Anantnag, April 7: Centuries old tradition of burning Mashals popularly known as ‘Zool’ and festival called the ‘Zool’ festival have been called off due to prevailing situation arising out of Covid-19 scare.
Every year the festival is being observed at the historical shrine of Hazrat Zain-din Wali (RA) here in Ashmuqam area of this south Kashmir district, but for the first time, the management of the shrine has decided not to observe the festival in wake of Covid-19 threat.
An official from the Shrine told KNT that the management Ziyarat Sharif Ashmuqam in consultation with the Muslim Wakf Board has decided not to celebrate the festival this year and same has been conveyed to general public. “The decision was taken keeping in view the safety of human beings and government advisories that thrust on maintaining social distance,” he added.
Pertinently, the Zool Festival was scheduled to be observed on Tuesday evening.
A police official told KNT that despite the decision taken by the management to call off the festival, they have received the reports that young boys of the locality can assemble at the yard of the Shrine and participate in the event of lightening. “In order to discourage such youth, massive security arrangements have been made in and around the holy shrine,” he said.
Pertinently, this festival continues to be celebrated from pre-Islamic times. There is an interesting story behind the tradition of burning Mashals every year on this day.
The legend goes that during the rule of Ashushah Badshah in Aishmuqam many centuries ago, a demon had terrified the villagers. Then one day the villagers approached the demon and requested him to eat them one by one by their turn. Demon agreed but in turn the villagers were supposed to provide him bread each day. When it was the turn of a young orphan Gujjar boy named Bumisad, supposed to get married on the same day, the things took a U-turn. The boy challenged the demon and asked him to fight with him. The fight continued for a week and one night, the villagers were overjoyed to learn that Bumisad has killed the demon and took out a Mashaal procession. Since that day the tradition is observed with fervour. It is one of the important festivals and people from across the Valley, irrespective of religion throng the shrine. (KNT)