People, who are proud of their country, their state, their region & their community, can never be annihilated or defeated by their adversaries, even in adverse circumstances or during adverse times. Such people remain steadfast in their mission & they surely do come out of the whirlpool with flying colours. The Jewish community is the best example before us. They fought for thousands of years, maintained their identity, and worshipped their roots, their motherland, and the result was obvious.

Temple in Srinagar. Photo by Richard Asplen.

Why I  am prompted to compile this write-up is, perhaps, the outcome of pessimism, I feel I am suffering from for quite some time. While trying to assimilate all that goes before my eyes, especially, when it pertains to the community, I belong to & feel proud of associating myself with.

I recall the days when every one of us was in turmoil after the 1989 migration. Hardly a few of our community members owned their houses. Ninety-five percent of people were homeless. Students, businessmen, land owners & women in particular suffered the most. But Mahadev & Uma Devi was with us. Siva knew that an innocent community was suffering for no fault of theirs. Perhaps, people like Jagmohan Ji & other Governors, who came after him or for that matter of fact Late Bala Saheb Thackeray Ji appeared on the scene to assist the forsaken community out of great turbulence.

But then, it was for us as the community members to continue the sacred fellow feeling we had developed, but we failed to imbibe this spirit amongst our progeny. Our priority ought to have been community interests & not individual benefits. We talk of our customs & traditions or we plan ways of passing on the rich inheritance of our forefathers, but to whom? The way our community has got fragmented & even amalgamated in few years, both because of professional compulsions & inter-community caste marriages, there is hardly a chance for our community to survive as a  community, not to talk of carrying forward our customs & traditions or great inheritance we are so proud of.

A Kashmiri Pandit woman in traditional clothes and elaborate jewellery. Photo via. Pinterest

Who is responsible for bringing the community to such a pass? Was it not the responsibility of those, who had received the concessions as being part of KP Community to repay a part of the debt that they owed to their community by sticking to their roots at least by restricting matrimonial alliances within their community? Here, I talk of girls in particular. Instead of understanding the pain & sufferings of the parents, they preferred their comforts and their interests. Most of them opted for life partners from outside the community without considering the risk of getting cut off from at least one of the parental sides. The result is before our eyes. In Jammu alone, almost ninety percent of KP community houses are either locked or at the point of being disposed off at throw-away prices or resided either by an elderly man, lady, or an elderly couple.

The problem would not have been so severe had these forsaken people not suffered migration & had continued normal living in the valley, for they had known people around then. Their relations were not far away from them. But in cities like Jammu and more so in metro cities, it is an entirely different story. An atmosphere of isolation, no social life, and individualism prevalent everywhere, so the problems. Readers may not like my way of thinking as it is a human tendency to progress & achieve prosperity for overall survival, but the progress that we have achieved is not what we should have thought about. People go to Paris, London & Rome for enjoyment after feeling financially sound, but we lived in paradise. We ought to have thought of our roots besides material progress. I am afraid that the day may not be far when we will read about or find the traces of the history of our near-extinct community available in archives only.