I am a Kashmiri Pandit ousted from the ‘Heaven’ by religious fanatics. But my love for my home could not keep me away from it. I was looking for some opportunity to settle back in Kashmir. After I completed my Master’s Degree, I got a job in the Valley and my dream of relocating to Kashmir was about to be realised. My parents advised me against moving to Kashmir, but I didn’t listen to them and started my journey towards my dream.
My Trip from Jammu to Srinagar
I being a Kashmiri Pandits have been through many conflicts all my life. I will not write about who is right or wrong, but I will try to show humanistic approach towards the conflict. Once I was travelling from Jammu to Srinagar in a rainy season in a shared cab. There were 4 passengers in cab including me. One of the passengers started abusing India and Hindus, and soon the driver and other two passengers also joined the party. They didn’t realise that I was a Kashmiri Pandit (as I had a beard, and was wearing a “Ferran” – a traditional Kashmiri dress).
Soon that passenger changed the topic to 6th pay commission and started abusing India by blaming that India has increased the wages to increase the inflation and kill all the Kashmiri peasants by increasing the poverty in Kashmir. As the journey progressed, so did their conversation and anti-India comments which I was agonisingly listening to.
Then they started talking about constructing of another Jammu – Srinagar Highway (Mughal-Road) to ease the movement of the army and kill Kashmiri Muslims. Sarcastically, I added that the construction has been going on for ages and is not even completed. Baffled by my comment, the driver suddenly changed his tone and replied that “yes India does not want to complete the alternate road construction as they don’t want to develop the Kashmir valley and starve the Kashmiris during the snowfall”
I was stunned by his two conflicting statements within a minute. Then I just realised that the driver just loved to hate India. The whole journey he was abusing India and Hindus and other two were joining him again and again. I was very upset with their remarks, but I consoled myself by realising that these people have always been anti-nationals and anti-Hindus.
I started to become apprehensive about my living in Kashmir with people who hated Hindus so much. My parents were always against my wish to work in Srinagar and I thought they were right, as I could not trust these people. That whole night I couldn’t sleep because of sheer disbelief, hearing the anti-India and Hindu comments. With a sleepless night, I sipped 3-4 cups of Kashmiri-Kahwa and told myself that these people are always going to be same and I just cannot change their mentality.
Why People Love to Hate India in Kashmir?
After living in Kashmir for 2 years, I came to know the people very closely. There was hate everywhere. A man from Srinagar hated a man from rural areas. A Sunni hated a Shia and vice-versa. Both Sunni’s and Shia’s hated an Ahmadi Muslims whom they did not consider Muslims. Pro-India Muslims in Kashmir hated Pro-Pakistan Muslims. And surprisingly a man with a beard hated one with a clean shaven person. I started hating my idea of returning to Kashmir, where there was hate everywhere. I requested a transfer and within some time, I was transferred outside the valley.
After my brief professional stint in the Kashmir valley, I travelled to different parts of the country as part of my profession. And it is when I came in touch with ‘hate’ that was prevailing outside the J&K. Bengalis hated non-Bengali’s; A Punjabi didn’t like a non-Punjabi; A Maidaani (person from plains) hated a Pahari (person from hills); One from higher caste hated a lower caste man; An unsuccessful person hated a successful one. There was just no end. Every human in some way loves to hate somebody. But it was the hate on a larger scale that I experienced in the Kashmir valley.
And I realised that It is not because they are Muslims (from Kashmir) that they hate India and each other. It’s just human nature that they love to hate someone. Had they been Hindu’s or Sikh’s, would they have done any better? My answer is No…..! They would have been the same. I recalled my journey from Jammu to Srinagar, and I thought that if the taxi had been full of Hindus and the disguised one had been a Muslim, then, the Hindus would have been the one abusing the Muslims and Pakistan. There is never ending hate in this world, it just needs to be exploited by some miscreants to spread terror and separatism, and that is what is exactly happening in the Kashmir Valley.