BeyondHeadlines News Desk
Kolkata: Local residents of Kiddrepore, Kolkata organised a unique ‘Dosti Ki iftari,’ on Sunday, June 11, where they invited non-Muslims from the city, including journalists, academicians, social activists, professionals, and young students for direct interaction with locals.
This iftar party was different from other such programs where the focus remains on high profile politicians and celebrities. In this iftar party no politician was invited, but aimed at people-to-people interaction in the city at a time when certain forces are trying to create communal frenzy in the state.
Some of the eminent persons from the city who attended the iftar program included, distinguished Professors Subendhu Dasgupta and Keya Dasgupta; Kumar Rana, writer and Project Director Pratichi Institute; Abhijit Roy, Head of Film Studies Department of Jadavpur University; Amit Dasgupta, Professor at Calcutta University; Dr Roddur De, assistant professor at Chandannagar Government College; Suvojit Bagchi, Chief of Bureau, The Hindu; journalist Udalak Mukherjee, The Telegraph, social activist Malay Tiwari, among others. Around 60 people, majority of them non-Muslims interacted with local residents of greater Kidderpore area that included professors, lawyers, journalists, researchers, students and local businessmen.
Before the iftari, there was tri-lingual (Bengali, Hindi and English) freewheeling interaction among local residents of greater Kiddrepore with esteemed guests. A local imam Md Ashraf Qasmi spoke on the religious and spiritual dimension of Ramzan and also hoped that he is invited to programs in non-Muslim localities where he can learn more about culture of Hindu brothers.
Shaheen Parveen, who used to teach law at AMU and has recently, cleared the West Bengal Judiciary Service Examinations spoke about her experience of being a working Muslim woman.
Kumar Rana said that as member of the majority community we too need to introspect and wonder why minorities have to take such initiatives, stressing on the need of more inter-communal interactions.
Professor Subhendu Dasgupta, who has done some research on the area, extended his support to such initiatives that can help people come closer.
There was also an exhibition of photographs of Kidderpore locality at the venue, shot by four young photographers Sangoli Sikder, Abhishek Dey, Shovon Ray and Swastik Pal, capturing the life and daily existence here.
Dosti Ki iftari was jointly organised by Association SNAP, AIMS and Right Track. The venue was voluntarily provided by the owner of Al Hamd WSA School (Great Hall) was provided courtesy. Advocate Abu Nasser of AIMS has played important role in mobilizing financial support for the programme.
The initiative was part of “know your neighbour programme” of Association SNAP, that has continued for last two years; and is supported by community based organizations like Right Track and AIMS etc.
In the welcome address, Md Ashraf Ali of Right Track spoke on why they decided to organise this kind of iftar. He said that although we live in same city, there is big divided between majority and minority community. “A lot of misconceptions and stereotypes exist and we need to challenge those,” he added.
This was the second program in one month, Ali reminded the audience. Earlier, on May 21, similar interactive program on communal-harmony was organised in Mominpore locality by SNAP-Right Track. The organizers are also toying up with the idea of ‘Kidderpore Festival’ perhaps at the end of this year.