Its 25 years since the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley, but the talk of preserving their rich culture and the ambition to return to their roots still dominates the discourse when they meet. People of the community, who have proved their mettle in almost every field, still feel nostalgic about their culture, language and cuisine and crave to get a feel of it.
One such moment was witnessed at a three-day cultural event 'Shuhul Taaph-V' organised by Kashmir Education Culture and Science Society (KECSS), held from February 21 to 23.
Speaking about his experience with the community members Jawhar Sircar, chief executive officer of Prasar Bharati, said "I always felt at home for several reasons...there is not one among us who is not doing something intellectual. There is no other group where accomplishment is a matter of life.
My amazement grows when I see the community members involved in work which requires extreme concentration on the practise of the mind, he said during the event.
The programme laid strong emphasis on the diminishing dimensions of culture, the need to preserve the Kashmiri language, cuisine and festivals in its true form.
While highlighting the need to know about one's roots and heritage, chairman of Delhi Public School Srinagar (J&K), Vijay Dhar pointed out the necessity to renovate the temples in the Valley which are of importance to the community people.
Our temples are not being paid attention to..In Nathipora and in Ganpatiyar, when I see the situation of the temples, it pains me. Why do we have to wait for the Jammu & Kashmir assembly to pass a law, why cant we do it ourselves, he asked.
Dhar suggested that some of the dilapidated buildings in these areas could be renovated to house several thousands of destitute Kashmiri Pandit families which are still struggling due to the fallout.
Union minister and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah batted for encouraging migrant Kashmiri Pandit families to return to the Valley, saying nothing can keep them away from their 'roots'.
Inshallah, I'm sure time is coming when people are going to come back to their roots. That time is coming. It will happen. Nobody can keep that away. It will happen, he told PTI.