As always over the past three decades, this year’s Eid-ul-Azha follows a troubled period. The peace in Kashmir has been disrupted by the apprehensions of the Article 35A being revoked by the Supreme Court. The apex court is currently hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the legal validity of the all important constitutional provision that bars outsiders from settling in the state.
At the same time, the security situation has continued to be grim and the violence has continued. According a security estimate, 128 youth have picked up arms so far this year against 126 last year. The 90 per cent of these recruits have come from the volatile south Kashmir districts of Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag. In fact, twin districts of Shopian and Pulwama account for nearly 70 new recruits. Similiarly, scores of militants have been killed, so have been many civilians.
So, in a sense, the troubled context that hung over the two Eids last year has also attended the festivals this year. This makes our Eids a time of mourning and reflection. At the same time, Eid is inherently also about joy and celebration but there is nothing routine about this joy. The festival is about a spiritual renewal and a sense of fulfilment. In Kashmir and of course in other troubled spots of the world Eid assumes a meaning that runs even deeper. It is a very solemn occasion for individual and collective reflection and remembrance. It is also about our obligation towards our society. We not only inherit the tragic fallout of the trouble over the past three decades but also continue to live this reality in the present.
This year so far the Valley of Kashmir has been witness to an unmitigated ferment. Hundreds of protests broke out across towns and villages. Many a violent incident took place leading to loss of many lives. Sadly, our Eids are no occasions for a community level effort to help out the people who have lost their loved ones to the violence. This Eid is no different. We celebrate Eid and Allah showers us with his blessings but we are forgetful in our joy. As always we succumb to an unbridled consumerism. We betray lack of the concern for the poor and the people who have suffered most over the past three decades and in recent period.
There is thus an urgent need to reflect about our failures as a community. It is incumbent on us that while we go about celebrating Eid or any other festival, we also remember the thousands of the victims of ongoing turmoil and contribute in a material way to lessen their misery. There is no better and more sacred an occasion to do this than Eid. And that alone will be like celebrating Eid-ul-Azha in its real spirit the spirit of giving and sacrifice.
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