Community Catharsis: Frames of Faithful Kashmir

Just a Faithful Frame. KO Photo by Taha Wani.

As a photographer I strive to capture moments which don’t require captions.

By Taha Wani

CAPTURING a community-beseeching is always a special image. There’re women imploring their hearts out, old men crying like babies and young Kashmiris raising their hands for emancipation.

The faith binds the vale and its collective commemoration is always a cathartic experience for masses.

These days as faithful flock Shah-i-Jeelan’s Khanyar sanctum, the pleading picture of Kashmir is only becoming a moment of solace.

But away from the Shehre Khaas’s prominent Urs, a man sat alone meditating inside an arctic park of Dargah Hazratbal. The fall and the frozen vibes of the season hardly derailed his devotion.

An Act of Worship. KO Photo by Taha Wani.

While the old man prayed, the ambiance of Kashmir’s revered place was getting contemplative. The cleric broadcasted a soulful naat and made masses to pour their hearts out.

In the courtyard, many broke down in beseeching, while kids had a frolic outing. The tears and giggles merged and made it a meditative-cum-merry moment.

That Old Devotion. KO Photo by Taha Wani.

In the lawn, an old man arrived to offer prayers on the dusty pathway. Faith moves mountains, but in this case it created a depth of one’s devotion.

Supplicating For Survival. KO Photo by Taha Wani.

While the old man sought salvation in seclusion, a bearded man nearby had fallen on his knees. In the autumn of his life, he was seeking some spiritual sustenance to tackle the upcoming winter.

Imploring Where It Humbles Them Most. KO Photo by Taha Wani.

At the sanctum’s doorsteps, one devotee was inconsolable. His image appeared of a mortal caught in the trials of life.

Beseeching in His House. KO Photo by Taha Wani.

Many more had fallen in prostration inside the sanctified space. What looked like a regular act of worship had helplessness written all over it.

Entreating For Emancipation. KO Photo by Taha Wani.

But it was an outside outpouring that had created a big entreating ecosystem.

A mother had shown up in a quintessential kosher appearance, filing petitions in His supreme court. Her list was endless, but mostly driven by her family’s health concerns. The mother’s supplication was all about His Shifa.

Soliciting Salvation. KO Photo by Taha Wani.

Not everyone, however, was shrilling their supplications. Some silent acts of worship were making the mood even more reflective. Among those silent supplicators was an old man with an unflinching gaze at the shimmering sanctum.

Together We Can. KO Photo by Taha Wani.

Rubbing shoulders were young Kashmiris—turbaned, caped and hatted—demonstrating their devotion as a collective act. The youthful congregation quietly cried for emancipation.

Hands That Pray. KO Photo by Taha Wani.

Kashmir’s faithful gatherings mark the presence of some shattered souls who leave nothing unsaid. Their presence makes sanctum a sanatorium, where ailing sounds of others make one forget his pain. This man in frame was one of those sad souls.

In the Sea of Faith. KO Photo by Taha Wani.

But what made the entire entreating assembly quite assuring was the presence and participation of budding Kashmir. They, as Ottomans reckon, make the future faithful.

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