An Open Letter To Kashmiri Restaurant Owners
Dear Restaurant Owners of Kashmir,
First of all I must eulogize you for all your efforts and extreme hardwork to nourish our taste buds. The quality and variety of food is on the rise day by day. It would be unfair if I not thank you for bringing into our Valley the chain of first-rate restaurants. And, at the same time the bloom of them is acting as a bread earner for so many chefs and other staff working under you.
Though I have no experience of running the restaurants or food corners, yet I concur that it’s not an easy job. With the ‘healthy’ competition around you’ve to maintain that quality and standards that’s ofcourse an uphill task.
Kudos for an endeavour to ensure that we gain access to the facilities parallel to the top eating houses beyond Banihal.
But, today I have a request. It may seem difficult, but it is all possible convenient to most of the customers. While in Saudi Arabia I encountered a very crucial attribute in the restaurants, be it a local or foreign chain.
Here we have a set up that is not only comfortable for the customers, but the restaurant staff as well. That’s the segregation of single male customers from the families and females. Can’t we have it in the restaurants back home in Kashmir? I see no pessimism in it. Do you?
The restaurant could be divided into two halves with separate entries and exits, partition in between. On one side there should be the only males and on the other side the females and families. The family part should be further divided into small beautifully constructed cabins so that it’s comfortable to sit and eat. That way it will be comfortable for the families as well as those single or married females who don’t feel secured or comfortable in the mixed lot.
We are the Muslim majority and I am sure the other communities too will appreciate the step. It has nothing to do with the ‘extremism’ that I know many of the people may blame me for that.
One major problem I encounter in the restaurants in Kashmir when I’m with my wife is the stranger males peep her making both of us uncomfortable. Same problem is encountered by most of other families or females. But, there’s no option presently to negate it.
If we look as per Islam the meeting together, mixing, and intermingling of men and women in one place, the crowding of them together, and the revealing and exposure of women to men are prohibited by the Law of Islam (Shari’ah). These acts are prohibited because they are among the causes for fitnah (temptation or trial which implies evil consequences), the arousing of desires, and the committing of indecency and wrongdoing. Hope your good selves understand what I mean.
Secondly, I want to address here the comfort level and sense of privacy. If families visit the restaurants it’s not just about food but spending some quality time together. It’s extremely irritating when others peep into your affairs.
Trust me your business too will take a new height when you introduce Islam into your business. And, when you take care of the comfort levels of your customers that shall add to your benefit.
Regarding the food corners, the ‘take-aways’ the separate counters could be opened for males and females. That would be of great benefit especially for our mothers and sisters who’ve to face all those pushes and pulls while buying the food.
I hope my request would be discussed and thought over. Our society requires constant healing and overhaul.
I understand it is not only the restaurant but other places too where we require facilities like that. But then with constant rise in the number of food houses and their customers I strictly believe it’s time to segregate and set an example.
Let somebody start it without thinking ‘why me?’ There’s no compulsion. It’s an earnest request. Wishing you guys all the best.
Dr Abdul Qayum Hamid Changal
(Author is a doctor at Al Sudairah Hospital, Badr, Al Madinah, KSA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)