The politics of time: United by calculations and divided by biases

This situation where time depended on the observer's religious affiliations was due to Lebanon's complicated demographics

Devangshu Datta New Delhi

On Monday, millions of Lebanese Muslims woke before sunrise to eat their Suhur, before starting the dawn-to-sunset fast for Ramadan. According to them, the sun rose at 5.32 am. However, as far as their Christian neighbours were concerned, it was already 6.32 am!
This situation where time depended on the observer’s religious affiliations was due to Lebanon's complicated demographics. A large chunk of its population (about 5 million) is Christian, and the rest are mostly Muslims. Communal tension was one of the causes of the long-running Civil War (1975-1990) and there’s been no census since 1932.
Lebanon’s time zone is UTC (Universal Time) plus two hours in winter — it is 3 hours and 30 minutes behind Indian Standard Time (IST). After the last Sunday of March, it switches to Daylight Saving Time (DST) setting clocks forward by one hour.

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First Published: Mar 28 2023 | 10:23 PM IST

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