When Kashmiris are being attacked across India, let me telly you a story about Kashmiriyat. Last summer I was in Kashmir with my family. We were coming back from Sonamarg. The road to Sonamarg goes through Zojila Pass, one of the highest motorable road in the world. It’s a desert land for dozens of kilometers. Even in summer the temperature is near freezing.
As we were coming back from Sonamarg, we spotted a man walking alone in the road in the freezing cold. It was also raining. Our driver Sultan stopped the taxi asked him what he’s doing in this chilling cold. Sultan told him he’ll freeze to death. He didn’t answer. Sultan asked him to get into the taxi. He got into the taxi and Sultan tried to get him into a conservation. He mumbled. He had no clue as to where he’s. He didn’t answer where he comes from. By his looks, he was not a Kashmiri. He’s probably from the Hindi heartland. Probably he was mentally deranged. Sultan handed him over to the police in the nearest police check post.
I’m sure that back home in Kerala, no driver would’ve picked up a stranger, evena a Malayali not speak of an OTHER, in similar circumstances to a family vehicle. That’s Kashmiriyat. With that incident I fell in love with Kashmir and Kashmiris. There are many other similar stories from that trip to Kashmir.
As ‘Indian’ people were on a murderous spree across India, attacking Kashmiri traders and Kashmiri students, people from Indian mainland who were travelling in Kashmir did not face any hardship. Kashmiriyat still still lives in the event of terrorist attcks and even when Kashmiri brethren are being attacked in mainland India.
Binu Mathew is the Editor of Counatercurrents.org. He can be reached at [email protected]