Kalhan,Kashyap,and Kalidas would not recognize (in the year 2009), the land they wrote so lovingly and beautifully about. A land torn with strife, wracked with pain and guilt, defenceless against death and violence. A land which was the birthplace of Shaivism and a favorite with the greatest Sanskrit scholars of the time is drooping with pessimism. A land famously known for it Sufi traditions, a rich fabric of interwoven faiths today would be shamed even by its own shadow.
A people exiled, a people at war, a people trying to find a voice of their own....the Kashmiri Pandits, Kashmiri Muslims, the Dogras and the Ladakhis.
The state and its people stand divided...one man's terrorist is the other man's freedom fighter. Wars have been waged at its frontiers, and the war within has gone on for too long.
Bharat Mata ki Jai clashes with Jeeve Jeeve Pakistan and Ragda Ragda ( a war cry that was invented by the separatist elements last year, to be shouted while stomping on the Tricolor). Is it the same state I ask where at the border 10 years back the cry of 'Dil Maange More' became famous? But then the Nation almost forgot that war too.
The cries of Muzzafarabad Chalo last year were deafening, as is the silence on that route today. No fruits being traded through that route. So what was the drama about?
The Poonch-Rawalkote trade route which is used more by the Dogra traders is also losing its pace because of a fear of money being blocked in the barter system of the trade.
The Shopian case caused a furore and rightly so but is the silence over the killing of a 3 year old by the terrorists not telling? Human Rights have been taken for a toss in some very obvious ways. Then there are lesser heard of stories which also speak of loss of rights and dignity.
We can always rely on the politicians to amp up the levels of disturbance when they seem to wane. Amarnath Issue was nothing more than a malicious gossip (to achieve a specific purpose) taken way out of proportion and given such a color that the country at large still is not sure what it was all about. When our claim to the Title of The Most Disturbed State seems threatened the politicians (State and National) pitch in to defend the title. After all considering the amount of money being poured into the state, a lot is at stake.
From the Jammu region the demand for a separate Assembly has arisen. The Jammuites are tired of the Bandhs and the lack of development in the sate which is driving their young away. The valley to them it seems has gotten used to the strikes and minimal working days. The state exchequer is burdened but the people are guilt free for drawing salaries for almost no work. The whispers for a separate State - Duggar Pradesh are also picking up volume.
When the Kashmir issue is discussed at any forum we wait with baited breath for a Solution. Sometime back I believed that the end was in sight. But as of today I know its not coming soon... if it all it is coming.
I have grown up hearing stories of valour and peace. I have grown up seeing the beauty of its people and its geography. Last year during the Amarnath issue I as a Dogra understood what it feels like to scream and yet not be heard.
I got to know many Kashmiri Pandits ...angry, hurting and seeking revenge.
I also got a chance to interact with many Kashmiri Muslim youth ...one in particular I fought with, argued, and debated with for hours. I finally befriended him. He is like a brother today (the rakhee has been duly sent to Baramulla) and we discuss spirituality. We avoid discussing his much desired Azadi and my love for an integrated India. Much in common yet a fundamental difference.
What unites us is our mutual respect for faith,intertwining cultures,love for the people and the land and prayers for peace.
We have also agreed upon one thing...Victory to the Righteous...words not spoken but implied. I only wish that this 'game' ends before leading to another 'Dharmyuddh'.