Hope is the ony hope we can rely on
Kashmir has gone through tough times. However, historical pages reveal a lot about the robust societal order that has kept this landlocked valley and its people going against all the odds. Kashmir even being landlocked particularly with high and mighty extended mountainous ranges has been the target of invaders. Most of these invaders would loot whatever little was collected by poor Kashmiris and just at the onset of winter would hand over (read outsource) the reins of terror to their cronies. Poor, helpless Kashmiris would bear all this loot, plunder and destruction as their destiny but at the same time would never lose their social bonding at any cost. This is unique of Kashmiri people even now!
This Sunday I had a chance to attend a social function with people from all walks of life—with diverse political ideology; business interests and what not. Usually, I avoid such high-end gatherings because you get lost in such a huge and diverse crowd; sometimes for a moment losing your own identity. But, the huge compatibility factor acquired by the host over the period of time or maybe because of his noble genetic mapping obliged me to join the gathering. The host was kind enough to acknowledge my presence by showering enough generosity for a small fry like me. As I said the gathering had two extreme ends, and in between many traditional party goers, snobs, and compulsive invitees had filled the gap. But the most interesting aspect of this function and obviously for several other such gatherings is that even the sworn political enemies, business rivals enjoy their sumptuous meal from the same ‘trami’ (plate) like the proverbial loin and goat story. This is what Kashmir and Kashmiriyat are all about! This is the positive side of a lively and well-knit society.
Anyways, coming out of the hangover of a gala and lavish feast and shoulder rubbing with ‘who is who’ of, the city elite and influential people the best of Kashmiri people is they come together and join hands through thick and thin and join each other’s grief and pleasure. Maybe the legacy of insecurity as obsessive baggage over the centuries of oppression may have inculcated this trait into our psyche, or maybe we are blessed with a genetic map where having some empathy even for our sworn enemies in distress is a norm. God knows what kind of protoplasm we are made and what type of nucleus governs our societal instincts? We may have unending differences and nurture hostilities against each other however God has gifted us with a unique social disposition to celebrate contentment and mourn our losses collectively.
Some social scientists and many Kashmiri people will definitely differ with me, and they have a logic to differ. For the last seven decades, we as a nation have faced many fronts of change and transformation. Because of long spells of oppression that we suffered prior to 1947 our elders could not keep pace with the changing world—the modernization and empowerment etc. Our political status after independence in the subcontinent brought us to the centre stage of conflict and uncertainty, and we could not grow like our immediate neighbours. Later when the whole world was admiring the satellite age, we got stuck in the deceptive political warp. And at the onset of the digital era when time and distance became irrelevant, and the world became a global village we poor fellows got entangled in the vortex of worst turmoil making us vulnerable both political and economically. This situation of uncertainty may have made a huge dent into our societal behaviour of love and empathy that our forefathers had well-looked-after even during huge, worst and cruel spells of subjugation. Uncertainty always draws towards obsessive materialism and egotism. We as a nation are not to be blamed for this, but it is the political censuring and economic exploitation along with ecological vandalism that may have brought us to any such situation of hopelessness.
Under these pressing situation optimism is the only mantra. Kashmiri people should not heed to insulting propaganda of few typecasting Kashmiris as selfish but should continue with their endeavour of being good hosts with enough understanding for all irrespective of caste, colour and creed. I too am an optimist! And the gala social function of a dear Kashmiri friend made me not only understand that we Kashmiri people after so much of exposure to the conflict are same who relish together and mourn as one society, but my belief in Kashmiriyat got strengthened.