By: Suhail Ahmad
Winter in Kashmir, has been a tedious season for ages altogether, but with the global weather changes the impact of winter had begun to decimate. However, from last few years, the heavy snowfall and chilly winters are back, which results in a sudden crash of facilities like electricity, water supply, eatable supply, road and air connectivity as well as phone and internet connection.
Heavy snowfall and chilly winters are not a new thing to Kashmir but in yesteryears people had a good understanding of all the problems and thus had developed solutions to counter all these miseries.
With advancements in global construction practices, modern and concrete constructions are being heavily followed here also, which are not suitable for Kashmir. We all know that concrete buildings require heavy heating arrangements in winters which are nowhere possible here owing to scarcity of electricity as well as gas, while as the traditional houses had heavy and thick walls, which acted as insulators in winters thereby preventing loss of any heat generated. The floorings used to be of wood or mud, which has quality of slow heat up as well as slow heating down, while as concrete or marble floors result in instant heat loss.
The people in earlier days used to store huge quantity of dried vegetables, pulses, fish, eggs as well as reared cows and goats for milk. This made them self sufficient and all such facilities came in handy for survival during the harsh winters when outside supply would be halted for days and even months together. However the so called ‘ultra modern’ people consider it a shame to own a cow, rear poultry or try have a kitchen garden that could supply vegetable even for a few days.
Traditional hearths or the “Daan” used to be an integral part of kitchen which would be used for cooking purposes as well as keeping the kitchen warm and people had less to rely upon blowers, electric blankets, Gas heaters that are virtually defunct in absence of electricity and Gas.
The valley was bestowed with a number of fresh water streams, springs and lakes which, unfortunately have either disappeared or have been polluted severely so much so that the waters have been badly contaminated and can cause serious health issues if consumed.
We have lost more than what we have gained by being modern- isn’t it a thing to ponder over?