|Representative image: Kashmiri Children|
I have had heard s much about Kashmir Valley that I was dying to visit it at the earliest. It was like a dream coming true when I visited Kashmir for the very first time. I observed the natural scenic beauty, the unique culture and the beautiful heritage Kashmiris possess. I saw the vendors and the millionaires, shopkeepers and the farmers and everyone else in their unique traditional attire - Pheran. It made me fall in love again with this place and her people. Despite the fact that Kashmir is a violence hit area but one can see a number of tourists from across the globe in every season. And what I analysed is that it is their hospitality alone that brings tourists to the valley even when the violence is at its zenith.
In spite of everything positive and beautiful I was told about Kashmir, I did not like Kashmiris in the beginning. That owes a lot to the stories we are made to believe. Yes I hated Kashmiris.
You may be perplexed after reading this but this is the ultimate reality.
I visited Kashmir a number of times in the last 3 years and I have been observing everything very minutely. During my first visit I was with my uncle. We had gone for purchasing a bike. As we had to reach on time so we left very early in the morning from Rajouri. We reached there at around 2 p.m. Due to some official reasons, we however were not be able to finish our work by 4.
So we left for Rajouri at around 6 p.m from the valley. It was 16th of August, 2015. We had dinner at Shopian at around 8:30 p.m. We were advised by some strangers not to travel on bike now as it's too late. And it's challenging to ride on Mughal Road. After reaching Heerpur the last settlement of the valley, we encountered overflowing of fuel in our bike. It took almost 30 minutes to deal with it. As we already were to late, left with no other option, we decided to stay there only- at Dubjan.
As our bike was making noise, a stranger enquired “Ap kon ho?” (Who are you?). We didn’t share the complete story with him. Nonetheless he took us to his tent as he understood the potential threat to ride n Mughal Road so late in the night.
Subsequently, we came to know that he was a mobile doctor. He told us to park our motor cycle safely nearby. He was with his friends and occupied too. He arranged blankets and heater from somewhere which is indeed an almost impossible thing to arrange in that area. He also arranged a dinner for us. I was pleasantly amazed by his behaviour. He was indeed an angel sent to us. A great human being he proved. After eating we had a very long conversation about the unrest in the state and some other issues. We shared our contact numbers. Eventually we left for home in the early morning. But long before that moment, the guy had won our hearts and minds. However, he was a Kashmiri only.
It hurt when we left. And apart of my heart, hated it.
That Kashmiri doctor, from then onwards used to call us at least once in a month to enquire about me and my family. But due to the unrest in the valley, we were not able to talk with each other for quite some time. A few days back, early in the morning, he called me up again after an year. It made me happy to hear him. He was asking, “kab ana hai Kashmir, aa jao jaldi hafte, do hafte keliye" (when will you come to Kashmir; come soon, for a week or two). He too seemed happy to talk to us. That man actually represents Kashmir. Yes Dr. Ishaq is Kashmiri.
Thereafter most of the Kashmiris I met were the same. I no more hate them. But I envy them for their hospitality, loving and caring nature and for being so good.
About the Author: Aehsan Ul Haq Danish is a student of Jammu University and hails from Rajouri town.
Disclaimer: The views of the author are strictly personal and do not in any way represent the views of Pir Panjal Post