A brutalised society.

Marriages made in heaven and celebrated in Kashmir end at the burn ward!

The demon of materialism has many faces, but its ugliest face is dowry related domestic violence and victimization of women. Oppression of womenfolk in Kashmir has a long history, but brutality for satisfying the materialistic wishes and greed has added a new dimension to cruelty against women. Materialism paves the way for greed and greed begets more greed, thus a vicious cycle of nourishing greed at any cost gets into a solid shape. And women being the softest target become victim of domestic violence very easily. Beyond materialism and greed there are several other reasons that make the womenfolk susceptible to suppression and violence. Our text book definition of women is of a complete ‘ social system’ that caters to our physical and character building. But unfortunately in practice we treat her like a property of lesser importance, ignoring her role as mother, life- partner and a daughter! Prior to liberation from the clutches of autocratic rule in 1947, oppression and violence was a routine in Kashmir, so isolated incidents of violence against women would go unnoticed in the den of extreme suppression. But, unabated domestic violence against women in contemporary era of empowerment and emancipation either speaks of our sick minds or extreme urge for avariciousness. Whether I am right or wrong, but I am of the strong opinion that as individuals we got overexposed to untimely independence, since we were not ready to handle the burden of empowerment.And present state of political corruption and greed; social and cultural waywardness, we are in, is fallout of such precarious fluid situation of flawed liberty. The present scenario of domestic violence in Kashmir is so perfidious; that wedlock appears to be a key to lifelong torture and blessing of a female child a curse.

Such gloomy situation cast out of an otherwise beautiful relationship of marriage is nothing less than a disgrace for mankind and society, that too for the people claiming to be modern and empowered! Kashmiri society as a whole, on the issue of treating its women is passing through a critical phase, where its ethos, and much cherished religious values are at stake. Suicides and burning of young married women is common in Kashmir! A recent data provided by doctors at premier health care center ( SMHS Hospital) at Srinagar has reported at least four women every week with serious burn injuries getting admitted. Isn’t it alarming for a social system that boosts of its knowledge and brags a lot about its religiosity?

Some recent newspaper headlines give an idea of shameful state of our ailing society vis- à- vis domestic violence and crime against women.

Eleven severely burnt women struggle for life at SMHS.

Two more domestic violence victims succumb to burn injuries.

A simple inquiry from any common man in the valley regarding our tattered social fabric will offer a very plain but intriguing and slurring answer— Harisinghi oues Asal ( Hari Singh’s autocratic rule was better than this impractical social equality). And crime against women for dowry is one of the prominent reasons of our decaying society. Our genetic map is shaping so badly as if to produce future monsters with prominent characteristic of burning women for greed. Several sociologists classify the economically backward and socially exploited groups the most vulnerable groups for domestic violence, but the recent trends of cruelty against women speak differently and have crossed all barriers of cast, creed, colour and economic standing in the society. No Gaam, Shahar discrimination or fences work as any deterrent against the heinous act of burning women. A woman burning is a story unfolding from sprawling urban Kashmir to under- developed rural Kashmir— no barriers at all.

People of Kashmir should spare some time from relishing their half- baked freedom that has pushed them into quagmire of deceit and introspect about the plight of their women, particularly those who become fodder of our greed and violence. No religion allows humiliation of women, leave alone the burning and pushing into extreme act of suicide. Such acts expose the much cherished religiosity of our religious zealots and integrity of so- called elite. The only available alternative is this nation can pin its hope of resurrection on the younger generation. If they too fail the Kashmiri nation then only any celestial power can save our social standing or we have to be prepared for the worst.