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Ramadan: A day in life of vegetable vendor in Kolkata

Abdul Kader Laskar
Abdul Kader Laskar (Photo Credit: TwoCircles .Net)

By Zaidul Haque,

Kolkata: Abdul Kader Laskar is a vegetable vendor who comes to Kolkata every day from his native village to sell the vegetables. After dropping out from the school in class IX, Laskar is engaged in vegetable business since 1978, but never missed fasting in Ramadan.

Laskar, 58, resides in Ullyan village, 50 kms from here, under Mandirbazar police station near Diamond Harbour of South 24 Parganas district. He brings his vegetables regularly to city’s Topsia Kohinur market daily, even during Ramadan. It is only on Fridays that he takes off.

Abdul Kader Laskar1

Laskar’s vegetables sale helps maintain cost of educating his children. He has four children: eldest daughter Madina Laskar was married after she completed Higher Secondary Examination; youngest daughter Nilufa Laskar is doing graduation (BA) at Magrahat College and two sons, Saharul Laskar and Rajibul Laskar are reading in class HS and Class eighth. Kader hopes his daughter and both sons complete PG degree.

Laskar regularly wakes up at around 2 am and after completing Sehri, he reaches the vegetable market just besides the Sangrampur railway. During Ramadan, the vegetable market at Sangrampur starts at around 3 am. He purchases vegetables and then catches the train from Sangrampur station at 4.20 am to reach Park Circus station around 6 am. He has a monthly vendor ticket to carry vegetables in the train.

“I do Fazr Namaz inside the train compartment. All the regular passengers know me, most of them almost since 1978. So everyone help me in performing Namaz,” he shares information and adds gladly, “Most of the passengers are Hindus but they cooperate with me and help him arrange for Namaz.”

From Park Circus station, Laskar takes his vegetables by an auto rickshaw to the Topsia Kohinur Market area, 15 minutes from the station. Kader’s regular seat is in front of the iron engineering shop on the Kustia Masjid Bari lane. Even with his busy schedule, Kader regularly offers Namaz five times a day but he is not able to participate in Jamat at the mosque.

“In Ramadan, I try to keep perfection in measures while selling vegetables. I cannot attend the Zohar Namaz becasue I have to sell vegetable seed up to 1.30 pm. Sometimes, it may extend to 2.30 pm until everything is sold,” he said, adding, “Surprisingly, there is no excess vegetable unsold during Ramadan days unlike other months when there is always some small quantity of vegetable that remains unsold.”

Kader proudly tells that during Ramadan, he earns more profit as due to fasting, there is no extra cost for refreshment during the time he is out. He then catches the regular local train from Park Circus station of Diamond Harbour. “In all these many years, I have never felt uneasy or faced any hard time in Ramadan,” Kader said and added, “I think, fasting helps me to speedily sell my vegetables.”

He gets enough cooperation during his return journey than other times because of Ramadan. For instance, when he returns home, the train journey takes one and half hours. He performs ‘Kaza’ Namaz of Zohar and ‘Asar’ inside the train. The passengers, most of them non-Muslim, help him. “So I also pray for all these people without thinking about their creed and caste.”

Before evening, Kader reaches his home and attends Iftaar with his family.


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