Closure of shops and couple of thoughts

June 28, 2010

Do you remember Fakir Bhai from Pacahm Paar? He was famous for his classical call “Janaza Baleg Marad Ka hai” right before funeral prayer in the 70’s and the 80’s.

Long 17 years passed since I left Nawabbari for NY. Faqir Bhai is no longer alive. Many local customs have changed in these years. One of the newly introduced practice is death announcement through Masjid. When a family member from Dhaka Nawab Family dies his/her death announcement is made on Nawab Bari Jame Masjid’s loudspeaker. All one needs to do is just notify the office of the Moulvi Abdullah Welfare Trust.

Another newly introduced norm in vogue is the closure of the shops with the death of a Nawabbarian landlord. To show respect to the deceased landlord, shopkeepers of the respective market (e.g. Arzoo market, Huq market, Habibullah market) keeps their shops closed for an entire day. Refraining from business activity causes financial loss specially if the death occurs during Eid peak season. A story of skirmishes between youngsters, mourners and shopkeepers arising with discontent of closing shops is not unheard of.

Do all the tenants bring their shutters down voluntarily which is a source of their bread and butter? We all know that Hortal’s synonym is Bhoy tal. But what we don’t know is if all the shopkeepers participate in this program with equal enthusiasm. Is closing stores the proper or only mean to pay homage to the deceased soul?

The management of Nawabbari Jame Masjid now mostly lies with the cloth merchants. Masjid committee is earning handsome revenue by selling water from deep tubewell in its wadhu khana After all this is one of the innovative idea of the new management put into action with depleting or virtually nonexistent funding from the waqf estate. The management of Masjid by the business community along with few Nawabbarians is going great. Honestly speaking, Nawabbarian’s just by themselves would not be able to carry out this job so effectively.

In light of the above, can we say it is high time to revisit the policy of “shop closure with the death of a fellow family member”?

By Anas Khwaja

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