Herat (Afghanistan), June 4 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday extended warmest Ramadan greetings to the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims as the month of fasting begins next week.
“My warmest greetings to the people of Afghanistan and all Muslims across the world for the holy month of Ramadan,” Modi said in Hindi at the end of his English speech in the third largest city of Afghanistan.
Modi’s Ramadan greetings come days before the Muslim holy month begins either on June 7 or 8 — subject to the appearance of the new moon.
Ramadan is a time for Muslims to observe dawn-to-dusk fast “to cleanse the soul and come closer to Allah.” At the end of Ramadan, they celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr — one of the biggest Muslim festivals.
Modi in the first year of his governance had come under flak from the Opposition as he had not greeted Muslims on Eid-ul-Fitr in 2014. He had offer prayers in Nepal’s famed Pashupatinath temple at that time.
On Saturday, the prime minister was on a whirlwind Afghanistan visit to inaugurate an India-built dam in Herat — the city also known for one of the most revered Persian sufi poets — Maulana Jami.
Modi remembered Jami in his speech and invoked him in citing the strong India-Afghanistan bond. “Whatever happens, we will always experience freshness and happiness of gentle breeze of friendship,” Modi quoted the sufi’s words and vowed that India would “speak in one voice for Afghan right to a peaceful, prosperous, united, inclusive and democratic nation”.