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   Kashmiri Writers

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Paradise Can Be Regained

Time is ripe to introspect

(The article has been published in “KOSHUR SAMACHAR, Delhi” in its October 2007 issue with some minor changes)

The dream of return to our lost paradise (Kashmir) is not going to fulfill in near future is a proved reality beyond doubt. All efforts made in this direction have proved a failure but the craving is getting intense day by day.  The sweet fragrance of Kashmir is kicking and the need of the hour is to devise ways and means that get us to the jackpot.

Day in and out our BIRADARI members both important and ordinary visit Kashmir to take a stock of the situation and meet the common folk there both known and unknown. Most of them along with being nostalgic about their roots admire the attitude of common Kashmir Muslims towards them. They do not smell any quantum of hatred in the majority community towards us despite severe provocations at the hands of the negative elements that still exist galore. What does it signify? Is it not a silver lining behind the dark cloud? Does the KP not err by not taking an advantage of the situation? Is it not a historical fact that a common Kashmir Muslim many a time rejected heartily the advances made by our hostile neighbour country to make him deadly fundamentalist and religious fanatic? Though the current onslaught of the enemy was fraught heavily with serious planning, unlimited resources and foolproof strategies, clearly enough as the facts on ground suggest, he is playing his last losing battle.

No doubt, a lot of damage has been done. The environment in Kashmir has changed drastically. The essential Pandit flavour that existed there before 1990 seems dwindled away to a great extent but the hearts of the common Kashmiri seem deprived of something which they want to recover. And it will be a Himalayan blunder on our part if we do not rise to the occasion.

Kashmir, in spite of the chaotic conditions that prevail, is not a mere spectator to the speedy development that India along with rest of the world is experiencing now. Almost all MNCs are doing thriving business in the valley employing youths both local and non-local in their assignments with lucrative earnings. A good number of non-Kashmiri youth are working in various institutions, hospitals, banks and other business establishments. They are quite satisfied with the co-operation that is extended to them. Scores of students get enrolled in various institutions for Para-medical training and teaching courses. The famous LAL CHOWK is humming with business as numerous business related people, tourists and shoppers roam freely. More than a dozen Punjabi DHABAS keep busy there till late night hours catering them. There in unlimited opportunity for business as Kashmir Exports have always been a craze and are experiencing a boom nowadays. The visits of KPs have accelerated during last couple of years and many reports of such visits that appear in KOSHUR SAMACHAR, Delhi present an interesting reading. How far will KP be a mere spectator to the humming activity of Kashmir?  How far shall we only aspire for our motherland the real paradise on earth and continue living in a hostile environment that doesn’t suit any of us and not think a while how we can be back to our roots! We call ourselves the original residents of Kashmir. No doubt, we are! We command a common language with the majority there and do have a sound background. Why not partake of the opportunities before others take the lead!

KPs are basically in the habit of playing extra safe. We do not want to take a risk of any kind and that is why more than ninety per cent KPs preferred petty Government jobs and did not go in for any business whatsoever. The habit has naturally descended to our youngsters who prefer to work for others not for themselves. This trait of our character has further deepened all these years of displacement with the doles that we received in the form of salaries without work besides the cash relief. Enough is enough. How far shall we wait for the government and authorities to provide foolproof arrangements for our mass return along with a guarantee of our safety! They could not and would not in future too manage for a green signal for which we have been waiting for all these years. Why not each of us individually devise ways and means to back home with dignity and honour! We need not accept any assistance from the government, be it accommodation or any cash assistance. There is a good amount of risk involved, but all great moves involve such risks. The time is ripe right now and small moves in this direction will show us the road to success. We cannot land there with a bang. It would invite reaction and resentment. Only small moves and individual efforts will be fruitful.

The greatest blunder committed by us is the gradual sale of our properties, the footholds that we possessed. The elements and their mentors across the border understand the situation better than us, so they go on encouraging the sales by helping the buyers both morally and financially. Do we thereby not fall into the trap of their cunning and give in to their crooked designs? Why the KP always at the receiving end? Why does he not gather courage to fail the designs of the enemy? The common Kashmir Muslim is ready to welcome us with open arms but we need to take the initiatives. No collective moves! It will prove disastrous.

