Eid of ‘Refugees’  

Tasavur Mushtaq


Contrary to the routine of being busy on the eve of Eid, Shujat Hussain along with his two daughters and wife is glued to corner of his brother’s house in Ahmad Nagar. Shujat, otherwise a vivid cell phone user has kept it off this time. He doesn’t want to talk. His only activity is to go outside and smoke.

Known for being social and jolly, Shujat lost reason to smile on September 7, 2014 when floods inundated his house in Bemina. He after spending five days on the attic of his house was rescued along with his family by his brothers.

He is in shock to think about the loss as his house was just a year old. “I had put my blood and sweat in building my home with a dream that soon I will marry off my daughters, but see what happened in a blink,” laments Shujat. Besides sense of loss, he is feeling insecure to be at someone else’s place. “See the cost of living these days and I feel as if I am burden on my own brother. And for me this is Eid of refugees,” he told Kashmir Life.

Dumb struck, Mehvish and Saima, two daughters of Shujat wearing clothes of their cousin are  sitting along with their father. The family has no concept of festivity of Eid.

“What Eid you are talking about, when we have lost everything,” Mehvish told Kashmir Life. Their mother, Shugufta is inconsolable.

Like Shujat, the most disappointed section among the flood affected population is the one that was displaced due to their unsafe residential houses. “I am putting up with my relatives in Baghat. My house is totally damaged by the floods and now my family is not in a position to celebrate this Eid the way we would have celebrated it in our home,” observed Mohammad Altaf , a resident of Kursoo Rajbagh.

Senior executive of Jammu and Kashmir Bank Muhammad Latif told Kashmir Life that since his marriage in early eighties, he had never spent a night at his in-laws place, but now from last twenty five days he is putting up with them. “My self respect is killing me to be at someone else’s place for such a long time. They have their life and privacy; with my family it gets intruded.”

This is story everywhere. Since early Monday morning, the usual hustle and bustle, on the eve of Eid festivity, the Srinagar City witnessed an uneasy calm. The flood has robed people of a reason to smile and celebrate. Once abuzz, the streets gives a look of mayhem and complete disorder.

Leave Eid aside, as the major population of city affected, the people are concerned about their survival and revival. Friends and relatives —who would otherwise be distributing sweets, bursting crackers and entertaining guests to observe Eid festival are completely engrossed in clearing the muck from the shops and other business establishments.

“I along with my friends and some of my relatives are clearing the mud and rotten stocks from my shop for the last over 15 days. It is only for my horrified kids that I have kept a smile on my face otherwise we are shattered a family,” said Sajad Tantray.


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