Every winter, for the last three consecutive years, the Kashmir Life newsroom was gung-ho every time the snowflakes would create the visual maze from our second-storey window. Winter, the reporters would say, is just not a challenge alone. It is an opportunity, a clear commerce and a distinct shift in the lifestyle that poets have sung about, and writers have imagined around. Even the ruthless Zulchu who devastated Hindu Kashmir fled with slaves and the spoils only to be annihilated by the snow on Pir Panchal. Over the centuries, the Kashmir winters have been no romanticized by the folklore that it has emerged a Frankenstein for outsiders.
Every time, a decision was taken to dedicate a full-fledged publication to this season, the heat and dust in politics would force a priority reversal. This year, finally, a quick decision-making, a super-fast implementation has led to this publication. We ensured that we should reach you days ahead of Chila-ie-Kalan.
Over the centuries, Kashmir has talked within the realms of popular narratives. It has been happening on all the fronts from politics to economics and to ecology. There are more instances of approaching issues holistically, giving space to the other side of the narrative. Winter, unfortunately, has also been a victim of this process, encouraged by the bourgeoisie, who traditionally had twin residences akin to the rulers’ durbar. Earlier it was Rawalpindi, now it is Jammu or Delhi, a luxury the proletariat could neither think of, nor can ever avail.
The larger fact at the core of our weather is that Kashmir may never be what it is in summers, if it does not undergo the winter chill. And then, Kashmir is not the only place on earth that gets snow. Snow is a huge wealth. Go and ask the skiers at Gulmarg and they will tell you why Kashmir is better than Alps. But that is a different debate.
The idea of this issue is to revisit the priorities, economies and the activities for the larger population during winters. Explore how modernity has impacted the system Kashmir had evolved over the centuries. Identify the opportunities and lament over the loss of the inheritance. At the core of it was to tell the story of struggle, change, and innovation that would help icicles walk an extra-mile. The aim was to tell the enormity of the resources that goes into winter-management and the opportunities that it has created.
Kashmir Life has a strong and huge newsroom. Everyone in the Team KL put in the best of possible. It created sort of a mess at desk that had to chop half of what was produced for paucity of space.
The product is in your hands. We leave the judgment to our judges, the readers. And we will wait for your verdict.