Miss you Mastani!
You were an embodiment of selfless love and care
Wandhama massacre left a deep scar on my mind and soul. I had seen that tragedy with my own eyes. Even though I knew my compatriots-the Kashmiri Muslims (except few) had nothing to do in the enactment of this barbarism, but still I felt bouts of repugnance against them! Years later I understood reason of my repugnance; well it had psychological reasons. We were benumbed by this carnage so much that one could vent one's anger and hate toward anyone whom he or she could even have slightest of doubt of being connected with it. This feeling of hate and anger would give psychological relief.
Several Kashmiri Pandit families didnít migrate and instead chose to remain with their Muslim neighbours. The threat was always lurking there, but the love and trust of Muslim neighbours convinced them to stay put. But with Wandhama massacre, I felt as if that trust has been betrayed. Later I discovered that I was wrong in this assumption.
After 1998 I started visiting Kashmir frequently but kept mostly to myself without interacting with locals. I used to collect first-hand information about Pandit families, their properties, temples and shrines which were indeed in dilapidated shape.
I used to stay at a hotel in Boulevard. A hotel attendant Mastani made every effort to make me comfortable. Unfortunately, whenever I looked at this 16-year-old boy, it was a gush of antagonism, which I had for the Muslims. In response, Mastani looked toward me with reverence, and I felt as if his eyes glitter with some abstract hope in me. He took pains to serve me. And it was not because he was paid to do so by the hotel, but instead he had that strange affection for me. That is why he used to wait me long hours to serve me food and always advised me not to move out after 6 in the evening. Once Mastani brought taweez for me from Dargah and with sheer innocence told me; ďDidi please come back we need you people...Kashmir is not Kashmir without Pandits.Ē I was stunned to hear this; how can a teenager, who only knows to serve guests at the hotel, think and say this! My eyes welled-up but I hid this feeling from Mastani.
I visited Kashmir again in 1999 and stayed in the same hotel. The moment I arrived at the hotel, I unwittingly but fervently I looked for Mastani. Excitedly I asked the manager about him. The moment I uttered the word Mastani, the manager became eerily silent. I could see tears in his eyes. I anxiously asked, ďWhat happened to him.Ē His reply made my heart sink in an unexplainable grief: ďHe is missing!Ē For the first time after I was forced to leave my home in Kashmir, I strongly felt for a Kashmiri Muslim. The scenes of Mastani serving me, waiting for me to take food, bringing the taweez for me and always advising me against moving out late in the evening flashed on my mind screen. My eyes were moist, I felt as if I have been dumped into a sea of melancholy. I donít know for how much time I stood at the managerís desk in shock and sadness.
My repugnance for those people who made me leave my home in the midst of a night carrying nothing other than the clothes I had put on. My grandmother Kakni wanted to atleast take her prized possession - Thokur Bhagwan and Jageer (hubble bubble) with her but fear of getting raped and killed made us run away as soon as we could! But I believe an ordinary Kashmiri Muslim is not responsible for what happened to me. Ordinary Kashmiri Muslim did not torch my home and didn't call us Kafirs through Masjid loudspeakers to leave homes. No, ordinary Kashmiri Muslim is Mastani - an embodiment of selfless love, compassion and care; he is the one who eagerly wants me back to my home and who feels that his Kashmir is not complete without me. Ordinary Kashmiri Muslim is Mastani, who is himself at the mercy of ghost of death. Mastani made me realise something which scores of lectures of politicians didnít do. I owe you a lot Mastani and I miss you!
Kashmir is blossoming. New gardens, new tourist spots, new infrastructure is coming up. It seems as if life has resurrected itself after two decades of blood and gore. But where is Mastani and where is my Kakniís Thokur Bhagwan and Jageer? Till now, I have not found them!
(Indu Jalali originally belongs to Srinagar and presently lives in Germany.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 9 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 9 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OPINION
MINOR SENT TO JUVENILE HOME
D A RASHID
Srinagar, Mar 9: A local court here Saturday remanded 11 youth to police custody and sent a minor to Juvenile Home on various criminal charges including rioting and unlawful assembly. City Munsiff More
- Srinagar City
RTI QUERY REVEALS MUCK
Srinagar, Mar 9: Putting question mark over the credibility of examination system of Kashmir University Ėevaluators of answer sheets of Bachelor in Business Administration(BBA) program didnít add up marks More
5.94 Lakh Youth Register For Jobs
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, Mar 9: While Jammu and Kashmir has the highest unemployment rate in north India, around 5.94 lakh youth have registered themselves with the employment department in order to get job. As per More
- South Asia
Islamabad, Mar 9: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif has said he would resolve the Kashmir dispute and try and develop better relations with Afghanistan if he came to power.  More
Letís change this mindset and explore other avenues
Even before a child is born, his parents start dreaming about his life and career. They aspire him or her to be the most successful person so that he or she makes them proud. No doubt itís the obligation More