Hyderabad: For the second year in a row, festive celebrations were missing in Hyderabad. Eid ul Fitr, which comes at the end of 30-day Ramzan fasting, was celebrated in a muted fashion on Friday. Muslims in the city as also elsewhere in Telangana observed the Id under lockdown conditions.

The exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 forced people to offer Eid Namaz at their respective homes. A good number prayed in the local mosques wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing norms. In a few mosques at Toli Chowki those who came without masks were politely turned away. But the normal rush of worshippers was missing in view of the High Court orders and guidelines given by ulema and community leaders to observe restraint.

Eid ul Fitr is usually marked with social visits and feasting with friends. But this year people gave a goby to these niceties. Even the traditional hugging and shaking of hands by way of Id greetings was missing. Social media platforms came in handy to express 'Eid Mubarak' to friends and family members. Some enthusiasts used the four-hour relaxation period in lockdown to rush to the houses of their kin to exchange Id greetings in person.

However, the air of festivity was absent with the dreaded COVID casting its shadow over many a household. Families which saw their dear ones losing battle to the disease observed the Id with a heavy heart.

"Ramzan Eid is a major festival which everyone looks forward to. But I couldn't celebrate it the way I used to", remarked Adil Qureshi, who lost his father to COVID days before the month of fasting set in. Similar views were expressed by many others who saw their family members breathing their last during Ramzan.

The festive cheer was also missing for those families whose members are either hospitalized or in home quarantine. What added to their misery was distancing themselves from kith and kin when they needed them the most. "This is the first time that I have not stirred out for EId and remained confined to my room", said Asif of Falaknuma who is under home isolation.

For those engaged in helping out the COVID patients, Eid meant a lot. "The month of Ramzan encourages Muslims to show empathy to others and to render help in whatever manner possible. I feel blessed to do my bit for people down with COVID", said Muhammed Salman associated with Payame Insaniyat organisation.

In some mosques, Khateebs expressed thanks to the Chief Minister, K. Chandrashekhar Rao, and the police for extending all help to the community during these trying times. They also prayed for ease in the suffering of people affected by COVID across the world.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan. Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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