How was Justice Katju's experience of keeping Roza?

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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My experience of keeping Roza

By Justice Markandey Katju

As I have done for the last 25-30 years, this year too during Ramzan ( the holy month for Muslims ) I kept one-day roza ( fast ), on the last Friday of the month ( called Alvida ).

I am a Hindu, not a Muslim, but I do this to express my solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters, particularly since Muslims are often vilified, and branded as terrorists, bigoted, etc ( though I believe 99% Muslims, like 99% people of all faiths, are good by nature ).

I also appeal every year to non-Muslims everywhere to do the same.

This year the last Friday of Ramzan was on 21st April ( Eid, the most important Muslim festival, was the next day ). when I observed Roza.

My wife was a bit concerned about my health ( since I am 77 ), but I told her one day fast will surely not do me any harm

My Muslim friends told me that on 21st April the time of sehri, after which one must not eat or drink till iftaar ( the time for breaking the fast ), was 4.20 a.m. ( this time, as well as the time for iftaar, keeps changing by a few minutes every day, and is different in different regions ). So I began my fast about 10 minutes before sehri, and went without food or water till 6.52 p.m. which was the time for iftaar.

I did not sleep well the previous night, since I kept getting up every hour or two to check up the time on my mobile phone. Finally, I got up at about 3.45 a.m.

The previous evening I had told my wife not to get up next day early morning, but only leave some things in the refrigerator for me to eat before sehri. But being a good wife, she got up and boiled 2 eggs for me, which I ate along with some bread, milk and fruits, and drank a lot of water. Then I again went off to sleep, for a couple of hours.

Keeping Roza is not very difficult, except when Ramzan falls in the hot summer months in north India ( May and June ) when one may feel thirsty, particularly if one is working outside or in the field. In this respect keeping Roza is more difficult than keeping fast during the 9 days of Navratri, a Hindu occasion of fasting, during which one may eat fruits and drink water.

However, one should keep occupied in some activity. My activity during my Roza was watching Youtube and other things on the internet, and posting on Facebook every few hours how I was feeling ( I deleted these later ).

I did not feel much discomfort, except that I missed my morning tea and breakfast at the time when I am habituated to have them. However, I did not feel particularly hungry or thirsty.

Finally, the time of iftaar arrived, and I ate a hearty meal.

I will repeat this custom every year as long as I am alive. It is a symbolic act to show my respect to my Muslim brethren, almost all of whom I have found to be good and decent people, though Muslims are often vilified.

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