It is just not simple learning, it reincarnates ones belief not in believing what we observe and observe what believe utterly blind folded (Walter, 2004). This practice of ethnography would leave no man untouched, unheard of others’ faith. We all become welcoming if we welcome ethnography. Mr. Rashid and his gregarious family Ethnography by far is a very wide subject. If we look into the matter, the deeper we fall in and it becomes convoluting yet we gain a better understanding of life (Merriam-Webster). I believe it encourages tolerance by knowing other people’s community lives, their standards, morals, values, culture and religion.
It’s not an easy job to learn and respect someone else’s perspective. While interacting with people many at times we are biased and reckon our faith superior to them (Suter, 2000). This creates a biased, prejudiced and stereotypic notion against a particular group in our mind. Ethnography on the other hand, provides you intimate learning (Definitions-Ethnography). Interview with a Muslim Pakistani Family This was an entire new learning for me after exploring a family utterly opposite to mine. This experience of mingling up with Mr.
Rashid Hameed’s family was revitalizing my notions for them; I used to contemplate all Muslims in one specifically stigmatized category. I met them 3 times and they promised me that they would definitely invite me to their Holy festive called Eid. It was Nate my old friend who introduced me to Mr. Rashid a year ago. It was a pleasant meeting and I thought that as it. After getting this assignment, he was the first person who clicked my mind. In my contact list everyone belongs to same community, all the same lifestyle. I contacted Mr. Rashid. He’s a shrewd good looking man in his 40.
We share common age, that one thing common. He open heartedly invited me to his place. I before reaching his place set my mind neutral. When I reached their home, his family warmly welcomed me. He introduced me to his aging mother, his unconventionally beautiful wife, Amna, six year old daughter Naina and two sons, Amir the eldest and Ahsan. Unlike other Asian kids, they were quiet respectful. After greeting we sat in their living room and had a little chit chat. It was all formal in the initial but with the time I could sense the feeling of belonging.
Above all beliefs is the religion of brotherhood, fraternity and tranquility (Fermin, 2010). Dinner was served immediately. I don’t remember how long it has been since me and my family sat together and had a proper meal. It’s only my daughter who accompanies me. Amna had cooked their sophistication. There was rice they called it ‘Briyani’, curry and roasted chicken which they called ‘Chargah’. The food was utterly delicious yet too spicy. I came to realize that Pakistanis eat quiet a lot spices then we do. Rashid would insist me to taste everything, his kids all sitting quietly.
Before eating up they all prayed to God and started off with their food. No wonder with thousand differences, there were striking similarities too. Even my family used to pray before starting our meal. I feel it’s a good practice. Amir and Ahsan are kind boys, one aged 18 and other 16 years talked only when necessary. Naina is utterly adorable who would interrupt us time and again and ask me why I was interested to know about them. I explained her term ethnography and she asserted that she already mingled up with Asian and American kids of her age at school. Dinner was peaceful and took 20 min maximum.
After that I was served green tea and Rashid’s mom accompanied me. She told me about her life and how they moved to US. They belong to Karachi, city in Pakistan. Rashid is the only child of mother Bano Hameed. They had lived a life of luxury. Rashid completed his education and got married to Amna at the age of 21. Immediately after his marriage his father died. And so he sold off all his assets and 3 shops and moved to US with his mother and wife. Since then every year they go to Pakistan to visit their motherland. Their little introduction helped me to understand how it is to leave your country for better living.
It was getting quiet late for both of us and I left. A religious ceremony After two days Rashid called me up and asked me to come over for a religious ceremony as I had asked him for an invitation the day we had dinner at his place. He told me that Friday’s are holy for all Muslims. It was Friday around 1:30 pm in the afternoon when we reached to a community mosque. It was crowded with people, most of them wearing a Muslim hat and ‘Shalwar-kameez’, white and other colors, their dress code, on their heads and women covered their heads, many wearing black gowns and their cultural dress ‘shalwar-kameez’ and a huge scarf.
It reminded me of going to church with my father. Rashid asked me to leave the shoes outside the premises and so I did, and told me to stick with Amna. I could see his entire family their. It is a segregated area. Women have their own hall to offer prayers. I saw amna offering prayers which I could not understand much. After she was done she told me about Friday prayers also known as congregational prayers. It is special than other usual prayers. She was holding a bracelet made of all same beads particularly called ‘Tasbeeh’ and on every bead she would praise God. Prayers were short.
Immediately after that they had a sermon to listen to. Just like any other religion their priest known as Imam ( who leads the prayers) talked about human rights, justice, peace, obedience towards parents and so much more. Muslims only get sermons on Fridays. Cultural Activity It was Monday and Amna invited me to attend a gathering at their place. She told me that I was a special guest who had a grave responsibility to pen down what I observed. It was almost like a festival. They told me that in every start of six months they’d plan a gathering and ask every one to cook one dish and bring along the food. Mrs.
Hameed told that they used to practice it for years since they left Pakistan. Now this has become an event where ladies and gents buy new clothes, girls all colorful and pretty. The food was all traditional. It had ‘Nihari’ (chicken curry), ‘Haleem’ (pulses), Chargah, sweet marts; ‘Gulab-jamun’ and etc. ‘Poori’ and ‘halwa’ used to be their traditional Sunday breakfast in Pakistan. I enjoyed their spices. I observed elders giving away some amount of money to each kid. Youngsters got 3 dollars each from every uncle. There were altogether 7 families. Amir told me that this was a great occasion to get a healthy amount from their elders.
After finishing their meals, they all sat in a circle and played passing pillow as a tradition. They sang songs in their mother tongue Urdu and enjoyed to the brim. I have a daughter to look after otherwise I was in no mood to leave. It was hell lot of fun. Conclusion I learnt that how much Mr. Rashid and his family believe in joint family system, their support for each other, kids living with their parents and obliged to listen to them. It taught and open many new horizons for me. References Merriam-Webster, Ethnography Definition. Retrieved July,10th, 2010 from http://www. merriamwebster. com/dictionary/ethnography
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