One moral reason of fasting during the month of Ramadan is to feel the pain and suffering of the less privileged people who cannot afford to have proper meals everyday. Muslims all over the world feel empathy for these poor hungry people. This is why, it is told to offer food as sadka during Ramadan. In Bangladesh, almost 90 per cent of the total population is Muslim. So, the ritual of fasting is both religiously and culturally observed throughout the country. Most of the people prefer to have a traditional "iftar", which includes varieties of rich food and junk food, after fasting from dawn to dusk. However, people eats more with eyes and less with tongue. As a result, a lot of foods go to waste after iftar. The waste food is then thrown into garbage bags which actually has no decent use.
It is very unfortunate that maximum number of food wastage is done by the educated and privileged class. The iftar session is supposed to be plain and simple. People are supposed to eat as much as their bodies need to remain healthy. Some people do not have any idea about their own bodies. This is why they prefer exotic and expensive unhealthy food items for breaking their fast. When the body refuses to take more unhealthy food, the brain starts manipulating the person to deliberately waste the remaining food. Due to recent commercialisation, many people even prefer to buy costly food items from different outlets. One very strangely real reason is the show off tendency of the people. It has become a fashion to buy more expensive foods. It is a way of showing the financial status when people buy different items from branded restaurants. Unfortunately, most of the foods cannot get into the stomachs of the buyers. They just go waste!In most of the cases, people who are educated, sophisticated, privileged and solvent waste food more. I feel so devastated by seeing these so-called educated and influential people wasting so much food at a time. I feel even pity for them who even cannot think of distributing the excess food among poor people. They just simply waste it. A few days ago, I invited a few "educated" men and women to my place for having iftar together. I felt so disappointed to find out that they were wasting food just like that! They touched every single food item, ate a little portion and then wasted the rest. How nonsensical act it was! I will not blame their parents. As a parent of three, I know that parents never teach their children anything bad. Children see more and hear less. This is why one must show instead of just saying that wasting food is really bad.
We live in a consumer society where we can find anything and everything within a certain geographical limit. Whether we buy it or cook at home, we must not waste food. There is a philosophical line, "we are what we eat and think". So, when we are thinking of wasting food, we become irresponsible. To avoid any wastage of food, we can always check our food measurements. We should cook or buy as much as it is needed for our appetite. Even if we cook or buy more, we must not waste it. There are many poor and hungry people out there who look forward to getting only a little amount of food from us. Before wasting or misusing the food, we must distribute the food to these people.
At my place, I usually cook as much as we can finish eating. During Ramadan, it is truly hard to finish all the items on the plate. The body does not support overeating. In that case, I pack a food box or two and give it to the beggars sitting near my residence. I never offer excess food to my children as well. Our luxury can be someone else's necessity. So, in spite of giving unnecessary luxurious food to my children--when they cannot eat anyway-- I prefer to distribute it among poor beggars. I am glad that my children are learning this manner of sharing too.
There is a say, "Sharing is a way of caring". When we share what we eat with the unprivileged ones, we actually care for them. Not only during Ramadan, some people waste food in every single month of the year. You must have noticed many people wasting food at a wedding ceremony or a birthday party. I wish they knew what it takes to grow each and every micro element of a food item. If wasting food is bad, overeating must be bad too. So, we must learn to share food with hungry people. Otherwise, the remaining portion of food will be rotten and pollute our environment. Therefore, I humbly request my readers, please stop wasting food. Give it away. Eat and feed others too.
The writer is a Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature, Premier University Chittagong