In besieged Kashmir, carrom talks a means to pass time

In besieged Kashmir, carrom talks a means to pass time

(PTI File Photo)

As communication blockade and restrictions continue to cripple life in Kashmir, youth have found a new way to pass time: playing carrom amid prevailing uncertainty.

On the banks of famous Dal lake, a group of boys hurdled under the shade of a mighty Chinar tree, have been constantly shouting back, angle, center, queen and rebound, while four boys are artistically hitting points on the board with the striker, each on his turn.

There are even spectators giving their opinion about every move of the game. After some constant cheering and tense moments, Haider and his partner again emerged winners. Two other boys waiting for their turn replace the losing pair and vow to end the winning streak of Haider and his partner. The cycle continues from morning till evening.

Many similar groups of boys can be seen playing carom across Srinagar amid discussing repercussions of Center’s decision to scrap Article 370, which have J&K special status. However, most of these boys say they won’t resort to violence like the past.

“If you observe, there has been negligible violence in the past 25-days against Center’s decision. It is not that Kashmiris have accepted the unilateral decision, but people have realized that violence will only add to their miseries and not solve any problems,” said Moosa Bhat, a college student, as he hit striker on carom board with ferocity. 

He says deep inside their hearts Kashmiris are ‘really hurt.’ “Entire leadership has been caged and there is no one to show us direction. We will wait for an opportune time to protest against this decision, which has fully disempowered Kashmiris. However, this time the protests will be peaceful,” he said.

The elders in old city Srinagar have been seen telling young boys not to resort to any kind of violence as it could achieve nothing. “Already thousands of young men have died in Kashmir in the last 30-years. We don’t want to see more bloodshed. Though the youth are in a rage, we are trying our best to control them,” said Ghulam Hassan, a shopkeeper in Nowhatta area of old city.

The elders are encouraging young boys to play carom and other games so that their attention gets diverted. “An idle man’s brain is devil’s workshop. You could see young boys in groups playing carrom across old city and elders appreciating them. This relaxes their mind to some extent,” Hassan added.

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