The Hilal Committee paradox
Though we have reliable and sophisticated means of communication available during contemporary times, but; radio is still the most trustworthy source to let us know if the Ramadhan moon has been sighted or not. We believe the gadget to give us the most accurate and the truest news about the inception of the holy month. Many elders including my father, might have erected the antennas of their radio sets, though it hardly effects the quality of signal on medium wave.
My father has a peculiar habit of changing the dry cells of his transistor set on every 29th of Shaban, even though they are working and are not too old to get replaced. Fresh dry cells definitely add extra decibels to the volume of the transistor. He believes the fresh dry cells would better the quality of broadcast on his radio set. Yesterday morning, I heard my father calling my son repeatedly, who was deeply asleep because gazetted holidays often make school going children too complacent to enjoy extra hours of sleep, particularly those kids whose school buses spoil their precious napping moments, and wake them up a bit earlier.
My father wanted his grandson to purchase fresh dry cells for his transistor set from a local shop, because it was 29th of Shaban, yesterday. I went up to him and enquired about the matter. ” Az Chhi Khabar BouzenZaroori, Waane Peth AnihaNayi Celle “. ( I want him to purchase new dry cells from the shop, because tonight the news is very important ). I at once convinced him, and went myself to procure the dry cells. I bought three brand new Nippo cells from the local shop. He opened the slot very delicately to insert the dry cells. He probably feared some possible damage to his transistor set by me. So, he took a lead in embedding the dry cells in the opening.
I sat down, and began to converse with him. I tried to acquaint and apprise him about the modern sources of news and information. But, he suggested me to keep the advanced media sources in my own pockets. The tete-a-tete with him scratched the canvas of my memories, and took me straight away back to my olden days. It is the tale of those days when internet was something alien to us. I was probably an eleventh or twelfth standard student then. Even only a few had access to television sets, and the number of available channels on the television, unlike today, was not more than two. So, radio was a better option given its access to diverse stations and channels like BBC, voice of America etc…
It was 29th of Shaban, and after Magrib prayers, I had glued my ears to the Philips Jawan radio set of my father. Low frequency audio signals would compel me to change the direction of my radio set frequently. Coincidentally, news at 9 began in English, and the news reader verbalised, ” Ramadhan moon has not been sighted, and now the news in detail. ” I asked my siblings to keep mum because I wanted to give authentic news to our Imaam Sahab and Awqaf committee members, who were waiting for my confirmation. But, to the surprise of everyone in the village, someone blew large currents of air into the microphone of our Masjid shareef, and an uneasy calm befell in the surroundings.
It stunned everyone, and an absolute silence engulfed the whole village, because everyone was anticipating an announcement to be made on the public loudspeaker. I too rotated the volume switch of my transistor in an anti-clockwise direction, to get the crux of the announcement to-be-made. And the announcer proclaimed, ” ChenderAaw Athi, SubasChhu Mahi RamzanukGudneuk Doh.” (The crescent of Ramadhan has been sighted, so, tomorrow is the first day of Ramadhan). Since this incident, chairperson Hilal committee of Poshwari is very popular. And he is yet to tell us about his Hubble telescope which he might have used to sight the Ramadhan moon.
The Author is a Teacher and a Columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]