Slum dwellers preparing for Eid

Galib Ashraf | Update:

Slum dwellers are bracing for Eid-ul-Fitr. Photo: Prothom Alo.The whole country seems involved in last minute Eid preparations. Poverty does not hold back the people in the slums either. Everyone is has plans and preparations to celebrate the biggest occasion of Muslims.

Built on around 100 acres of government land, Korail slum is one of the country’s biggest slums with more than 50 thousands residents.

On the outskirts of the capital city’s affluent neighbourhoods like Gulshan and Banani, vibes of Eid have swept through the Korail slum.

Rafiquddin Ahmed was sipping tea at a tea stall in the slum after the Iftar on 12 June. Asked if he had finished his Eid shopping, Rafiq shared a sad story.

A rickshaw puller by profession, Rafiq lost his rickshaw two weeks ago near Badda in the city. Since then he has been without work. Now the family of five depends on his wife’s income.

“It has become difficult for me to buy anything for my three sons on Eid. But things would have been different had I not lost my rickshaw. Now I am franticly searching for a job,” said Rafiq.

Owner of the tea stall, Khadija Begum, said she had already completed shopping for her three sons and daughter.

Khadija said some of the residents of the slum have left for their village but not that many. Most of the residents remain in the slum during Eid as they either have nowhere else to go or can’t afford the travel costs to their home town.

A minor boy named Noyon Ahmed was playing along with his friends. He said his mother, who works in a readymade garment factory, had bought hi, a pair of pants and a pair of shoes.

He also asked his father for a red punjabi, said a shy Noyon.

Asked about his plans for Eid day, he said he will visit his friends and play with them. He is also planning to go to Shishu Park (an amusement park in the city) if he gets some extra money as ‘selami’ (Eid gift).

Altaf Hossain, an older man from the slum, said he got a lungi for himself and sari for his wife as ‘zakat’ from a wealthy person in Gulshan.

In Eid-ul-Fitr, it’s obligatory for wealthy Muslims to give ‘zakat’ (a portion of their wealth) to the poorer people of society.

Many slum dwellers receive zakat every year from different people in the nearby Gulshan and Banani areas, he said.

Resident of West Rajabazar slum, Muhammad Hossain, said he too received a sari for his wife from a rich man in Dhanmondi.

Charity in the form of ‘zakat’ or ‘fitra’ makes underprivileged persons like me very happy, said Muhammad.

According to a census on slum dwellers and floating population conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in 2014, 1.06 million people live in slums in Dhaka division.

The number is estimated to be much higher according to the non-governmental organisations. 

Eid is a day of celebrations for one and all. The poor strive hard to ensure they can enjoy Eid with their families. And in keeping with Muslim norms, the well-to-do play their part in helping their less privileged to celebrate too.

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