In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

KASHMIRI BROTHERHOOD: A UNIQUE UNCOMPROMISING EXAMPLE

By r. Tasaduk Hussain Itoo

Undeniable fact is that unity in diversity of religions, castes, socio-economic classes is balancing and sharing divinity on one plate. To help develop a better society, we surely need to create an atmosphere of religious and social bonding between the communities and a good work culture.
Every time I meet a Kashmiri Pandit, I feel delighted to hear the unforgettable memories they used to have with Kashmiri Muslims before migration. The response is full of saddened sage and a joyous past. A Kashmiri; whether a Muslim, a Hindu or a Sikh – every face denotes a unique charm, the way a Kashmiri is known throughout the world. Many families are still living in communal brotherhood they used to live since long. To be more precise in the article, I would like to share some experiences that I had with non-Muslims of Kashmir.
Coming to the point, some time back I was in Jammu city, randomly I met a Kashmiri Pandit at some stationary shop in Kachi Chawni. While I was having some discussions with shopkeeper I could see an expression of ‘grief filled with love’ on the face of Kashmiri Pandit who was sitting on a chair on my side. Suddenly, he asked me that whether I am a Kashmiri, I replied ‘Yes Sir’. He asked me about my profession, address, present place of residence, birth place and about my family. Surprisingly, he used to live in Anantnag before the migration. Now the shop-keeper, a Hindu from Jammu, my friend whom I used to visit often-also took part in our discussion on Kashmiriyat. Anyway, the man in question, Kashmiri Pandit asked me about diverse diaspora of Kashmir and I could reply to him with lot of respect and honestly. He told me that he could have immense pool of memories shared with Kashmiri Muslims while he used to live in Kashmir prior to 1990’s.He impressed upon code of brotherhood that Kashmiri citizen is blessed with. I could feel emulated by his commendable sayings and the love he expressed for Kashmiri Muslims. During our talk we somewhere touch the politics propagated in Jammu & Kashmiri. He said that politics in Kashmir is to blamed for their exodus from Kashmir. Political disturbances have ideologically disturbed the peace of mind of every Jammu & Kashmir citizen. He is a well-lucrative Govt. Employee and at last puts an invite before me to visit his home anytime.
A year back, I had some moments with another Kashmiri Pandit at an event in Jammu University. He is well-known poet and philosopher, M.K.Santoshi sahab, surprisingly a native of Mattan Anantnag before migration, who might have written many books on Kashmiriyat since past-1990’s.During a discussion with him, he cited some examples of Kashmiri brotherhood. Politics is all to blame for their exile, he lamented. After the conclusion of the event, he offered me a book on Kashmiri Culture and tradition-mentioning their memories in Kashmir, brotherhood scenes, love for Kashmiri Muslims and some part emphasizing the reasons for their exile. At last he gave me his cell no. and since we met we used to talk on phone often.
A story of my childhood that is still touching my mind and inspiring me. I was just 9 years old a student of 4th or 5th class. We did own a black and white TV that time run on an Antenna for Srinagar Doordarshan Channel. Since we did not own a battery, so we could watch TV only when the time electric bulbs would glow. It was around 12. Noon when two famous TV serials were telecasted on Sunday on Srinagar Doordarshan Channel popularly named as ‘SHAKTIMAN & SHAKA LAKA BHOOM BHOOM. The time when the power supply would be disrupted, I along with my friends used to went the house of a Kashmiri Pandit family in our locality. This Pandit’s house I remember had a battery to run a black and white TV that time in our Mohalla. We used to watch these TV serials there on battery as we were crazy. Anyway, the love and care that Pandit family could extend to us is in itself an indication of the love and brotherhood that prevailed in Kashmir those days.
At last, there is a warmth and hospitality to share that Sikh community of Kashmir has with Muslims. In our village or in every other village of Kashmir, in fact, the moment there is a marriage ceremony of any Sikh family, the celebration itself shows the respect for mutual religious brotherhood still prevailing in Kashmir. Every Muslim house in the locality is warmly invited to marriage ceremony. The arrangement for walima is so designed that separate cooks are being hired to cook the wazwan for Muslims and those who don’t come are being contacted and properly the cooked dishes of wazwan are distributed among them.
In conclusion, I would foot- note a line that there are innumerable experiences to share that reveal the love of Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs for Kashmir. They are always part of Kashmiriyat and will remain. And are always welcome back to Kashmir with dignity.
(The author is Medico/Columnist /Educator at Unacademy.)