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Lavanya Bahuguna


Team JWB’s Eid al-Fitr Celebration With Syed Family Of Jaipur

  • JWB Post
  •  July 21, 2015


The only reason I worked on Eid al-Fitr – our official national holiday – was the warm invitation from the Jaipur-based Syed family.

Syed Bashart Ashraf, a gorgeous Kashmiri woman, married in Jaipur, along with her extended family, was our host. Dressed in the most enviable salwar-kameez styles, Syed Bashart along with her two daughters spoke to us at length about their religion – Islam – they hold pride in.

Syed Bashart: Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic era. This month gives us a chance to burn our sins and bad habits.

Left to Right: Nazish, Syed Bashart & Marsha

Nazish: Roje helps us become better human beings. When you stay hungry the whole day, you develop gratitude for food and water.

Marsha: At that, you understand what the underprivileged people go through.

Syed Bashart: The month teaches us to share what we have with those unfortunate ones. This can be someone from the family too!

Eid al-Fitr is not only a celebration of food but also a day of charity. Muslims donate meals to poor people so everyone can eat on the holiday. Syed Bashart told us how this precious act of love and care could be performed by the family members too.

Syed Bashart: The Zakaat (Wealth Purifying Tax) can be offered in the form of new clothes or anything the needy require the most at the moment.

So what is Eidi, I asked curiously.

Marsha: Oh, that is something the elders give to the younger lot. Our father gave us the 1st Eidi of the day!!

Marsha’s childlike zeal made her eyes sparkle as she shared her plans for the day. After all, she has been excused from the school!

Eid marks the end of this holy month, and it explains the very many varieties of cuisines cooked to celebrate the spirit. After the whole family and their cousins had offered the mass prayer in the morning, the festival of fast-breaking was celebrated in a royal way.

Syed Bashart: On Eid, you are encouraged to eat all things that are rich and sweet. Basically, food cooked regally commemorating the end of many fasts.

By now, the aroma of biryani and seviyan had hit our dog-noses. We couldn’t wait to move from sofas and shift to the dining table. Syed Bashart was even more excited to serve the delicacies she cooked with all her heart.

Syed Bashart serving seviyan

To begin with, we were served the seviyan.

…followed by mutton biryani. My mouth waters as I write.

Abir Ahmed, Syed Bashart’s niece

Nazish: Only I know how I have spent this whole month staying away from my college canteen. Mashallah, the smell of chowmein!

Marsha: Oh I miss Maggi so much.

We all laughed as the cousins discussed their memories of this year’s Ramadan.

While sitting amidst them, I wondered how beautiful this religion is that most of us had been misunderstanding. As the day unfolded, Syed Bashart told us a little more about Islam.

Syed Bashart: It’s written in the Holy book Quran that Satan is banned for this month, and nothing bad can happen to the righteous followers. Reading Quran is something we do during this month. The pages inside teach what should be the daily conduct of humans. It is full of advice for both the genders on the code of conduct. Moreover, it has some interesting stories of dynasties giving the readers examples of good behavior. This includes how to eat, sit, the right position to drink water, hygiene, etc.

It becomes one’s lifestyle if read and followed properly. It is not just a book for us…it is the way we live and treat others around us.

As we got up to bid the wonderful family good-bye, one of their close friends showed up to say ‘Eid Mubarak’ to them. JWB’s photographer, Shashank, couldn’t stop himself from capturing what the mehman-nawazi Muslims all around the world are famous for.

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