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Friday June 14, 2024

The spirit of Ramazan

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
March 31, 2023

This year’s Ramazan has started at a time when the Hindu community is also observing the holy festival of Navratri. During nine days of fasting, Hindu followers seek the blessings of God Almighty to become good humans and contribute something positive in the best interest of humanity.

However, the issue of moon sighting for Ramazan once again emerged as people expressed surprise at the sighting of the moon late at night.

Interestingly, many ancient calendars of the world, including the Hindu calendar, are based on lunar dates. But there has never been any dispute about the moon not being visible. The Hindu calendar is so perfect that lunar dates of up to a thousand years can be determined accurately by which the followers ensure arrangements for the sacred festivals in advance.

Recently, a news report went viral where a Hindu business owner in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has announced a 50 per cent discount due to which a large number of customers are rushing to his clothing store. Internet users are also expressing their surprise that on the one hand, the prices of fruit and food items in Pakistan are on the rise during Ramazan, while on the other, a non-Muslim businessman is offering such a big discount.

However, Jackie Kumar of Ram Cloth House believes that due to the high inflation rate, the purchasing power of people has decreased, which is why he has decided to take this noble initiative in respect of the holy month of Ramazan. According to him, when business activities can be performed eleven months of the year, a discount for one month is not a big deal.

During my foreign tours, I personally observe that special discounts are offered on the occasions of religious festivals such as Diwali and Christmas so that every segment of society can celebrate with zeal and fervour. Unfortunately, in our country, the prices of essential commodities increase so much during the holy month of Ramazan that ordinary people are unable to afford and concentrate on doing good deeds.

I have studied the teachings of almost every religion and have found that the concept of fasting is found in all religions with a common objective that people, while in fasting, should utilize their time in doing good deeds and take care of each other in a merciful way.

Although I rarely use social media or watch TV talk shows, every time I get a chance I observe that all channels have become a platform for blame games, deceptive statements, stalking, backbiting, character assassination, fake news and what not. It makes me think that people have fallen so much in the blind devotion of their so-called leaders that they do not even respect the holy month of Ramazan and forget that in the state of fasting, they are supposed to seek the blessings of God Almighty. It is disappointing to see that in the holy month of Ramazan, instead of helping people and making things easier for them, we increase the prices of food items and all the necessary life products in this month to exploit people.

Recently, I also emphasized in my speech delivered in the National Assembly that the elected parliamentary representatives should show high moral values. In my view, the holy month of Ramazan demands us to develop and strengthen our willpower and self-control for resisting wrongful desires and bad habits. Fasting does not mean to refrain only from eating and drinking but also from every kind of selfish desire and wrongdoing.

In my view, if we succeed in following the right path for just one month, the next eleven months of the year will also pass in a blessed manner. However, if bribery, hoarding, fraud, theft and other social evils are not avoided, God has absolutely no need for us to be hungry and thirsty without any cause. During the ongoing holy month of Ramazan, we must also struggle to promote brotherhood, unity and respect to all faiths.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

He tweets @RVankwani