By Zaffar Iqbal
Srinagar, Sep 6 (IANS) Nazir Ahmad, a resident of Hawal area in Srinagar, slashed the guest list from 450 to just 100 for the marriage ceremony of his government employee son Asif Ahmad. The wedding cards were printed, but not distributed. The function was heavily cut down, and only close relatives and neighbours attended it.
“We were planning to cook 8 quintals of mutton for wedding celebrations spread over three days, but curtailed most functions and cooked just two quintals of mutton instead. Only five people accompanied the groom with the baarat,” Nazir Ahmad said.
The lockdown of Kashmir coupled with restrictions on movement and a communication gag following the abrogation of Article 370 has impacted all spheres of life in Kashmir. Days after Article 370 was scrapped, newspapers in Kashmir were flooded with wedding cancellation notifications. Some who didn’t cancel their weddings, went for low key celebrations.
Businesses directly linked with wedding ceremonies have taken a big hit. From Wazas, who cook the multi-course mutton meal called Wazwan to meat sellers, decorators, singers and disposable material traders — all are suffering huge losses.
Zubair Ahmad and his music band ‘Expressions’ are famous for their Kashmiri musical performances at weddings. Ahmad says the band, comprising eight singers and musicians, has lost Rs 15 lakh this season due to cancellation of weddings.
Ahmad had bookings for 57 wedding functions. While some people got their functions cancelled and others went for low key celebrations, avoiding singing and music.
“I was preparing for this wedding season for many months. I had bought a new sound system for Rs 5 lakh from Delhi and was really looking forward to doing good business this wedding season. It is such a big loss for me,” said Ahmad.
So a month after the abrogation of Article 370, while the entire emphasis of the administration remains on preventing violence, Kashmir’s economy has nosedived. The more the crisis prolongs in Kashmir, the more the situation may aggravate.