Nations across the globe are worried about growing debauchery, immodesty, sexual anarchy, violent behaviour and fornication among their youth, the chief cause of which is liquor, the mother of all vices and evils.
Islam forbids every form of liquor. Other religions like Hinduism and Christianity also disapprove of the consumption of liquor and other addictive drugs. All the prophets, rishis and munis have warned people to keep away from liquor and wine. Liquor is not just intoxicating but also deadly and injurious. Many ailments, particularly liver diseases, are caused by the consumption of liquor. It also destroys the health of a society. Many social evils including crimes against women are related to the consumption of liquor. Liquor-free societies reportedly witness less number of rapes and other atrocities against women. When the whole world is about to celebrate drug de-addiction day on the 26th of this month, the UT administration of Jammu and Kashmir has come up with a bizarre proposal to open dozens of new liquor shops in Kashmir valley.
Kashmir is popularly known as the abode of saints, sufis, hermits and god-fearing people. We have a refulgent past and a great legacy. A shrine, a mausoleum, a temple is a common sight in Kashmir. Our rich traditions are witness to our glorious past. This land has produced pious and virtuous souls. It is the land where things like liquor are not only alien to us but are considered to be highly obnoxious and baleful. A man with violent behaviour is often ridiculed as drunkard (sharabi) in our local jargon. Our Kashmiri Pandit brethren would consider it equally illegal, illegitimate and dirty. Those who consider meat and mutton forbidden, how can they allow the open sale of liquor on their land? This land has the patronage of Shaikhul Aalam (AR) and Lal Mouj. Sects like Sufism and Shaivism profess the same teachings and principles.
But, in a bizarre move, Jammu and Kashmir administration has identified some sixty-seven places across the length and breadth of Kashmir valley to open liquor shops. It has sent shock waves among Kashmiris. Parents, teachers, intellectuals and elders of the valley have expressed concern and apprehension. There is resentment and anger against the proposed move. Netizens have registered their strong protest on different social media platforms. People attribute it to a conspiracy to malign the social integrity and centuries-old ethos of Kashmir. It will pave way for destruction of Kashmiriyat.
Kashmiri youth have already gone astray. A good number of young men including women have fallen prey to the menace of liquor and drug abuse. Opening of new shops in the valley will prove catastrophic for us. It will give rise to new social evils in our society. Young men and women are vulnerable to its addiction. Parents have become apprehensive about the future of their children.
Disobedience of parents and elders will be on rise if liquor is made easily accessible to all. Young boys and girls are highly susceptible to this menace. It will be quite Herculean for teachers of the valley to control such students in schools, colleges and universities. Delinquent episodes will witness a surge. Values and morals will vanish and disappear. Robberies and dacoities will increase. Religious obligations and social bindings will be erased.
Open sale of liquor will certainly increase the rate of crime against women. If the people at the helm of affairs can’t do any good to us, they at least should not play with our emotions and future. On the one hand, people brag big about the protection of women, but on the other hand create an atmosphere where the chastity of women is put to stake.
Our youth is our greatest asset. They can liberate us from the chains of superstitions, backwardness and mental slavery. When they will become drunkards, how is it possible for them to lead us from the front? We will plunge deep into the ditch of ignorance if our youth are introduced to the menace of liquor at their door steps. If we have managed to safeguard and protect our social and moral fabric to some extent, then why is the administrative machinery hell bent on tarnishing and tearing this fabric completely. For God’s sake, have mercy on us! We can’t afford to see our children filling the shoes of Europeans and Americans. We are the disciples of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (AR) who didn’t hesitate to tell the truth before a dacoit because his mother had advised him to be truthful.
Liquor shops beside the shrine of Makhdoom Sahab (AR) and the temple of Shankaracharya will destroy our precious heritage. It is like an ugly blot on our collective conscience. Kashmiris are god-fearing people. The move is certainly going to hurt our religious sentiments. Kashmiri Pandits should register their protests against the government proposal because it is against the teachings of lord Shiva and the basic tenets of Hinduism. Even Sikhs of the valley should come forward for the cancellation of the proposed administrative move.
The authorities should at once revoke the order for the betterment of Kashmir and Kashmiriyat. Hope the LG administration will take cognisance of the gravity of the issue, and will cancel the proposed move. It is a hand-folded request on behalf of entire Kashmir.
The writer is a teacher and columnist. firstname.lastname@example.org