Less than a month after a Kashmiri girl committed suicide, athree-year-old innocent girl was raped by a human shaped monster inSumbal, that too at the time of Iftar during the month of Ramdhan. The monsterlured the child with candy, abducted and then raped her at the toilet of anearby school in the vicinity. The reaction by religious groups, media andother sections of the society was chaotic and doleful to the heinous crime. In reaction to this shocking and shameful incident, the lukewarmreaction perhaps marks a change and transition in our moral values which were thebest practices of our age old society.
On a bright Ramdhan morning, I was sitting in my living room going through my office files. My son who has returned to the valley after a long time, was sitting just besides me when out of nowhere he said that he had been proud of our clean moral and cultural record when it came to criminal acts such as rapes, but this Sumbal squalid episode had forced him to think otherwise. This sentence of his put me in a flashback mode. Having seen the larger part of the previous few decades, such crimes I can recall were never a part of our society. Our society may have had a number of problems, we may have been accused of being turncoats, collaborators, rumour-mongers, even treacherous at some point of time, but never has our society had this "criminal" tendency. Even in our local discussions outside our mosques, in coffee shops, in public transport buses we have always with a sense of pride discussed that the culture of rape prevalent in mainland India has never been imported to our state in general and the valley in particular. But what is happening around our society now at present clearly enunciates, is our moral degradation and collective downfall as a society. We have gone from bad to worse and are breaching new boundaries in our "filth accumulation".
Earlier a number of crimes have been normalised in our society asif they are a part of our routine schedule. The element of profiteering, blackmarketing, hoarding in the month of Ramdhan by shopkeepers (vegetable sellers,grocers, butchers, cloth merchants, etc) who fast for 30 days, offer everysingle Taraweeh and then on the auspicious occasion of Lailat ul-Qadre beg formercy has already received a social approval with the shopkeepers not irked bytheir conscience to stay away from such practices. Contrary to our businesssect in our land, shopkeepers outside the valley offer huge discounts duringtheir religious months, periods, festivals or occasion which gives a sense thathow they respect the philosophy and value of such occasions. Here, it is heartwrenching and painful that our business sect increase rates more than theapproved and legal fixed rates during the Festivals and occasions like Ramdhanand Eid. Similarly, the practice of corruption and bribery by other sections doesnot achieve a breakpoint at any point of time. Our behaviour with a routinestranger is abominable to say the least. We have lost our moral decency totalk, the art of conversation is missing, our arguments turn into fights andabuses and without even looking at who is standing on the other side we startshouting. Such "social degradations" unfortunately have been normalized wayback in our society and we blame the conflict or somebody else for way too longfor these problems. Blaming something of a political nature for something whichis societal in nature is tantamount to comparing apples with oranges.
The threat lurking around like a tiger in ambush waiting for his preyis "normalisation of this heinous crime now". It doesn't take long beforesomething is normalized and before it is relegated from front page news to page5 news. When something is an exception and happens in exceptionalcircumstances, it gives birth to a reaction and a strong rhetoric-sumbal casebeing the example, but when something happens repeatedly over the period oftime with one or two cases reported every single day, it just becomes a part ofyour life and you learn to live with it.
The month of Ramdhan is an entire month during which Muslims try to purify themselves, get closer to Allah, and grow in their knowledge, faith and morality. The fasting observed in Ramadan includes refraining from food, drink, bad language, and bad behaviour, hoarding, illegal profiteering and immoral acts. By fasting we become more sympathetic towards the poor and make charitable and munificent gestures towards the less fortunate or poor people. We come closer to our family, friends, and neighbours and inculcate a feeling of fraternity and brotherhood. The completion of such spiritual training is celebrated on the day of Eid ul Fitr. The question is that 'Have we really achieved such salvation' so that we could celebrate the joy and bliss of Eid.
Should we celebrate Eid and what? Thisquestion I leave to readers.