The Lewdara example
Kashmir has a rich history and tradition of brotherhood and amity between various religious and ethnic communities. As, tragic and painful, death and devastation unfolded in the northern parts of the sub-continent at the time of the Partition, Kashmir was the place in the whole region that upheld its tradition of inter-religious brotherhood and peace. Little wonder, India's father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, saw a ray of hope emerging from Kashmir during that watershed moment. That spirit, despite considerable social and political change, including certain aberrations that sought to undermine its rich ethos of pluralism and amity, reflects even today in Kashmir. The example of the mostly-Muslim Lewdara village in South Kashmir that has pledged to take care of the four orphaned children of Ms Nancy Koul, a Pandit, who died last week, must make us all proud. The village, despite its own limited means, exemplifies how deep-rooted Kashmir's ethos of pluralism, inter-community brotherhood and care actually is. People will have to come forward in supporting the village in taking care of the protection, education and basic needs of these children. Under no circumstances should these children face a situation where they will have no means to support their living, and consequently migrate to outside the valley. This family has chosen to stay put despite the migration of most of the Pandit families from their village and have been supported and cared for by their Muslim neighbours throughout the 27 years of the turmoil period. Lewdara is just one of the many shining examples that Kashmir has to show to the world. Let it be supported to make the children, who have lost their loves oned, to thrive.