Eid shopping fever grips Kashmiris ahead of festival

BY SHEIKH QAYOOM   |  Srinagar


Eid shopping reached a feverish pitch in Srinagar city and other towns of the Kashmir Valley on Monday as shoppers thronged markets, literally choking most of the traffic arteries in the old city.

In a land plagued by violence for over 30 years, Eid is one festival during which Kashmiris tend to forget the pain and injury inflicted on them by the unending strife.

True to this spirit, Kashmiris thronged bakeries, mutton and poultry shops, departmental stores, ready-made garment shops and shops selling mobile phones, refrigerators and freezers to buy every imaginable thing that can add to the festivities of Eid-ul-Fitr that falls on Wednesday.

Eid-ul-Fitr has a special significance for Muslims as it comes after 30 days of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Most interior and even main roads have been choked by makeshift bakery shops, pavement sellers, cart sellers and vendors of all imaginable kinds in Srinagar.

In this rapture of festivity and joy, prices seem to be nobody's priority. Mutton is being sold in Srinagar and other places at Rs 550 per kg while the officially announced rate is Rs 450 per kg.

Probably because of their inability to control mutton and poultry prices, authorities are saying the prices of these items will be revisited after the Eid festival.

What is true of butcher and poultry sellers is also true of ready-made garment stores, poultry sellers and other retail outlets.

"All that the buyers are worried about is the availability of things they want to buy, prices seem to be nobody's concern," said Muhammad Ashraf, a resident of old city Srinagar as he waited for his turn at a bakery shop.

To an onlooker it appears as if there are going to be no markets tomorrow.

Keeping in view the festive mood of people, policemen look the other way over wrong parking and other minor violations of traffic rules in the Srinagar.

Parents are literally driven by children to toy shops, shops selling video games and firecrackers.

Amid all this joy and merrymaking, Kashmiris have not forgotten the scores of orphans and widows who lost their breadwinners during the last 30 years of violence.

Credible charitable trusts have come up in Kashmir especially during the last two decades whose account books are annually audited and results are published for public scrutiny.

People lavishly contribute to these charitable trusts during occasions like this so that the joys of the Eid festival are shared with those whose misfortune has deprived them of family security and patronage.IANS