Srinagar, July 29: As Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of getting away, the deadly virus has thrown open the gory memory lane of 1868 pandemic when people of entire J&K spent Eid-ul-Azha (festival of sacrifices) by sitting in their homes. History has got repeated after almost passing of a century.
As per the historians, it was in 1868, when the people of Kashmir were reeling under similar circumstances due to the prevalence of pandemic, they spent Eid indoors. Since then, till date, no such calamity ever struck the Valley when people observed the festival of sacrifices by remaining confined to homes. This year, people already celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr amid pandemic—no extravaganza was seen any where and markets, restaurants remained shut.
A prominent historian from Kashmir, Zareef Ahmad Zareef while talking to KNO said that the last three generations of Kashmir have never witnessed such a situation on the eve of Muslim holy festival—Eid-ul-Azha
“People in Kashmir have witnessed pandemic twice so far—one in 1868 and another in 1918,” he said, adding that the outbreak of virus took place in the Valley during Dogra rule in October 1868 and continued for two years. “The people at that point of time celebrated four Eids, amid the pandemic. But, after 1870, the Muslims in the Valley have never witnessed such a situation on Eid eve till now,” he said.
“Zareef further stated that in 1918 during the period of Mirwaiz Muhammad Ahmadullah Sahab, at least 6.5 lakh people were residing in Kashmir, but soon after the outbreak of virus, that was called Hawa-e-Raddi, only 2.5 lakh Kashmiris remained here while the others either died or left the Valley to save their lives. In 1918, Eid was celebrated as pandemic was over when the festival arrived.
“It is for the first time in over a century that Eid is being celebrated amid the pandemic,” he said while appealing to people to follow guidelines till the situation is controlled and the vaccine is out to treat the patients getting infected. “We have nothing in our hands but can only do Tauba Istagfaar (prayers for repentance) and take precautions,” he said.
On the eve of Eid, the markets would otherwise witness hustle bustle with people coming out to buy essentials and other things including the sacrificial animals.
However, unlike previous years, no such rush of shoppers could be witnessed in the markets. Earlier, a similar situation was witnessed on Eid-ul-Fitr, celebrated two months back in Jammu and Kashmir due to the outbreak of the virus.
Dr. Javaid-ul-Aziz, Assistant Professor in history said that the epidemic was also witnessed in the Valley almost a century ago, adding that the strict instructions were also given to the people at that time to follow the guidelines to end the plague.
He said that the then rulers had also taken measures to combat the disease, adding that the travel between Kashmir and other parts of the country was also being monitored.
“On the eve of festivals, the level of celebration varied from time to time. Precautions were also taken at that time to save precious lives amid the outbreak of plague,” he said.
Pertinently, the Coronavirus outbreak took place in Jammu and Kashmir in March this year and has so far claimed over 337 lives and infected nearly 19,000 people in the Union Territory.