By Sheikh Qayoom
Srinagar: Markets in Srinagar and other towns in the Kashmir Valley wore a festive look on Friday as Eid shopping reached a high pitch with bakers, sacrificial animal sellers and hosiery shops doing brisk business.
Makeshift bakery shops, pavement vendors and hawkers carting their goods have choked all the major roads in Srinagar as traffic policemen threw up their hands surrendering to the merriment of buyers and sellers.
Prices were nobody’s bother and it looked as if the various regulatory authorities had decided not to play spoilsport while Eid shoppers emptied their purses to the demands of the shopkeepers.
Officials of the consumer affairs and public distribution department, however, asserted that market checking squads were out to control prices, but because of staff shortages they were not very conspicuous.
Sacrificial animal markets have come up at every imaginable space in the city wherever a herd of sheep and goats can be parked.
The traditional Eidgah grounds in the old city area where the Valley’s biggest sacrificial animal market used to come up on Friday looked like just another place where sheep and goats could be bought.
Prices of sacrificial sheep and goats depended on the wishes of the sellers and the paying capacity of the buyers.
A well-fed sheep with curved horns was declined by one buyer at Rs 17,000. Within minutes, another eager buyer paid Rs 18,000 for the same animal.
Children mostly bought toys and firecrackers. They also showed their newfound interest in mobile phones and electronic goods.
“My son Fouzan wants an electronic toy called the spinner. Its cost varies between Rs 500 and Rs 10,000. It is now his choice which one he chooses. I have decided to curtail other expenses to fulfil his desire,” said Zahoor Ahmad, a government official.
While men were busy buying sacrificial animals, bakery, poultry and other edibles for the festival, women mostly engaged in buying hosiery items.
The busiest market as usual was the city centre Lal Chowk and the Residency Road area in uptown Srinagar. While shops were thronged by buyers, pavement sellers had taken over all the pedestrian malls and even encroached on the roads.
Traffic jams were seen on Thursday evening and Friday in busy markets in Srinagar.
Sacrificial animals are mostly not weighed on a balance. More than the weight of the animal, it is generally the appearance which fetches a good buyer.
Muslims offer animal sacrifice on Eid-ul-Azha to commemorate the tradition created by Prophet Abrahim who decided to sacrifice his son Ismail on Allah’s command. Seconds before the father’s knife would silt the son’s throat, Allah ordered a sheep to replace Ismail.
There was jubilation in Abrahim’s family as Allah had accepted the sacrifice and also saved Ismail. The joy of that occasion is celebrated by devout Muslims as Eid-ul-Azha.
Eid prayers would be offered throughout the Valley on Saturday morning. Authorities have said no Eid prayers would be allowed on Saturday at the Tourist Reception Centre grounds here.