- We want peace in valley, but our plight remains painful
- We have got saffron, we have got almonds, we have got apples, we have got tourism; we could be the most bubbling economy if we are allowed to be on our own
- No Madam, our girls can study, go to college, cook at home, but they can’t go to places like movie halls or restaurants.
Today when I switched on the TV, my heart went out against all those who are turning paradise into ruins, the once described heaven, it seems, has turned into hell.
Sitting inside my house, I was forced to think whether all Kashmiris are triggering this violence or it’s just a chunk of people who are getting into violent mode.
Then, I suddenly remembered one of our drivers who had shared his free, frank opinion about Kashmir during our recent trip to Srinagar.
It was my seventh month of pregnancy when I had the urge to explore paradise on earth. And we went to this paradise.
This driver had a concern to drive carefully knowing I was expecting. He was there with us for three days and believe me, these three days kept me giving shock waves ,as and when he kept sharing his thoughts with my family.
He was very clear to share with us the fact that they ( according to him all Kashmiris) want independence, independence both from India and Pak.
He was candid enough to spill out that Pak just wants to cash in on the situation which we will never let it do.
He also had an intelligent reply in store. “We have got saffron, we have got almonds, we have got apples, we have got tourism; we could be the most roaring economy if we are allowed to be on our own,” he said when asked about his concern for his state.
Aren’t there any theatres, movie halls? I asked when he was taking us to Lal Chowk.
“Madam, there were eight movie halls in Srinagar and they all are burnt and damaged.”
“In Islam, girls are not allowed to go to restaurants, movie halls, pubs etc. We don’t follow the culture you people follow in India.” He was going on, may be he got an inquisitive female in his cab after years.
“Don’t you think you should come out of such thinking in modern era?” I asked him.
“No Madam, our girls can study, go to college, cook at home, but they can’t go to ‘such’ places.”
By this time, my head was aching. May be, there was too much pressure there…after listening to his views.
We cancelled off our Shikara ride as I was in no mood.
I asked him if he can come the next day a little early to take us to Gulmarg and we will go for shikara ride in the evening. He was very much ok with the idea.
However, heavy snowfall started by 10 pm which continued all through the night. Roads were blocked, and hence he couldn’t turn up the next day. But his call came expressing his disability to reach our hotel as the weather was extremely harsh.
Meanwhile, we kept ourselves packed in our rooms. There was no electricity. And the views of this driver were bumping in my head.
“If these are the views of Kashmiris, what’s going to be the fate of this state?” was my only question.
One day passed. Snowfall continued and our flight was cancelled.
A day later, he called up again, “Sirji sorry, aapko ghuma nahi saka. Mere baton ko dil pe mat lena.”
And my husband said “ok”.
I was wandering if I could get some more viewpoints, but, the story was half told or may be fully told…which I am still trying to understand.
And may be the plight of government remains the same…they too are still trying to understand the plight of so-called ‘Kashmiris’.