How Kashmiris Are Coping With Lockdown Stress


Resurrection: Ertuğrul serial has taken Kashmir by storm.

Riyaz Ahmad Dar 

WHILE the lockdown is gradually being eased the trail of damage left behind by coronavirus on both economical and emotional front to the humankind is only growing. It has been profoundly disturbing experience for all of us. We are fighting an invisible enemy. We couldn’t envisage where it might end but it has more than anything shattered our mental peace. It has hit us hard and left us broken.

Millions have lost their livelihood.People are traumatised all over the world. We have become kind of untouchables. No matter how the world is coping up with the present situation, we Kashmiris have our own unique ways to keep ourselves going. We give vent to our frustrations either by doodling idly on the shop fronts or arguing incessantly on the social media.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have not wasted a single opportunity to squeeze and use 2G Internet to fullest possible extent. As usual, we like to show our presence and poke nose in all matters big or trivial. These days social media warriors are busy to figure out whether watching the Turkish mega serial Ertugrul is Halal or Haram. There are non stop Fatwas pouring in but that do not distract the audience. This serial has taken Kashmir by storm. People from all walks of life are glued to their screens for hours at a stretch. More than Covid- 19, they talk about Erugrul and the characters in it. They relate one another or the politicians here with the characters of this serial. They see their own story in it. Till the time we will get over from its hangover, our terminology will be overlapped with new vocabulary. Now Sangbaz are Alps, a Turgut. Kashmiri Halima is Halima Sultan and Boi (Brother) is Bey. Families are either labeled as Kai Qabila or Tawanzad Qabila. We see glimpse of Kurdogulo in every suspicious character.

We have a different logic to evaluate things. We willingly and unwittingly react to irrelevant and insignificant issues so that our presence can be felt. We have become habitual to speak anything about others without looking inwards. We are not brought up in an environment, where we can appreciate a person who rose to the ranks from scratch. The recent appointment of Zubair Iqbal as new MD of J&K Bank is a hot discussion. He is being disparaged. As an intriguing fact, the concern, that he is way too junior than the current line of senior managers is expressed by all those who don’t know the ABC of banking. This is Kashmir where every Tom, Dick and Harry is a subject expert on every issue under the sun.

One positive character we possess is that we anticipate the hardships ahead and overcome them by wit and humour. Be that MP Akber Lone or Ex MLA Sopore Abdul Rasheed Dar or any other person, we all are blessed with a unique sense of humour. We Kashmiris have a habit of either forgetting or ignoring the harsh realities or embarrassing moments.  Abdul Rasheed Dar’s punchline “Kitna Yaad Thavega Insaan” has been a punchline to avoid the confrontation and let go everything in a lighter vein. Mr. Akbar Lone might be the toughest person to deal with when it comes to politics but his humour makes him look like a man who needs empathy. His famous lines “Mere Paas Bachapun Say Ake He Biwi Hai” has been the favourite sarcastic remark among men to tease their spouses.

When the world is going through the toughest phase, the drug addicts aka ‘Shoda party’ are least bothered about the world around them. Things are turning upside down but their indulgence has not stopped. For their cravings what they call Gum Dafaye, they have not even spared the graveyards where bravest of brave fear to tread.

We are known for our compassion. All these three decades we have stood by our brethren who are less privileged. The moment video of poor man from Hawal became viral on social media, all Kashmiris rushed in to lend a helping hand. 27 lakh Rupees were credited to his account in less than 24 hours. Unfortunately luck was not by his side. Another video surfaced on social media which declared him a fraud. Now there is  lot of hue and cry with people baying for his blood. People reacted with emotions in the first place and are doing same now. While it had not yet been established whether it really was a fraud or not people heeded another call with similar generosity. This time donations poured in for helping rebuild lives in Nawa Kadal where dozens of families were rendered homeless by forces for sheltering militants.




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