The Unspoken Word
To start with I am a 23 year old Kashmiri girl. I start with this very absurd line because what follows in this little scripture of my thought is related to my origin the very soil and clay that makes me what I am, a Kashmiri Pandit.To some I may sound like a plea from one of the many diversities in our country that beg for attention, or at the very least beg for the obtrusive attention seeking pedestal in our Indian societal fabric as a minority. To those I would say don’t judge me from the few starting lines like a person is judged by the epithet on his grave.
I was born in a Kashmiri family and they adhered to the much progressive thinking that we have adopted as a community, owing to our exile. Although my words might seem like those spoken by someone who has seen the destitution and clamour leading to us being astray from our homes but all I have been witness to are stories ranted by my parents and grandparents over cups of evening tea or on a lazy afternoon.
I belong to a generation that sees no caste and creed divide. I belong to a generation that truly believes in leaping those barriers and bringing to this world oneness and I am truly proud of it. But at the same time I am also proud of my lineage, of the cultural flavour that I bring in this huge potpourri and sometimes this very person in me embarks on a journey of thought. I have been witness to the innumerable debates and issues raised by Kashmiri Pandits against what a generation before mine has been through, and yes there are many from my generation as well who are still engulfed by this misery of suffering , But as an advocate of what is just and right I wish to raise a question. I wish to question those who reek of hypocrisy and let out a sigh at sightings of somebody else’s wrongs and do not question their own conscience. I wish to pose just one question, “Do we really believe in our culture?
I have through experiences been forced to conclude that we lack the very coherence that makes a community what it is. We speak about being slowly diluted as a culture but there are innumerable times we fail to acknowledge a fellow Kashmiri’s presence or for that matter avoid a simple rendezvous with someone from our own community. There have been times when I have walked up to someone wearing a ‘Dhejhor’ in a place unknown ,or for that matter tried to kindle a conversation with someone in my office who I discovered was Kashmiri with the excitement of hearing a few words in a language that reminds me of home and in return just gotten ignorance and a cold response.
This isn't a call to the world for recognition of our community but a plea to those who are pretentious and cry for attention but at the same time denounce the very root that is theirs. To me being a Kashmiri is not necessarily brooding over a dying culture, or seeking favours in the name of minority ,or for that matter it isn’t even pledging to bear the burden of a dying community and tying myself in holy matrimony with another Kashmiri. To me being a Kashmiri is truly knowing my culture. It for me is an identity that I wear on my sleeve. It is a bond that recognizes the other. It is the happiness of hearing someone abuse or bond in the very language that is ours. It is the joy of ‘Haerath navid’ and ‘Haerath Kharcha’.It is a message that I wish we all carry in our hearts, of recognizing each other and the very essence that only we add to this mix of cultures that makes our country what it is.