‘Chilai Kalan’ goes by its own ‘Neeti aur Reeti’ in Kashmir

ZAHOOR MALIK. Dated: 1/20/2020 12:55:05 AM

SRINAGAR, Jan 19: While Kashmir has undergone a sea change politically and geographically under the “Nayee Neeti Aur Nayee Reeti (New strategy and new tradition)” of Centre, the 40-day long Chilai Kalan, considered as the harshest period of winter here, on expected lines continues to follow its own “Neeti Aur Reeti” this winter also.
Its “Neeti” seems to affect the life with severe cold and snowfall for some days and then give respite from weather related restrictions with sunny days also in between.
Unmindful of the changed scenario under which J&K is not a state now but a union territory (UT) and Ladakh not a part of J&K but a separate UT also, “Chilai Kalan” is moving ahead with its own style and is going to complete one month within a couple of days this winter When it hits, snowfall disrupts the life, air traffic and movement of vehicles on Srinagar-Jammu highway gets stopped. Supply of essentials gets hampered leading to shortage of essentials and sky-rocketing of prices. People take necessary precautions with weather related predictions.
But occasionally, the “Chilai Kalan” even surprises the master of weather predictions, Sonum Lotus, who has become a household name in Kashmir, as he sometimes misreads the surprise element in weather condition changes.
Hailing from Ladakh, Lotus is widely being followed by people here. Having done his graduation from a Jammu college before his further studies, he has now learnt usage of Urdu language to a greater extent during his interaction in electronic media. With J&K losing the status of state, J&K Constitution, Articles 370, 35A, the fate of Urdu which was the official language is also hanging in balance. The lovers of Urdu do not want this language, through which poets and other people associated with literature have ruled the hearts of crores of people irrespective of their backgrounds, to die a death here for political reasons.
“Chillai Kalan” has never bothered about the political and geographical changes in Kashmir and continued to rule the weather conditions for 40 long days starting from January 21. It has never bothered when J&K acceded to India in 1947, it did not bother when special status got affected to a great extent in 1953 and it is not bothered now because of the changes on August 5 last year. It never bothered when Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti as chief ministers were ruling the state from winter capital Jammu during their respective terms. It is not bothering now when the three leaders continue under detention here since August 5 and cannot leave for Jammu, Delhi or elsewhere which they used to do in winter, whether in power or not. These leaders surely must be getting disturbed with some reports, true or false, that some of their former party leaders, who till recently were ministers, are insisting privately for their continuous detention so that they can play politics with “Nayee Neeti aur Nayee Reeti.” However, publicly these leaders are demanding release of all political detainees.
Amid ups and downs in weather conditions during “Chillai Kalan” and partial resumption of normal activity, Kashmir is, however, yet struggling to completely come out of the communication related restrictions imposed on August 5. Yesterday, the authorities ordered the restoration of pre-paid mobile phone service, conditional 2G internet facility on post-paid mobile phones in Kupwara and Bandipora districts and conditional broadband for IT companies in Valley. Prior to that the broadband facility was restored in hospitals and banks besides some other selected sectors. These services were snapped over six months back due to communication blockade on August 5. However, it is not yet known when the broadband and mobile internet facilities, which continue to remain suspended for rest of the people and areas, will be restored.
General public has been demanding immediate restoration of such services for an end to the inconvenience they face. They hope that after the situation is back to normal now with shops and other business establishments, and government offices open, the private and public transport plying on roads, the authorities will restore the internet facilities to them as well.



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