Ramadan Begins In Kashmir

30 June 2014
Kashmir Despatch

Srinagar: People went to mosques in larger numbers than usual here as the first day of the holy month of Ramadan started Monday. Some of the shops and other businesses opened late in the city Monday morning as locals slept late after the morning prayers. During the 30-day period of fasting, Muslims eat fruits, especially when breaking the day's fast at dusk. 'One has to eat fruits to address dehydration and to keep fit during the month of Ramadan. You cannot usually take much of mutton and chicken as high calorie diets have a tendency to increase thirst,' said Muhammad Yunus Dar, 38, a resident of Soura locality in Srinagar. He said many sellers take advantage of this and charge high rates for fruits. The better quality dates are sold at Rs.400 per kg, pomegranates at Rs.200 a kg, and better quality grapes for Rs.480 per kg and so too other fruits. The most sought after dry fruit during this month are dates. Breaking the day's fast with a date is believed to be 'Sunna' (practice of the Prophet). The younger generations of Kashmiris also join their elders and keep fast and go to mosques for prayers. 'This is partly because education has helped the youth learn and understand their religion better...,' said Muzaffar Ahmad, a college principal here. The month is spent in prayer and penance to cleanse one's body and soul. 'It is only through the feeling of hunger and want that one understands what hunger and poverty is all about. Islam has ordained 'Roza' (fasting) so that all of us understand the hardships faced by those who are less privileged among us,' said Javaid Ahmad, 42, who lives in Lal Bazaar area of Srinagar. Locals also give alms and contribute to charity during this month. With an economically affluent middle class, Kashmiris now contribute in a major way. Some of the better managed orphanages get significant donations from the locals.