KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – The Alumni of Don Bosco School Park Circus held Iftar party for the Salesin staff and past pupils, on Sunday 14th August 2011.
“This is the only school in Kolkata Salesian province where Iftar party is held regularly,” says Rector and Principal Fr Siby Vadakel seated along with Alumni.
The Alumni World Council member Mr Rajesh Gupta adds, “The practice has been going on for the last five years now.”
Local Alumni president Mr T.V. Noman explains that, “on this day when we break the fast, we celebrate our fellowship with the past pupils.”
The local alumni also conduct DB Night School with some 750 boys and girls, mostly Muslims from the neighbourhood.
They study up to class VIII, and hopefully clear class ten exams through the NOS (NationalOpenSchool) scheme.
The Alumni also conduct Adult Literacy programme for some 200 Muslim girls from the Madrassa schools.
For Iftar party in school there were eight tables set with eight chairs each. The Alumni and Salesian staff were seated (all men) and exchanging pleasantries while a variety of seven fresh fruits, dates, juice and five types of fried items were served. At 6.14 pm, Iftar was declared after which all started to eat.
Iftar refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is done right after Maghrib (sunset) time. Traditionally, a date is the first thing to be consumed
when the fast is broken. In places like Hyderabadand Kolkata, people break their fast with Haleem (mutton / lamb cooked in daal) because it has a rich taste and is quite filling.
Many Muslims believe that feeding someone Iftar as a form of charity is very rewarding and that it was practiced by Prophet Muhammad.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual intimacy with their partners during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God.
Muslims fast for the sake of Allah and offer more prayer than usual. Compared to the solar calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary, moving backwards by about eleven days each year depending on the moon; thus, a person will have fasted every day of the calendar year in 34 years’ time. Muslims believe Ramadan to be an auspicious month for the revelations of God to humankind, being the month in which the first verses of The Qur’an were revealed to prophet Muhammad.