Streets of Kashmir are the Safest

Streets of Kashmir are the Safest
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The streets of Kashmir are among the safest in the world. This assertion might sound like a confirmatory bias or nativist prejudice by a Kashmiri. But, there is both empirical and normative evidence to support the fact of safety and even security of Kashmir’s streets- despite the conflictual conditions that obtain here. Most other cities or even places of the world carry a degree of danger and insecurity, perhaps at any given point in time. The cities of metropolises might constitute a case in point here given that these cities attract an assorted set of peoples, some of whom might be unsavory. The question is: why are the streets of Kashmir safe and secure? The real reasons pertain to and accrue from the ethos of Kashmir , defined by the ingress of a religious sensibility that is both spiritual and compassionate. Both come rather naturally to the psyche of the people of Kashmir. These are the broad, general reasons- ideational, emotional and spiritual- that account for the safety of Kashmir’s streets and thereby the very low crime rate in Kashmir. Other prosaic secondary level reasons are the social capital of Kashmir, the general levels of trust here , and the fact that it is a small place where crime cannot be done under the cover of anonymity. The low levels of crime , especially violent crime, the compassionate nature of Kashmiris and its clean streets( in the sense of being safe and secure, especially for women), are indelible themes of the people of the vale , among other things, which are worth cherishing , nourishing and sustaining. This ethos of Kashmir is its “soft power” with its intrinsic and inherent appeal and which has neither been diluted not broken despite stresses and strains. But, a caveat is in order here. Kashmir’s ethos is actually in the nature of an intangible institution which has taken centuries to build and develop. (The reference here is not to Kashmiriyat which is a construct that has been appropriated for instrumental reasons but to an undefined nature and ethos of Kashmir). Given this, the people of Kashmir must do their utmost to keep its ethos, the culture that flows from it and sensibilities thereof, clean and pure. The needful can be done by constantly and consistently looking at and appreciating these aspects of Kashmiri sensibility and transferring these on to the future generations. Kashmir is beautiful – literally and figuratively. We must endeavor to keep it thus.

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