The J&K government's reported ban on the traditional winter wear, Pheran, at the offices has received backlash from social media users. Besides J&K's civil secretariat not allowing people wearing Pherans inside its premises, the J&K education department has also reportedly passed orders barring its employees from wearing the traditional cloak.
However, the directive does not seem to have gone down well with the valleyites including politicians like Omar Abdullah. Netizens have come up with #PheranLove hashtag on social media to protest the ban and uploaded their pictures wearing Pheran.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was one of the first persons to put up a Pheran picture of him and his father Farooq Abdullah.
My father & I have worn pherans to official functions many times over the years & will continue to do so, silly government orders not withstanding. #dontbanourpheran #revokepheranban. pic.twitter.com/nEsjpMd4XB
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) December 18, 2018
Soon, there were many uploads from Kashmiris living in the valley and outside professing their love for the traditional wear, which has a history dating back to 19th century. Some historians say that the Pheran has its ancestry rooted in Afghanistan and other parts of Central Asia and even the word Pheran is Persian.
The loosely fitted garment which usually falls below the knees has however undergone a massive transformation over the years. There are newbie designers in Srinagar who have worked to give a modern facelift to Pheran and they swear by the same.
Sadia Mufti, a woman entrepreneur who owns a designer store in Srinagar told International Business Times, India that Pheran is the most sought-after wear in her store, which is bought not only by the locals but even the tourists.
"It is one of the best buys in both winters and summers. That is because it is a part of our cultural identity and the new generation does not want to cut off from the cultural ties," she said. Sadia further said that the modern touch to Pheran like adding an extra dose of work or intricate designs have only increased its demand among the customers.
In fact, a very popular tea room in Srinagar, Chai Jaai, has come up with a photo campaign asking locals and non-locals to upload their pictures wearing Pherans on social media.
ChaiJaai shows the Pheran some love.
Upload a picture of yourself in your favourite Pheran, styled the way you like it best, on Instagram, facebook or twitter. Add a line of text about why you love your Pheran. Tag #chaijaai #pheranlove and #pheranlovechaijaai. pic.twitter.com/7L4g1FVyJc
— Roohi Nazki (@roohinazki) December 18, 2018
There is also a serious concern among some that the state administration led by Governor Satya Pal Malik is passing some controversial orders which fiddle with the unique identity of the state.
The earlier directives such as converting J&K Bank into a PSU, issuance of Permanent Residence Certificates were unequivocally condemned by people from all over the valley and the recent Pheran directive is seen as an attack on the unique culture of the state.