Following yesterday’s article on the Eid ul-Fitr Celebration 2011 HERE, I am pleased to add some additional facts based on the official press release I only received today.
Eid ul-Fitr stands for the annual ‘Festival of Generosity’, the most important festival of Muslims all over the world, which was hosted on Friday, 9th September 2011 by the Consulate General of India in Cape Town, in association with the 1860 Legacy Foundation in the Western Cape, at the Islamia Hall at Lansdowne, Cape Town.
Eid ul-Fitr Celebration 2011
The Eid u-Fitr Celebration 2011 “… assumes great significance as this is primarily a community-driven event. All sections of the local society, irrespective of their faiths and associations, are expected to attend this all-inclusive event. We through this festivity, hope to bring the universal message of peaceful and harmonious coexistence and respect for all faiths and beliefs. In addition to the participation of members of different communities and faiths in Cape Town, the function is expected to be graced by National and provincial Ministers.
This event carries a special significance for India, which has the second largest Muslim population in the world, forming the largest minority community and constituting more than 14% of its total population. A sizeable number of Indian Muslims reside in the Western Cape.
Islam arrived in north India in the 12th century AD and has since become a part of India’s rich religious and cultural heritage. Over the years, there has been significant integration of Hindu and Muslim cultures across India.
Along with other religions, Islam has coexisted in India for centuries. People of this faith have made their distinct mark in several fields and played a constructive role in India’s socio-economic development and cultural influence across the world. Muslims in India have held almost all the high public offices. Out of the twelve Presidents of independent India, three were Muslims. The current Vice President of India, Mr. Mohammad Hamid Ansari, is also a Muslim. Muslims have immensely contributed in all walks of life, including politics, bureaucracy, arts, culture, sports, business, science and technology, etc. The contribution of Muslims in India’s freedom movement is well-documented.
Eid-ul-Fitr, often abbreviated to Eid, in Arabic means ‘festivity’ and ‘breaking fast’. It marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, which is celebrated after the conclusion of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The first day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month Shawwal. This is an occasion to reiterate different aspects of the fast and it is an expression of the basic values and ethos of Islam viz. empathy for the poor, charity, worship, steadfastness, patience etc. It also teaches Muslims to stay away from worldly desires and to focus entirely on the Allah and thank him for his blessings. It is a rejuvenation of the religion and it creates a stronger bond between the Muslim and Allah.”
My artist’s impression above shows the Consul General, Mr. Mridul Kumar, during his dynamic, unifying and humorous opening speech.