Brahmaputra river char: Where people can't afford to celebrate Eid in pandemic | The Daily Star
02:04 PM, May 14, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:20 PM, May 14, 2021

Brahmaputra river char: Where people can't afford to celebrate Eid in pandemic

Aheda Bewa is a resident of Jatrapur char in the Brahmaputra river, under Kurigram Sadar upazila. She stays with her son Atoar Ali's and his family. She occasionally works as a day labourer. For her, Eid-ul-Fitr morning -- which sees celebrations and festivities around the world and in Bangladesh -- was not joyous. She was depressed as she could not manage to buy new clothes for them.

Neither could her son Atoar (45). He works at a tea stall, and yet could not buy sugar and shemai (vermicelli) for Eid.

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Atoar said that he already has debt and did not take more loans on the occasion. He assured his family members, saying that if the Covid-19 situation improves, his income will increase and then he will buy new clothes.

Aheda (62) said her son's income is not enough to run the family due to the ongoing "lockdown". She said, "There is no Eid celebration for us in the char area. We don't know what we will eat on this Eid day."

Her neighbour Azizul Islam (50) called her and invited her to his home to have some shemai. But Aheda refused to eat alone.

Another resident of Jatrapur char, Mansur Ali, said he did not receive any government aid on the occasion of Eid this year. He said he can't bring himself to look at the faces of his family members, as he could not give them new clothes on the occasion of Eid. The biggest Muslim festival means happiness but for most people in the char area, there is no celebration, he said.

Ahmed Ali (55), a resident of Char Mantala, said Eid doesn't induce festivities among the char people. Most cannot afford to buy shemai and other special food items to celebrate Eid.

The char people are spending this Eid day as any other day, just as they did the previous year amid the coronavirus crisis, he said.

"Many residents of the char pull rickshaws, work at food and tea stalls. But due to the lockdown, their income has taken a significant hit. Many are unemployed and staying at home," he said.

The scenario is the same in other char areas of the Brahmaputra, Teesta and other rivers. Eid brings no joy for most of the families in the chars.

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