SHOPIAN: After a deluge of media coverage both locally and internationally, the Walls of Kindness which appeared in different parts of Kashmir in the month of December have closed within a fortnight. Claimed initially to be an effort at ‘helping needy people’, the walls have left the needy behind, that too in the harshest part of winter with temperatures more chilling and snows much heavier than they were before.
Many such walls, especially those that appeared in southern Kashmir’s Islamabad district, were merely a publicity stunt where hoardings were hung from walls showing advertisements of schools and other private institutions but were intended only to gain the advertisers name and fame and later disappear.
Arshid Aziz, a university scholar of English literature, said that if the intentions of those who started the Wall of Kindness were true, then these walls would have been available now, especially after the recent snow when people were truly in need of help. “It was all hype to get a name they were thirsty for; the walls which disappeared within 14 days were nothing but a publicity stunt,” he said.
The first such wall in Kashmir appeared on Bund in Srinagar’s Zero Bridge area and got wide public appreciation. People in other areas also come up with such walls; at some places, ironically, the people who raised them also put the advertisements of their business establishments on them. The trend was picked up in North Kashmir as well but by now it has disappeared there too. The reasons for both its start and its end are unknown.
Shafat Hussain Mir, a senior journalist from South Kashmir, said that it was a futile exercise and without a true intention.
“A needy and poor person would often be an illiterate as well; how would he read the English written on the walls: Take if you need and leave if you have?” he questioned while reiterating that it was a promotion stunt and that since that day, nobody has ever come to put even a piece of cloth on those walls.
Mocking the Wall of Kindness, another youth, Suhail Ahmad, said that “They did a tremendous job, they fulfilled the needs of all poor and needy people within only a few days, I am stunned, were they angels or what?” Suhail added that we in Kashmir have a habit that once we see an extraordinary thing, we start praising everything about it but we often forget the most important things within days which, according to him, is our collective concern and a big failure as well.
Many people whom Kashmir Reader talked to said that people are ready even now to help with such an effort, but there always comes a defect in those who act as leaders and disappear after their personal gains.
“Aren’t there hundreds of people blinded and maimed in violence incidents; who goes and helps them? There are hundreds of girls whom society is too ashamed to even consider since they have no means to get married,” said Javid Ahmad, another college student.
Neither the Iranian nor the American concept can change the miseries of poor and needy people, but a truly responsible society, where every human being will be treated equally, can help such things to change.