It's time to be in Hyderabad -- for Eid shopping!
Hyderabad, with its rich Islamic heritage, has no parallels when
it comes to Ramazan. While the pious observe fast for purification
of their soul, it is also the season of unprecedented economic
activity in the run-up
Ahead of the Muslim holy festival of Eid-ul-Fitr, markets in Jammu
and Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar are crowded with shoppers as
locals engage in hectic buying for the occasion.
Foreseeing the heavy rush of commuters, traffic authorities
declared city centre Lal Chowk, Residency Road and adjacent
markets out of bound for vehicular traffic three days ahead of the
"This has definitely helped the situation. In comparison to
previous years, when traffic jams in Lal Chowk would continue for
hours without end, the pedestrian passage has become easier and
safer", said Nazir Ahmad, 42, a shopper here.
Mutton, poultry, bakery, vegetables, sweets, hosiery and toys are
the most sought after items as buyers are seen haggling with the
shopkeepers over rates.
"There is no control whatsoever on the rates of items like bakery
and hosiery. The shopkeepers are asking for the sky.
"If you ask for a bargain, they don't give you a second look,"
said Muhammad Shafi, 50, a local contractor.
Even though the festival is still two or three days ahead,
depending on whether the crescent is sighted Tuesday or Wednesday,
people are jostling against each other in jam packed markets as if
there would be no tomorrow.
"It is not a question of when Eid falls, the problem is that
bakery, poultry and other essentials are being purchased in such a
hurry that these things would be out of stock by tomorrow.
"That is why one has to do in Rome as the Romans do," said
Basharat Ahmad, 38, a software engineer here.
The average income of middle class Kashmiris has definitely taken
a quantum leap because of increased government salaries and better
business opportunities, leading to many locals taking to charity
and helping the needy around religious festivals.
"Some very respectable orphanages and charitable institutions have
come up in Srinagar and many other towns of the Valley.
"Unlike the past, when everybody was concerned about himself and
his family, Kashmiris are now lending a helping hand to the needy
people as well," said Professor Muzaffar Ahmad, a college
Ahmad said even the surplus food during marriages and other social
functions is not wasted now, at least in Srinagar city.
"Surplus food is served to the needy in well maintained and well
organised charitable institutions," he said.
Despite the fact that just last week, 11 people were injured here
after separatist guerrillas hurled a grenade in Batmaloo area,
people have come out in large numbers to ensure they have enough
to eat and be merry on Eid.
"Eid is celebrated with the same fervour everywhere else in the
world. In Kashmir, one gets the feeling of panic buying and
frantic rushes because comparatively, our markets are much smaller
and more congested than in other parts of the world," remarked
Feroze Ahmad, a government official.
After the fasting month of Ramadan, during which Muslims observe
dawn-to-dusk fast and offer extended special evening prayers in
mosques, everybody in Kashmir feels entitled to a little
"That should not be seen either as being spendthrift or vulgar. It
is part of human nature. Everybody wants to spend more to make Eid
happier for his family," said Irfan Manzoor, a local journalist.
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