Changing the Ramadan vibe
By CAPTAIN MAHMOOD AL MAHMOOD
Just like Mother’s Day and the clutch of “Inernational” days marking relationships – Valentine’s Day for lovers, Friendship Day and Father’s Day – have all been taken over by greeting card companies, florists and, nowadays, hotels as well – we are seeing the same commercialisation happening for Iftar, Ramadan Ghabga and the shopping sales before Eid.
Luckily, since the past couple of years, a new trend seems to be surfacing that is balancing this overtly commercial trend and opening new doors. I am speaking about the “majlis” and “marketplace” style iftar parties and Ramadan Ghabga that are all the rage now.
We get invitations to Ghabga where local charities present their work at the behest of the host and guests often make donations; there are Ramadan markets during Ghabga gatherings where entrepreneurs and women-owned business startups find a platform to promote their products and services.
In my opinion, these are valid and important ways in which to utilise the gatherings during Ramadan. The first taps into the charitable instinct that is highest during Ramadan, and the second helps SMEs and community entrepreneurs to thrive.
Next, we must find away to make the gatherings more meaningful in a contemporary way for youngsters. Since the Holy Month encourages scholarship and seeking knowledge, why not a Science Ghabga for school students or a series of debates for university students in the evening?
These will help to strengthen their knowledge and teach them valuable presentation skills instead of just wasting the evenings chatting with friends. Change is eternal, change is inevitable. But Ramadan gives us an opportunity to make change meaningful. Let us seize this chance.
(Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism)