FOLLOWERS of Islam keep fast in this holy month of Ramadan. It was the first day. Muslim colleagues were fasting. Being a follower of Hinduism (Sanatan), it was a usual day for me as I was not fasting. But it pricked my conscience to have morning tea and snacks in front of my Muslim colleagues. I did not eat anything in the morning. At lunch time, too, my conscience was not allowing me to take my meal openly at office. I thought I would also keep fasting during office hours in this month. It will not be so difficult for me to pass a few hours without having food showing respect to my colleagues. I also thought if I feel too hungry, I will go outside to have something. But in office I will not eat anything.
But just after zohr prayer, like other normal days, my colleagues were reminding me of having lunch. I told them I wouldl have it going home and it would not be a big problem for me. They told me not only to eat but also requested me not to hurt them by not having lunch. They told me they are fasting according to their religion, Islam, which does not force anyone to follow its rituals. They said Islam believes in peace for all human beings.
Only then, I had my lunch thinking that perfect communal harmony exists in Bangladesh. I was feeling proud of my colleagues who symbolise the characteristic historical harmony of Bangladesh. Shockingly, on that very day, some miscreants vandalised 12 Hindu temples and 13 idols in Joypurhat. Those who did it are not really imbibed by the true spirit of their religion.
Probir Chandra Das
Credit Risk Management-V, Head Office
National Bank Limited, Motijheel, Dhaka.