SALAAM MAHARA REUNITES KASHMIRI PANDITS AND KASHMIRI MUSLIMS
Tagore Hall witnesses emotional scenes as KPs and KMs come together
Srinagar: In what could be termed as a unique attempt of its kind to rejuvenate the old KP-KM bond, Tagore Hall in Srinagar witnessed emotional outbursts of bonding that used to be between the two communities before mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in early 1990.
Creatively named as Salaam Mahra, the two-day event which concluded here was organized by Space Communications and H. N. Wanchoo Trust run by the doctor-turned-philanthropist Dr. Amit Wanchoo. Salaam Mahra moved many hearts on both sides of what is largely now seen as a divide – right from an 15 year old boy to a 70 year old senior citizen. The event was meant to pave the way for a reviving the old bonds that used to be between Muslims, Pandits and Sikhs of the Valley.
The event was hailed as one of the best ever held in the city post-exodus as members from the two communities got together to share their stories or grief and torment, ups and lows, desperations and hope.
The organizers had specially invited intellectuals and artists from the Pandit community now living in exile, some notable names being Satish Vimal, Meanka Handu (DiDa), Pragnya Wakhlu, Dr Sanjay Parva, Jigyasa Labroo, Rajesh Raina, M K Raina, Veer Munshi, Ashwath Bhat, Khushboo Mattoo, and Suneel Wattal.
As if to reaffirm their Pandit brothers that all was not lost yet, Muslim and Sikh intellectuals from the Valley, which included Zareef Ahmad Zareef, Rouf Tramboo, Abid , Prof Nusrat Andrabi, Gurmeet Kaur, Abdul Wahid, Khursheed Qureshi, Raja Bilal, and Sajad Bazaaz shared their own experiences of 29 years of separation from Pandits.
In what was reminiscent of old times, the event began with Isband soz ceremony, a ritual, among many others, that used to be common between the two communities. The highlights of the program included famous stand up comedian DiDa expressing emotional bonding in a sweet comic form, emotional poetry of Rajesh Raina about homecoming, artistic presentation “My Lost Home” by Veer Munshi, Lal Vaakh and Kehwah song by renowned singer Pragnya Wakhloo.
The most emotional presentation in the event was a play enacted by Firdous Dramatic Club, a theatre group of the Valley titled Nam-Te-Maaz, a common term symbolizing KP-KM bond and meaning bone and flesh.
“Such events are a need of then hour and must be held frequently so as to forge a rejuvenated sense of brotherhood and belonging between all communities”, said Dr. Amit Wanchoo.