A Day of Reflection

AFTER a holy month of fasting and worship, made more daunting by the long days and hot sun, Eid-ul-Fitr has come as an ultimate award for the faithful who go hungry from sunup to sundown in line with God’s command. And on this day whatever our individual circumstances, the joy is guaranteed. This is not the joy in the routine sense of the term but one which is spiritually uplifting and exhilarating. It is the one that comes from a sense of accomplishment of one’s religious obligation and the anticipation of God’s forgiveness. But while Eid is about spiritual fulfilment and the awakening, it is also about our obligation towards our society. More so, in Kashmir where we not only inherit the tragic fallout of the turmoil over the past quarter of a century but also continue to live this reality in the present. Ramzan was no different. There were killings this month too, leaving many families without their loved ones.

Eid also follows a relative period of normalcy as far as the situation on the ground. Unlike last year, we are not in the throes of the Covid-19 lockdown. The past few months have witnessed tourist and business activity pick up. This has shored up the economy somewhat. A large number of people rendered jobless have found employment again. But the economy reeling under successive lockdowns over the last three years will need normalcy to sustain for a longer period of time to get back on its feet. There is a large section of the population which is still grappling with the economic losses.

But now when Eid is upon us and God is showering His faithful with His blessings, we can hardly afford to be forgetful in our joy. Unbridled consumerism can hardly be allowed to take over in the run-up to Eid, as evidenced by a shopping binge ahead of the holiday. We cannot be bereft of the concern for the poor and the people who have suffered most over the past three decades. It is incumbent on us as a community that while we celebrate Eid we also remember them and contribute in a material way to lessen their misery.

That said, more than an occasion of joy, Eid in Kashmir is a time for reflection. And of mourning too, for the thousands who have died in recent decades. Eid is inherently also about joy and celebration but there is nothing routine about this joy. The festival is about spiritual renewal and a sense of fulfilment. It is a very solemn occasion for individual and collective reflection and remembrance. It is also about our obligation towards our society.

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