Wisdom always lies in taking advantage of the flaws of the enemy and selecting the right time. Their ranks are losing direction. They are frantically trying to re-establish their base. The common Kashmiri is fed up and wants prosperity and peace. The popular democratic set-up is gaining ground. The masses have understood that they are exploited and used as scapegoats time and again by Pakistan to settle their own scores with India. They no more follow the dictates of the enemy blindly as it used to be in the first half of the 90s. Those who want to keep the pot boiling on both sides of the border are quite a few, not the masses. The situation has improved.

What is the latest tragedy of the KPs? Most of us feel delighted with the temporary settlements that many of us have been able to make all these years outside the bounds of Kashmir. We have become lavish expenders on occasions of ceremonies and weddings. It gives some a feeling that we are satisfied with our lot. The fact is that none of us feels at home in this alien atmosphere that doesn’t suit us. Why do we encounter the cries and cravings of going back home now and then? Nobody is contented though every thing seems well on the face. If we really want to restore our homeland, we’ll have to judge the situation judiciously and act purposefully. We’ll have to repair the broken bridges of relationships with the majority community and try to win their goodwill. The ground is already fertile and there is the need to sow the seed with good manure and allow the sunshine of sincerity shower the heat of love liberally.

Brothers and sisters, it is high time to give the matter a serious thought and select one of the two options before us. The first---- be contented with whatever circumstances you’re in and stop clamouring for the restoration of your homeland for good. Why not shut all shops of our so-called leaders who are engaged in the so-called fight for the cause of our return with no teeth or direction. Why not forget that we once lived in and were part of the Paradise on the Earth! If it isn’t agreeable, then follow the second option vigorously. Let’s not depend on the false promises and assurances of the authorities or leaders. Let’s ourselves devise a way to regain our motherland for ourselves. It may be a hard task but not impossible. Many of my brethren may bear out my assertions that the common Kashmir Muslim is not our enemy. He was our well-wisher and will be so if we sincerely approach him for co-operation. The road to success is tough but not impassable. We can regain our paradise, but with sustained effort and proper direction.

Let a good number of KPs make possible inroads into the business opportunities that are available in plenty in Kashmir. Let us not hanker after the petty Government jobs which make us subject to the already biased administration. Why not make our presence felt there through our intelligence and talent? Push your youngsters in high-tech places so that they show their worth and make a base for them. All professionals, doctors, engineers, architects, IT related experts, lead them and make them follow you. They are submissive while you are important and aggressive when you are weak. They know and respect your worth and abilities. They want your guidance, so why not take advantage of the situation. Kashmir is an open field for professionals to grow. India is a vast ocean where your lifelong efforts at a place can’t give you a name as the competition is high and chances rare. Kashmir has the raw potential for growth and it is high time for our youth to explore opportunities as they have Kashmiri blood in their veins, Kashmiri language to support and Kashmiri appearance and aspect to be one with them. The dream of regaining our Paradise and preserving our cherished cultural heritage cannot become a reality by writing nostalgic poetries and stories, beating breasts and staging dramas of public gatherings or asking the authorities to do something for us. It demands a systematic approach to catch opportunities that wait for us across BANIHAL.

Going to our deserted homes and gathering the tottered remains of our past and be subject to the sympathies of the majority and their whims and propensities is not the solution of the problem. Let us emerge out among them with authority and power, not taking cudgels with them but seeking co-operation but with heads high, not sympathy. Let us not bear the brunt of their wrath as we used to as a minority in olden days, but let us try to assume authority with the power of talent and capacity to do things better than they can. They are bound to follow you and give you place ahead of them because they recognize your worth and cannot stay in the path of your development among them.

Paradise can be gained by taking some solid individual steps not waiting for the destiny to shower upon you ways and means nor the administration making arrangements for your welcome with garlands of fresh flowers.


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Kashmiri Writers J.L. Bhat


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