Ramzan Mandate

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Long days and soaring mercury make the Ramzan, the Muslim month of fasting, a really challenging duty for the faithful. Dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, intense tiredness, dry mouths and dehydration is not so uncommon these days.

But there are places where days are much longer and hotter. Even in the plains of the subcontinent, the days are much hotter than Kashmir. In Alaska’s northernmost cities of Barrow and Deadhorse, reports appearing in the Middle East media said, there are only about six hours between sunset and sunrise. It is more challenging in areas where sun is up for more than 19 to 20 hours.

 Regardless of the time a faithful stays hungry for the sake of God, hoping for the purity of the soul. In Kashmir while the healthy devout offer fast for most of the month, crowd the mosques, is it possible that they tackle certain basic issues that would help trigger a much large change at the societal level.

Come Ramzan, the markets witness a little slowdown. It is the food that sees a huge appetite in the market because people tend to have tasty dishes at Iftaar (breakfast at evening) and the Sehri (pre-dawn lunch). One good thing that has been happening for the last few years that Kashmir is taking the best of the fruit that is fundamentally anti-carcinogenic – the peaches, apricots, and pears. Tomato is key ingredient in most of the dishes. But how can anybody explain the spiraling of prices. Even gourd seems to be out of a commoner’s budget as it sells upward of Rs 60, a piece! Who is doing this?

 As the month approaches its last days and markets get tizzy over the Eid euphoria, almost everything becomes available at fancy rates. If a society relegates its entire monitoring process totally to the government, where does the faith function in action?

 There is no doubt that the people across Kashmir have been contributing enormously to the cause of destitute and the under-privileged. In the last more than two decades, Kashmir society has helped create a series of institutions to help the needy, sick and the destitute – the population of which had increased enormously because of the situational factors. This year, while the society would be repeating the practice and donating in millions to these institutions, is it not possible that we start asking the questions, somewhat uncomfortable, to the donation raising brigades about where does this charity go. This is important because there are a number of racketeers taking this money home. And there could be many others like the sex maniac Gulzar Pir of Budgam who might be out in the market.

 Helping the soul at the individual level is all right. But if devout start slightly taking the society seriously, the month of Ramzan can trigger a better change for the larger good. Do not purchase from vendors who sell it exorbitant costs. Do not alter the prices upward and package them Ramzan sale. Start asking donation raisers who they are.

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