'We don't want tourists to feel alienated in our land'

At a time when confusion has gripped Kashmir, people are again showing their true spirit and large heartedness. It was again on display at Ahmedpora village of Baramulla district situated along world famous ski resort Gulmarg road.

On Friday when an advisory issued by the government urged tourists and Amarnath pilgrims to “curtail” their stay in Kashmir, it gave rise to speculations that Union government will issue some major order for the region which may worsen law and order situation.

The advisory like other towns and villages across Kashmir caused panic among people, the news also reached sleepy Ahmedpora, a village of around 300 households in north Kashmir. The people of the village throughout the day see tourists and Amarnath pilgrims after completing their pilgrimage, flocking towards picturesque meadow Gulmarg.

The first thought after the advisory reached masses struck Muzammil Malik and AltafHussain. “We could understand the plight of tourists after the advisory was issued. We decided to make arrangements for their food and lodging. We at our villages decided to procure vegetables from our kitchen gardens and made space vacant at our houses. In our land we didn’t want them to feel alienated,” said Malik.

In order to reach out to the maximum tourists and Amarnath pilgrims, Malik took to micro blogging site Twitter where he posted: “If any tourist, yatri needs house, food on Magam, Gulmarg road, please call: …. At least I 10-15 people can stay at my home free of cost”.

Though no one turned until late night, Muzamil got calls from Delhi, Patna and other states for his “goodwill” gesture. Hussain, a teacher explains his point in helping others when many people are fending for themselves. “We have to understand that there were people in Bangalore, Dehradun, Punjab and other places, who post Pulwama incident helped Kashmiris, during those testing times. It was a test. We have seen these precarious situations before and we have faced them. We didn’t want that an outsider should feel hell in a paradise”.

Sociologist DrWakar-ul-Amin explains this nature of Kashmiris as “accommodative culture”.

“We (Kashmiris) are actually like this. It is in our genes I would say. We have no history of being brute. We have shown this during every crisis situation,” said Amin, who is currently pursuing research on Kashmir’s culture.

Amin added: “It is the nature of Kashmir’s accommodative culture that we have accommodated and absorbed different philosophies”.