All is not well in our society. Political uncertainty apart, socially and morally too we are in a state of serious crisis. We have bitterly failed to evolve as a considerate society. There could be exemplary individual instances here and there but as a collective lot, we lack the basic moral character that explains a compassionate and responsible people. That has been evident every moment we faced such test. On August 5, we were put again to such a test when government of India abrogated Article 370 and 35-A of the constitution and fragmented the state into two union territories. Jammu and Kashmir was put in a sort of political emergency crippling the normal life, and caging people into their homes. Information blockade apart, all kinds of business and economic activities came to a halt worsening the financial condition of the people badly. The labour class and small sector businessmen, mostly retail shopkeepers and street vendors who depended on middle classs customers, got affected the most. It goes without saying that majority of population in cities and town belongs to this class of people. In rural areas, agriculture and horticulture activities also suffered severely during this period. Almost the entire population in rural areas which form the 80 percent of the overall population is associated with agriculture and horticulture. It is not difficult to guess about the problems common people have been facing in the given situation. The purchasing power of common people, in absence of a stable economic activity has touched a new low. It does need to be an astronomer to understand the hardships and problems people have been facing. The daily earnings of common people were so much affected that they could not afford even school fee of their children. They took it as a God’s favour that schools were shut, and school authorities were not found calling them for paying the tuition fee.
With the winter raising its head with all harshness, the peoples’ problems have only but increased to a common fright. Warm clothing and warm housing are two primary requirements in the winter which, both poor and rich, need equally. This is an additional constraint in winters and entails a huge spending. With people’s purchasing and spending power already down, it is yet added cumbersome load on an ordinary man. This situation demanded mutual cooperation, empathy and compassion. But it is sad to note that an influential section in the society are exploiting the present abnormal conditions by resorting to hording and black-marketing, selling merchandize of daily use on arbitrary prices without caring about the sufferings of the people. Almost all the goods of daily use are sold on whopping prices without any fear of law or feeling of compassion. The prices of vegetables and other eatable items are charged manifold. Mutton which is the most sought after item in extreme cold, is sold at arbitrary prices. Administration recently announced a rate for this commodity but that is too far from reality and hence dismissed with contempt both by mutton sellers and the customer. Same is true with sections associated with trade of other daily use commodities. The auto-rickshaw drivers are charging randomly. The general compassion which one would have expected in times of crisis is altogether missing all over the valley. The valley people have a history of helping each other through Mohalla committees in the situation of crises which one saw in early 90s as also during mass movements in 2008, 2010 and 2016. People used to donate these committees in cash and kind quite generously, which would be given to needy people free of cost. But this practice is quite missing now. Helping the poor is not merely a moral duty it is also a serious religious obligation as well. Let us all unite again and feel and fulfil this obligation.