Why braid chopping?

What is happening in Kashmir is unfortunate?

Suraya Haidar
Srinagar, Publish Date: Oct 22 2017 11:00PM | Updated Date: Oct 22 2017 11:00PM
Why braid chopping?File Photo

Kashmir has been a land of saints. It is considered to be the safest zone for women in the world. Culturally, geographically, and taking the religious background of the valley into consideration, it signifies modesty, humility, demureness, rectitude, virtuousness, and morality of all women irrespective of caste, class, or religion. Piteously and very unfortunately, it is disheartening to see that the modesty of her women is at stake due to the rampant increase in braid-chopping incidents being witnessed daily throughout the valley and it demands a very serious concern from all the sections of Kashmiri society. The menace of braid-chopping has not only lent them in psychological trauma, but has also left them exploited, bruised, maimed, harassed, and tortured by such vicious acts. Doctors have expressed their worry by saying that braid-chopping has made women vulnerable to depression and has serious ramification on the health of the victims. A large number of depressing and saddening incidents continue to suffocate people. The death of the Abhama (Pulwama) woman comes with shame on the concerned authorities. The worst part has been the death of an elderly man (From Anantnag) killed by the brick thrown at him by a teenage boy when mistaken as a braid chopper. My heart broke into pieces and my eyes shed a flood of tears when I heard that the Nowgam pregnant woman had requested the braid choppers not to spray the substance over her for being pregnant and ill and allowed them to cut her braid clandestinely. What sort of conspiracy is this? Is it a plan of eradicating Kashmiriyat and Kashmiri brotherhood which is known all over the world? Alas! Kashmiri women are not now safe even in their homes. What else can be the severer tragedy than this? Almost all women love to grow long hair and are always particular about their hair as it is a sign of their femininity and beauty, so this serious issue is to be discussed without losing more time. The irony is that dozens of such cases are being witnessed daily and nothing is done to curb this at the authoritarian level.

In an ambience of fear, anxiety, and tumultuousness, a volley of questions come into my mind which have otherwise so far remained unanswered. Who is chopping braids? For what purpose are they doing it? Why does it seem to be impossible to catch the culprits while they cut the braids in broad daylight? What is the purpose of attacking modesty of women? What is the purpose of creating this deliberate insecurity among Kashmiri people in general and women in particular? Why has the government failed in every respect to solve this seemingly irresolvable mystery? Why? I definitely smell something fishy. “Sharam tujko magar nahi aati.” Police personnel loaded with heavy technological and mechanical aids are unable to trace a single braid chopper while they are able to find miscreants from the deepest and unknown corners within no time. The non-seriousness towards the issue from the higher authorities speaks of volumes and has purely strengthened the hands of the culprits. In various areas, people have nabbed the culprits on spot but no sooner they catch them that the men in uniform come and save the culprits. These are not the mere rumours, neither is it the euphoria of fairy tales, superstitious myths, or concocted stories. The frequency of braid-chopping incidents has resulted in panic among the common masses. 

My dear sisters and mothers, please take care of yourselves, expect nothing from anybody, surrender your honour and worries to Allah, have patience, and pray to Him. Only this attitude can soothe our tormented souls. May Allah protect us all!

 

The author is a PhD Scholar from Central University of Kashmir in the department of English.