Srinagar: On the eve of Ramadhan, scenes of Hindu-Muslim bonhomie were witnessed during the ‘Navreh’ festival celebrations in the Kashmir valley.
Local Kashmiri Muslims in good numbers participated in Navreh celebrations at the HariParbat’s Chakreshwari temple and Sher-e-Kashmir Park.
Kashmiri Pandits said the presence of the members of the majority community during the festive occasion put forward a positive message and they were hopeful of the return of the ‘pre-90’ era.
“We are celebrating Navreh and from today Navraratra also starts. And from tomorrow, Ramzan too starts. This is our love and Kashmiryat. This is the beauty of this country. We celebrate the festivals of Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs simultaneously and we also jointly celebrate the same. I want to congratulate you all on the successful Navreh celebrations. The members of the majority community have outnumbered the Kashmiri Pandits here. This is a good thing and this is our message that we celebrate the festivals together. We pray for the return of the pre-90 era when we lived together in a beautiful atmosphere,” Sanjay Saraf told reporters after a pooja at Hari Parbat.
Another devotee, who had visited Kashmir for the first time, said her family was keen to return to Kashmir.
“I am 22 years old and this is my first visit to Kashmir. I am so happy to see this atmosphere. We should return and live together like before. I pray that we return to Kashmir, which is called paradise on Earth,” she said.
Satish Mahaldar, Chairman of the JK Peace Forum that organized the Navreh functions, said they aimed to relive the times before the migration of Kashmiri Pandits.
“This year we celebrated the day as an inter-community cultural festival which aims to highlight the importance of all segments of society working together to strive for peace. The aim is also to relive the memories of our religious and cultural gathering, which has been affected by the 30-year-exile period. Kashmiri Pandits have always believed in cohesiveness and togetherness. This cultural festival theme honors the spirit of togetherness, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety, and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes,” said Mahaldar