Last week after having my dinner, I went out for my daily leisurely 30 minute walk, which I have been following religiously since couple of years. As usual, It is vey quiet , being late evening, and I have developed a special affinity for the silence which accompanies me during those thirty minutes. But last week, the sound of silence was suddenly filled with a ringtone from my Mobile. It was sunil, My childhood friend who gave me a pleasant surprise. After exchanging pleasantries, he came to the main point for which he had called me, “ Going back to Kashmir”.
His wife has been selected for the post of “Teacher” in Kashmir. With a bit of excitement and trepidation he asked me,” what do you think! Is it feasible for my wife to join there or not?” Now this is million dollar question and probably the most difficult one since the migration of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir in early 1990’s.The topic is also important, because of the strings attached to the jobs given to Kashmiri Pandits. The main and the most controversial among them is that the candidates selected for jobs in Kashmir have to work only in Kashmir whatever the political situation. They cannot migrate like their predecessors had, during the infamous 1990’s.This point makes them vulnerable and they may become scapegoats to political animosity between India , Pakistan , separatist and mainstream political parties.
Most of the Kashmiri Pandits who have opted for Government job in Kashmir are K.P’s who are living either in Jammu or Kashmir. Very few K.P’s who live outside J&K had applied for the jobs as they have far better job opportunities than those living in J&K. Most of the KP bodies like Panun Kashmir, AIKS,KSD and others have criticized the government policy of linking rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits with this sort of employment.It should be noted that they are not against the jobs given to Kashmiri Pandits but to those terms and conditions which Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir have attached with the jobs.
Coming back to my friend Sunil, I said to him,” this is a very difficult question to answer and only Time will tell, whether the decision of Joining in Kashmir is good or bad.May be the fictitious character of Doctor Emmett Lathrop “Doc” Brown can answer this question,who could go into past or future, by using his time Machine”.uninterested in the famous fictitious “Doctor”,He said in a casual tone,” I will wait for some more days or weeks before I will take any decision.”
We have seen during last six months in particular, there is total anarchy in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 117 innocent youths lost their lives during last six months. The ineptness of the administration is not a secret anymore. All the leaders of Kashmir whether separatists or mainstream cannot dare to venture out in the lanes and by-lanes of Kashmir, without their security men. Where does this leave the common Kashmiris!!! Is the administration organized and professional so as to instill a sense of security among the common Kashmiris and Kashmiri Pandits in Particular! Because we should not forget that, it was the lack of security which forced the community of K.P’s to leave their hearth and Homes in the frozen dead nights of January 1990.
K.P youths who are joining their duties in Kashmir are no doubt adults and thus mature enough to make their own decisions. I am sure the Youths will fell nostalgic as they will walk those lanes and by lanes which they had walked 21 years back. Kashmir, no doubt is a heaven and undoubtly the most beautiful place in the world. There will be a nip in the air, the great Kangri, Pheran, snow and icicles and not to forget their own mother tongue,” kashmiri”. Their step of returning back to their roots may prove to be an epoch for Kashmiri Pandits.Only time will tell. It is purely their own decision, and the consequences bad or good will also be their own. But, Is it righteous and lawful on the part of Government of J&K to attach strings to the jobs given to the K.Ps? What should be the name given to this organised blackmail?
Meanwhile, I have my fingers crossed, as my brethren are ready to cross the tunnel and greet their destiny with open arms. I wish them , “All the Best”..