The elegance of this place can easily enchant the mind of any individual, the white snowy mountains, golden green lush meadows, the shining springs, roaring Dal lake to exquisite Mansbal besides grazing Jehlum, the green pine and deodar forests, as a matter of fact, makes everyone to feel and sense the Ameer Khusroo’s charmed couplet for my charmed piece of land, my Kashmir Valley, “Gar firdaus, bar ruhe zamin ast hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast.” (“If there is paradise on this earth, it is here, it is here, it is here…”, Kashmir.)
The stunning Kashmir valley continues to evoke this very sentiment even today in the hearts of everyone throughout the earth. However I try to counter these facts with certain demerits, defects and grave challenges we face in this very harsh Winter season (Wande) , in fact very hard to face. As Wande, Winter season is ongoing in Kashmir, regarded as very crucial among the four seasons in Kashmir. Kashmir which is known as paradise on Earth but winter here is very critical. Just like the season of Summer here, the charm and allure went miles away from us with the onset and progression three and half months harsh Winter season, starting with the December-January’s 40 day long bitter and grating, the bone chilling, Chillai Kalan, followed by February 20 day long Chillai Khrud and 10 day Chillai bache respectively. These times are so hard as if the climate have turned its back very furious towards us. Apart from the beauty for tourists, it is all a pal and season of negative dullness and obscurity for locals. Tears roll with the pain, the people suffer in these winter season days. Similarly the cold and minus temperatures, the routine of the Season troublesome everyone weather an Adult or an Old, An
employee or a shopkeeper, A patri wala or a road worker, A Businessman or a Gardner, A parent or a Student, infact every individual tastes the hardness.
After receiving two minor snowfalls, one in ending October bring early Winter with a major cost of loss of 3 young human lives and stormed destruction to Apple and pear orchards, particularly in South Kashmir’s Shopian and Kulgam districts and second on, couple of days before the yesterday’s heavy markedly detrimental Snowfall.
First the bulletin news by the Indian meteorology department on Friday dumbstruck everyone in the valley of heavy to very heavy snowfall with the news as issued an “orange alert” with a snow storm and avalanches and predicted “intensification of wet weather” over the next 24 hours in Jammu & Kashmir. The issued prediction took a complete run over us with its implications later as, If I talk of yesterday’s snowfall at my place, my Shopian town, we received a 2 feet snow blanket that covered us, our surroundings thoroughly was as astonishing and fragile, no matter it was a feeling of bliss and cheerfulness for some but overall was the sight of misery and haplessness due to no or closed roads and link roads lead to our mohallas, closed markets with no food and medicines, closed hotels, no daily papers, closed tuitions, Everything was under a deep siege of white shade and lapse to dusk, the nights were much scary with the continuous giant sounds of snow “dad dad dad” from the angled roof rooftops to down the ground, to lament the surface further. Damaging rooftops of houses and sometimes destruction of whole houses due to heavy snowfall and snow storms is also making people fearful about winters. Wulteng Nard Kund, Kulgam a decade ago calamity is still fresh in our minds in which hundreds of people lost their lives , property worth crores was lost in the form of livestock and
other essential commodities.
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My whole day went inside my room, cornered to leave my corner with an intensely hot Kashmiri fire pot (KANGRI) to cradle the minus pyrexia outside, just on to wait for the snow to stop and weather to change and alter however deceitful I found myself by the outdoor conditions, my hours and minutes went with the low battery Facebook and YouTube snaps at times and more preferably with the Agha Shahid Ali the veiled suite; the collection of poems, fortunately brought someday ago from my college library and the “The diary of a YOUNG GIRL” received from my local, indeed precious friend, Mohammad Yamin, thanks to him. The two books turned me on as my favorite books along with the frightening fairy tales of her grandmother was a third factor roamed my day till evening. Jaanji, my uncle, besides a local shopper here, was completely out of wedlock against the snow by the wretchedness and out of bound by the problems faced by it. Historically people have adapted to the tough winter environment and these adaptations continue to remain an integral part of Kashmir with minute changes.
Among the technological woes and implications: This winter (wande) and snow(sheen) completely arrests and bars us with the race of high generation tech-world as with this fresh fall started on Thursday night and continued till late on Saturday afternoon. This continuous snowfall and poor visibility resulted in either the delay or the cancellation of 43 flights across all airlines at Srinagar international airport. Both the highways Jammu-Srinagar and Mughal Road gets blocked by heavy snowfall, and traveling on it becomes very risky due to landslides and avalanches. Both of these pass through mountainous terrains, thus these two roads are often susceptible to long traffic halts during heavy snowfall and inclement weather. Hundreds of travelers have been stranded as the highway has been closed for the past 6 days.
Furtherly, The train service between the 136-kilometer Banihal-Baramulla also had to remain under suspension due to these inclement weather conditions amid snowfall. The simultaneous absence of relevant transportation, heating and other arrangements coupled with imitation of the developed world norms and institutions makes this whole system unsustainable.
The biological implications turn very serious as we have a list of health problems triggered by the cold harsh winter weather here, in Kashmir. During this bone chill season, often the infants, Children and old age people get heavily caught. Both the age groups are often caught under deadly infections particularly that of chest infections of pneumonia and asthma and Children with Shu (itching of skin by continuous cold). Athar, my little cousin, often gets etched to this irritated Shu in his feet and ears. The old age people often find it harsh and difficult to come out of their homes for any of the medical checkups, social meetings or religious purposes. As yesterday, Army men shifted a pregnant woman on their shoulders from Ghaggar Hill village to the primary health care (PHC) Centre in Boniyar,Baramulla amid heavy snowfall, applauds to them. Students find it very difficult to go for Colleges and tuition centers as compulsory as no other alternative for them. Infact everything underwent a lapse and came to a full stop.
Employees face a lot of difficulties , particularly, the Departments like PDD, PHE, PWD, Higher education department and other Departments especially containing winter work culture. Infact everyone, from low to top, man or woman, teacher or students, Doctor or patients, old or young, infant or child, everyone tastes its terrible touch. This is our heritage and property, our fore generations have gone through it and we are also a part of and it is critically an integral part of our Art, Culture and life. Meliorate is to remain ready, vigilant with improved and proper preparations for. May Almighty bless….!!
Author is an Engineering student at SSM College of Engg and Technology, Parihaspora, besides being a member of JKIFTS. He can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org