Tuesday, March 4, 2008

An evening of Kashmir - past and present - (RIK Chd. news keeps pouring in)

Aastha Manocha, Kashmir Live, Indian Express Group
Posted online: March 03

Pain is universal, that is why humans can shed tears over others’ grief, but it is humans only who are capable of tormenting fellow humans too. Both these facets were seen as regards Kashmir, in Chandigarh on the evening of 29th February.

The Chandigarh chapter of Roots in Kashmir, a Kashmiri youth initiative, had staged a play called ‘Trishna’ (longing) on the sufferings undergone by the Kashmiri Hindus, popularly known as Kashmiri Pandits, in the peak of the militancy, which eventually led to the mass exodus of the minority Kashmiri Pandits from the valley into sub-human camps in Jammu and Delhi.

The play was staged in the law auditorium of the Punjab University campus and the creator of rock garden, Nek Chand, was the chief guest. He expressed his wish for the return of the Pandits to the valley as soon as possible.

The three part play poignantly showed the sufferings undergone by the community which forced them to leave their homes and hearths in the dead of the night on that fateful date of 19th Jan 1990. The first part of the play showed an expectant Rajesh, falling prey to militants’ bullets just two months before he was to become a father.

The second part showed a father, who having run out of options, suggested suicide to his own daughters due to the ever looming possibility of their rape in the valley.

The third part showed a woman’s wails as her husband fell prey to a hail of bullets in the street and later she had to herself perform her husband’s last rites as nobody else was left in the family.
Such was the empathy at display, that even some mischievous elements who were found hooting earlier had tears in their eyes as the play ended. After the play, thousands lit candles in the memory of those who had lost their lives to terrorism.

The play’s director, Ajit Panwar, said that the Kashmiri students on the campus were his inspiration.