The land of Kashmir lays numb under burdened headlines of a daily newspaper and manages to bounce as an issue of national concern occasionally on the national broadcasting units too. Wombing out of what many may call as ‘the burning paradise’ is another set of emotions, which were tied with time and buried deep under the coffin of past.
Kashmiri pundits are the offshoots of the same land that seems to have untied them with its identity. The Kashmiri pundits have a recorded history in the origin and life of the region. It was during the Islamic epoch of the valley, when the ire of the conquest destroyed numerous temples and paved the way for migration of the Kashmiri pundits to lands unknown. Sparing the pundits through conversion or killings was a known practice. As time blessed these people, they gathered their chunks of life and relived in their own land of Kashmir.
It was the black 1990’s that cursed their peaceful existence again and were ruthlessly targeted by the foreign militants and native Muslims. Reminiscence of those times bleed of hopelessness, a run into estrange lands and a feeling of being deprived by one’s own home.
The valley of Kashmir has earned its much needed mileage as a region where terror is a by-product of the Kashmiri life. This paradise has been the dog-bone for decades and continues to be a dreadful flashpoint for a lately expected world war (as anticipated by many).
Swept away by the past are the unheard stories of Kashmiri pundits who have attempted to seed themselves in various parts of the country. For how long can one ignore or try to ignore the roots that remain embedded in their identity???
Bhatts, Kouls, Zutshi'z are not just ancestral names of the natives, but the very identity of the people of Kashmir, the Hindu people of Kashmir. One can trace these names on online forums where many interact to share their commonalities and years of restless dreams that have become numb over years. Contemporarily, Kashmir has become ignorant to their existence but still hasn’t been able to divorce them from the very identity of a “KASHMIRI pundit”.
In a country, where secularism is the hallmark of its democratic setup, the government has failed to knit the fabric of secularism in the ‘much fought for’ state, Kashmir. Even years after the pundits being ousted, there have been minimal or almost no efforts by any government in power to highlight this problem. The unarmed Hindus were ousted by the passionate singers of Islam, who once practiced Sufism, but were attuned to conservative Islam by foreign militants. The Kashmiri Muslims were made to unlearn their indigenous culture and relearn the conservative interpretation of the religion by the militants and continue to preach so even today.
With this catastrophe in the area, the government slept covered under the sheet of diplomacy and in order to please the majority, sold itself to fundamentalists that threatened the very bedrock of peace in Kashmir.
While the authorities were slumbering in the ring of careless governance, different religions fought like immature kids and victory embodied itself in the fate of the kid who was poisoned by an unknown neighbor. The ultimate sufferer was the child whose mother did not come to rescue him. The child still sleeps without a mother and hopes to be in her lap some day.
It becomes very easy to breathe out one’s thoughts through text, but the dreams of thousand Kashmiri Pundits still remain frozen with the days, that marked their time of prolonged despondency and tear buttered nights …