Desi Talk

8 CITY VIEWS May 14, 2021 – that’s all you need to know E id celebrations this year among Mus- lims of Indian origin in the Tri-state area will be muted. The community is deciding to spend any resources originally meant for celebrating this important Muslim festival to helping the needy in India ravaged by the second wave of the Covid-19 epidemic. Among the events they have cancelled after months of preparation, is the cel- ebration at the Indian Consulate in New York. A regular feature annually at the Indian Consulate organized jointly with Indian American Muslims for the last few years, the Eid celebrations were officially can- celled by the Muslim community, noted Ilayas Quraishi, a community leader who is also the COO of ParikhWorldwide Me- dia which brings out Desi Talk. “We decided that whatever money we were going to use for Eid, we will divert to the needy in India,” Quraishi said. This year Eid falls on May 13. Juned Qazi, who has been one of the organizers of the annual Eid celebration told Desi Talk, it just did not seem right to be celebrating when there was so much pain happening in India. “The Consulate had kindly invited us for a similar celebration this year as we hold every year for many years at the Consulate. We had even given a date for the Eid event, as May 18, the weekend fol- lowing Eid. But suddenly, we saw people dying in India and how grave the situation had become. It was ethically and morally not right to celebrate when our fellow Indians were dying in great numbers,” Qazi told Desi Talk. “Celebration is only when there is happiness. Right now it is a sad situation and we are mourning and concerned.” In response to his letter to the consul- ate canceling the event, the Consul Gen- eral of India in NewYork responded with the following note: “We deeply appreciate your gesture of not celebrating EID in the Consulate in the wake of the dire Covid situation in India. We look forward to celebrating EID with you in the near future. We count on your support to strengthen our commu- nity and cultural network in the United States,” wrote Consul General Randhir Jaiswal. Muslims of South Asian descent consti- tute a significant part of the population in the Greater NewYork area. One of the Muslim community lead- ers who belongs to the Dawoodi Bohra community, Ahmed Shakir, noted that by canceling the Eid celebrations, the true meaning of Islam is displayed. “The message of Islam is to help people in need and during this holy month of Ramzan, we are doing that for the people of India who are in a dire situation,” Shakir said. “Charity is a very important factor dur- ing Ramzan. When we saw how people in India were in grave trouble, we decided that the best way to ‘celebrate’ Eid was to help people there in need,” he added. His Dawoodi Bohra community in the U.S. is helping to raise funds to send materials and money needed to purchase the medi- cal goods, food and other essentials for treating people. According to quot- ing from Journey data Center analysis, in 2015, Muslims in NewYork City num- bered somewhere between 400,000 to 800,000. A Pew Research study at around the same time, counted Muslims as mak- ing up 3 percent of the population of NYC metro area, which would put them around 600,000 says . According to estimates, New Jersey has the largest Muslim popula- tion by percentage, about 3 percent of the state’s total population; and in New York Muslims account for 2 percent of the total population. NewYork had the highest number of mosques in 2015, 285, according to More may have been added by now signifying the importance of this community in Greater NewYork. According to a 2021 news report in, New Jersey boasts some 136 mosques. Muslims In Tri-State Redirecting Eid Celebration Resources To Helping India By a StaffWriter Photo:provided Photo:provided Photo:provided Ahmed Shakir The Forever USA stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service celebrating Eid. Juned Qazi Indo-American Arts Council Hosts Nabaneeta Dev Sen Book’s Preview For Mother’s Day T he Indo-American Arts Coun- cil (IAAC) in partnership with Archipelago Books hosted an early preview on May 8 of Acrobat Poems by Nabaneeta Dev Sen – a compila- tion of the late author’s poems, translated from Bengali to English by her daughter, writer-actress-activist Nandana Dev Sen to celebrate Mother’s Day which was on May 9. Nabaneeta Dev Sen (1938-2019), renowned Bengali writer has over one hundred books to her credit, including compilations of poems, novels, plays, stories, mem-oirs, academic essays, chil- dren’s literature, and more. At the virtual event, writer, activist and actor, Nandana read a daughter’s letter to her beloved mother, a moving tribute to all mothers on Mother’s Day. The event earlier opened with IAAC Board Member Anil Bansal introducing the participants, followed by a conversa- tion between Nobel laureate and Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, and Nandana Dev Sen. “As part of its increased support for female voices, IAAC is pleased to host this showstopper global book launch on Mother’s Day. It also represents a return en-gagement for Nandana Dev Sen who IAAC has featured previously as part of its Film Festival,” the IAAC Executive Direc- tor Suman Gollamudi said in the press release. Nandana offered her own perspective on translating between cultures, and the im-portance of preserving literary work by women transcending ethnicity and genera-tions. The live broadcast ended with an engaging Q&A portion, moderated by Suman Gollamudi, in which Nandana responded to questions from the audience members. Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s many honors include the Padma Shri, Bangla Academy Life-time Achievement Award, Sahitya Akademi Award, and Lifetime Achieve- ment Award of the Publishers’ and Book- sellers’ Guild. Nabaneeta was the founder and president of theWest Bengal Women Writers’ Association, Soi. Nili Lakhani, Literary Festival cura- tor stated, “IAAC commitment to poetry could not have found a better talent than Nabaneeta Dev Sen whose works are in the league of Emily Dickinson.” The event was free to attend and and streamed online on Facebook at https:// and Youtube at . By a StaffWriter Photo courtesy IAAC Photo:courtesyNandanaDevSen,via IAAC Nandana Dev Sen on the Zoom call to celebrate Mother’s Day organized by the Indo American Arts Council, held on May 8, 2021. Nabaneeta Dev Sen with daughter Nandana Dev Sen.