Sunday, November 06, 2005

Living painfully outside the eid celebration

We’ve just celebrated joyous eid here in Bangladesh. People are watching eid entertainments on TV screens, some folks are venturing outside at crowded parks, Zoo, museum, local and foreign tourist spots for recreation. Eid brings food, fun, and festivity after a month’s of fasting that puts rich and poor together in experiencing hunger and deprivation. On Eid day, TV news lines beamed the royal celebration of the big guns, politicians, and on. People lined up to see a glance of her highness.

Sadly, have these jubilant crowds forgotten almost 2 million hungry people at the northern districts of Bangladesh from the semi-famine condition that called “Monga”? Famine in the northern districts contrasts the abundance of richness of the Haves in cities of Bangladesh. A popular Bangladeshi Actor and Parliament member Asaduzzaman Nur appeals to the people for relief, fund and assistance for the deprived and hungry people. Mr. Nur has passionately asked people to share the joy of eid with the poor and the deprived folks in the northern districts. Opposition party demands the ruling party’s resignation for failure to tackle Monga. On the other hand, Government claims the Monga situation is media portrayed picture. A Bangladeshi blog Salam Dhaka puts out the picture of famine from a daily, an elderly person died while waiting for relief. I looked at one academic scholar’s writing on famine (monga) perspective and its solutions over the Daily Star column last year.

People die as they are poor, powerless and helpless in the northern districts of Bangladesh. Their images of suffering are false and fabricated as they’re non-existent anyway in the eyes of the ruling party. Their death and suffering won't hit the headline as they're not going to decide who’ll come to power in the next election. Adda wants to put them in the headline and ask all of you to join hands and hearts to help and reach the hunger stricken faces-that’s the real teaching of fasting. I recite our Great poet Nazrul Islam’s poem Eid Mobarak that resembles the current situation:

“...Says Islam, we are all for one another,
share joy and sorrow equally,
Is it ordained for some people
to shed tears and for others to
light up chandeliers!
And just two people to have princely
luck, millions to suffer from bad luck?
That is not the prescription of Islam.
So has Idul-Fitr ushered in the new dispensation,
you who are hoarding up, you should
give away all surplus,
you must have food to satisfy your hunger!
The cup of enjoyment boils over in your hands,
but those who are thirsty have a
share in the cup,
you must, O my hero, give them
and then enjoy profusely...”

Translated by: Basudha Chakravarty

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