The streets of Bangalore appeal no less than the streets of Cairo. People see a society for what it is, and the vibrant ‘multi-culturalism’ is what makes Ramzan so special here.
The sun dips below the horizon; a muezzin makes the azān (read: call to prayer). It’s the same sound that resonates five times a day in places across the world, and nearly a quarter of the people on the planet respond to it.
For most Indians, the Islamic prayer call has been a part of their upbringing. The words may be unknown but the distinct, soulful sound of azān is familiar to most. For a diverse plural democracy like India, perhaps it’s the vague yet indomitable idea of being a part of this nation that helps its citizens endure differences of caste, creed, color, culture and religion.
As a matter of fact, the term ‘Ramzan’ is very much Indian in its own ways. While Arabs (or Wahabis to be specific) insist on calling the holy month as ‘Ramadan’, Indians more or less stick to the term Ramzan; the orthoepy they’ve been hearing since childhood. Even Aristotle would have given up on the ‘z’ and ‘d’ justification, had he been, by oddity of fate, a Muslim.
After all, India is the birthplace of ‘Urdu’ literature. The sub-continent witnessed the greats of Mirza Ghaib, Allama Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz—poets who are held at the same reverence as Homer and Shakespeare in various parts of the world. So why shouldn’t it take pride in its unique way of celebrating Ramzan, or pronouncing it for that matter?
When the Feast Begins!
Throughout the month of Ramzan, the streets of Bangalore are lit up with festive luminescence as the bustling metropolis transforms into a major hub for foodies. If you walk along the stalls at Koramangala, Mosque Road and Banerghetta Road, you can’t help but crave all the delectable Ramzan cuisines.
The smoky ambience leads one to a delicious affair with the skewered meats, haleem, colorful faloodas and all the other edibles whose names probably begin with ‘one-more-please’! What’s even more exciting, though not surprising, is that you find people from all walks of life—regardless of their religious identity—enjoying these ‘Iftaar Treats’.
The streets of Bangalore appeal no less than the streets of Cairo. People see a society for what it is, and the vibrant ‘multi-culturalism’ is what makes Ramzan so special out here. Perhaps it would be apt to say that: Bangaloreans are transforming Ramzan into a cultural-fusion in the light of an open society, determined by the creative energies of its people.