Kolkata: Eid-ul-Fitr, also called Mithi (sweet) Eid by many in India was celebrated with the sweetness of sewai at a small yet thought-provoking Eid Milan event in the heart of Kolkata on Saturday evening.
Organized by the Bengal chapter of the Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, the event saw participation from all major religious communities including Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Bodh, Jain and Muslim.
The event began with a speech by Dr. Namrata Jain Kothari, who has researched on ‘fasting and its effect’, spoke on its importance, “Fasting helps resist anger and many wrong activities as well as ill thoughts. We should practice it.”
The second speaker, Jagmohan Singh Gill, stressed on the importance of communities staying together for a better society. “Like Muslims, Sikhs have also faced many riots. There are people who want us to be divided but we should stay together.”
Father Sunil Rojerio, who traveled all the way from Barasat to attend the Eid Milan, also spoke about fasting in Christianity. “But fasting by our Muslim brothers is difficult,” said the father.
The religious leader also talked about the importance of the Indian Constitution, which provides equality to all religions. “Our freedom fighters have given us a great Constitution so that people of different religious beliefs can live together peacefully. Now some people want to change the Constitution. There is a proverb in Chinese that says water takes the shape of the utensil it is put in. So we should live in this manner and adjust accordingly. During an Iftar party, I also offered namaz and felt that it was like meditation.”
Dr. Bekhu Ratnasri, a Buddhist monk, spoke in Bangla. “Buddhism also believes in a peaceful society and co-existence. But, people want to ruin the peace in the country, we should not let it happen.”
Imtiaz Ali Shah, the President of Majlis, West Bengal, and a retired judge, talked about India’s diversity and that around 400 languages are being spoken in the country. He added that India’s diversity should be preserved.
OP Shah, who has been hosting iftars to help eradicate misconceptions about Islam for three decades now, argued that celebrating Eid Milan, Holi Milan, and Diwali Milan is a way to maintain secularism. “Our country is too big. There are so many languages and religions. And to maintain peace, we should follow secularism in letter and spirit. We should introspect and understand each other’s limitations.”
Dr. Shamsul Islam and Irfan Sher were among the other speakers.
When a journalist asked the Convener of Majlis, Abdul Aziz, who is also a senior journalist, what is the use of conducting such a gathering behind closed doors, he answered, “It is like a light from the fireflies showing the way on a dark road.”