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Saturday, 20 October 2012

A Letter to My Pandit Brethren - by A. Qayoom

Dear brothers,

The fateful day of your exodus still haunts me. Don’t know whom to blame for that... may be those turbulent times. But I remember your helpless Muslim neighbour helping  you load your belongings whatever you could managed to pack not because they wanted you to leave, but because at that point they knew your safety was more important than anything else. I remember the tearful eyes of the people, when they were bidding adieu to you. I was too young to understand what was actually going on. The turmoil took everybody by a surprise including us.

It has been a long time, but the flashes of past always keep haunting me even today. As is obvious for the people grown up in conflict zone, I get hurt whenever anybody refers you as a 'migrant', I am pained when I see your houses in rubble, my heart wrenches while walking in the lanes of Downtown... My eyes search for Girja Aunty wearing a typical head gear and white raiment, who always invited me for a cup of tea. And Lalaji, clad in traditional pheran, always used to sit on the window feeding crows, which obediently used to sit on the electric wire next to his window like obedient students. My mother used to kid me by saying that Lalaji is a teacher and he is teaching them. And then around sunset when these crows hundreds in number flew back to their nest and we used to say “kaavan gayi chhuttee” ("the crows' school is off"). Believe me, the crows don’t live their any more...

I can understand what you people have gone through. You were not used to the hot weather of Jammu and Delhi, as we are the denizens of the paradise valley. Once I saw Bhushan Uncle precipitating outside his one room accommodation in Udhampur Camp, unable to bear the scorching heat. I could not even dare talk to him, even though I know neither I nor my Muslim brothers were any way responsible for this. Not getting into the debate and not belittling each other’s suffering. Let’s accept them and move on, as time is moving on.

Some of your fellows may say to you that time is not suitable for you to come here, but believe me they are lying to you. When you can come over here for vacations and for pilgrimage, then why not for living.

We may not bring the past glory back, but we can make a better future. We can live with prosperity and love, as we did for centuries. Looking at our common history and culture, which is  hundreds of years old, we can surely afford to delete these twenty odd years from it.

Everybody here wants you back; not in camps and security zones but with us, like us. We will inshallah take care of each other as we had been doing since ages…

a Kashmiri Muslim brother,
Er. A. Qayoom

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, there are no takers in majority of KM's for your account. Though you sound true, but lack abysmally in getting to the root cause of the issue. Religious fanaticism! why donot you acknowledge it? This is the reason why pandits have lost trust completely, you know the actual cause, but do not acknowledge it. What should we construe?