping, which is changing globally and Patna cannot remain immune to it. Critics see the advent of mall culture as dangerous to the very concept of Id, which symbolises simplicity, equality and universal brotherhood.
Sabzibagh, Patna Market, Station Road, Phulwarisharif and some other markets have still managed to withstand the onslaught of mega marts. For the purchase of traditional items like sewai-lachcha, kurta-pyjamas, bangles, caps, nan-rotis, dry fruits and snacks, people continue to flock them.
Though readymade clothes have flooded the bazaars, tailors of Patna Market continue to burn the midnight oil to stitch in time.
While colour is acceptable, what is troubling is that Id is becoming a bit gaudy in Patna. The show of opulence has increased, which the old-timers do not like. More namazis now drive down to Gandhi Maidan in the heart of Patna in their vehicles to offer prayer in the morning than in the past.
However, Muslims of Patna, like elsewhere too, have failed to convey to the co-religionists as to what Id stands for. Though they offer delicious sewai, sheer-khurma, chole, dahi-barre, shami kabab, bakar-khani, shirmal, biryani, chicken and mutton, to guests, what they miss is the spirit of Id, which comes after a month of Ramazan, in which Muslims observe fast and get a feel of the poor and starving masses. The message of austerity is lost somewhere in the celebration.
But there is no dearth of people for whom Id is still an occasion to literally embrace the weak, the poor and the under-privileged. For example on Id eve, volunteers of Al-Khair Charitable Trust, a Patna-based organisation, distribute goodies to thousands of poor on Dargah Road, Sultanganj, Alamganj and Phulwarisharif. The packet includes new dress, lachcha, a litre of milk, sugar and ittar (scent). This practice has been going on for the past one decade.
Id in Patna is becoming a bit more barren. While Patna attracts much larger number of people — students, workers, traders — than it sends to other cities, during Id a sizeable number of these people go back to their native places. For instance, New Market near Patna railway station would wear a deserted look on Id after weeks of intense activity. Similarly, the lanes and bylanes around Patna University would look desolate, as students living in hostels would not be there. But then they would exchange Id greetings on cellphones with their friends here.
The tradition and modernity fuse here.
Amaan Ali Khan,
We usually keep a little low profile but this year with the two boys at home, my two bhatijas Abeer and Zohaan, the focus will shift to them. We’re very excited about that. We’re planning to call some close friends and relatives over but our family is very open and we welcome all guests who would like to drop into our place on Id.
Ayaan Ali Khan,
This Id, I’ll be pretty much at home. We usually have a lot of people dropping in and I like that whole old-school idea of people coming over without any prior appointment. It’s always easy to send greetings through text messages but I miss that personal touch, one-on-one human connection, which comes back on occasions like an Id or Diwali. This year since we have additions in
the family, Abeer and Zohaan, we’ll probably have more people dropping in. It’s going to be their first Id and I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be beautiful.