The Telegraph
Saturday , July 27 , 2013
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Ramazan of compassion Gen-Y as devout as Gen-X

Muslim devotees offer Friday’s Ramazan namaaz at Unit-IV Masjid in Bhubaneswar. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, July 26: Ramazan means different things to different youngsters here, but the thread of devotion runs through them all.

While some find it strenuous at times, most youngsters tend to observe the rituals with sincerity.

“My friends ask me if it is difficult to observe the fast the whole day. But with everyone observing the rituals with sincerity in the family, the spirituality is infectious. I do, however, have a tight work schedule and so miss out on the evening prayers,” said 22-year-old Aysha Anam, who recently joined a corporate firm.

However, another youngster, Tajdar Ahmed Khan, an enterprising ad filmmaker, said he had found that his friends from metropolitan cities were less spiritual than his colleagues from towns and villages.

Javed Anwar, a student of integrated MCA at Utkal University, used to skip roza as a teenager and has interesting memories of those days.

“When hungry during the fast, my cousins and I used to count the hours that remained for the moon to rise so that it became easier to bear the pangs. But at Iftar, we would not control ourselves any longer and would simply hog,” reminisced Anwar, who said he had mended his ways now and understood the sanctity of the religious month.

Ittar, kalins and sewai on sale during Ramazan in Bhubaneswar

Ramazan is also a month of charity and compassion. Syed Mujibur Rahman, former president of Capital Mosque, Unit-IV, said fasting was a way to understand the predicament of the destitute. He said one was supposed to give away two-and-a-half per cent of one’s savings as charity.

About 3,000 devotees come for prayers to Capital Mosque every day. As the fasting ends, the have-nots who throng the mosque are given plenty to eat. In the city, the well-heeled give individual donations, while in the suburbs, people give donations to the mosque, which, in turn, feeds the needy.

Corporate employee Saba Bashir, 28, said she spent at least half her salary on clothes and food for the poor who gather outside the mosque or near her home.

“This month teaches us to understand the worth of food, water and hard-earned money. It awakens our conscience, which we ignore the rest of the year. Following Ramazan is not only about fasting but feeling compassion for others and being more humane. I also contribute 10 per cent of my salary to an orphanage every month,” she said.

As far as the faith of youngsters is concerned, most older people believe that it depends upon individual upbringing. “My daughter is 12 years old and I urge her to observe the rituals of Ramazan. Whether a youngster has faith or not completely depends on the family environment. I find that young Muslims in Odisha are as devout as their elders,” said Enam Ulla Khan, a pharmacist.