In Cleansing The Pulpit, Mirwaiz Forgets Tradition: Haseeb Drabu says

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Srinagar

Following the ‘desecration’ of historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, a rally led by separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and other Hurriyat leaders cleansed the pulpit of the Masjid as the ‘hooligans’ some days back had desecrated the pulpit with their ‘boots’.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq cleansing Pulpit of historic Jamia Masjid Srinagar, Pic: Twitter

As a part of the tradition, usually the sacred places like Mosques and Shrines in Kashmir are being cleansed with the rose water ‘Gulab Arq’, and the water is being sprinkled from a traditional silver bowl “Gulab Pasha”, a dispenser usually made of silver and alloy.

During the cleansing drive, the Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz was seen holding a spray bottle probably a “Colin spray” which is domestically being used to clean the household items.

However, reacting to the episode, the former finance minister and economist Dr Haseeb A Drabu took to his twitter handle and slammed the pro-freedom leader of using the ordinary spray bottle instead of the traditional Gulab Pasha as a dispenser to clean the Pulpit.

Dr Drabu tweeted: “I understand the symbolism of the act but the least that could be done was to cleanse it with “gulab arq” (rose water) after sanctifying it with “kalimat” & “daroods”. That would have been culturally appropriate. Not this: cleaning with “Colin spray”!@MirwaizKashmir can do better.”

Dr Drabu concluded the tweet with praising the speciality of the traditionally used dispenser and wrote: “Gulab arq is normally and traditionally sprinkled from a “gulab pasha”: a dispenser usually of silver but also could be of metal and glass. This is what it looks like…”

Earlier, on December 28, 2018, after the culmination of Friday prayers, a group of masked youth stormed into the mosque with their boots on and created ruckus there. The youth waved ISIS flags and raised pro-ISIS slogans at the pulpit of the mosque, triggering condemnations from the politicians and the civil society.

The only joint party of the separatists, Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) condemned the incident of desecration of the pulpit and said that these ‘mischievous actions’ cannot be tolerated and people should be cautious and conscious about such disrespectful events.

Hurriyat (m) had earlier asked the general public including civilian societies to jointly raise their voice against this act of attempted desecration and convey a message that nobody will be allowed to tamper with the centrality of Jamia Masjid and what it stands for.

However, the desecration as not only condemned by the pro-freedom leaders, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti condemned the act and conveyed her outrage to Mirwaiz.

“Appearance of a few youths with IS flag in Jama Masjid Srinagar is a desecration of the most important institution of Kashmir’s religious, social life. Called @MirwaizKashmir, Umar sahheb to convey my outrage,” Mehbooba wrote on Twitter.

“Jamia Masjid & it’s pulpit are most imp landmarks of our religious, cultural moorings. Can’t allow barbaric forces to defile it in the name of Islam,” she wrote on another twitter.

In reaction to this, Mirwaiz said: Jamia was locked for three months in 2016, in 2017 for the first time even Juma tul Vida congregation during Ramadan was not allowed and in 2018, for 16 Friday’s prayers were barred in the mosque.

He said if Mehbooba Mufti during her tenure as CM had the same feelings towards Jamia Masjid which she calls “the landmark and most important religious and social institution of Kashmir “at whose desecration she is “outraged” today,  and  had showed the courage to stand up for the religious rights of the Muslims of valley instead of presiding over the bans and bars on Jamia Masjid then her “outrage “would at least have been sincere.

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