Along with friends I recently (in the first week of Aug 2009) made a trip to Kashmir valley thanks to Amarnath yatra. The whole world knows the grandeur and wonder of this nature’s snow valley. It was a hot summer there, but the valley down there flowing with the whitest water and splendour gave a cooling breeze to my eyes and senses. My emphasis here is not to write about the good old splendour and beauty of the snow-clad hills and flowing valleys there, but the mundane daily life of the people there in the context of the highly hyped terrorist blot between Pakistan and India. We deliberately interacted with the people in the street and also with the army personnel deployed at strategic points there. Everybody expresses friendship, love and harmony there. We spent two chilling nights as guests in the Army head quarters, thanks to one of our friends’ proximity with some staff there. Everywhere it’s the breeze of friendship and life. “Kashmir Valley knows only harmony, but Pakistan and India play only dushmani.”True human nature unfolded everywhere: Muslims or Hindus, people move and mingle beyond the barriers or borders of religions or rituals there. People are interested in their life and business, never in the dirty politics or rhetoric. They are interested in their daily bread and butter, better life style, and it has less to do with colours, religions or sermons. We visited both the Hindu and Muslim shrines there and paid our respects. Even though one of our friends belonged to the traditional pious Kashmiri Pandit family, we have had no qualms about the labels and religions. In fact this friend has had lost his father’s own house in Srinagar, as it was sold way back in 1990s under the compelled circumstances.
On this occasion our friend made it a point to visit his old sold home in Srinagar. We accompanied him on this historic emotional revisit, that too after a gap or lapse of almost over twenty years. The whole lane there was being guarded by the police personnel for security reasons. It was his father’s house, where he had grown up. Finally he located it – front gate closed with high walls. The new name of the house read, “786 Noor Manzil”. It is now owned by an equally pious cultured Muslim family. Our friend’s father was a highly admired personality in the entire area there, loved by all the people there beyond religions or community labels. Even though there was a shade or veil of fear or suspicion in the thin air up, a young lady opened the door and welcomed our friend inside along with us. Our friend recollects: the same good old big house, the only change that now it is painted with different color. The new owner of the house has had known our friend’s father, and he along with his pious wife started connecting the things well and a whole saga of communication and communion surged there to the pleasant surprise, emotional bond and happiness of our Kashmiri Pandit friend and all of us there. On hearing the arrival of our friend there, many neighbours and Muslim friends came there from the backyard; when the Muslim men and women hugged our friend in a bond of love, we saw there not an iota of religion, but just life and its force in its purest form. An unforgettable event of get together there. The whole family members sat with us on the floor in full reverence in the living room and served us the high tea snacks. There was no religion in it but the natural human communion. Our friend’s gesture of lifting a small kid there up and kissing was a scene of transcending the manmade barriers of hate and discriminations. Love knows no religions. To the surprise of all of us, our Muslim friend gave rather returned a book, ‘The Gita’ (Urdu version) to our friend as parting gift. I could sense the moist in the eyes of our friend while receiving back this holy gift from the Muslim brethren. Our friend’s father has had this Gita book left in this house, incidentally. Our Muslim friend – the newly occupied house owner – preserved this holy book all these years with all reverence, only waiting to be safe returned to the right owner and finally now it reached the right hands. What a best example of mutual trust, respect and tolerance of human nature in its finest color and flavour, indeed. It may appear to be a small stray incident, but this is a miniature of true innate human nature that may naturally unfold in all human beings, irrespective of our religious or otherwise affiliations.
Perhaps, the isolated terrorist and extremist acts, however systematized it may appear to be, should never be equated with the will and wisdom of the people on the street there. The high towering Himalayan mountains stand there as a monumental but mute testimony to the saga of human consciousness and freedom infinite. The infinitely sequenced white snow clad Kashmir hills and valleys flowing down with the purest whitest water in its fullest grandeur and splendour there may affirm a hundred times the ‘life force’ that knows nothing of hate or love. If we fail to sense it and indulge in petty ‘our water our soil’ quarrel, then the existence will never excuse us, it’s just self suicidal to all of us. Both Pakistan and India need to mend and end their ‘hatred and bloodshed’ game for the new young generations and our children to come. The water flowing down the Kashmir valley is so sacred that it’s inhuman to convert into bloodshed.
I asked my Kashmiri Pandit friend, “Do you see in a near future any once for all solution coming to this Kashmir land fight between Pakistan and India?” I could see only his tearful eyes as he whispered, “May be we may not be there to see the solution. May be in fifty years time there may come a solution once for all.”
Please note: Nothing is oneman’s work or mission. Please be part of this small ‘hammering’ mission and be part of the move and moment. Your views may speak more than you assume in this mission. Do air and share your views/comments in these pages. Let’s do it together.