Sweltering Summer In Kashmir

4 mins read
Dal Lake
Pic: Agencies

Mushtaq Hurra

Temperate and calm summers of Kashmir valley used to entice and allure people, coming from the torrid regions of the country and the rest of the world respectively. A summer day in Kashmir valley was believed to revitalize a maimed soul, because the weather of the valley used to be exceedingly pleasant and enjoyable. Heat wave like things had no place in our parlance. High altitude regions of the valley were thought to be the places of tranquility and peace which stands still true, but, the alarming soar in mercury has turned their environs a bit uncongenial. Locals would throng hill-stations to take a break from their busy and hectic schedule of different agricultural and other works, to enjoy some moments of leisure.

Traditionally, local people used to visit shrines of Baba Resh (RA), Ashmuqam, Makhdoom Sahab (RA), Chrari-Shareef etc to satiate their spiritual thirst. Hill-stations were cooler places. Even our plain regions would hardly record unpleasant warmth in temperatures. In his introduction to the Rajtarangini, Pandit Kalhana writes about the valley of Kashmir: ‘ It is a country where the sun shines mildly ‘. Sir Walter Lawrence states in his famous travelogue, The valley of Kashmir: ‘ Persons have linked the climate of the valley to that of Switzerland ‘. Thus, our summers were never blazing and unpleasantly warm.

But, now, our summers are scalding hot. People are seen sizzling during the sweltering days. Broiling nights hardly let us sleep. The lap of darkness has begun to give insomniac sensations to the people of the valley, because the increasing temperatures are too agitating to even induce any kind of hypnosis to us. Our changing architectural priorities have greatly added to our woes. Cement concrete slabs have turned our homes excessively sultry during summers and frigid during winters. Scorching heat halts smooth functioning of different agricultural and constructional works, because workers hardly bear the prickly heat. This summer, valleyites are battling with ultra hot temperatures. Heat wave has gripped the length and breadth of the valley. People hardly dare to venture out, except to attend emergencies and exigencies. Our summers used to be pacifying and lulling. But, now, they give us difficult times.

Though the recent spell of rains has brought some relief to the people of the valley, but, it has proven a curse in disguise for many regions including Bandipora and Kishtawar. Kishtawar suffered the most to the disaster where dozens of people are feared dead. The calamity of high magnitude has befallen the Pirpanjal region where torrential cloudbursts have buried a village under the debris. It came like a bolt from the blue when the poor villagers were in the lap of mother sleep. Messing up with nature has cost us dearly.

Extreme weather events like heat waves, frequent cloudbursts, hailstorms, floods, scanty precipitation, and high velocity winds have created havoc in the valley. Soaring temperatures are breaking decades old records. Productivity of kharif crops is declining. Apple production of the valley has drastically witnessed a decreasing trend. Some two decades earlier, three to four sprays of pesticides and fungicides were considered sufficient to safeguard our fruit species from different diseases. But, now, more than fifteen sprays hardly prevent the attacks of pests and insects which cause enormous damage the crop.

The valley was not known for such horrendous and adverse climatic phenomena. Our soothing climate and tranquil weather was believed to balm people of their bruises and maims. But, now, sweet breezes are annoyed with us. Our hill-stations have become hotter. Our waters are as deadly as Hemlock. Our dense woods have fallen prey to our petty interests. We have axed our own feet. Our coming generations will not pardon us if we don’t act judiciously. Coming people are sure to face the brunt of our callousness and indifference.

Climatic changes and deterioration of environment has sent shockwaves among the sensitive souls of the valley. People in general and environmentalists in particular are extremely worried about the qualitative and quantitative degradation of the environment. It is obviously our callousness and insensitivity which has worsened the situation. Rising pollution levels have damaged our environment drastically. Though our valley is not industrially developed, but, we still have recorded extraordinary swell in different environmental pollution levels. Last three decades have been detrimental for the environment of our valley. Pangs of global warming have bittered our sweet living patterns.

Polythene is our silent enemy. We hardly pay any heed to the relentless use of polythene. We take pride in carrying coloured carry bags of polythene in our hands. We invite the trouble for ourselves when we bring this toxin home. Our surroundings bear ugly looks with polythene scattered in large heaps. The venomous substance poses a serious threat to our environment. And the environment is the basic prerequisite of life on the planet. The scientific invention of polythene has risked the existence of life on the planet earth, because we have been indulging in the injudicious use of it. Alarming increase in the daily temperature is one the probable results of the excessive use of this menace. Deforestation continues to plunder our woods. Unabated loot of green-gold has put our future in jeopardy. Poverty, pandemic, economic slowdown, illiteracy, starvation, apprehension of nuclear holocaust may be some threatening issues before the world, but, the environmental disintegration is undoubtedly the deadliest issue which deserves to be addressed on priority basis. Very recently, incumbent President of India, Mr Ramnath Kovind termed climatic change as the most critical challenge before humanity.

Heat wave is not the only issue we are battling with. Different components of environment are depleting rapidly. Quality of air has deteriorated; fresh water resources are facing the brunt of human callousness and insensitivity. The valley may turn into a poisonous gas chamber if people don’t adhere to eco-friendly behavior. People at the helm should ensure the implementation of eco related legislations and laws.

Supersonic jets, skyscrapers, bullet trains, sophisticated machines of comfort and luxury, campaigns on the moon and the Mars may be the marvels of science, but, the environmental depletion is the ugliest blot on the faces of contemporary civilizations. Emission of greenhouse gases from automobile engines and factories has been the main factor of global warming. I wish these pollution emitting gadgets stop working for some days to let Mother Nature heal itself. COVID-19 lockdown was probably a natural operation to cleanse mother earth of its dirt and debris.

Now, the onus is on us. Angels and supernatural powers can’t restore the ecological glory of the planet. We, the custodians of the land must stand against the devastation of the planet. Climatic annihilation is a grave concern. Plundering Mother Nature for our vested interests is simply a cold comfort. Any kind of contentment and complacency can lead to catastrophic situations. Every stakeholder viz commoners and authorities must work in collaboration to conserve the planet for our progeny.

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