Apprehending another summer of unrest in Kashmir, many families have preponed prospective wedding ceremonies to the ongoing season, mainly known for rains in this valley in the Himalayas. Usually in the spring months of March, April and May, Kashmir witnesses frequent rainfall, and it used to be reason that wedding season would pickup only from June and extend throughout summer till October, when winter commences. But this time, despite a prevalent wet spell and unusually cold weather conditions, wedding season has been at its peak for the past month with traditional Wazwan parties being thrown for the guests. Idrees Ahmed(name changed) says he planned to get his son tie the knot in September. But amid an uneasy situation in the Valley coupled with rumors that violence would again escalate after the ensuing month of Ramazan, he decided to pre-pone the ceremony.
“We didn’t want the wedding to be held amid humanitarian crises, the way situation was in Kashmir last summer, so we went for early celebrations this year.” Interestingly, this time around in 2016, rumor mills were rife that situation would take an ugly turn after Ramazan. And it did. On July 8, which coincided with the third day of Eid Ul Fitr, which marks completion of the fasting month, Hizbul commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and two associates were killed, triggering a cycle of violence that left over 90 killed and thousands wounded. The situation continues to be edgy since. But this time people seem to be playing safe at least to celebrate the weddings before the Muslim fasting month, when wedding ceremonies are generally avoided, while thereafter there are apprehensions of violence.
Market players dealing with wedding related activities have also felt the unusual change in their business this season. Bin Yamin Gulzar, who heads the Gulzar Hospitality Venture, a prominent name in tenting and catering, says the business has been unusually early this time. “Given the wet weather conditions, usually people would avoid festivities during this season but this time it’s a different story.” Yamin agrees that situation in Kashmir seem to be playing a game changer. “What I could infer from most of them(clients) is that the political uncertainty prompted them to prepone the celebrations. People seem to be skeptical about the political scenario post Eid so they don’t want to take risk.” Muhammad Farooq, a prominent socialite from Hyder Pora says he has been relishing back-to- back wedding feasts for the past over a fortnight. “Trust me the number of invites is so huge that I am unable to attend all Wazwan parties. Month of May was never so feasty before.” The traditional wedding markets like Zaina Kadal in old Srinagar are equally bustling with customers. Nazir Ahmed Shah a prominent trader and president of the area shopkeepers says the wedding season has surprised them. ‘It’s a surprise. But then it’s a pleasant surprise because after months of unrest we’re doing some businesses, though amid apprehensions of another unrest!”