|In Drass, World's Second-Coldest Inhabited Place, Winter |
Early Times Report
Drass, Aug 25: "Aam taur par April se November tak log yahan kafi khush-mizaj rehte hain. (Usually, people here are quite cheerful between April and November)," says Shakeel Mohammed. Drass in the summer months is as pleasant as its people.
"Uske bad chehren bhi badal jaate hain aur mizaj bhi. Par is bar lagta hai sardi jaldi a gayi hai (After that, their faces change and so does the mood. But this time it feels as if winter has come early)," he said, likening the present mood in his adopted home to the slightly less agreeable temper of the town's inhabitants during its unforgiving winter.
Drass, at an altitude of about 3,300 metres, is considered the second coldest inhabited place in the world with temperatures frequently dipping to a bone-chilling minus 30° Celsius in winter.
"Overnight, their identity has been snatched away from them. Overnight, they have been made second class citizens in their own country. Of course, they will be unhappy," Shakeel says. The mood in Drass, a part of Kargil district, is sombre since August 5, following the announcement that the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be bifurcated into two Union Territories and that Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted J&K special status within India, will be read down.