Thursday, January 18, 2018
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bakrid mubarak

In quick succession Allahabad has celebrated three major festivals – Durgapuja, Vijay Dashmi and now Bakrid. The inclement weather  has acted as a major hurdle but it failed to dampen the spirit of the people who have left no stone unturned to make the best out of the worst.

The weather was kind on Bakrid day but those manning the affairs of the city seemed to be helpless in the face of the fury unleashed by the weather gods during the past few days. Hence slush and slime was encountered by those going to mosques to offer Eid prayers. Imagine the plight of those, dressed in spotlessly white, having to face muddy splashes from vehicles shooting through pools of accumulated water. And about the cleanliness drive, well everything was before you. Need I say anything?
While it was indeed a great pleasure exchanging Puja and Vijay Dashmi greetings with friends as also near and dear ones, the Eid milans roo have been a grand affair. I participated in all the festivities and found provincial harmony and communal amity. How generous we are by nature is visible on festive occasions. Just go to greet any one in a Hindu   or a Muslim household and you will find nothing but love and affection accompanied by such lavish hospitality as would linger on in memory for a long, long time, till the arrival of the festivals again.
Whom did I miss? In Durgapuja I was reminded of the grand time we used to have at the houses of our late colleagues- Tarini Babu’s keema-muttar were sheer delight. And how I miss those mouth-watering Bengali sweets that were served by Tushar Bhattacharya, Balai Das Ghosh and above all Taklu Babu . It was so thrilling to hear Taklu Babu’s daughter Jaiti offering Puja greetings on phone and complaining why I hadn’t  visited them. The Puja sweets at the residence of Shib Babu and the delicacies served by late Srimati Sunil Biswas  form an inseparable part of the moments of festive joys of the past. The last to go was dear Signendu Chatterji. And Pintu must be too heartbroken this Puja because of the demise of his wife. I visited the late Mr S.K.Bose only once when he chose to remain in Allahabad for the celebrations. His wife and son Mainak were so happy when I went there with my family.
And those Eid get-togethers!  So many faces  flash across my mind. Z.H.Kazmi is unforgettable because our pages are full of his articles, especially on Muslim festivals. He wrote with a sense of authority and humility placing his thoughts in a manner that would promote national integration. I think of our late reporter Mazhar Haider and our senior colleague  Syed Kausar Hussain with whom the NIP staff celebrated so many Eids.  I cannot forget S.Mustafa Hussain Abdi of Daryabad. He used to write very, very frequently; and once when he invited me for an Eid meal I couldn’t imagine that this frail looking gentleman would be arranging such a grand feast. And then those Turkana friends—Naseemullah, Hameedullah-as well as Sadiq, Akhtar  and Hamid Beg.. The savouries they served were as delicious as the affection accompanying them. Our neighbour late Haji Iqbal Ahmad would ensure that we enjoy his hospitality to the brim. I think of the late Mr Hasmat Ali. Whenever as schoolboy I went to their house to share Eid joys with son Nasar, he would smile lovingly and bless all the friends who had assembled there.  His Begum Sahiba was alive till recently and one could see motherly love peeping out of her eyes whenever I went to greet her son, daughter-in-law and grand children.. I also cannot forget the graceful personality of Dr Hammad Usmani who would, at the Rotary Eid-milans, especially come to greet me with his blessings and convey greetings to the entire Patrika family. Another person, whose  blessings I would miss, was Mrs Masood Ahmed. Whenever we went to their house on Lohia Marg, she as the hostess served the delicacies laced with motherly affection which was so delightful to experience. And last but not the least I cannot help recalling Syed Rahman Ali, a great NIP admirer, who remembered me not only on Eid , Bakrid and other festivals but also made me take part in the Roza Iftar  at his residence. Before he went into coma he rang me up to comment on a Patrika item appearing in this column. He was a storehouse of valuable information,quoting past details from the diaries of his father, Syed Mehboob Ali, who was a Congress leader and contemporary of Lal Bahadur Shastri. Today I miss them all.


Allah ko pyari hai qurbani 
This was the song that greeted us on Bakrid Day on Wednesday morning over Vividh Bharati. The weather was cloudy but pleasant. The sacrificial goats were, as usual, much in demand but so too the craftsmen who were carrying out the sacrificial ceremony. A report says that   a sacrificial goat sold for Rs40,000. Nasar Hashmat told me that the selection has to be made very carefully, cautiously.’ We have to see that the goat is perfect from all angles. It should have no physical defect. It should be absolutely hale and hearty, strong and sturdy. After all this is an important sacrifice’.  The Baqrid festival goes on for three days. How I wish I could personally visit all the Muslim brethren I know. But their number is so large that all I can do is to use this column to wish them on behalf of the Patrika   a very, very happy Eid.




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