Tourism is a growing industry in
several national economies, thus resulting to dependency of increasing
proportion of population on the continuing viability of tourism. It is
considered as one of the most important component of the global economy and as
the only tool for development in many communities and countries. As there is
growth of tourism and intensity of the tourist activities all around the world,
increasing number of local communities are experiencing its impact. It is one
of the oldest trades in the world, besides economic benefit, people to people
contact also results in cultural exchange. Kashmir is so appealing for the
tourists as it has pilgrimage heritage, handicrafts and its much appreciated
natural beauty and tourism is considered as the back bone of Kashmir’s economy.
Each one is born without any
belief system. In the course of time through upbringing, through inculcation of
value system by the society each one matures their own belief systems and the
society clings to it. The social institution of marriage, divorce, maintenance
of human relations, all this is a part and parcel of this system. Kashmir,
which is the land of Sufi saints, propagated Sufi sect of Islam, even though
the majority was Muslim the king then was Hindu. Kashmir is the land of Shankaracharya
temple and Hazratbal too, land of Kashmiri shawls, known for its artistic work
and beautiful painintings and the lineage is still preserved. Till partition, Kashmir
was unheard of Hindu-Muslim riots or aggressive terrorist activities, but the
geo-political compulsions of Kashmir and the states surrounding it made it a
bone of contention and the conflict theory came on its own. It is not an indigenous
reaction of the Kashmiris, there the source and fuel is from POK. Pakistan
wants to take revenge of Bangladesh on India , this is crystal clear after they
failed in their attempt to create Khalistan.
The birth of the state of Jammu and Kashmir was
not a natural, it was due to political compulsions but a lot has changed in the
last 70 years in the mindset of the people than in the last 700 years. The
liberal Sufi idols have vaporized and given rise to strong Islamic traditions.
Srinagar once upon a time was full of theaters , radical Islam not only forced
the pundits of Srinagar but also shut down the cine-plazas one after the other.
The language and culture of the people which was Sufi oriented was hardened by
portraying them as victims of the system. The vast majority of Kashmiris are
yet to come to terms with India as a nation.
This is a reality which has
affected tourism in Kashmir too, the disturbed socio-political culture of Kashmiris
due to acts of terrorism have affected the tourism industry of Kashmiris in
totality with vast potential of tourism Kashmir is still unable to unearth its
optimum dimensions of tourism industry due to terrorist message across the
globe. However, the ground reality is far from what is projected. The peace
loving and the mischief monger both are aware that tourism is the key to
development of Kashmir. Terrorist are attacking security forces and government
symbols but tourist are safe.Tourist have no danger, neither in Srinagar nor remote
areas of Sonamarg, Gulmarg and Pahalgam, however same is not true for the of
security forces. Stone pelting is the order of the day for the security forces that
are seen as agents of India by the masses. Due to the huge size and
proliferation of security forces, certain excesses are inevitable in course of
their duties , even though the delinquents are punished such excesses are
projected in a bad light by the anti-nationals and the neighboring countries to
malign the image of India. One such wrong committed white washes a hundred good
deeds of the security forces.
On the other hand tourists are seen as those who bring money to Kashmir,
buy products, stay in hotels and provide employment to the transporters.
Doxey’s irritation index also known as “Irridex” can be used to
understand the local resident’s change of attitude toward tourists and
tourism development in different stages. Its different phases are the
consequence of tourism development in terms of its fluctuating social,
economic, and environmental impacts on the destination. It states four stages:-
Euphoria – When there is no significant tourist
activity in a region, residents are excited and delighted and welcome the
tourist with joy.
Apathy – However, when the number of tourist
increase the residents begin taking them for granted. Their relationship with
the tourists becomes more formal and they are not sure whether to welcome the
tourists or not.
Irritation – When number of tourists visiting
increases beyond a point and the rate of tourism is still expected to grow,
while the tourism development reaches its maximum potential this results to the
stage of irritation. This is when the hosts get worried over the increase in
prices, crime and cultural rules being broken, eventually they begin to get
annoyed by the presence of tourists.
Antagonism – At this stage the hosts become
hostile towards the tourists as they begin to blame them for wrong doings at
the particular destination and are considered to be lacking human values.
Doxey’s irritation Index explains the waning responses of
the local residents to tourism development. In Kashmir at present tourists are
treated with great respect as they seen as brand ambassadors to spread beauty
of Kashmir all over the globe which will eventually attract many more tourist,
therefore no tourist has ever been attacked by even the separatist in the
history of Kashmir.
It is only tourism in Kashmir about which people have the
unanimous opinion that it needs to be preserved and growth should be
encouraged, though it has both internal and external challenges to its tourism
sector, since the media has to a great extent presented Kashmir’s populace violent
which must have inevitably affect its tourism to some extent.
One notably impact of tourism in kashmir is that of
multi-religious experience, the engagement and interaction of tourists with
people let to a degree of irreligiousity and multi-religiosity in the
characteristic attitude of the community. Irrrligiosity meaning that the people
were lacking religious considerations while they dealt with tourism and practiced
fewer religious practices, this resulted in a secularizing impact. Multi-religiosity
in the sense that there is development of consiousness about other religions
and its followers , all this leading to religious tolerance and religious
unerstanding which was benefited by the local traditions of Sufism and Rishism.
Therefore in the functionalist view, Kashmir which existed and continued its
legacy over the period of hundreds of years remained in a cocoon because of its
inaccessibility due to the lack of means of transport and communication in the
pre-independence period. In post-independence period the conflict theory leads
because of inherent opening of Kashmir to the world and many value systems, but
the core idea of maintenance of institution in the earlier phase, has been
shifted to maintenance of tourism at all odds has sustained in the minds of all
the stake holders, the government, the political parties the people and the