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Communal harmony over iftar at Delhi’s Jama Masjid

By Raqib Hameed Naik, TwoCircles.net,

Delhi: Throughout the year historic Jama Masjid in Old Delhi remains filled with visitors of different religions coming from different parts of India and the world. Last Friday marked the beginning of Ramadan in India, for a photojournalist wishing to cover Ramadan; Jama Masjid Delhi seems to be the best place in India to start.

Non Muslim lady joining Iftar at Jama Masjid

Last Saturday, I went to cover the Ramadan preparations in Old Delhi. After shooting for over an hour at the adjoining markets, I went inside the 17th century grand Mughal era mosque to capture some Ramadan moments with my camera as iftar time was drawing nearer.

As the day was quite hot, the floor of mosque was still simmering with intense heat but still people in large numbers came with eatables. They put up a piece of cloth or old news papers on the floor, waiting for sun to set to break their day long fast.

On the other corner of mosque, there lay a dining spread organized by the Majid Committee with iftar packets for the rozadars. I started clicking photographs of the people who were sitting in a queue to break their day long fasts. While capturing the moments, I heard some whispers coming from a lady standing next to me.

Non Muslim lady joining Iftar at Jama Masjid

A woman with sindoor in the middle-parting of her hair (this along with her next question makes me believe that she was not Muslim) was asking a Muslim women, “Kya mai bhi roza walon ke saath baith sakti hun? (Am I allowed to join these people who are waiting to break their fast?)”.

Non Muslim lady joining Iftar at Jama Masjid

The other woman asked her to confirm it with a person who was offering prayers nearby. The non-Muslim lady went to the man and asked for his permission, the man replied, “Aray app bilkul baith sakti hain; rukiye,” he said, then asked a young man, “Arhey beta inko dastarkhwan pe iftar ke lie baitha do,” (“You are most welcome to join us in breaking the fast,” and ordered some persons who were serving Iftar to make her sit on the dining spread (Dastarkhwan).”

The Lady with her two sons joined the rozadars and desisted from eating until azaan (call for prayer) announced the breaking of fast.

All Photos by : Raqib Hameed Naik


Photo Essay: A day of Ramadan in historic Jama Masjid Delhi