Homeland Within the Homeland

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Homeland within the homeland
I was a fresh graduate from Degree College Anantnag (Islamabad) when the most turbulent era of the history of J&K state began. The militancy took off in the very beginning of 1990. The whole political scenario of the state changed altogether and the most unfortunate fall out of this militancy was the migration of Kashmiri pandits. It was the period dominated by the hysteria and anxiety due to the reason known to all. Threat to life was a common phenomenon at that point of time. Since Kashmiri Pandits were in minority and apparently their allegiance belonged to India, they felt more scared than the Muslims or Sikhs. The killing of Lassa Kaul, Tikka Lal Tiplu, Khera, P.N. Bhat N.K. Ganjoo and others spread the tremors of fear and anxiety among the Pandit community. They ultimately succumbed and migrated to Jammu. Well it all happened spontaneously; when the heartbreaking news of Kashmiri Pandits migration spread, the Muslims received it like a shock. They found it hard to believe that their friends and neighbours, so modest by nature, are no more a part of their society. However, it was an unpleasant development which they anyhow had to accept as true. The Pandits at that time had limited options to choose from as there apparently did not exist any political or socio-religious organisation they would have approached to so as to negotiate the disaster. In recent times Sikhs received mysterious threats from unknown quarters and they sought it out by approaching the administration, all the factions of Hurriyat Conference and many other social and religious parties. Recently the All Parties delegation from New Delhi visited the migrant colony in Jammu. Kashmiri Pandits putting up there for last twenty years now, under the banner of Panun Kashmir, put forth their demand of a separate homeland in the valley of Kashmir before the APD. In fact they have been pressing this demand for last few years now and at various occasion this demand of theirs has been deliberated upon by the central government. Certain areas in the valley have been identified to serve the purpose. Whatever the case may be such a demand if fulfilled would cause a great damage to the communal brotherhood in the long run. In fact Kashmir is the home of the Pandits which they exiled from due to some unmanageable circumstances at that point of time. Asking for a homeland within the homeland looks ridiculous because a home is a home and there can be no home within the home. The whole valley obviously is their home and there must be no reason as to why do they demand a separate homeland. If the dream of a separate homeland happens to come true, it can have many undesirable outcomes which will scar the face of communal harmony and brotherhood in the valley. How can in such a case the upcoming generations believe that once upon a time the Pandits and the Muslims used to be next door neighbours up on this beautiful piece of land? How can we make them believe that there happened to be a Mandir and a Masjid shoulder to shoulder under the sweet shadows of chinars? Yes in the times ahead one would find it too hard to convince his young ones that the walls of separate homeland did not exist there until dirty politics poked in to play its vicious role. For them the walls of the separate homeland would be nothing but the walls of hatred and hostility. This is an awakening era in which walls of hatred are demolished not raised and the world is responding to this call. In such circumstances it would definitely be a blow to the spirit of unity in diversity for which India has worldwide reputation. Kashmiri Pandits no doubt are living a miserable life and would be dying to return to their sweet homes. Well, they are always welcome back to their homes. Doors of our homes and hearts are always open for them. I man not a spearhead of any mainstream or separatist organization on

behalf of which I could guarantee them a safe and peaceful life. I am a common Kashmiri belonging to the Muslim community and as such I can promise them of love and respect. Leaders know how to play politics sitting in their cosy rooms but we the common Kashmiris know how to love and respect one s faith and dignity. In the end it is common man s love not the leaders self-centred politics that stands and proves miraculous. There are numerous examples of Muslim love for Kashmiri Pandits that have come to the surface during all these years. Those who didn t leave the valley but preferred to show their trust in their age-old neighbours can certify this claim of mine. From a marriage ceremony to a cremation ritual Muslim neighbours have never let them down. There is a feeble elderly Pandit couple in Ganderbal area that is attended by a neighbouring Muslim girl. The girl cooks food for them, washes their clothes, bathes the tattered looking Pandit mother, combs her hair and even cleans their toilet on routine basis. That is humanity at its loveliest and that too under the most turbulent circumstances. And is the demand of a separate homeland in such a loveable ambience a genuine gesture? It is a significant question which every Kashmiri Muslim askes the migrant Pandit brothers. Isaar Kashmiri [email protected]

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