Wednesday, August 5, 2009



Sitiing in my room, one day I was wondering what it was like living in Kashmir, what was the lifestyle of people there, how they lived in the cold valleys, what they ate, how they celebrated, how they socialised? This was when I was very small, so I asked my mother about it, she gave me detailed stories of their illustrative and glorious past. The way they enjoyed the lush green valleys, the wide playgrounds, the snow clad mountains was mesmerising. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories.I longed for living in such a place, away from the hustle of the city life. Life was peaceful there, everyone looked out for each other, festivities were celebrated with great splendour. All these were enough to generate curiosity and make me explore the topic even more. I have since then heard real funny, touchy, and sometimes exaggerated descriptions of incidents that took place in the valley of Kashmir from all my relatives, the smile on their face and the spark in their eyes are proof enough of how much they love and miss their homeland,(my homeland too).

But that is all that is eventually left in their memories. It's been a long time since the day of migration way back in 1990, I wasn't even born then. There have been many videos that I have seen of the attrocities committed on Kashmiri pandits, the merciless killings, the ruthless torture, the feeling of insecurity and emergency in one's own home, the way people were treated, living in constant fear of death, I somehow recall an incident when my mom was in Kashmir, Muslims had attacked their home and a Muslim friend of my mom's had saved them from the mob. They had to later migrate, they had no other choice, just like most of the KP families. Life since then has been very different.

Soon after migration, families migrated to Jammu, many to Delhi and other parts, life had a total turnaround, many families consisting of a lot of people were forced to live in 1 house. My family had migrated to their summer home in Delhi, the only possesion left, leaving behind their homeland. Life was tough initially as finding a decent job and earning was the first priority. But people soon picked up and got used to the lifestyle and became an integrated part of the community wherever they resided.
But meeting old pals of Kashmir and their nears and dears of the Kashmiri Biradari was always cherished which is what gave birth to the Kashmiri Organisations which gained momentum in order to protect our sacred culture. But a lot has changed from the days of the yore. Many Kashmiris today still live an isolated life, carrying the scars of the past and not willing to socialise openly. Secondly Kashmiri kids(includes me) are inferiors to our own language. My mom made an initiative to talk in Kashmiri at home but the impulse is always momentary and dies down with lack of fizz, but I somehow manage to speak to my elders now in sort of free flowing Kashmiri thanks to my mom. But if this negligent attitude continues, how will the language flourish?? How will the culture develop?? These issues seriously need to be looked after. Other than that efforts should be made to encourage Kashmiri learning. Apart from that many Kashmiris have still not completely settled and come to terms with reality. Thats a major setback. All these are issues just issues brimming the surface. But the deepest regret is that since that dreaded day we have not been able to return to our beloved valleys.

So meeting our Kashmiri folks from time to time, taking some time out for the gatherings like NAVREH*, DIWALI, HERATH*, SHIVRATRI(*-kashmiri festivals), etc should be encouraged. So that at least we don't feel alone and left out. But the turbulence right now in J&K is more than ever. Will there ever be peace? Will we ever return to our homeland?? The question still prevails!