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Kashmir For Me

By RK Rishikesh Sinha, New Delhi


image: eenar 6

I am neither a Kashmiri nor a tourist who is writing a travelogue on Kashmir. But my past relation with this land has prompted me to pen down my thoughts.

The story goes back to those days when I was a teenager. I have spent good years of my schooldays in Kashmir from 1991 to 1996-97 which are my cherished memories even today. Living in a Kasmiri’s house and among few Kashmiri friends who didn’t flee after ‘terrorism’ started in the valley, developed my affinity for them. (For many Kashmiris, the word ‘terrorism’ might not go down their throat. For them, it is a ‘freedom movement’.)

It’s been more than a decade my family left Kashmir. I wonder why there is a sudden urge in me to put down my thought on Kashmir, and that is after a decade. Understanding that writing on Kashmir will be one more addition on the machinery that is involved into the whole issue of Kashmir problem.

I think Kashmir has not been portrayed from a teenager’s perspective so far, whose father’s job in defence brought him to the valley. More than that, I feel, especially after terrorism hit the valley, Kashmir is represented either by the pro-independence Kashmiris or by the pro-Pakistan Kashmiris. And if there is something Indianness in Kashmir, it is the presence of Indian army, Indian media, the country ‘India’, and the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which gives special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Here, I am beginning with this post describing Kashmir from the perspective of a teenager who is not a Kashmiri and is not a part of the Indian machinery. I will be describing my own perception about Kashmir and the events unfolding around me during my stay.

Another reason which has driven me to write this post is the mere feeling that sons and daughters of Indian armed forces personnel serving in Kashmir lived a cocooned and fenced life. For them, Kashmir ends in their heavily guarded camps. They don’t know anything about Kashmir, the Kashmiri people. All things of necessity are delivered inside the campus. Their life begins and ends inside campus. Our campus in this respect was fluid – we used to visit market, playground.

We had Hindu Kashmiri neighbours and Kashmiri Punjabi friends. Our doodhwala was a muslim Kashmiri. We didn’t stay in quarters but in Kashmiri homes at Sanatnagar. I had my schooling in KV No.2, Air Force Station, Srinagar.

I would peep into the (i) lives of children of defence personnel during their stay in Kashmir, (ii) the Mast Gul episode in the Charar-e-sharief siege (iii) 1993 Sopore episode (iv)on terrorist (v) fiyadeen attack (vi) Indian armed forces (vii) and of course there will be many memorable personal events on Kashmir and on Kashmiriyat. In three words, it will be on ‘Kashmir’, ‘India’ and ‘Pakistan’. Happy reading! Do drop your comment.

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