Pahalgam, a valley in itself

We need to protect this beauty from getting ravaged

Pahalgam is a place to cherish. The lush green grasslands lined with pine trees, beautiful lawns, snowcapped peaks, flowing Lidder and rustic atmosphere makes one feel exotic. Few days back after summer vacations were announced my family decided to go to Pahalgam for a week or so. I always prefer Pahalgam over all the other places. This place is close to my heart. Whenever I visit this place I always feel Jannah would be like this only. Evening walks, watching sun melting into horizons, frequent rainfalls describes the beauty of Pahalgam. As I live close to Pahalgam it becomes easy to visit that place over and over. It never bores me, not only because I love nature but because every time you visit this place it offers you something new. But every time I visit this place I return home distraught. Seeing people around you – both Kashmiris and non-Kashmiris – litter on roads, in lawns, in water bodies makes me feel pathetic. Recently when I visited Pahalgam I was shell shocked after witnessing people were defecating on the banks of Lidder River, making the fresh water undrinkable. This is a place where you have come to rejoice, to enjoy this beautiful weather and nature and you’re gifting this in return. I was heartbroken. Witnessing all this in front of my eyes was something unacceptable. I couldn’t even muster the courage to confront that hombre, to tell him about his conduct.  

Recently a video of Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma was surfacing on the internet where she was seen thrashing those chaps who pitched garbage on the road. She was reprimanding them, showing the world even celebrities care even if that care is for camera only. I fail to understand the mature the civilized ones have such unfriendly approach/behavior towards environment. Chucking litter on your own roads and streets, making them dirtier will that satisfy you? No it won’t. Then why we always act irresponsibly as this land doesn’t belong to us. As much as we love our houses, as we expect our houses to be clean and tidy we should aspire the same for our land and surroundings. In 2010 when I was a school kid, I remember a conversation with a well-known environmentalist and my relative while deliberating about nature (you can always discuss nature with him), he said this is a problem that needs to be dealt. Nature must be your first love and priority, it is because of nature you are able to breathe in and breathe out. He once rebuked my sister and his wife when she tried to litter out some garbage from the car. He has been working very hard to protect and preserve our nature be it wildlife or natural habitats. Charity always begins at home; this is what we should follow, this is what he taught me. We must protect and preserve our surroundings, our nature and ultimately our earth.   

I have an appeal a request to the administration of Pahalgam and Anantnag simultaneously to take care of your surroundings and to implement stern rules to avoid such activities in future. Impose heavy fine for littering on public places. Undoubtedly yatris or visitors are your responsibility but nature is equally the same. Don’t let anybody pollute our resorts /public places be it Pahalgam, Gulmarg or Sonamarg. These places define Kashmir’s beauty, let us work together to preserve them. 

P.S I request all the non-Kashmiri visitors and yatris to love and respect our Kashmir as much they love and respect their native places. Cleanliness is an important part of our education system; implement it while you travel to Kashmir or any other place because at the end of the day you belong to swacch bharat.