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Hindu right-wing has also hosted iftar but its main goal is opportunism and perpetuation of bigotry

Sheshu Babu*

The month of Ramadan is not only a time of revelry and festivity but also occasion to show brotherhood among people of various communities and religions. One may see the people expressing 'Mah-e-Ramzan Mubarak' on streets (greetings on the occasion of the month of Ramzan) irrespective of religion hugging their Muslim brothers and sisters and holding 'Iftar' parties. This month is a fine reflection of communal harmony.

Kerala temple holds Iftar

Lakshmi Narayana Murthy temple in the district of Malappuram in Kerala held Iftar party for Muslim community (May 25 ,2018, thenewsminute.com). In a show of communal harmony, the temple located at Kottakkal hosted iftar dinner. Not just local Muslims, even Hindus took part in the party held at a house adjacent to the temple. As Mohanan Nair,the temple committee secretary said, " ...we decided to hold iftar dinner not because our harmony and peace had been disturbed but because we want the peace to prolong" .
The people in this area have been living in harmony for years despite communal tension in other parts of the country. This is the second time such party has been hosted by the temple. The menu may be vegetarian but it is a symbolic gesture to stat that people want peace and religious tolerance.

Ankit father holds iftar

Similarly, the father of Ankit, Yashpal Saxena, hosted iftar party to his muslim friends. His son was brutally murdered by the family of Ankit's girlfriend. The party was joined by scores of devout Muslins (June 6, 2018, by Zeenat Sabrain, aljazeera.com). The activist Mohammad Amir Khan applauded the efforts of Yashpal and told Al Jazeera that Mahatma Gandhi had wanted to build such type of communal harmony. Anas Tanwir, a supreme court lawyer and #iftar4all organizer also felt such parties are necessary to bridge communal divide. The father of Ankit wants to set up help center for those who wish marriages outside their communities and religions.

Iftar in Pakistan

In a theocratic country like Pakistan too, there are instances of communal harmony in hosting iftar. Sikhs and Hindus in Peshawar host party for their muslim friends. At Lady Reading Hospital, Muslim patients attended iftar hosted by Sikhs (May 22,2018, samaa.tv/ pakistan). The sikh community also arranged fests for labourers, passersby and shopkeepers last year.
According to a video magazine - My India, a weekly current affairs magazine uploaded on youTube ( June 2,2018) , Hindus and Muslim perform ' Roza Iftar' at Ajmer as a mark of communal harmony. In a village of Azamgarh, Muslims give iftar party to hindus and pray for harmony.( June2,2018, Shristinews.com) . Even in Pakistan, muslims have hosted iftar for their hindu friends as a mark of harmony.
Even in US and UK, Christians and Churches have come forward in expressing solidarity with muslins and hosted iftar parties though there has been hate campaign by right wing bigots .

Message

Hosting of Iftar dinner is a symbolic gesture of unity of people despite divisive forces at work. The hindu right wing has also hosted iftar but its main goal is opportunism and perpetuation of bigotry, asserting brahminic manu order and appropriating muslim leader and their followers for political gains. Such attempts are hypocrisy and double stndards of right wing.
The common people have to assert that they have strong bondage and they detest hate and bigotry. They should stand against communal forces. Iftar party should serve as a symbol of communal harmony and humanity. The greetings 'Eid Mubarak' (the good wishes for the festival) should be shared by all irrespective of religion and caste or creed.
The essence of every religion is humanity and the month of Ramadan is an epitome of that spirit. The fanatics of all religions do not teach this essence but incite hate and bigotry to keep them in power. Common people should not fall into the trap and develop hate against each other.
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*The writer, from everywhere and anywhere, when ponders on the question 'Who am I?', receives some response in a lyric by Bhupen Hazarika 'Ami ek jajabor':
I am a gypsy
The earth has called me its own
And I have forgotten my home

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