This Blog provides an insight on the Kashmir-issue, India and Pakistan. The articles on this Blog can be best described as thought-provoking. The articles thrive to trigger debate about the miseries enslaved Kashmiris are facing and discuss also possible solutions to this long standing conflict. It also aims to convince readers why Independent Kashmir is the best solution for all parties involved.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ashraf Qureshi: My companion, Friend and Brother

Remember that this person is Ashraf – noblest - in letter and in spirit

I heard a voice. God Almighty was ordering angels,” Rise and prepare to receive a noble person. Take him to the same high segment of paradise where Maqbool Bhat the martyr stays. Remember that this person is Ashraf (noblest) in letter and in spirit. I see Maqbool Bhat and many more pure souls preparing to receive Ashraf Qureshi.” Suddenly I woke up and opened my eyes. I was perspiring, and the saga of my companionship with Ashraf Qureshi and the story of the days of our struggle rolled before my eyes.

On February 2, 2012, I received a telephone call from Pakistan saying that Ashraf Qureshi had breathed his last at 3 o’clock in the morning. I was preparing myself for last one year to receive this bad news yet the news when broken to me caused me deep anguish. I telephoned his wife and children in Pakistan. We talked in cries. However the redeeming factor was that his dead body was being buried in   Mirpur, Azad Kashmir. I had talked about this matter with late Ashraf Sahib and many more friends in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. I was convinced that Ashraf had himself expressed this desire in his will.

He was my childhood companion and friend. We lived in the same locality viz Saydpora in Nowhatta (Srinagar) distanced by just two buildings. They were seven brothers including Ashraf and two sisters. He was also my blood relation and he was elder to me by just a year and nine months.

He was what his name depicted; noble, silent, harmless, and extraordinarily courageous and with artistic bent of mind. After passing our days of childhood, we came to the stage of youthfulness and were gripped by the fever of Plebiscite Front. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was our icon. I was still a child when I developed fascination for Sheikh Abdullah. He once visited our house and took me in his lap. Ashraf was a fan of him. As a small boy he twice took me to Soura to come to the presence of Sheikh Abdullah at his residence. I think Ashraf was in communication with the Sheikh during latter’s internment in Kodikanal in Tamilnadu and also while he was in some other jail. It was Ashraf’s intense obsession for freedom that had brought him close to the tallest leader of the history of Kashmir freedom.

Towards Communal Harmony

We can cry and laugh together
The Greater Kashmir of March 5 carried a news item about the global meet of Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and its deliberations over various issues arising from their departure from the valley in 1990 owing to political turmoil. It is more than two decades that this community is living away from its home. Obviously, one living away from home has to face many hardships. Their urge to return to the valley is natural and should not be grudged.

In my writings on current affairs in Kashmir, I have, a couple of times reflected on the issue of Pandits, their unwanted departure from their homes and the prospect of their return and reintegration in Kashmiri milieu. I have, like many other political activists including dissenters, always held that Pandits are part and parcel of Kashmiri history and society and an important component of Kashmiriyat. This is the view of most of Kashmir’s. On personal level, interaction between the migrated community and their neighbours, friends and well-wishers back home never ceased. They maintained their cordial relations through communication and in many cases through personal visits on either side. This shows that on grassroots level goodwill exists in considerable measure.

People in the valley are mystified why the Pandits left in haste and recklessly in 1990. They should have opted to stay on and face the ordeal which their Muslim neighbours and friends had to go through. Communities have to learn to face the difficult times with fortitude. Those who stayed back and did not leave the valley continued to be treated sympathetically. Even in social aspects of life, they were the recipients of goodwill of the majority community.