Monday November 18, 2019
Home Opinion A home away f...

A home away from home; Kashmiri Pandits and the question of Homeland

0
//

images (12)

 

By Ishan Kukreti

In the game of Indian politics, the issue of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) is like a football being kicked around. BJP bet its money on the Pandits to win elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The call for ‘Homeland’ is raised every now and then to induce a pan national sympathy wave in the country. Those who have ‘migrated’ live a life filled with bitter-sweet memories, cradling a faint hope of someday walking the streets again that they used to roam as kids.

 

The curtain rises

Kashmir, a region that had so boldly refused Jinnah and his two nation theory, had a school of Islam, Sufism, followed by the radicalization of both Hindus and Muslims post USSR break up. However, the real reason, which turned Kashmir into a field of open graves, remains buried in that time and place.

The events that followed the elections of 1987 and the entry of Pakistani and Afghan militants into the scene in its aftermath are not new stories to tell. It all ended with the exodus of a community from their land, their home.

‘The Kashmiri Pandit had to leave when his neighbor told him that he could not protect him anymore.’ Rahul Jalali, a journalist and a KP himself told NewsGram. Rahul was reporting Kashmir in ’91 but had to escape after an attempt on his life. Two years later his house was bombed. Nothing remains of his childhood there, all the memories are just in his head and they only get as tangible as dreams.

Many who left, like him managed to survive by the skin of their teeth. Many, like Lassa Kaul, the director of Doordarshan in Srinagar, were not so lucky.

 

A bag full of stones

Meanwhile the game continues. The talks of creating ‘composite townships’ have been shot down by CM Mufti on the grounds of diversity. Separatist leader Yasin Malik has appealed to KPs to come back. In the match between Rajnath Singh, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and Yasin Malik and the like, the Kashmiri Pandit is standing on the sideline, burdened with promises.

‘ Our houses were taken. There were brokers who sold them at nominal rates. Why didn’t Yasin Malik tell them then to not sell our houses, tell them that we have to come back? Can they give me my home back? Can I go back and say that this is my land, please give it back to me? I think that is not possible.’ a highly agitated Bihari Kak, once the owner of famous Kak Opticals in Srinagar said over the phone.

He says he wants to go back to his motherland. But even if he is given his land back, he can’t just go there and live. Employment opportunity and a means to earn a living are things conspicuous by their absence in Kashmir and Kak Opticals do not exist anymore.

 

A fire and some lost bangles

Moreover, fear of a resurgence of militancy can’t be denied. Having lived in terror, those who have somehow managed to start a new life in other places don’t want their children to live the same way.

‘ There is no fear. But at the same time there is a doubt, what if it happens again? You see the stone pelting is happening again. That’s how it was then, throw a stone and kill them. If there was a match, somebody was killed. Match lost, kill them, match won, kill them. That was the attitude. We dont want our children to live in this kind of atmosphere.’ Kak’s loss is overwhelming. The day their house was burnt, his 11 year old daughter cried the whole night for the bangles she had lost in the fire.

 

So, where do we go from here?

‘The only way to solve the issue of Kashmiri Pandits is a reconciliation along the lines of South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Without taking into account the basic human relations, no amount of governmental, political or any other kind of resolution can solve this problem.’ says Rahul Jalali.

A purge of all the negative emotions from the people is required to mend the damage. Till the time aggressor and the aggrieved don’t agree mutually to put this behind them and move on, not much can be achieved on the rehabilitation and ‘Homeland’ front.

 

Postscript

Rahul recounts an incident on a Jammu matador bus that gives the ground reality in the state.

‘ A Kashmiri Muslim family and Pandit were sitting together on the seat behind me. Given the size of these mini buses I could overhear them talking. And what they were talking about wasn’t the things said on Prime Time. They were recounting tales of personal loss. The Pandit had to leave his house and stay in camps and the Muslim had lost his father to the bullets of security forces. The two communities divided in history had found reconciliation in a little bus of Jammu.’

The story of Kashmir is one where people on both sides have lost and are no better than the other, one is destroyed by leaving Kashmir and the other by staying.

 

Next Story

Chinese Handset Maker Vivo Refreshes its Y Series in India

The display offers a screen-to-body ratio of 90.3 per cent for an immersive viewing experience

0
Vivo to open E-stores in India to increase its market. Wikimedia Commons
Vivo to open E-stores in India to increase its market. Wikimedia Commons

Refreshing its Y series in India, Chinese handset maker Vivo on Monday launched the Y19 with a hefty 5000mAh battery at Rs 13,990.

According to the smartphone player, the Y19 is manufactured at its Greater Noida facility.

The smartphone is available in Magnetic Black and Spring White colour variants across all offline partner outlets starting Monday.

It will also available across online channels including Vivo India E-store, Flipkart, Amazon.in, Paytm and Tata Cliq starting November 20.

Equipped with an artificial intelligence (AI) triple rear camera set up comprising 16MP+8MP+2 MP, the smartphone also comes with 18W dual engine fast charging.

Vivo, Camera, Google Assistant
Design-wise, the plastic body has been built in a way that rendered a flashy shade of blue to the device. Wikimedia Commons

“We are strengthening our Y family with the latest addition of Y19 packed with all the latest features in camera, battery power, shimmering design, fast charging and ultra-game mode for our customers to have a complete smartphone experience in this price segment,” Nipun Marya, Director Brand Strategy, Vivo India, said in a statement.

The Vivo Y19 features 4GB RAM and 128GB internal storage and according to the compnay, the ultra game mode packs in a range of handy features specially designed for gamers.

Also Read: No User Data Affected From New MP4 File Bug, Claims WhatsApp

The device sports a 6.53 inch FHD+ Halo FullView display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9.

The display offers a screen-to-body ratio of 90.3 per cent for an immersive viewing experience. (IANS)