I am a 19 years old college student in Mumbai.Though I belong to the Kashmiri Pandit community, I have been a Mumbaikar from the last 18 years.
The late 80s and the early 90s were hard times for Kashmir, with insurgency widespread and state-sponsored terrorism active from across the border.They were trying times for the Pandits as well, who were already a small minority in Kashmir.Targeted killings and massacres forced them to flee the motherland, in search for security and safety.A overwhelming majority has not returned since, the wounds of fear are still fresh in their minds.
Both my mother's and father's families where not financially strong, though they got on and managed to provide for themselves.My maternal grandfather cultivated and lived off the land, my paternal grandfather was a forest officer.This was until my father got a Central Govt. job which made things better for his family.Mum and papa had not met yet, on with their then seperate lives.Mom similarly got a job as a teacher, and things were looking bright.
The meeting and engagement of my parents happened in Srinagar itself, until inclement conditions forced them to leave for safer havens in neighboring Jammu.My parents still vividly remember then tension, the fear and the frustration that enveloped their lives that time.Slowly gathering whatever they could transport and leaving a lot behind they left in the middle of the night.The newly built houses where left to the ravages of war and time.
In Jammu, my parents were married off in dire conditions.Those were uncertain times, with much hardship faced due to lack of money and resources, as families had to make fresh starts from a scratch.
My parents' jobs' allowed them to seek transfers to Mumbai, I was a kid of two at that time.With good education my family managed to survive and live well, the labors of my parents allowed us to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.My aunts and uncles also succeded well in life, with some of them migrating to Delhi and others to foriegn countries.
Yet thousands of kashmiri pandits without financial or educational backing are still languishing in refugee camps in their own country.What will the generations yet to come make of the insensitivity of the State towards its subjects.