Eid in Kashmir: Between joys and sorrows

By Mushtaq ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, TwoCircles.net

Eid ul Fitr comes as a joyous moment after Holy Month of Ramadan Fasting. It is a day of celebration for the Muslims world over as it marks the completion of the Ramadan. Different people in different regions belonging to various cultures, varied linguistic dialectics, distinguishing colours, unique topography and dissimilar professions each have their own way of celebrating this Universal Festival which unites the whole Muslim World in a warm, loving, peaceful and tranquil embrace.

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The Valley too has its own unique way of celebrating this eventful Eid festival, which brings happiness, joy, and love for some whereas for others it is an occasion which enlivens the sorrowful and agonized memories of the past. For children Eid is an occasion to earn money through Eidi(The money that is given as Eid gift) and to spent it their way. “It is the best part of the Eid” says Zaiban Wafia. The children also love to enjoy delicious and lavish food sounds Mouiz Yaseen “The best part is that I get Pastry as well as Blackforest to eat”. All the children get new clothes, toys and lots of time to play. “We spent the whole day in play and merrymaking, as parents don’t restrict our activities as well as there is no worry of school or homework” says little Zubana Najam. What do the children spent their Eidi on? Many answers to this query were brought forth by children. Some save it for their piggy banks, some spent on fireworks and toys, while others buy chocolates and ice-creams. “I spent my Eidi for buying comics and Harry Potter Series” says a serene Nausheen a 9th standard student. A new trend of dyeing hands in beautiful exotic designs of henna is gaining ground as a new fashion among young women in Kashmir. Nausheen too opts for it and is thankful that Eid offers her an occasion to fulfill this desire of hers.

Girls and Women have their own way of celebrating Eid. “On Eid I spent most of my time at home with family and guests. Sometimes we go for outing on Eid. I also call my relatives and friends and wish them” says Saima Dijoo, a Political Science Student at Kashmir University. “I really do nothing special worth mentioning, but yes after Eid prayers, all I do is cooking which I don’t do on other days. I also prefer calling my friends to whom I may not be talking otherwise” exhorts Munazah Gulzar. For the likes of Birjees, a homemaker she has to spend a whole week before Eid for shopping clothes, shoes, toys, gifts for her children. Crockery, tapestry and new pillows for her home.” Another Homemaker Masarat says that the days of Eid are hectic for her as she has to do all the washing and cleaning because it has been an age old custom which she inherited from her mother. She also complains that Eid for her is more hectic than other days because she has to attend to all the relatives and friends visiting as well as do the cooking also, so she can’t enjoy the real joys of Eid”.

For the working women Eid is a time when they take time out of their routine schedule to visit friends and acquaintances. “I visit my parents and siblings on Eid” says Tahira Shah a bank employee. For professionals like Dr Anjum(name changed) Eid is a time which she mostly spends in hospital looking after her patients. Though she is happy that she is contributing her part being a doctor but is fearful that “it might have a negative effect on her children who mostly have to spent their Eid with their grandparents” laments Anjum.

“Apart from offering Eid salah & reciting takbir I prefer to spend the day with fly- play a game with children or watch a new movie or go for an outing & sometimes I combine all three,” says Rafi Bakkal. Haseeb ul Hasan in a saintly manner describes his Eid “Eid is a gift to a gifted person who gives up all his desires (including their life) for the sake of Allah. It is a day when we remember our passed ones”. Eid also offers an opportunity to millions of people scattered around the globe who inspite of modern means of communication are physically far away from their families, an opportunity to unite. Tanveer Hussain Khan is one such case “who is at home completely on Eid with his mother”. The empathy for the suffering humanity is too evident from the responses of many. “I get an opportunity to integrate with family and friends who are out of touch since long. It’s a time we love to eat delicious food but it should also remind us of the millions in Africa and elsewhere who spend Eid in darkness and hunger. The Eid I did wake up to change that reality would be a special Eid” says Iesha Javed. In the same vein Arshi Javid a collegiate says “Our Eids are fun but we are a bunch of hoards who want to buy the world for Eid and thus ignore its very essence and meaning. Do we ever care for orphans, for widows?”

The ongoing conflict has rendered millions dead, maimed, orphaned, widowed and destitute. The conflict takes its toll upon people. “What right have I got to be happy on Eid, when the whole Muslim Ummah especially we Muslims of Kashmir are in shambles” retorts Mushafiq Sultan Parray. S.M.Y Gilani too is of the same opinion, “On Eid don’t forget those millions of brothers & sisters & children & elders who are oppressed suppressed, victimised & persecuted all around the world by 21 st century New Wild (satanic) Order /neo colonizers, pharoahs & their puppets…”

“Eid is no joyous, eventful occasion for me because when there are soaring numbers of widows, half-widows and orphans before you how can you enjoy Eid. We used to spend joyous Eids before 1990’s” explains Mehraj ud Din Bhat. What the older folks miss in Eid is the charm, delight peace and fraternity as well as the traditional Raauf(Native Dance) and Wanwun(Singing) plus Alwida-e-Ramzan(farewell to Ramazan) by young girls. “In the present times our new generation is severing roots with its glorious cultural past” sounds a concerned Abdul Aziz of Shahr-e-Khaas.