While the holy month of Ramazan brings with itself the idea of piousness, collectiveness and positivity, there is no shortage in the list of things that go wrong in Pakistan.
For instance, traffic jams. Even though the big cities are congested throughout the year, the traffic on the roads tends to multiply during the holy month. The reason behind this is easy to admit: we want to be at ease while we’re fasting. And more importantly, how are we supposed to travel if not by car? The government doesn’t do much about improving the public transport system, and even if it did, why would anyone want to travel in buses and vans if they have their own air-conditioned cars? So, people continue to honk and scream their way to reach home in time for iftar – constantly rear-ending other cars and screaming at drivers on the road.
Right then, a second thing goes wrong – our moods and attitudes. It is true that an empty stomach can make you irritable and short-tempered but isn’t fasting all about self-restraint? We assume that our only responsibility is to restrain ourselves from eating and drinking and that, too, in the absence of any sight or smell of food. As soon as we see another person eating in front of us while we’re fasting, we lose our cool. A case in point is news of an elderly man recently being badly beaten up in Karachi for eating during the holy month.
The mention of food brings us to another major issue – wastage of foodstuff in huge amounts. Every single day, people leave huge piles of leftover food on their plates without an inch of remorse. The food goes directly into the bin. I assume the numbers double during Ramazan because of the increased obsession with food during the holy month.
Next time you leave food in your plate, remember that “around one in every seven people globally go to bed hungry every night, while over 20,000 children under the age of five die daily from hunger”, according to United Nations Environment Programme estimates.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.