With the onset of Spring in Kashmir, an aftermath of the incident that took place at Badamwari, lately in Srinagar, has almost lead the society to shatter into fragments: a conservative fragment positive while giving a nod to what happened, a second fragment devastated, probably because their career into the same is in limbo and the third fragment is still in dilemma.
Being the only city in the valley of Kashmir – Srinagar is a little sophisticated. Hence, whatever innovation has to ingress the Kashmiri society, this city is the first to witness; witness development, growth, settlement, policies, plans, dejection, and rejection. This has added to its importance. Now, if this city has marked growth in some years, we need to ask ourselves how far have we grown up? We are growing in an ingrowing society where music is regarded a taboo, musicians, and actors fall in the category of ‘persona non grata,’ dancers are forbidden of making moves, women are still vulnerable to aggravation and molestation, and the poor live miserable lives. We are not ready to pave the way to music toward professionalism. We are not ready to accept the poor to be equal to the rich. We are not ready to respect every profession because some of them, according to the prototypical norms in our society believe in chauvinism. In Kashmir, we can weigh a person according to certain conditions laid by the unknown and followed by us. We choose considering caste, financial status, or profession.
Our steadfastness has furthered us to reach the climax of what has never grown in us. Our faith lies still in our souls. We haven’t let it loose and expand to reach the wider spheres. Hence we grow outwardly and have conservatively designed our minds. We have made ourselves believe in certain beliefs unquestionably. There should be two instances for us:
- a) Either to stick to our roots and our archetypal cultural beliefs,
- b) Or, we should grow (unconventionally).
A society takes time to grow. It doesn’t grow at once but in stages. While our society is pushed to embrace modernity (which needs to be excused of Westernization), there is always a force that pushes it back to the orthodoxies. We have become type B with A foresight. Considering a violent incident that took place at Badamwari, I’d preferably say, to climb a dice and smash things isn’t a solution to anything. Attack others are extremism. To just assemble ahead of the performers and waving hands in the air isn’t an act of appreciation. We have to ponder over where we lie and which boat to sail. To either sail in a boat of ‘acceptance’ or ‘rejection.’ We either say ‘yes’ to a thing or ‘no’ to it, there shouldn’t be a middle ground. To sail in two boats will restrict us of growth and can drown us. We, the natives of Kashmir have to decide on what to believe in and what not to, what to invest our efforts in and what not to, and what to let seep into our society, and what not to. To negate what we appreciate on the contrary should not be acceptable. This society has to initiate to shape itself in one form or the other. Such rush-acts will exalt trauma, fear, hatred, and adversities. It neither allows our personalities to grow nor our society. We rather have to help ourselves think clearly over such fragile matters.
A Linguist and a Writer from Srinagar.