Herath loses uniqueness to migration; Salaam fades into oblivion


Srinagar, As Kashmiri Pandits celebrate the most revered Herath or Shivratri, several traditions associated with the festival in Kashmir have witnessed a sea change over the years with the major casualty being the element of inter-faith accommodation particularly ‘Salaam’.

Though the festival has tried to retain its uniqueness in Kashmir to some extent, elsewhere it has been devoid of such fortune.

“There are many things that make Shivratri or what we call Herath completely different in Kashmir,” recalls Kumar Wanchoo, a Pandit living in Jawaharnagar who preferred to stay put when most of KPs migrated to other places from Kashmir.

“The most profound is the tradition of Salaam that made Muslims also part of this festival,” he says.

The day of Salaam usually celebrated a day after Herath saw every Muslim neighbour and friend thronging the Pandit houses to greet and congratulate them and be part of the festivity.