Kashmir; Of pandemic and Sufferings

kashmir coronavirus

Spring in Kashmir has its own and unique charm and elegance, precisely for its unique geographic positioning and that’s what makes it to stand different from the rest of world. Spring comes breaking through the spell of chilly usually dull winter and eventually infuses a new life into everything particularly the plants/vegetation, besides the physical bearing, it psychologically resonates the signs of hope and cheerfulness in among children, young and old. With opening of this season, schools, colleges and universities are thrown open, students yet again get the chance to reunite for schooling and other co-curricular activities which generally stand adjourned during the winters. Trade and other activities get resumed more than normally, the usual hustle and bustle of markets start again, principally it marks the commencement of farmers season, tourists’ throng into Kashmir from across world to enjoy the scenic beauty of what is called paradise on earth.

Of all the seasons spring season is the most important season of Kashmir particularly it not only brings happiness but throws open the doors for numerous opportunities. Since the beginning of this year, plenty of snow and rain was on cards and it eventually happened, and therefore, this spring was supposedly going to prove to be most effective season. One would have anticipated considerable increase in the production level of grains, orchards etc. Our misfortunate had it all, that this year spring broke out with darkness banqueted not only over Kashmir but almost the entire world. The virus that emerged from China has taken whole world to the task and Kashmir too. No one and Kashmiris too were ready and/or prepared to face this pandemic, particularly in this peak business and most cherished season. The Covid-19 brought literally halt to everything, it seems as if the time and world around has frozen, in context of Kashmir it devastated the whole natural time table that people would usually follow.

In the backdrop of the developed nations where mortality rate was too high to be even tackled, Kashmir automatically stood nowhere in race of tackling this contagion. Already Kashmir with snails’ pace was pulling its legs out of that state enforced lockdown, with no virtual connectivity which still is in place, however, in a varied form, that this contagion hit us to put us again on the backfoot. The state is in total mess, people are living in the shadows of darkness in each and every aspect, the difficulties in daily lives of people are exponentially increasing. Only God is the last hope to bank on.

Health department of our state is never ready for such lethal contagions, firstly because there is dearth of knowledge in this field and secondly absence of modern technologies with 2g internet service at place. Even without that, normally our healthcare facilities are insufficient to meet slight crises that emerge. We are lacking at well-equipped instruments, highly scientific labs, ventilators etc. the doctors in Kashmir had forewarned that there is not much in stock that we can protect our people, there is even a shortage of basic equipment’s like masks, gloves, PPE kits, sanitizers etc.

The government didn’t act swiftly and wisely because when Covid-19 was spreading all over the world, the government of the day was busy enforcing laws, organizing summits and eventually passed it off without paying much heed. Despite knowing how contagious this virus can be, yet they did not restore the high-speed internet at health care centers for doctors at least, possibly they would have understood via internet the lethality of this virus, and might have geared themselves up with early preparedness. In Kashmir doctors for any sort of negligence are not to be blamed, its administration of the day only.

Besides healthcare facilities our economy too was subjected to follow the same suit. Kashmir is someway is agriculturally dependent, due to coronavirus this sector has been the worst hit, we don’t have modern techniques, infrastructure, management, technologies and tools to store our goods with which our resources would be prevented from getting deteriorated and would save our economy from sliding even deeper.

Kashmir famous for its scenic beauty attracts the tourist which is really backbone of our economic is also badly affected. Every years Kashmir’s tourism spends a lot of money on the gardens were flowers in abundance are blooming. But this year the flowers will bloom without witnessing tourists which also poses a great threat to our economy.

Our education sector is already in ruins particularly after center robbed Kashmir of its semi-autonomy, which resulted in lockdown in which students were worst hit, who couldn’t join schools for half a year.

All in all, from education to economic sector, Kashmir is the worst hit of all, only some divine help is pumping in some fuel for Kashmir to run.

I would like to conclude with requesting the government if they are really concerned to help Kashmiris on the humanitarian ground, please do and put restoration of high-speed internet on priority, so that students can continue their online classes without undue interruptions. Moreover, it will also help Kashmiris to keep trace of happenings around the world vis-à-vis coronavirus, that can also subsequently help doctors to take advantage from the foreign scientists. At last but not least, I would suggest all saner voices around to keep the politics at bay as of now and focus on containing this pandemic. Don’t use this virus as a political tool to suppress the people of Kashmir.

 Nisar Ahmad Wani  studies at Aligarh Muslim university.

[email protected].




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