Thursday, 7 June 2012

Small Things

Social networking throws a lot of people in your path. By the collar, because they have no choice. On Twitter, I came to know a guy from the other side of Kashmir. That was my first rendezvous with anyone who has actually lived on the other side of LoC. Azad Kashmir. Pakistan Administered Kashmir. Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Whatever. From Muzaffarad of Kashmir.

I wonder what that part of Kashmir looks like. Not that I have travelled and seen everything on this side. How the people there live? Do they come across army-men as often as we do? Its surprising how little news of everyday affairs travels onto this side of the LoC, which is not even a border. There is a concept that a lot of people from the towns which went with Pakistan administered Kashmir have settled in the West. I wonder how true is that?

Do you have the Kangri for when its cold?
The pheran? Isfand?
Do you hang the czaalan from a thread at the back?
Tell me about your food?
Do you have the wazwaan and the waza to cook it?
Is it same to ours?
Is your meal, too, incomplete without rice?
What about Nun-chai and its company of girda?
In a samovar?
Our bagel, czachwour?
In winters, do you too have harissa?
Do you dry vegetables for winters?
In threads under the roofs?
Do you tell children of our history - together and apart?
Do we appear in your History? Are you a part of ours?
Do you speak the languages we do?
Are you a part of our great Sufi tradition?
Do mothers there tie threads on the Aasthaan doors?
Are your hopes fulfilled? Do you hope for the same things as we do?

Generations ago, we were the same. How different could we be now?

‘The failure of the subconscious was the border. The line of control did not run through 576 kilometeres of militarised mountains. It ran through our souls, our hearts, and our minds. It ran though everything a Kashmiri, an Indian, and a Pakistani said, wrote, and did. It ran through the fingers of editors writing newspaper and magazine editorials, it ran through the eyes of reporters, it ran through the reels of Bollywood coming to life in dark theatres, it ran through conversations in coffee shops and TV screens showing cricket matches, it ran through families and dinner talk, it ran through the whispers of lovers. And it ran through our grief, our anger, our tears, and our silences.’
-          Basharat Peer, Curfewed Night.


  1. Nice post , really appreciate it ...

    before answering your questions you should know a few things , in AJK Pahari,gojri & Kashmiri people live here. Each ethnic groups have there own traditions and culture. pahari people are in majority. Kashmiri people are mainly migrants from the valley.

    yes the kashmiri people use kangri and wear pheran. Pahari people dont.

    No we dont hang the czaalan.

    No we dont have wazwaan and waza to cook it.

    we do cook gushtabas and ristas.
    We mainly eat meat , yakhni and palk gosht.

    Rice is like everything for everyone on this side, meal is totally incomplete without safaid Bhat.

    Nun chai is quite common all over AJK , we kashmiri people consume is regularly on daily basis and some families use samovar not very common though.

    Yes we do dry vegetables for winters.

    Yes history is told to children , together and apart.

    yes of course you are in our history , all holidays are celebrated here from shaheed maqbool butt day to black day etc. all are respectfully and significantly remembered.

    People here mainly speak pahari but kashmiri is also spoken by kashmiri cast people. It is different from your side kashmiri ... as it is not pure kashmiri.

    yes everyone hopes for mainly the same thing , azadi of kashmir . This is something that is very deeply in rooted in us.

    generations ago we were the same , but because of the LOC a whole civilization was disturbed and what once belonged to center srinagar was divided and made dependent on punjab for a long time , which in turn had a great influence on us.

    My friend The kashmiri Diaspora is quite vast and has long sad story of people being dragged away from there kashmiri roots, but in AJK some of those roots still exist significantly but who knows what to expect in next decade or so. Long Live Kashmir !!!

  2. A fascinating glimpse into PoK. Thanks very much Khawaja Hamad


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