The Fall

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HEADLINE; The Fall

ON the auspicious occasion of Eid, I wish I am not judgemental and harsh.

However, on the basis of my observation, I must not hesitate in stating my version of truth. And the sad truth is – we are witnessing a moral and ethical degeneration, particularly among the people in Srinagar city.

We sense degrading moral values with absolutely no conscience, and resultantly, this has led to all kinds of deceit, arrogance, lying, bitterness, hatred and frustration.

Picture this: Despite knowing that hundreds and thousands of sheep and goat shall be sacrificed on the day of Eid-Ul-Bakr, people have been seen standing in long queues outside mutton and chicken shops just a day before Eid. I regret to say that people in the city of Srinagar seem to behave like carnivorous animals. Imagine them queuing up outside mutton and chicken shops and bakeries just a few hours before the time when hundreds and thousands of sheep and goat are sacrificed and every household receives mutton beyond their need and consumption – from relatives, neighbours and friends.

It’s fine to observe an auspicious day like Eid with great religious fervour. But it is equally important to respect the humanity, bring a smile on the faces of our children and offer hope and love to the elderly. It’s important not to be irrational, illogical and inhuman while celebrating the festival. Eid is about virtues, and a virtuous society would certainly be rational and logical. A society devoid of virtues creates a fake culture. What about those thousands in the Srinagar city itself who can hardly make ends meet? I am appalled at what kind of society we have become.

 

Broadly, as you look around, the life people live in Srinagar seems to have lost its deeper meaning. There is a clear urge, rather greed, to enjoy all the possible comforts of life; but practically, it’s a society under stress where there is a race for ostentatiousness and unnecessary spending. In the process, it’s the poor and the marginalised that actually suffer because they too feel the pressure to match up. This has led to unimaginable crimes in the society. The truth is that in the process of all this faking, there are families where parents encourage immoral practices among their children to stay in the race. The rich have every right to use their money in whatever way they like but at the same time, they have this moral responsibility not to make the lives of the ordinary miserable.

In rural Kashmir though, there is still some observance of moral conduct. People don’t behave like beasts. In many ways, the well-off rural populace takes care of their poor neighbours and acquaintances. There is still an element of compassion there. The poor and the marginalised are secretly and in certain cases, publically, taken care of. The society is simple and hence no unnecessary spending. This is why the rural people are high on the happiness index than those living in the urban centres. The poor and the marginalised feel compelled to be fake in the cities. There is so much societal pressure that these sections will do anything and everything to live up to a lifestyle, no matter how fake. People pretend to be happy and stable when they are not. They hide their limitations and handicaps just to present a certain picture.

It’s obnoxious that the very same people, after spending so much on mutton, chicken and bakery, would make a hue and cry about economic downslide, recession, black-marketing so on and so forth.

The issues branching out from this fake culture are many. Like, how can we hide that in Srinagar city alone, there are thousands of women who can’t seem to find a spouse merely because of poverty and poor economic conditions! They too pretend to be happy!

Then there are parents who are deliberately secretive about their sons who are into drugs. They won’t face the facts and do something about it. Why? Because appearances matter more.

Truth, honesty, selflessness, love, respect, patience are the characteristics of a virtuous society that add value to our lives. Unfortunately, in an era of fakeness, these virtues have been replaced by deceit, hatred, selfishness. As the saying goes – One can live without wealth, but without being virtuous, one is a devil or an animal. And we are moving towards being pathetic. We have become greedy and it has certainly made criminals out of most of us. That is why, the kind of crimes which were earlier unheard of in the Kashmir Valley, are a thing of routine here.

Then we have a special species of religious clerics who, let me say it, are best described as brainless chickens and heartless beasts. Let me share an incident. This June 26, I visited a local mosque at Jawahar Nagar to offer my afternoon prayers (Asar). While standing for the prayer, a man of around 45 years, fell unconscious and hit the ground. He was just behind the Imam. I was expecting that the Imam would try to finish the prayers quickly so that the man could be attended to. But that didn’t happen. After the culmination of the prayers, some people immediately attended to the gentleman and luckily, he was alive. But that’s not the only part of the story. I noticed a tall man with long hair and beard, wearing a turban in a very Arabic manner. When that man fell, this man didn’t even bother and was the first to leave the mosque without even enquiring about the poor man. He left as if nothing unusual had happened. My blood boiled seeing this coldness. After ascertaining that the man who had fallen unconscious, was out of danger, I hurriedly came out of the mosque to chase this apparent religious cleric who had left the mosque in such selfishness. I found him standing right outside the mosque, attending to a phone call, which apparently was from a woman. I walked up to him and asked him why he hadn’t bothered to even look towards the guy who had fallen unconscious during the prayers. Does it behove a person who gives sermons on humanity and religion in mosques to leave so selfishly, only to attend to a phone call? What will become of this land of Sufis and saints when we, its people, have abandoned the path of righteousness, sensitivity and humanity? He looked blankly at me.

And I came away with no answers.

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