NEW DELHI: It's spring in Kashmir, and Navreh (Kashmiri Pandits' New Year) is round the corner. Soon the frost will give way to pleasant weather, drawing people out of their homes and onto the streets. But, for the pandits scattered outside the Valley, the celebrations can lose some of their flavour.
The community, however, has been striving to keep the spirit alive, as evidenced by the annual 'Reh' youth festival, which was held at Pamposh Enclave in the capital on Saturday. The event, which was started in 2007, brings together the successive generations for a celebration of their culture. Navreh is loosely translated as the new fire or light, with 'Reh' standing for a celebration of light.
"We started this event to bind young Kashmiri Pandits together and involve them in our culture. For a start, we played Kashmiri folk songs for the audience but that didn't muster enough enthusiasm. To quicken people's interest, we sprinkled it with some rock, creating a fusion of new-age rock with old-style Kashmiri folk, which held the audience in thrall. It's been a pleasure being a part of this celebration," said Rashneek Kher, founder of Roots in Kashmir (RIK).