celebrate Eid al Azha on Nov 17
Muslims in India have decided to celebrate Eid al Azha on November
17. The decision is taken after the moon for the month of Dhu al-Hijja
is sighted today evening. "The new moon is sighted in
Preparations for Eid-ul-Azha festival are bringing back gaiety,
fervour and vibrancy in the life of Kashmiris, who have been
scarred by the flare up of the separatist movement in the last
Markets in the Valley thronged with shoppers Monday, as people got
busy with preparations for the Muslim holy festival, to be
celebrated Wednesday. Summer capital Srinagar saw traffic moving
at snail's pace.
The festival is celebrated in honour of Abrahim, who was even
willing to sacrifice his son Ismail to please Allah. According to
Muslim belief, Allah replaced Ismail with a sheep just as Abrahim
was about to slit the throat of his son.
Animal markets were particularly crowded.
Goatherds from different parts of the state, especially from
Poonch and Rajouri districts, arrived here with their well reared
Although the state government fixed the prices of live goat and
sheep at Rs.95 and Rs.100 per kilogram, respectively, the animals
were sold at much higher rates.
"I bought two sheep for Rs.15,000 yesterday, but I am satisfied as
the animals are healthy and well reared. There's no use running
around, looking for places which sell the animals at the official
rates," said Bashir Ahmad, 54, who purchased sacrificial animals
from the Eidgah grounds here, where hundreds of animals are sold
"Nobody would be allowed to sell sacrificial animals except at
places which have been identified by the authorities," said a
senior officer of the local consumer affairs and public
But the ban was observed more in breach than in practice.
Mutton, poultry, bakery items, milk, garments, shoes and other
essentials were in high demand.
"I bought a synthetic blanket for Rs.2,000 from a shop in uptown
city, while my brother bought a similar blanket in the old city
for half the price," said Manzoor Ahmad, 45, a government
Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, who spearheaded the
five-month-long campaign in the Valley, had earlier asked the
locals to celebrate the festival in an austere manner. But the
state's crowded markets were buzzing with defiance.
For traders and shopowners, who were affected the most due to the
frequent shutdowns, this year's Eid is literally a blessing.
"I earned almost nothing for the last five months. All my savings
have been spent. Eid is one of those rare occasions when I can
make some money, so that my family also enjoys the festival," said
Fayaz Ahmad, 32, who set up a hand cart in Regency Road area of
the city. His jackets and woollen garments were selling briskly.
Many pavement sellers like him set up their carts in Lal Chowk, in
the heart of Srinagar.
Meanwhile, police and traffic officials were eager to maintain the
"If some sellers are using the pavements for selling their goods,
it is not fair to stop them. They too have the right to earn a
little during this time," said a senior police officer.
"Happiness, enthusiasm and the hustle-bustle seen here today is
definitely an Eid miracle. It is not always that one sees smiles
on the faces of the locals here," said Naseer Ahmad, a local
(F. Ahmed can
be contacted at email@example.com)
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