I said Adab, she said Namaskar. In my Adab was vulnerability and in her Namaskar was insecurity. Nature was smiling and birds were chirping. Blue sky had pervaded above all.
Between my Adab and her Namaskar was missing that indiscernible existential thread. Nature alone knew it. Our lips tried to manage the language, but eyes could not express it. It was an imitation of those blending times.
Mimicry has given us strength. It hides our distrust and paints our expressions. It is with us since the times we had non-native mode of existence. It is that historical dumbness, since Zoon gave us that gloom of separation and Arnimal painted it in her pathos that was our lived religion.
Despite our upheavals, we lived in waakhs and shulks, wept in Zoon’s sorrow, and mourned the loss. We learnt the language of laughing at our humiliations during Mughals, Pathans, Sikhs, and Dogras.
Great Abdullah and Nehru had shaken hands to regain the lost nativity, which was generated by Lalded and Nund Reshi provided it a flow. We lost it in the fragmentation of culture. Instead of looking inwards; we shifted our referent posts.
The new middle class took legitimacy in the confessional politics. Managed and directed from the distant places, our power elite with the neo rich class, especially after 60s gradually worked against the blending traditions and condemned the shared history. Its climax came in closing 1990, when the core was split into two contesting parts. Pandits got displaced. They did not beg, nor did they perish.
Their passion for education came to their rescue. In camps and apartments, in heat waves with water scarcity, they embraced the hard sufferings of displacement for the sake of the education of their children. They became world citizens invoking their Lalded - Nund Reshi Traditions with pride and fresh fervor.
On the other hand, our people in Kashmir were trodden down by the conflict dynamics. The war on terror gained ground in new normal world. The writ of the state has worked. Cleave of weekly calendars, disengagement with stone pelting and opening out of institutions have gradually brought routine life back. This has given people time to introspect.
Unimagined problems and social defacing have surfaced with multiple narratives. The disintegration of families, break down of social norms, drug addictions in the youth, failing of marriages and reluctance to get married are the new actualities.
This has cast gloom with pain. Locations, land digitalization and map formulations are open to scrutiny. The local elitism is melting but new language of mimicry has appeared.
The hurrying sense is that India is emerging a country with more resources and opportunities. It has unyielding grasp, while Pakistan is in retreat, dreary and lost in its making. This is new normal, a post truth with multiple narratives.
The power dynamics and its display have changed its course. People wanted peace. It could come this way has led to disbelief and mental aghast. It has raised questions to answer. Nobody is going to buy it that ‘Jagmohan has driven them out’.
There are now new unfolding narratives, still unexpressive and unexplored. That has made each one dumb. The truth is bitter that discrediting Lalded and Nund Reshi have not generated a stable alternate tradition. Great Abdullah knew it.
He retained pandits after well thought intervention in 1939. Emergence of Muslim educated middle class has not come up of its own. It needed human agency and functional literacy to transform the illiterate multitudes.
They were pandits and a section of urbane Muslim class. Post independent era since 1953 to 1990s was an era of mystification for distant referent. It has come to disillusionment. In thirty years of time, it has its metamorphosis.
The pandits have spread all over the world, struggling to retain their traditions; whereas Muslims in Kashmir are at crossroads with plenty of questions that need answers.
Pandits have freedom to retain their tradition anywhere, for it has lived universal tradition with them. Whereas, the Muslims have to decide about it in their own place, afresh after a ruin of decades.
It is a huge question whether to live with the historical continuity or to give it a break for a non-native mode of existence. The elite leadership has remained confused in the burden of denial.
Weird social formations and a new political thinking are emerging. There is no doubt that the administrative measure of present dispensation under LG Manoj Sinha has been clear and open, unlike the traditional leaders to keep mystification thickened with their subjectivity. People never have been told the realities that strength of Kashmiri lies in its inward journey of historical existence.
In these silent times, Kashmiris are meeting the tacit actualities. It is perhaps, L.G Manoj Sinha’s credit that he goes beyond party line, in building bonds and in reading the psyche well.
He is fearless and a groomed student leader of a primer institution based on institutional ideology of merit and excellence. He seems to command the situation.
If the impact is gradual, it is the weak implementation. He is for justice and peaceful development. He has admiration from the lower rungs, marginalized middle class, students and academicians in general. You sense it in campus conversations.
Elites of politics and business have their compulsions. The compression of time and space, scrutiny and surveillance beyond control have made future uncertain in the era of manufactured uncertainties and economically driven world.
Nevertheless, past stands naked. It has opened out for interpretations and examinations. The administration must read it with good intentions of intense compassion for the good of society.
The people have suffered hugely. That would be tribute to our heritage. It is difficult to mystify and blurry the realities in this multiple digital world.
What lies in the womb of future? This question is behind silent expressions. The children of upper class are leaving their homes and not returning from overseas after completing their education. Their parental mansions are vacant houses.
The new rich class is busy in building shops, new houses and buying lands. They flow with the current. The youth mostly from lower classes or from villages and towns are running for salaried government jobs, which are a few in the market. Ideological baggage without engagement has led to different non- conformist paths.
First time, the intellectual class senses the deprivations created by a miss of those fine traditions, which we had lived. Education has made a Kashmiri Pandit and a Muslim, a globe toddler with their fine packaging in the marketing world. History has provided them a moment of retrospection.
The Pandits have resolved it. However, Muslim intellectuals still are in dilemma of contradictory paths. It is whether to erase pre-Islamic traditions along with its accumulative capital in Lal Ded-Nund Reshi Tradition or accepting it in the historical existence of togetherness. The mixes of the two have not been productive social formations. Future holds it straight that Batta –Musalman dichotomy has become irrelevant.
Pandit children, who have gone to places, would not return, this way. Those who come might not be in that frame, which their parents were. The Kashmiri homogeneity is in pieces, collected by outside migrant workers, outside asylum seekers and the children of conflict subjectivities. It does not have that moral solacing environment and the agency of transformation that would fill up the vacuum.
The leadership is yet to emerge. Kashmir is turning into new experimentation. It is up to Muslim leadership in Kashmir, where they want to lead the new generation.
The selective glorified traditions cannot be retained without backing of hard reform movement, which has to be indigenous in nature. Kashmir has its fragrance in nature and in its ambiance.
Its seeds need fresh germination. You can find it in conversations and in the warmth of its hospitality.
The author is an Emeritus professor in sociology at Bananas Hindu University.