Breaking bread together

An iftar invitation had remained elusive till now – this last week of the holy month I attended my first iftar party.

Last weekend amidst thunderous showers a family in Noida with a group of ladies hosted an inter-faith iftar party. The group consisting of Rana Safvi – an author and  historian, Nazia Erum – an author, Marya Shakil – a journalist and Hana Mohsin Khan – a pilot and few others started this practice last year in Delhi-NCR and others followed across the country.

This group of modern Indian women in DEL-NCR have opened their houses and hearts during this holy month of fasting and feasting for us to join them to break bread together during iftar. While festivals and food have a very intimate association since times immemorial, these gatherings are not just about eating but there are discussions about breaking the myths and superstitions about each other’s religions, get to know each other and may be form friendships beyond one evening.

Traditionally, while Eid has remained more or less a family affair with close friends, iftar has been a more public affair with communities and societies coming together to break the fast. So much so that it has transcended the society barriers to permeate across educational bodies, corporates and polity. While my own personal view is that State should stay far away from religion, unfortunately, the reverse has been happening in India over a period of time.

Meanwhile, these inter-faith iftars have extended their reach beyond intimate home affairs to #iftarforall organised at AIIMS, Nizamuddin and Jama Masjid this year for people from all strata of society to come together to pray and eat together in this holy month.

India has acknowledged the many facets of #CelebrationofFaith with Emperor Akbar being documented to celebrate Diwali and other Mughal emperors getting Indian scriptures translated in Persian to understand them better. On the other hand, the painting of Krishna sighting the celebratory moon has also been an image well documented. These festivals celebrate the diverseness of this country – irrespective of faith, religion, language, cuisines and way of life. The onus is on all of us to celebrate these joys together and may this never change.

And in the mean time, the moon has been sighted , Eid Mubarak!

Photo courtesy: Rana Safvi

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