Technology’s relentless march has already replaced many jobs, but the latest casualty is a little more depressing than usual. In a departure from cultural tradition, drones have taken the place of human drummers during Ramadan.
Across the Middle East, people have historically woken up before dawn during Ramadan by a drummer, called the Mesharaty, reminding them to eat. He typically chanted prayers or verses of religious poetry and was a favourite of little children, who would accompany him from their homes to the end of his route.
Believers who observe the day-long fast, from sunrise to sunset during the Islamic holy month, must eat before dawn breaks – or go hungry until the end of the fast at iftar. In Arabic, this meal is referred to as suhour.
This Ramadan, Istanbul’s Eyüp Sultan Square is home to a different kind of drummer, Yeni Safak reports. This one’s an unmanned aerial vehicle – only, it plays music.
This sort of technology isn’t new, and indeed drones are already used to shoot video, but it appears to be the first time it’s been used in connection with Islamic needs. The Singodrone, which is apparently being marketed by a firm based in Istanbul, can be operated just like a regular drone and plays a preset tune as it travels. It runs for about 15 minutes on a single charge.
“Drummers are an inevitable part of Ramadan traditions. The product may disturb Ramadan drummers, but SingoDrone is an example of how technology is changing our lives,” Ersoy Soner, a company executive, told the Daily Sabah.
The licensed product was tried out in Eyüp Sultan Square, as a video shows, much to the bemusement of spectators and passers-by. Some reportedly said that the drone would be more effective than Ramadan drummers.
That may well be the case, but the loss of tradition can be hard.