Saturday, October 6, 2012



Haal is a village on Pulwama Shopian road in Kashmir. A journalist friend had told me in Srinagar that the pain and suffering of Kashmir is also visible in this village. On my visit to Aharbal water fall near Shopian in 2010 , l stopped at this village for about half an hour. I visited the village again in July 2012 when I had to visit shopian and Aharbal.

A cluster of houses on right side of the road ( when you return from Shopian to Srinagar) attracts your attention. Houses well built . Beautiful structures . Elegant Dubbs .Sloping roofs of galvanized tin . Buildings that make you pensive. The houses convey stories . Possibly well off people who left suddenly. I found timber , rotting paddy stock , broken furniture and about three feet tall grass inside some of these tell-tale structures . Houses that gave comfort to generations are in pain and neglect. Ghost village . Dogs pour in and out frequently from these houses. Doors and windows have opened themselves to a free embrace of seasons , sunshine and winds. Carefree but agonized . You pity these structures but rush to move out of this ghost locality and look the other way.

" Janaab kyaa chuvv dadavanas darshun karaan . Yim gayi saen zakham. Khoda karienakh raechh yeti yim pandit bayee chhaa. Yim aeiss sari reit ta Nek insaan .. "

"Sir what are you looking for ?These are our wounds .God protect these Pandit brothers wherever they are . Honest and good people lived in these structures ." , said Abdul Gaffar a shopkeeper who met me on the road near the temple .

To these views  I add lines from a Gazal of Urdu poet Jaun Elia ….

Hum to jaisay yahaan ke thhay hi nahin.
dhuup the saayabaan ke thhay hi nahin.
Raaste kaaravaan ke saath rahay,
Marhale kaaravaan ke thhay hi nahin.
Uss gali ne ye sun ke sabr kiyaa ,
jaane vaale yahaan ke thhay hi nahin.
Ho Teri Khaak-e-Aastaan Pe salaam,
Hum tere aastaan ke thhay hi nahin.

In 1990, the Pandits living in these houses had to leave suddenly due to terrorist threats . They left in panic and fright o save their lives and honour.

(Avtar Mota )

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