Muslims offer prayers at a mosque in Nepalgunj, Banke on the occasion of Bakr Eid, on Tuesday. ( Kalendra Seuwal / Republica )
NEPALGUNJ, Sept 13: Mustafa Ahasan Kuraisi was beaming with happiness on Tuesday morning. While others were busy participating in activities inside the Kadari mosque located near the BP Chowk, this elderly man with a beard was taking pleasure in feeding special dishes to his Hindu friends, hugging them and sitting them. While still serving some items, Kuraisi looked up and said, “This is the beauty of this day. It is the festival of love, and the time to show your gratitude towards people,” he remarked.
Muslims celebrated Bakr Eid on Tuesday this year with great fanfare across the town. For the local community, it is basically just another festival that spreads peace, love and happiness among all members of the society. “We believe in love, humanity, unity,” said Kuraisi. “It is the message of every religion, Islam or Hindu or any other religion,” he said.
Kuraisi’s residence near Tribhuvan Chowk was jam-packed with invitees. As he needed to attend them, he spent little time inside the mosque. “I exchanged Eid greetings with others at the mosque and got back to my residence as we I had to participate in rituals being held at home.” As part of the celebration, he had also organized a feast at home to which the family had called all those in their family and friend circle.
“I call all my friends - Muslim or Hindus- to celebrate this auspicious day. My family has been organizing this feast for over two decades and I feel glad that I have been able to continue it with equal fervor, year after year,” he said humbly. He feels that the festival and the feast bring people of different religions and communities closer and added that he bringing people together has been the major objective for him to organize the feast every year on the occasion of Bakr Eid.
As a person Kuraisai is a popular in the town as a gajal singer. It is not hard to get diehard fans of his singing in and around Nepalgunj. He has published a collection of his gajals - ‘Soj - E - Dil’. “My love for literature made gained me fame. And along with sharing my love for gazals, I share messages love, brotherhood, peace and harmony in society,” he said. “When the people around you are lively, full of love, willing to accept others, the entire atmosphere becomes different. As a singer, I feel it more acutely,” he said while smiling.
( Gajal singer Mustafa Ahasan Kuraisi, second from left, with guests at his home in Nepalgunj on Tuesday. )
Kuraisai says that he loves to greet people on the occasion of Bakr Eid and usually starts greeting people way before the festival starts and sends out invitation for the feast in advance. “Inviting people weeks before gives them the flexibility to make arrangements to participate in the feast. That is the reason, I usually invite my friends many days before the celebration,” he said.
One among his regular guests is Pankaj Kumar Shrestha, a bank employee in the town. Talking of Kuraisi, Shrestha describes his friend as an advocate of love and harmony. “He is a bridge that strongly connects communities and hearts. We do not attend the feast for love of food, but it is for the love he gives, the respect he shows to others,” Shrestha said. “His type of behavior is something we all must learn, within community, between communities,” he added.
Hariprasad Timilsinna, a professor at the Mahendra Multiple College and a regular attendee of Kuraisi’s feast, stated that his family always has the Kuraisi family invited to their house for celebrating Dashain and Tihar. “If in case they can’t come over, than we make it sure that the family enjoy all the festival delicacies, like selroti, are enjoyed in that house also,” he said.