- Kashmiri pandits celebrate Kumbh mela at the junction of Jhelum and Sindh river
- After 75 years, they witnessed the religious celebration in their homeland
- People were also scared of the aftermath of being targeted at the vulnerable areas
Kashmiri pandits celebrated the auspicious Kumbh mela after a long wait of 75 years in their homeland on Tuesday, June 14. The point of convergence of river Jhelum and Sindh in the Shadi Pora district of north Kashmir and 30 kilometres away from the capital Srinagar, witnessed the holy festival celebration.
As the Kumbh mela is a day of washing off one’s sins by taking a dip into holy rivers, the pundits observed the same at the Mela Kheer Bhawani. Where some were praying to get themselves rid of the sins, others prayed for their happy home returning.
However, it was crucial to see how the J&K government took appropriate measures to ensure safety and security of all the devotees. The sanitation was too well maintained. BJP was seen as with a helping desk at the bank of river Jhelum.
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It was also interesting to see a cultural mix where the Muslim population, on fast in the month of Ramadan, was seen putting up stalls to sell flowers, fruits, vegetables, juices and other consumables adhering to the needs of all the devotees came to attend the fest. The locals also looked after the need of the devotees by providing them with facilities of boats to cross the river.
The politically charged atmosphere of Kashmir “ where on one hand government last week disallowed Abhinav Gupta Yatra in Budgam district, while on other hand their decision to bring back pandits to exclusive settlements has been widely criticized”, however did not affect the peaceful offerings at the Kumbh.
Dr. Bansi Lal, who left the place in 1990, told The Economic Times that “This yug has come after 75 years. I hope, pray and wait that I will also come back one day to my homeland.”
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Another local who attended the mela also said “They should set up settlements within the local population in every tehsil, so that we can mingle and not be an eyesore.”
Since 1941, it was in this year that the festival was observed and even now the Kashmiri pandits were frightened of the aftermath of this Hindu festival being celebrated at this level. There is always a hidden fear of being targeted at the vulnerable areas. Whatever the after-thoughts are, they were seen happy to witness the mela after a long time in their homelands.
-Megha is a freelance contributor at NewsGram.Twitter: @meghash06510344