A Most Magical Month - Nida, Dr Faraaz, Faiz, Kamil, and Begum Tahira Sirajuddin Khan

Born into the Paigah family, Faiz Khan was brought up in a simple, yet traditional way. And this has been the hallmark of the family for over two centuries. From a very early age, he was exposed to rich history, culture, impeccable manners and generosity, which the city of pearls is famous for. An engineer by profession, Faiz is married to Nida Fatima Khan, daughter of Nawab Ali Khusru Jung, and the couple is blessed with two sons – Dr Faraaz Khan and Kamil Khan. Here we have the well-known family, including Faiz’s mother, Begum Tahira Sirajuddin Khan, giving us their take on the festival of Eid.

What does the festival of Ramadan mean to you and your family?
Ramadan is a month of self-control, sacrifice, caring, and sharing; when feeding those in need supersedes our own hunger and desire. As one of the five pillars of Islam, fasting develops the real spirit of social belonging, of unity and brotherhood in a person, and equality before the Almighty. Places of worship and one’s home are prepared for the Holy month, while the entire city is lit up with the festivities. It is a truly magical time, and the happiness floating around automatically puts you in a good mood.

Eid is celebrated with friends from all communities, happily partaking in the celebrations. As kids, amongst the many people we looked forward to meeting on the day of Eid day, the one that stood out was Baba Madhav Rao Uncle. His gestures and affection will always be remembered. This is what Hyderabad is all about – Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb and Akhlaq.

How do you spend the month? Are there any major changes in your routine?
It does bring a change in our regular routine, as everyone is up late, till sehri mostly, and sleeps after the fajr prayers. There are several sehri and iftar get-togethers, where family and friends spend time together. But during the month of Ramadan, the spirituality is more evident. I look forward to making arrangements for the comfort of one and all at the family mosques. Zakat, being a religious obligation, must adhered to as well.

What is your favourite part of the entire month?
The last week of Ramadan has a very special aura, a spiritual high with festivities in full swing and the entire city full of life, until dawn breaks. The best of cuisines are served; the food is most definitely our most favourite part about Ramadan.

How do you spend the day of Eid?
The day begins with the obligatory Eid prayers, which take place early in the morning. After that we are duty bound to visit most of the family and elders. All of this is followed by a traditional lunch hosted by my in-laws, which goes on till late in the afternoon. We then host our friends and family at our home. Being able to spend so much time with our loved ones and spreading the happiness truly adds to the celebration and festive feel of the whole day and month.

What is your favourite dish?
Undoubtedly, Nahari Kulcha and Haleem with Zabaan during Ramadan, and Sheer Khurma and Sanviyoon ka meetha on Eid day.    

Is there any special tradition for the day of Eid that you have carried forward from your ancestors?
We head to the Eidgah or the family mosque for Eid prayers, taking one route while going and another when returning.

What do you and your family do for sehri?
We all sit down together and enjoy a heavy traditional spread which includes Khichdi, Kheema, Dalcha, leg roast, Nahari with naan, Kulcha or Lacha Paratha, kababs, and some desserts like Anjeer Malae, Aflatoon, etc.

How does the festival invoke a sense of spirituality in you?
According to the divine directions, in addition to ‘Ebadath’, one tries to be correct, true, kind and enjoy giving. This in turn becomes one’s nature and helps create sense of spirituality.     -- as told to Rubaina