Rousing reception to Ganga Prasad
Kashmiri Pandit Returns With Sweets After 21 Years
Srinagar, July 10: Twenty one years back, he would give sweets to children whom he would prescribe medicine at his medical store at Hazratbal on the Srinagar outskirts. Today, he roamed around the place with toffees for everyone who received him with hugs, kisses and shake-hands.
For Kashmiri Pandit, Ganga Prasad—also known by the Kashmiri names like Hitta, Bamber and Kachur—almost the entire Hazratbal was waiting this afternoon to see him. “God knows better how happy I am to return to this place,” Prasad told Greater Kashmir, as he was greeted by his friends and well-wishers in a locality. “I can’t express this happiness in words. I am getting the same love that I would get when I left the Valley in 1989.”
Today, people of Hazratbal, including women and young children, greeted Prasad and took him to their homes. “I visited Kashmir with a specific purpose this time. I wanted to pay obeisance at Dargah Hazratbal which was my desire since I left this place,” he says, as he sips a cup of tea in a friend’s place at Hazratbal. “For the past few days, I visited some shrines in Kashmir and also Khir Bhawani Temple at Tulmulla. In next few days, I am going to Charar-e-Sharief shrine and the shrine at Baba Reshi in Gulmarg.”
Prasad has visited Kashmir along with his daughter and son-in law—who are here in connection with the Golden Jubilee Celebrations at Government Medical College Srinagar. “After 1989, I lived in Jammu for a year. Then my daughter and son-in-law purchased a flat for me in Delhi where I lived for 10 years. Then I shifted to Mohali, Chandigarh,” Prasad said.
Prasad’s medical shop named “New Cash Chemists and Druggists”, according to obsevers, would be a famous medical store in Hazratbal. “Whenever we took children to the store for injection purposes or medication, Hitta (Prasad) would give them a 10 paisa coin and some sugar to make them happy,” said Prasad’s friend, Farooq Ahmad, who runs a grocery adjacent to the erstwhile medical store. “We are glad to see him in the Valley again.”
Today, many children, whom Prasad had given the sweets, have grown up and were among those who greeted him.
Prasad said he missed the Ziyarat (holy relic) at Dargah Hazratbal all these years. “I see a new Kashmir this time, which has developed to a great extent,” he says, in response to a question on whether he feels any change in Kashmir.
Prasad, who would live at Jawahar Nagar, says he can’t comment on whether he’ll return to the Valley permanently or not. “Who knows if I will return,” he said. “I have already sold the house in Jawahar Nagar. I am extremely glad to be back. But my return to Kashmir has fulfilled my desire to visit back the shrines in the Valley.”
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 11 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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