With No Prayers at Jama Masjid, It’s a Sombre Eid in Purani Dilli

With most shops shut, fewer people on the streets and mosques closed, it’s a sombre Eid-ul-Fitr this year. 

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Amid the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, with most shops shut, fewer people on the streets and mosques closed, it is a sombre and silent Eid-ul-Fitr this year in Purani Dilli.

Delhi’s Jama Masjid remained shut for Eid prayers after the Shahi Imam, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, appealed to all Muslims to stay indoors and offer Namaz inside their homes.

Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramzan, is a joyous three-day celebration but is significantly muted this year. Old Delhi is a containment zone so, on the occasion of Eid, security was beefed in most parts.

Only a handful of shops selling sweets and fritters were open and few people were out on the streets. The Quint’s Zijah Sherwani reports from the streets of Old Delhi.

Most shops shut, fewer people on the roads in Old Delhi on Eid.
Most shops shut, fewer people on the roads in Old Delhi on Eid.
(Photo: The Quint/Zijah Sherwani)

‘It’s a Sombre But Special Eid This Year’

Once a hub of activity, the streets of Purani Dilli are no longer buzzing this year on Eid. No new delicacies, no kebabs on skewers, no biryanis and firnis overflowing from the matkas.

A handful of sweet shops and shops selling kachoris were open in the morning. But very few customers queued outside them. Azam, a shopkeeper in Purani Dilli, opened his shop for takeaway services only.

“Every other shop is shut here. I opened my shop so that people could celebrate to some extent. But, business has been affected in general. We are not launching any new products this Eid, just revamping and selling some old products. Something is better than nothing.”
Azam, Shopkeeper in Old Delhi

Abu Sufiyan, an Instagram influencer from Old Delhi, recalled how the streets near Jama Masjid remained crowded and buzzing with people on the occasion of Eid but this year, people have chosen to stay at home to stay safe.

“All Masjids are closed this year, everyone has been asked to maintain social distancing and stay indoors as much as possible. People have been advised against assembling in large numbers and instead, celebrate at home.”
Abu Sufiyan, Instagram Influencer
Security beefed at Old Delhi, a containment zone, on Eid.
Security beefed at Old Delhi, a containment zone, on Eid.
(Photo: The Quint/Zijah Sherwani)

‘The Essence of Eid is Not Lost’

Naved, the owner of the famous Kallan sweets at Jama Masjid, one of the few shops open in the area, is of the opinion that though Eid is sombre this year, it is still special in its own way.

“Eid is a festival that brings people close to each other. So, although the celebrations are toned down, the essence of Eid is not lost. We are helping one another at this time of crisis.”
Naved, Owner, Kallan Sweets

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