Coming from a fairly conservative Middle class Bengali family in Bangladesh, I had never been exposed to extreme religious sentiment or ideologies at home. Perhaps my identity of being “Bengali” had lot to do with that than anything else. My parents definitely played a big role on this and that goes without even saying. I still remember my Dad used to remind us every now and then saying, “Home is the Best School for Children and Mom is the best Teacher.” Sure Dad, you taught us well.
Since my childhood, I grew up with my classmates from other religious background including Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and so on. My parents never told me if there is any difference between me and my friends of other religious faith. During my school years, sometimes I used to come home from school with my good buddies as most of the time we used to play at the school yard once the classes are over. Quite often my Mom used to feed me and my friends at the same time from the same plate with her bare hand (it’s a cultural thing). A sense of brotherhood grew over the years between me and my close friends despite of our different belief system and it still exists. I remember celebrating the Eid, Durga Puja, Christmas Day, Buddha Purnima with equal festivity in Bangladesh. It also observes these days as the public holidays despite the fact that Christian and Buddhist population consists less than 1% of the total population individually.
Eid Mubarak from New York City.
Now, over here in the New York City, for the very first time the city’s school system is observing the Islamic Religious holiday Eid Al-Adha. Back in March, Mayor De Blasio assured the Muslim community that the school system would observe the Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha as the official school holidays. No wonder, there were lots of doubts and debates over this issue but somehow finally its here. Such controversial and sensitive issues also raises questions regarding the religious holidays of other minority religious groups which I think should also be taken seriously as well.
New York City is one of the most, if not “the most” diverse city within the United States. People from all over the world with various religious and non-religious faith comes and lives in this great city. Such diversity not only makes this city the greatest one but also explains who we are as New Yorker. As an alumni of Baruch College‘s Zicklin School of Business, I personally take huge pride of being part of the most diverse student body within the United States college systems.
Allow me to wrap up my post saying “Eid Mubarak” to my Muslim friends and families as well as others (non-Muslims) from the New York City. May almighty God brings peace and prosperity to all of our lives. God bless New York, God bless America. Peace.