Pune hospital head hosts Iftaar party for Muslim women

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 15-04-2023
An all-women Iftaar party in Pune
An all-women Iftaar party in Pune


Chhaya Kavire/Pune

Muslim women have the additional work of cooking delicious meals for the family while fasting during the month of Ramazan and yet their obligation to their religion is never talked about or acknowledged. A doctor in Pune felt this sidelining of Muslim women from public discourse of Ramazan fasting and did something about it.

“I have been living in this area for the past 15 years. It’s for the first time, someone invited me to Iftar,” said Shabana Razzak Shaikh, a homemaker, and resident of the Kondva area of the city, who was among a group of 50 women invited to the first ever all-women Iftaar party recently.

“I was very happy to participate in this event. We were welcomed by women who followed other religions.”

The party was organized by NGO Ahmi Shashwat Ani Saksham (I am the truth and that is why I am capable) of Dr. Rashmi Bapat, the founder of the Bapad Multispeciality Hospital. Besides being a reputed doctor, Dr. Rashmi is a social worker who serves nutritious meals to 50 children on weekends, offers consultations to women patients, and is actively working for the rights of the transgender community.

She invited the women mostly from the lower middle-class neighbourhood for Iftaar and took this opportunity to explain the importance of hygiene and cleanliness to the women.

Sharing her experience with Awaz-the Voice, Shabana said: “I got to experience uniqueness. It was an event organized by a woman for the women. Women of all religions participated in the Iftari and we all had a good time."

Shabana says they were served delicious and mouth-watering food that also included a variety of fruit and savouries. “There was so much food that one could think of it is sufficient to feed a truckload of men,” she said with a burst of loud laughter.

She said although both Muslim men and women observe fasting during the month of Ramazan most of our Iftar parties are organized for men only.

Dr. Rashmi wanted to change this male preferent practice. She organized an iftar party for women only for guests from all religions.

Shabana is all praise for the organizers, “Dr. Rashmi supports women a lot. They are always striving to bring Muslims and all other women into the mainstream. Her hospital has made the OPD free.

She says Dr. Rashmi’s words "Come and see me if you have any problem' to all the women guests are very comforting."

This women-all occasion led to a dialogue among women of different religions and they kept speaking with each other for a very long time.

Muslim women being served at the Iftaar party in Pune's Bapat Multispeciality hospital

Muslim Women offered congregational Namaz while other women prayed.

She said non-Muslim women were curious to know about the Islamic ways of life and had a lot of questions about fasting during the month of Ramazan.

“How do Muslims pray? Why do they eat during fasting? Shabana said Muslim women replied to all the questions of the women of other religions

Dr. Rashmi also spoke about the importance of women's role in maintaining social harmony.”

Speaking with Awaz-the Voice, Dr. Rashmi Bapat said, “We wanted to organize an event on behalf of the organization Ahmi Shashtav, Ani Saksham. This was going to be the first event after the establishment of our organization. The month of Ramazan is considered holy by Muslims. Every time we see iftar parties being organized for men; so we decided to organize them for women so that they feel empowered.”

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She made sure the Iftaar party was attended by women of all castes and religions. “They must also learn about each other's religion,” she said.

She said all  members of her NGO were excited to make arrangements for the party as it was a unique party.”

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