Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Rotten Apples"

Tere Mandi,Mere Mandi-Rawalpindi,Rawalpindi!
(your marketplace, my marketplace-Rawalpindi,Rawalpindi).

Not many months ago this slogan was the flavour of the season in Kashmir. The road to Rawalpinidi seemed no less important than the road to Heaven and POK was supposedly the gateway to the heaven. There was a mad rush to get to the gates of the heaven. So mad was the rush that many lost their lives on way to the heaven. Whether they went to heaven thereafter or not is another question.

Rawalpindi, “in the land of pure”, was seen as the destination for the Kashmiri Muslim produce. From the sacred soil of Kashmir whatever is produced should be consumed by the sacred sons and daughters in the pure land. Thus went the adage. That the road to the land of pure via the heaven would be open for Kashmiri Muslims was a foregone conclusion. As always, only the faithful were to send their goods. For the infidels the doors to heaven were locked much before they were born into infidelity. That the land of Kashmir bore infidels was itself an insult to the land. The land was cleansed of them.

The faithful and the pure were ready to merge.

Thus the goods and goodness began assimilating, disseminating and trading. The faithful on both sides avowed their love for each other. 'Allah is benign and merciful!' said one as he bit into a juicy Kashmiri apple. The bonhomie was unbelievable but true. Trucks were moving at frantic pace to deliver the sacred goods to the land of pure. Who the hell wants money for this? This is my gift for my brothers and sisters said a trader from Shopian.He had already despatched 6 truckloads of apples, apricots and pears to the land of pure via the gates of heaven.Gates of heaven…mind you.

Many months later the infidel had this to read, ”No Money from PoK,so no apples:Kashmiris”.

The newspaper report quoted the President of Fruit growers association of Sopore (the apple belt of north Kashmir) saying, ” "We were eagerly waiting for the beginning of cross LoC trade, even dispatched thousands of apple boxes to PoK in the start. But, so far growers have not received a single penny in lieu of the apples,.After three months, we don't know what happened to apples in PoK,".

Many months later as separatists close offices ,bicker with each other, suffer ignominy and bite dust the apples may well be rotting like the separatists themselves.

(The writer is co-founder of the Kashmiri Pandit Group-Roots in Kashmir. He can be reached at rashneek@gmail.com)