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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Omar Abdullah and Kashmir

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Rahul Gandhi's remarks on Omar Abdullah have come at the right time. In fact, just a day before this important comment we saw Omar Abdullah on TV, very stressed out and tense. Yet, the young man looked as determined as ever. This led me to tell my son on phone that if he nourished ambitions of reaching very high he had to be like Omar Abdullah- hardworking, tough and resolute. It has to be remembered always that "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown". My son couldn't have understood it better! But whatever! How we all would wish that this had not happened in Kashmir.

Kashmir. Once upon a time a beautiful land is going through turbulent times for the last now several years. In my childhood almost every Hindi film had at least one scene shot in Kashmir. That was the time when every newly-wed couple would only think of Kashmir for their Honeymoon. Indeed, it is some evil eye that has brought in so much wreck!

The entire situation is disturbing. Many Kashmiri families have had to leave their homes and settle as non-entities elsewhere. Some have counted their last breath this way. Yet, there are others who have given up all hopes of going back to their roots. One such being my daughter's Social Studies teacher in school. The year was 1998, if I am not mistaken. My daughter, who was then in 10th, came home and over the day's events told me that her teacher had got emotional while teaching about Kashmir in the class that day. As a child, she was probably not able to express herself. But as I look back I realize that somewhere that time she made a stout resolution. For my daughter scored the highest in Social Studies in the CBSE Board Exam that year, securing not just a Merit Certificate in the subject but also a good name for her teacher. That was her way of showing gratitude to the teacher who was otherwise suffering silently the pains of displacement.

In the same way, I happened to see the famous Film Director Ashok Pandit at one of the functions organized by a leading publication in Indore, 3-4 years ago. As a Kashmiri pandit, the man bore the same heart-wrenching pain as seen in my daughter's Social Studies teacher.

The pain and agony has become a part and parcel of every Kashmiri today. If it is unsafe staying there, it is nightmarish staying away. Who has benefited from the situation is a million dollar question!

Let's hope we arrive at some solution soon. It is a man-made hell. And the solution very much lies in our hands. We only need to be apolitical, sincere, purposeful and steadfast in our approach. Let's not blame the army for doing the job it has been assigned.