Which boat to sail?

With the onset of Spring in Kashmir, an aftermath of the incident that took place at Badamwari (an Almond Garden) lately in Srinagar, almost has lead the society to shatter into fragments. A conservative fragment appreciating what happened and positive while giving it a nod, a fragment devastated, probably because their career into the same is in limbo and one more fragment that is 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. All this put in a row has made it an important place, in the past and continues to be in the present. 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 still taboo, musicians and actors fall in a category of ‘persona non grata,’ dancers are forbidden of making moves, women are still vulnerable to aggravation and molestation, and 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 grow outwardly, but we have conservatively designed our minds. We have made ourselves believe in 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 a force that pushes it back to the orthodoxies. We have become (b) types 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. Living in a Mohammedan society, if we consider music to be haram, we shouldn’t have crowded around musicians.
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 the society, and what not to. To negate what we appreciate on the contrary should not be acceptable. To deject what our souls love should not be acceptable. This society has to initiate to shape itself in one form or the other.
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 there are chances for us to drown. 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 the society, and what not to. To negate what we appreciate on the contrary should not be acceptable. To deject what our souls love 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 will allow our personalities to grow nor our society. We rather have to help ourselves think clearly over such fragile matters. It neither will allow our personalities to grow nor our society. We rather have to help ourselves think clearly over such fragile matters.
( The author is a linguist and a Writer based in Srinagar. Views are exclusively her own)
syedmariyashah@gmail.com

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