When Kashmiriyat won

The recent Amarnath tragedy narrates the story of fellow feeling and an everlasting emotion of humanity

Tahir Syeed
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 17 2017 11:31PM | Updated Date: Jul 17 2017 11:31PM
When Kashmiriyat wonFile Photo

Zara zara hai meray Kashmir ka mehman nawaz

Rah main pathar kay tukdun nay dia pani mujhay

Had Narayin Chakbast been alive today he would have regretted his own words. Chakbast recited the couplet almost 90 years ago, impressed with the warmth and hospitality of the people in Kashmir. In the same valley, today he would have witnessed bloodbath of the innocent. Seven pilgrims fell to the bullets of gunmen in Anantang district of south Kashmir, last Monday, when radical gunmen fired upon the pilgrim bus returning from the cave of Amarnath shrine after fulfilling their religious duties. This brutality is a grim reminder about the social sanctity of the gun culture in a section of Kashmiri society. I have always been against the violence and believe in peaceful form of resistance. This attack, therefore, has strengthened my resolve. 

Every year lakhs of Hindus from other parts of the country come here to pay obeisance at the Amaranth cave. Interestingly, the cave was discovered by the Muslim shepherd, more than a century ago, and has since served as a symbol of religious harmony between the Hindus and Muslims, irrespective of the many highs and lows between New Delhi and Srinagar

Even during the peak of militancy, Muslims whole heartedly embraced Hindus and offered all possible support to perform their religious rights without any hassles. The recent attack has made us hang our heads in shame. 

Against such attacks in the past, common Kashmiris always exhibited Kashmiriyat. In 2008 when the valley was seething against the decision of transferring forest land to Amarnath Shrine Board, the Yatris were greeted with love. 2010 saw a repetition of it despite the massive outrage in valley over the killing of three young boys in a staged encounter by army.

Free food and other basic requirements were distributed by the people to ensure that yatris won’t face any inconvenience. Kashmiri’s feel the pain because they are themselves the worst sufferers. Kashmir’s heart is filled with humanity and that was witnessed few weeks back when a bus carrying pilgrims met an accident at Kulgam district in South Kashmir. Young Kashmiris responded with all concern and care. 

Even the July 10 militant attack provoked a befitting reply from the people who condemned it. Meanwhile, the hyper-nationalist news anchors who are spewing  venom, in prime time shows, against Kashmiris and trying to brand every Kashmiri as terrorist, pitting one against another must have got answers. Kashmiris proved what they stand for peace and brotherhood. Kashmiryat won.

The fanatic elements who disturb the peace in the name of religion  are in every society but they can’t be portrayed as the representatives the way news channels project when it comes to Kashmir. The elements inimical to peace have only one unequivocal agenda to pit people against each other, irrespective of their faith and religion.

Unfortunately even opposition political parties did not mind stoking communal tensions which was evident from the recent statement of National Conference which supported the Jammu Bandh.

NC was well aware about the fallout of this attack and it could have deepened the divide between Kashmir and Jammu and pit a Hindu Majority Jammu against Muslim Majority Kashmir. Had they given Jammu & Kashmir band call one could not have doubted their intentions but the way they incited regional divide, their intention was evident. They didn’t stop here, the party’s tech savvy working president Omar Abdullah took to twitter and cautioned Kashmiris living outside to be vigilant.

Omar Abdullah, the party president and former chief minister immediately  fanned the fire. He requested Rajnath Singh on the micro blogging site to ensure security of Kashmiris outside. The sincerity could have been in Omar Abdullah’s phone call and not in the provocative tweet which he did.  

Wittingly or unwittingly Omar Abdullah's tweet put thousands of lives on risk as his tweets were not only provocative but it could have whipped up religious fundamentalists to spew venom against Kashmiris. 

One can’t ignore the outreach of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to the victim yatris. She rushed to the local hospital and stayed with them for the whole night despite the security concerns.

The gesture of Chief Minister vindicated the true Kashmiriyat and defeated all such elements who try to damage the centuries old tradition of hospitality what Kashmir is known for.

(The views are personal )