Monday, October 8, 2007

Migrant Kashmiris yearn to return by Aastha Manocha(in The Indian Express)

It was a hot day otherwise but up on Hari Parbat, it is only strong cool winds that one feels. Hari Parbat is one of the landmarks in Kashmir, which housed the Sharika Devi Temple. However, for exiled Kashmiri Hindus who do not have the luxury of their homeland, this replica in Faridabad will have to do, for now. This is also the place where the exiled Kashmiri Hindus now living in Delhi and NCR areas meet often.
This Sunday on October 6, the occasion was to commemorate the 1st anniversary of Roots In Kashmir, a Kashmiri Hindu organization formed with the long-term aim of returning home. The under-running sentiment of returning is unfathomable to an outsider after hearing their stories, of giving up house and hearth and escaping Kashmir by the night, not daring to raise their heads until after crossing the Jawahar tunnel, of the humiliation of living in camps with bare minimum of supplies. But return they will, even if their properties are no longer theirs, as one of them puts it, ‘Even if I couldn’t live there, I would prefer to die there’. The pleasure of pain and pining maybe.
The meeting starts with prayers in the Temple of Goddess Shaarika, believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. It is followed by deliberations of the organization’s role so far and future plans. The group is not very large and is pretty informal, but the underlying feeling of camaraderie is hard to miss as they talk among themselves in rapid Kashmiri or sing ‘Leela’, a music form of Kashmiris.
The Kashmiri Hindus, often known as Kashmiri Pandits due to their culture of learning under their presiding deity Sharda, are a proud lot willing to fight for their place in the rich Kashmiri history. In fact, there is much outrage at the notion that the Kashmiri script was always in Urdu. The original Kashmiri script was in the Sharda script, named after the Goddess of intellect, Sharda, they assert, quoting the Rajtarangini, an ancient treatise on Kashmiri history.
The temple complex is built on land donated by the villagers of Anangpur, where it is built. The temple was funded by JN Kaul, head of SOS India, and built with the help of the villagers. Remaining true to the original structure, this temple too has a total of 258 stairs, which take one high up to the place where there is a single statue of Goddess, surrounded by paintings of the other deities, all of them goddesses. The view of the village and open spaces below is perhaps fitting to the pastoral way of life the Kashmiris are used to.
As the conversation veers to those still languishing in camps, it is surprising to hear that many who have been brought up in those camps are MA’s or MBA ’s. Apparently the culture of learning manifests itself with parents staying up at nights fending off snakes during long power cuts so that their children’s studies go unhindered. However, problems still galore as these young graduates are in need of counselling and guidance. Sunil Ji Bhat, a student of post-graduation in mass communication, recounts his experiences, “the camp school functioned through tents in senior secondary it shifted to a rented house. My school never had a library, let alone a computer.”

1 comment:

nerd said...

arre yaar main to accha likhti hoon, he he

Dead End

Dead End
The road to what was once my home in Kashmir....zuv chum bramaan ghare gachehae..