here was a time when the Kashmiris were engrossed in subtle arts, did fairly well in a wrestling ring, were in the frontline during wars, achieved great scholarly feats, swam rivers and lakes for greater durations, could speak and understand many languages, opened their shops at the break of the dawn and worked for many hours without getting bored or tired. And most importantly Kashmiris of yore spoke only when it was necessary, looked at criticism as a weapon of last resort and hated gossiping. Now, our shop fronts represent our hopeless secretariats where people wail their status quo, criticize US policy and debate Covid situation. The 2008, 2010 and 2016 agitations are ripped apart. Dirty linen is washed in public and many family skeletons are de-robed. Most often it is not unusual to overhear whose daughter-in-law is carrying an extra-marital affair, whose daughter eloped with whom and how medieval Islamic scholars helped science more than Galileo and Newton-all in one idle gossip at a baker’s shop. Sheikh Abdullah, SAS, General GD Bakshi, Rakhi Sawant, Mallika Sherawat, Ravish Kumar, Arnab Goswami are all discussed, debated and thought over. Till the baker fishes out bread from the oven many resolutions are revoked, wars are declared, kings are assassinated, and sidekicks lionized.
These undisguised commoners forget their own plight, their own tedious shifts, their own misery, the beatings they got just a week ago, the everyday-stuff, the yesterday-stuff and their own misfortunes. They take special pride in talking down big men, or elevating men of small rank. They discuss wars, literary achievements, scientific discoveries, extraterrestrial life-all in one breath.
The idle gossip has been frowned upon in all religions of the world. A man is strictly forbidden to discuss something that is no benefit to either him or humanity at large. Kashmiris need a serious personality development dose. One can understand that we Kashmiris have developed this defense mechanism of lies, hypocrisy and idle gossip. We have to understand our progress is halted by idle gossip. We have to avoid it at all costs. We have to inculcate hobbies like photography, swimming, horse riding, trekking, painting, wood carving, reading and writing to overcome the menace of idle gossip.