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Festive month in Bangladesh

| by Swadesh Roy

( July 17, 2014, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) According to Hijri calendar now Ramadan month is going. As a vast majority, Muslim citizens based country Bangladesh is now observing fasting. It is the month of fasting. Most of the people of Bangladesh are fasting in the daytime. So, the schedule of the government and private office time has been shifted. Most of the education institutes of the main city are closed despite the road is crowded by the huge traffics.

Though it is the month of fasting and the meaning of fasting is mainly to give pain own self by taking less food ; or it is kind of sacrifice for the almighty . But Bangali, the citizens of Bangladesh are different. They love festival so they try to turn everything in a festival. The rule of the fasting of Ramadan is, you have to take food at late night and afterwards you cannot take any food or drinks during whole day before sunset. The name of the late night meal is called `Shahari’ and the taking light food in the evening is called `Iftar’.

Photo by Swadesh Roy
Once upon a time, the people of Bangladesh would make Iftar in the house but last few years the culture of the all cities and the capital has been changed totally. Now all the fast food shops prepare iftar and people buy it from there. In addition, every fast food shop is like a special fashion house now. As fashion houses change their items every year, the fast food shop does it every year. In every city, anyone can get Iftary (which is taken in the time of Iftar) from any fast food shop but there are some exclusive shops in every city. In addition, the capital Dhaka is now the city of Iftary, you will get iftary at every street and the lane but some roads and areas are famous for Iftary. Some famous areas are Baily road, Banai Kamal Ataturk avenue, Gulshan, Dhanmondi etc. Once those were the most posh residential areas of the city and now they have been turned in to residential come commercial areas. Besides, the entire posh restaurants and the five star hotels are busy for preparing and selling Iftary. A few years ago, Iftary was limited in some fast food items but in last two or three years it has been turned to bigger. Now it has broken its previous limitation, all the posh restaurants, famous fast food shops and the five star hotels are trying to present all types of delicious food of the world. People are having it by alternate. Some time they search in the online that which type of new item is broken out in which restaurant or fast food shop. Moreover, they buy it. Some restaurants and fast food shops started selling in the online and they have home service. So from south Indian Pitha( cake) to South African meat item and Japanese fish have taken place in Iftar.

Besides that, Dhaka is an old city which it was set up by king Ballal Sen and it was first modernized by Mughoul Samrat Zahangir, so in the old Dhaka, there is a huge number of people who are from Mughoul origin. They prepare Turkish, Samarkhand, Kazakhstani and Iranian foods. They are very delicious and famous from a long ago. Some areas in old Dhaka like Chak bazaar, Lal Baug are famous for traditional delectable Iftary. Many people buy from there but now it is not easy to go there because of narrow road, so they have expanded their business in the new Dhaka. They have more than one hundred items. It is also yummy. In spite, many foreigners go there still for getting the essence of the traditional taste and time. Even young people of Bangladesh go there to see their past. Besides that, there is an extra beauty of that narrow lane and the traditional presentation.

It is not hard to understand that, all the luscious Iftar items are costly, but the middle class of Bangladesh is rushing to purchase it. It has indicated also the economic condition of Bangladesh and the purchasing power of the people. In this Ramadan, one of the main Daily of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Gazette published a report that in Saudi Arabia, the expenditure of each family has increased 100 percent in this Ramadan. Bangladesh has not any correct statistics but some newspapers are publishing that it has been increased more than 200 percent. In addition, in upper middle class and upper class it is higher because as per a famous fast food shop of Baily road, in Dhaka, each customer buys Iftar from five thousand taka to twenty thousand taka per day. Baily road is a place where middle class, upper middle class and the upper class are accustomed to go there to buy their Iftar.

Till now, Iftar in 2014 in Dhaka City has been told. Another culture has been grown very fast that is taking Shahari in the restaurant at late night. So now, all the posh restaurants of the Dhaka city are open in whole night. So, many of the family members and the group of friends are taking Shahari at late night at the restaurant. People are thinking this culture will spread over in the Dhaka city shortly. Beside these, many people prepare their iftar and Shahari in house. So they buy daily necessary commodity from the market. They purchase more than another normal month; that is why the price of daily necessity commodities has already been increased. But they take this pain easily because they prepare their annual family budget in that way that they have to expend more in the month of Ramadan. So everyone takes it in ease and festive mood. According to many sociologists and those who know the culture of Banglali, agreed in this point that, Bangladesh is a nation where everyone loves festival so they convert everything in the festival. Fasting is a sacred matter, Bangali do it properly but they include a festive mood in it.

Photo by Swadesh Roy
Beside the fast food shops and restaurants, the entire fashion houses are busy now. All the shopping malls are pact of with customers. They all are searching new garments and shoes. All the tailors’ shops have already been booked. In Dhaka, now you will get all exclusive and famous brand items despite a huge number of people along with their whole family are going for shopping in Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangkok, Singapore and many of Eastern China’s cities. Another group of people will go abroad later as they will leave Bangladesh later in this Ramadan. They will celebrate their Eid in Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Singapore, Malaysia, many cities of India and even some people will go to USA and UK also. Some people wanted to go to Manipur, Nagaland of India for the natural beauty but communication is not easy. However, we can hope that the people of Bangladesh not only go to celebrate their Eid festival to cross the Atlantic they will also go in front of their home Manipur. Then they will not say that, we never see a drop of dew on the leaf of a paddy.

Swadesh Roy, Executive Editor, the daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh