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Kashmir Conflict Eclipses `Eid Spirits

Published: 17/10/2013 08:30:19 PM GMT
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SRINAGAR - Though the traditional way of celebrating `Eid Al-Adha has almost faded in the valley over the past 23 years of conflict, Kashmiri Muslims have throng local markets in Srinagar in a bid to preserve their traditions (more)

SRINAGAR - Though the traditional way of celebrating `Eid Al-Adha has almost faded in the valley over the past 23 years of conflict, Kashmiri Muslims have throng local markets in Srinagar in a bid to preserve their traditions of slaughtering Udhiyahs, buying sweets and drawing henna in `Eid days.

“I did not purchase anything special this `Eid, but I've designed my hands with special henna,” Anjum Nabi told

“My maternal uncle, who is dead now, used to design my hands on `Eid days with henna and I am continuing the same.”

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For Anjum's mother, who lost her younger brother Tawseef during turmoil, `Eid days are no longer days of celebration for her.

“I even did not celebrate any `Eid since my brother died in cross firing while on way to home in 1993,” Sakeena Bano of South Kashmir, who was accompanying her daughter, told

“On `Eid, I keep a plate full of food items prepared for my family members and recall days when we lived together.

“I always picture him in front of me,” she added.

Like Sakeena, thousands of Muslims across Kashmir no longer make shopping for `Eid, preferring to make a low profile celebration.

“We have been celebrating all the festivals in a passionate manner, but this time we prefer to rejoice low profile `Eid not because of poverty but keeping in view the sacrifices of our thousands of young brothers,” Sakeena Begum told

Remembering young Kashmiri Muslims who were lost during turmoil, Kashmiris said they prefer to celebrate a simple `Eid Al-Adha. They even decided not to buy household items like previous years.

“We used to spend thousands of rupees on `Eid for purchasing new household goods besides new clothes and painting our homes,” Sakeena said.

“But this year, no such preparations have been done just to show solidarity to the brothers who lost their lives during the last twenty three years of turmoil,” she added.

`Eid Al-Adha, or "Feast of Sacrifice”, marks the end of the Hajj season and is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations, together with `Eid Al-Fitr.

Kashmir is divided into two parts and ruled by India and Pakistan, which have fought two of their three wars since the 1947 independence over the region.

Pakistan and the UN back the right of the Kashmir people for self-determination, an option opposed by New Delhi.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence in 1947, two of them over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

No Sales

Decorating their shops ahead of `Eid, traders have noted that people were not enthusiastic about purchasing new items this `Eid.

“So far I have sold only few of the suits and flowers as this year people show cold shoulders to the `Eid purchase the actual reason is not known,” Shabir Ahmad the owner of Dupata House told

“Last year I did a good business on `Eid day, but this year the response is very low as very few people purchase new clothes,” Mohd Shafi, a cloth merchant in central Kashmir, added.

He said very few people make new dresses and most of the people prefer not to spend money on new cloths.

“My father on previous `Eid purchased new cloths for all of us. But this year, the rates of market are very high,” Ishrat Jan told

The business turnover during early nineties was very good and soon after Turmoil engulfed Kashmir.

“I used to do a good business before the inception of mayhem in Kashmir”, Mohd Ayub claims adding, “Seeing poor response this time I expect very low business as very few people spend on `Eid day.”

“Before turmoil people in Indian administered Kashmir celebrate the day as a grand function but the 23 year long turmoil has put the massive celebrations at halt because of the fact that Kashmiris are fed-up of the circumstances and prefer to spend less money keeping in view the given situation”, Mohd Tariq owner of Sweets shop told

The Udhiyah markets did not make much sales due to high prices this year.

“I purchased near about fifty animals including one camel and could sell only thirty three till today,” Mohd Qasim Khatana told

“Last year I could make profit of one lakh out of the Udhiyah business but his year it seems very difficult to even get basic amount”, He said.

People have also complained from high rates of sheep prices as compared to previous years adding that it was very difficult to get sacrificial animals on negotiable rates.

“Last year the rates of sacrificial animals were reasonable but this year rates are not only high but unaffordable too,” Abdullah Miskeen told

He said poor people could not get sacrificial animals this time and if some could get they purchase jointly.

“Thank God I had my own sheeps and need not to purchase from the Market,” Manzoor Reshi of south Kashmir told

“I have a fleet of twenty sheep and goats and have kept two sheep for the purpose of Udhiyah this year,” he added.


Away from markets and `Eid shopping, Ruhee Jan of south Kashmir thinks that `Eid means return of her father, who went missing in 1992.

“I have lost my father when I was nine and since then I am waiting for his return and the days my father will be back that day will be `Eid for me,” Ruhee told

“I have not even take meals on all the previous `Eids what to talk of purchasing new clothes”, she replied when asked about fresh new clothes.

“I remember early days in pre ninety when `Eid was celebrated with passion but now Kashmir has lost happiness, peace and prosperity,” Ali Mohd Wani said.

Mohd Shaban Bhat of Khadwani village of south Kashmir has another reason to prepare for a low profile `Eid this year as he believes in saving money and distribute the same among those who lost their parents during the turmoil.

“We have decided to save half of the money we used to spend on `Eid and distribute among the Orphans,” he said.

“It took me a complete month to find out an animal for these years Udhiyah as the rates have gone very high besides animals are short because of the reason that the Butchers keep animals indoor and later sell the same on high rates,” Shaban told

Up to 10,000 Kashmiris have gone missing since 1989, mostly after being detained by Indian security forces who have broad powers of arrest.

At least 2,000 of the disappeared people were young married males, according to the independent Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP).

Losing the traditional way of celebrating `Eid, Kashmiri Muslims were still determent on helping the poor during the blessed days.

“It is better to help those who have no means of income instead to spend on lavish things on Eid day”, Gh Hassan Beig resident of Sadiwara village of south Kashmir told

He added that people usually spend huge amounts on cloths and other things, but forget their poor neighbors.

“We must not undermine the real meaning of `Eid as what has been taught to us by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him),” Hassan told

An eight year old boy Saqib wishes to purchase books and not toys.

“I am getting about 1000 rupees as `ediya (cash). This `Eid, I will purchase books not toys,” he said.

Reproduced with permission from