The liqour bait

Kashmir attracts tourists for a host of reasons, liquor and cinema figure nowhere

COMMENT BY HASSAN ZAINAGIREE

Beaming joy and satisfaction on the record number of tourists who came to Kashmir this year tourism Minister Rigzin Jora stated some ten days before: 'Even the number is higher than the pre-militancy days. About six lakh Yatris who also came here did not confine themselves to paying obeisance at Amarnath cave, but most of them went to our tourist places. This has been only possible due to prevalence of peace'.
      According to governments statistics nearly five lakh tourists visited valley this year. And before Dr Farooq abdullah came up with his, what should we say, Farooqomics, the people as usual welcomed tourists and yatris with open arms and smiling face. Even during the troubled times in 2008, Valleyites did not loose their patience and accorded warm hospitality to Hindu devotees.
      Obviously it is not the open liquor shops or the big cinema halls that lure pilgrims or tourists to Kashmir. They have them at their native places. it is the devotional attachment of the Hindu pilgrims with Amarnath cave in Kashmir which gravitates them for this difficult journey and have 'darshan of shivlingham'. The mesmerizing beauty of valley, not the tantalizing flavor of whisky, drives tourists to save money and sit in the lap of nature in the captivating tourist spots in Kashmir.
       Serve them with barrels of liquor and have their 'boredom' and 'isolation' removed through big screens on the barren hillocks of Jammu or the congested towns of plains, would they turn up?
      The Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir stated, while addressing a function to mark the birth anniversary of late Sheikh Abdullah, that to 'promote tourism and generate revenue' the state should open liquor shops and cinemas in the valley. While every effort should be made to boost tourism but any action that goes against the religious and cultural sensitivities and cuts at the moral moorings of the Muslim majority state is despicable and uncalled for. If filling state coffers by any means is the demand of the state as is being advocated by Dr Farooq, then tomorrow opening the prostitute centres too would be sanctioned. At what point that hunger will stop?
      For 'amusing' and 'entertaining' tourists why should we cultivate the culture of immorality and obscenity? Why should our impressive behavior, morality, simplicity, honesty, fair-dealings and human bonding not be the spots in us to amuse and entertain them. Liquor, the Holy Quran says is the 'mother of all evils' {Umul Khba'is} from which emanate all other voices. The devastating potential drinking has in ruining the family, social and moral life of people stands acknowledged by all the religions. Even doctors, the psychologists and the social scientists warn against this menace and advise not to be the victim of this 'honey trap'.
      Already we are paying the price of moral degeneration which has seeped too deep in our social fabric. The families are loosening their grip on their wards and fear of the society, which acted as deterrence against tendency to criminal behavior, is thing of the past. With such alarming situation confronting the society, advocacy of liquor and cinema amounts to abetting in moral turpitude and degradation of society. Already our youth are involved in so many wrong doings. Let us refrain from providing them the 'conducive atmosphere' to push them further in the morass of moral degradation. Or, is it they are really aiming for?
      Before making such an illogical statement the NC president should have taken a lesson from Modi's Gujrat. Drinking has been banned in Gujarat by BJP government. They don't want to pollute the birth place of Gandhi ji, the father of Indian Nation. And here you want to allow purchase and sale of the Umul Khba'is in disregard of the fact that Kashmir is an abode of countless saints and seers, a Pir Vaer. Doesn't your action amount to disrespect towards these holy people you often pay your obeisance to when you visit their shrines?
      For revenue generation there are scores of other ways. Corruption at high level, pay offs at bigger deals, tax-evasion and NHPC's East-India type colonial mindset have to be tackled. And above all the government has to curtail its luxuries and start austerity measures. Liquor won't matter.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 15 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 15 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 16 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST




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