Memories of blaze will haunt me for the rest of my life, says Prayer leader 

Srinagar: For Ghulam Muhammad Imam, the tragedy that stuck at the shrine of Shahi Hamdan here in Old city, has left an indelible mark on his memory as according to him he felt that the blaze would have consumed the entire shrine that has been part of Kashmir’s identity since it was built in the 14th Century.

Octogenarian Imam, whose family has been performing their duty of leading the prayers, five times a day from the last 652 years, is virtually shattered, as if a part of his being has been taken away.

“I have been leading the prayers here from last nine years, I took over soon after my uncle died, as a part of our family legacy,” said Ghulam Muhammad, adding that he does not have the connection of just nine years with the shrine, but that of centuries.

For Ghulam Muhammad Imam, the shrine has been a vital part of his daily routine, getting up for Fajr (morning) prayers, and then four more prayers throughout the day, “I cannot imagine my being without this shrine. It has been a part and parcel of myself,” he said.

While narrating his relation with the shrine, Ghulam Muhammad broke into tears and referred the incident as a divine warning to Kashmiris, who according to him have forgotten the teachings of Syed Amir-e-Kabeer (RA).

“I have never seen such an incident occurring here, and now that it has happened, it surely is a warning shot to us, to pull us back to the teachings of Amir-e-Kabeer,” he said, adding that Kashmiris have forgotten the path that was shown to us by the revered religious guides.

Terming the shrine as the centre of faith and spirituality, Ghulam Muhammad said “such an incident happening at the centre clearly tells us that we have become deviants, and need to return back where we belong to.”

“I cannot forget today’s tragic event when we nearly lost the shrine to a blaze. This incident will be part of memories and will not fade away with time,” says Ghulam Muhammad.

Notably, along with those, who are some way or the other associated with the shrine, the frequent visitors, and those who are living in the vicinity of the shrine, are equally shattered and dismayed on the occurrence of the incident. The entire area was seen mourning, with female folks coming from far off places to have a glimpse of the shrine.


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