Kashmiri Pandits organise Eid celebration in Gurugram Sector 50
On Monday afternoon, a hall in a condominium in Sector 50 reverberated with sounds of Kashmiri folk songs, while the sweet and spicy whiff of Kashmiri kahwa filled the air. The occasion was Eid al-Adha and many members of the Kashmiri community in the city came together to celebrate it.
The event was organised by members of the Kashmiri Pandits Youth to celebrate Eid with Kashmiri Muslims who could not travel home because of the current situation in the valley.
Raj Nehru, one of the organisers, said, “The intention was to rekindle the brotherhood between the Kashmiris across religions in the city. Eid is a very special occasion, and many of the Kashmiris in the city, especially college students could not go to their homes this time. We wanted to be there with them and celebrate Eid together.”
The event that attempted to encapsulate the spirit of Kashmir, ‘Kashmiriyat’ as the natives call it, a feeling of kinship, love and respect for one another, saw both Kashmiri Muslims and Hindu Pandits in attendance.
“It’s the first time that I am spending Eid away from home. I have not been able to communicate with my mother for the past many days. Phone lines are still not working. I don’t think I can express how tensed I feel at the moment for my family,” said a teary-eyed Aaqib Khan, an engineer who moved to Gurugram 13 years ago.
Khan also spoke about how the valley’s culture has always been about being there for one another. “As children, we were never taught that he is Hindu, she is Sikh, we are different. Our parents always spoke of us being Kashmiris only, and that is what we still believe, to love and respect one another and see each other as not different but one entity,” he said.
Kashmiri delicacies such as Rista, Yakhni, and Dum Aloo were served at the event and many attendees sang folk songs together that spoke of the beauty of the valley and how a Kashmiri’s heart always yearns for its motherland. Many were seen hugging each other warmly as they wished Eid Mubarak.
“Bring two Kashmiris under one roof, and they are one. That’s what I have heard repeatedly from my husband, who is a Kashmiri, and I can see that here,” said Sumbul Khan.
The event also made many nostalgic. “We had to flee Kashmir in the 90s. We lost our house, the place we loved. That pain has lingered on. But the Muslims and Hindus who remained there had suffered enough too. I feel relieved today after embracing the Kashmiri youngsters here,” said an emotional Jaya Kachroo.
While the event evoked many emotions in the 60 Kashmiris present at the venue, the organisers said they had expected higher turnout. Viren Dhar, one of the organisers, said, “There were around 10-12 Kashmiri Muslims present here with us today. We had expected the turnout to be much higher.”
The common thread, however, connecting everyone in the room amid the plethora of emotions was, hope — for a better future, peace and harmony in the valley.
Chief guest at the event, Hanif Qureshi, administrator, Haryana Waqf Board, summed up the sentiment, “It is idealistic to say that all Kashmiris in the city are one, everyone is here, but such initiatives are a step in the right direction, to rekindle the brotherhood between Kashmiris, who have undergone the shared experiences of joy and love, loss and fear.
It marks a beginning and can inspire many to take more such initiatives that integrate the people.”