Govt tries hard to break the winter lull | india | Hindustan Times
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Govt tries hard to break the winter lull

india Updated: Jan 09, 2014 18:13 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Come winters, and the state government faces a daunting task of breaking the lull that takes over people in the Valley and paralyses normal life in its wake.

"We do face the challenge of immobilisation of people because of the winter chill. There is a strange notion in Kashmir that snowfall means to stay indoors. Life comes to a standstill," state tourism minister Ghulam Ahmad Mir told the Hindustan Times.

The tourism ministry is working on a slew of initiatives to engineer people socially to a more active lifestyle during winters.

"We need to learn from the Europeans that despite heavy snowfalls, life moves at the same pace," said Mir.

The government boasts of achieving its first major success last Saturday, when for the first time in the last 24 years, more than 2,000 people came out in chilling weather to watch a three-hour long cultural show and stand-up comedy at Kashmir University's auditorium.

It was a rare scene to see visitors - mostly families, children and youth - coming for the show in a place where there are hardly any other sources of entertainment like the cinema halls.

The show, 'Jashn-e-Chillai Kalan' (celebrations of the harshest 40-day spell of winter called 'Chillai Kalan' in local parlance), was organised by four young artists- Rayees Mohi-ud-Din, Shehla Arif, Abrar Ali and Sibet Qureshi, all in their twenties.

"Our sole aim to organise the cultural show at the peak of the harshest winter spell was to break the lull that takes over people. It also provided a chance to take pride in our culture and values," said Qureshi, one of the organisers.

Buoyed by the success of the cultural show, tourism minister Mir said, "We have several other initiatives in the offing. It was good to see so many people attending the show. Things are moving and are not entirely frozen."

As of now, the government is focussing on the youths. "We are organising adventure sports camps like skiing and snow-boarding for students of schools and colleges. We are hopeful this will change the mindset," said tourism director Talat Pervez.

More than a hundred students have already registered for skiing courses this year. More enrolments are being made through the Kashmir University.

But experts have different perceptions on the reasons behind the apparent lull in people's minds.

"The collapse of infrastructure like roadways, electricity etc forces people to stay indoors. The recent snowfall paralysed life because it took the authorities a number of days to clear the roads, restore electricity and ensure safety," said Naseer Ahmad, a well-known columnist and writer of the first graphic novel 'Kashmir Pending'.