An East Delhi Citizen's Blog

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Archive for the tag “Kashmiri”

Dr. K came to dinner

..the Kashmiri Muslim perspective on Kashmir

Dr. K came home to dinner; his wife was away at their home in Kashmir with their children for the summer, he could not get away and we thought it would do him some good to sample home food.
“Everyone who can, lives out of Kashmir now”, was what K said.
Election results had just come in. As the television screen gave the latest seats tally, K laughed mirthlessly.
“I have never voted. No one in my family, my wife’s family and our extended families have ever voted. None of us have a voter’s ID card. Actually, I do not know many people who have a voter’s ID card anyway. So, how do they get even 26% people voting?”
Interesting question. So, I decided to ask a straight question.
” What will happen in Kashmir? What do you want? India, Pakistan or Azadi?”
K was thoughtful. And then he spoke; he is nothing if not a pragmatist.
“Look, I doubt people want to go to Pakistan. No one is a fool; they understand Pakistan is in a bad shape; aligning with them is not smart.” So, you want Azaadi then, I goaded him; is this what the Kashmiris want?He was silent for a while and then he said, “Look, is it prudent to want to be a landlocked country with 3 hostile neighbours?” 3? Maybe only India? “No, no”, K remonstrates, between mouthfulls of Roti and Dal; “Pakistan will be as upset (perhaps even more than) India if we get Azaadi!” And, China? Who wants China as a neighbour?
So, if it is not Pakistan and not Azaadi, it is India then? K falters, but only briefly. “Iskaa hul nahi hoga; this will remain a problem even 50 years later, you see”. Why? “Too many people are making too much money in Kashmir and it’s troubled situation. A solution does not necessarily help them”.

We talked of Sajjad Lone; “a discredited man; uska to abhi khatam hai”. The Abdullahs; “do you know if Rajiv Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah did not rig the polls in 1989, this terrorism problem would never have arisen?” The Muftis: “what’s their credibility?”.
I asked K; do you agree that Nehru blundered by going to Security council? Of course, he did. “International Law and legitimacy toh baad mein, pehle to zameen lo”. My sentiments exactly!
There is no normal life in Kashmir; says K. Schools are closed most days. Government does not function. Army is everywhere; tourists are staying away and everyone who is crooked or is a politician (these are not necessarily disconnected sets, I interject and K laughs) is making money.

The silent migration of a largely ignored people

I was at a birthday party of a one year old boy earlier today. Great party; great food (the boy’s parents are Kashmiris and the food was authentic fare). They even had a magician to entertain the kids. All in all, nice Sunday afternoon fare.

What surpised me was the turnout at the party. Barring us and a few other “non-family types”, there were about 100 people. All Kashmiris. All turning this into this huge family get together.

So, I asked my friend. How did their family manage to have this impressively large family, all in Delhi? We are migrants ourselves from an eastern metropolis almost 30 years back; but, we still do not have so many relatives or even friends from the same community as ours in Delhi. Fair question; she said. Her answer was simple but very disturbing.

Her family is large, she said. “My father has seven siblings..” and so on. But, even 18 years back, all of those seven siblings were in Kashmir; now, all of them are here in Delhi. All of them, their children and the extended families. The Kachroos and Kunzrus and Rainas; all of them. 

They were all well-off, educated and had a support network to fall back on. Those that were not, are probably in relief camps in Jammu; heck, who knows where they are? Do we even have a number? I came home and have been googling away, trying to get a number; even approximate, from media estimates. Over the last twenty years; or, maybe thirty. I don’t know. If you do, or can point me to a study, I will be grateful.

Our national media is largely data-less, voice-less. Two MPs are all J&K sends to Lok Sabha, isn’t it? They are elected by voters who have been ethnically cleansed by threats, intimidation and conversion. Meanwhile, the Kashmiri Pandits have got on with their lives, ignored by media. Political posturing has been largely symbolic; with Manmohan Singh government announcing a “one-time” relief package to those refugees who are desirous of going back to Kashmir and Farooq Abdullah, deriding the PM’s package as something that “simply will not work”. He added that till the Kashmir”crisis” is resolved, he does not see how the Kashmiri Hindus can return to their homes.

Raj Thackeray made  some stupid noise about Marathi Manoos and how Biharis need to be thrown out of Mumbai. The whole country talked of nothing else, for months. Lakhs of Kashmiris have had to leave their homes in the last 30 years. I do not see protest marches, candle-light vigils, solidarity rallies or such expressions from the chatterati.

And, our political parties? This is manifesto printing time. What can the Kashmiri Hindus expect from the main political formations/ parties in the event they are voted to power? BJP? Congress? SP? Laloo-Paswan? Mayawati? CPM/ CPI….

Nothing.

I swear to you; there were 100 people or more today in the party all of whom have left their homeland and home in the last 20 years and do not expect to ever be able to go back.

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