15 Dec 2017/Friday
Wajahat Qazi in his above article published in Kashmir Readers, narrates about the silent stares he receives at the Delhi airport, as he comes out of the aircraft attired in Pheren and Karakul Hat. While visiting a market next day, he becomes so uncomfortable with these stares that he decides to remove his Kashmiri dress and puts on Western dress. He feels that people around him are taking him to be a rebellious Kashmiri and they all are influenced with Hindutva syndrome going on in the country.
Author’s assertions about the silent stares by the fellow passengers and their hesitation to say something may be logical but connecting it to something he calls ‘reideologization’ (word not found in dictionary) and ‘Rebellious Kashmiri Muslim’ in particular seems to be a bit farfetched thoughts. Thoughts of a paranoid person, besieged with self-created illusions revolving in his brain’s hemisphere.
Stares are everywhere; they could be loving, teasing, admiring, pervasive, hatred, jealousy, and as the author said out of curiosity to. But negating all other meanings and connecting it to Kashmir is certainly laughable if not condemnable. Though it deserves to be condemned in the light the effort of Mr Wazahat Qazi to disseminate the ill feelings of his brain.
There is nothing new about Karakul caps and Pherens in India with so many Hindus too wearing them in J&K. However, Karakul hats, made of aborted lamb foetuses, may draw some stares. Even if Imran Khan can be quizzed for wearing such caps in Pakistan, few stares in Delhi may not matter.
So, more than a mere Motif, Pheren is a cultural identity of Kashmir and you are certainly wrong to connect it with rebellious symbol. So that’s good for Kashmir.