Big Homes, Small Hearts

Simplicity has been the hallmark of kashmiris for centuries together. All  Kashmiris in general and villagers in particular were the embodiment of simple living. Simplicity in attire, conversation, foods, dwellings was the hallmark of kashmiris. Humility was ruling the hearts of our ancestors. The pomp and show had no place in their lives. From marriages to mournings, everything was done in the simplest possible way.

Some four or five decades ago, Kashmiris would use earthen pots for cooking and serving food. Water was stored in big earthen pails.  Non-veg cuisines were prepared on a few selective occasions like festivals, weddings etc…  Indegeneously cultivated vegetables and cereals were used throughout the year. The dresses and attires of our ancestors were simple. There were local weavers who would weave woolen blankets and other clothing for different seasons. There were no synthetic garments and clothes used then.  

Least usage of pesticides, insecticides, weedecides and chemical fertilizers was made in the cultivation  of crops and vegetables. Houses were raw with thatched roofs.  Walls were plastered with mud. There were no LPG or kerosene stoves then. No electric heaters were used. People were modest. Garments and clothes used by people were very simple. Literacy rate was very low. There was no mushroom growth of educational institutions like we have today. Eatables and other necessary things were lent to neighbors. Poor and needy were taken care of. Minds were clean,  and hearts were pure. Everyone would down the gaze when encountered with elders and strangers.

Herbs and spices were used for medication. Allopathic drugs were rare. People were happy and content with what they had. Eating habits of people were in accordance with the laws of nature and ethics of medical science. Early to bed and early to rise was the maxim of healthy life.There were no gadgets like televisions and smart phones to rob us of our sleep and peace of mind.  Undoubtedly, there were no beautiful and comfortable beddings available then but people were able to have a sound sleep even on bare floors. No sedatives and pills were used to induce sleep. Love and sympathy was flowing from hearts which would keep people healthy. Milk was pure, not adulterated. There was no lust of wealth and money so the surplus grains,  vegetables, milk etc  were distributed among relatives and neighbors.

The word pollution was alien to our fathers and forefathers. Water, air, soil were as pure as the nature had made them. No filtration systems of water and automated water purifiers  were required because our illiterate ancestors would never resort to activities which would lead to any kind of pollution. So, the people were least seen visiting hospitals and doctors.

Now, we have developed and advanced a lot. Houses have become concrete and multi-storeyed. Carpets have replaced Waguv and Patej (Grass mats). Steel, copper, aluminum and plastic has forced out the humble but healthy earthen kitchenware out of our kitchens. Jeans and other fashionable garments  have added to our  beauty but made us naked.Thus, modesty has been outraged. 

We have turned voracious meat eaters and deprived our bodies of greens which grow in abundance across Kashmir. Excessive lipid in our diet has blindfolded our eyes to the extent that we are not able to differentiate between good and evil. Soft mattresses and costly pillows have entered into our bedrooms but the sleep has flown away. 

The advent of smartphones has not bridged our distances rather has increased the distances. Our fathers and forefathers used to visit their relatives to invite them but we prefer to send invites via telephonic, email or through Whatsapp. Now, we no more attend our relatives’ homes in case there is a celebration or mourning . We consider it enough to make a phone call. These gadgets have thinned the relationships to the extent that a louder hello from mobile phone is enough to break them forever.

Where are we? What has happened to us? This stupefying hangover has taken us to the world of blinds where we have lost the vision to see the axe on our own feet. Our houses are big but our hearts have become too small to accommodate a homeless for a night. We have degrees to our credit but we are bereft of values and virtues. We decorate Mosques and Temples but attend them rarely. We beat the trumpet of religion but are far away from God. We have become wealthier but we hardly lend a penny to needy neighbor.  We have beautiful clothes but appear naked and vulgar. We travel far and wide through fast moving jets and vehicles but forget to visit our ailing next door neighbor.

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