Come Muharam, tensions engulf parts of Srinagar city. The first major problem is that the state, as a matter of policy, has not been permitting the mourning processions. Usually the denial is attributed to the issues linked with the overall security of the place and the people. Prior to militancy, however, such processions were allowed. Offering basic facilities during the sacred days to the select areas apart, by and large, it has been seen during recent years that there is lot of tension. It does, sometimes, trigger small brawls in lanes and by-lanes. Though localized, last year also witnessed certain problems. This year, it passed peacefully, barring one instance of stone pelting that triggered police action. The tensions, however, exploded on streets, many days after the formal mourning was over. The issue is not what were the factors which led to the tensions and public display of anger and momentary hatred in which the curfew became only option. The issue is why does it happen and if certain section are so desperately to trigger issues like this, why the commoner gets used? Any society can have diverse faiths, feelings, priorities or ideology. Conventional wisdom is that they coexist and exhibit unity and diversity. This is a case even in theocratic places where majority is the first among equals. Kashmir is a special case. After the peaceful era became history, efforts continued at various levels to offer Kashmir in different demographic slivers. As was happening in the distant past when visitors would describe a Kashmiri on basis of the limited interactions they had with different characters in the vintage hospitality sector, a lot of scholarship has been encouraged over the years to understand Kashmir through various anthropological and demographic goggles. For most of the recent history, the only crisis that was thrust upon the general narrative was the regional disparities – a broad reference to the Jammu versus Kashmir and more recently part of the Ladakh desert versus the Kashmir. Now, Kashmir has microscopic, albeit myopic, visions of the black and white and the grey. A lot of scholarship exists on basis of geography, language, dress, faith, and even profession. Of late, there are organizations and associations, both registered and voluntary, which work on specific mandate to plead for these sections and sub-sections. It is already a crisis in the Pir Panchal valley of Poonch and Rajouri where it would be a dream to see Gujjars and Pahadis together even if the lions and lambs would enjoy the same source to quench their thirst. Compared to the peak of anarchy, Kashmir is better placed now. Pandits who fled the valley at the peak of turmoil are keen to return. Some of them are already living and operating from their ancestral residences. Regardless of who is behind the divisions and what are the targets they might be interested to achieve, Kashmir can’t afford compartmentalization of a society.



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