A perfect example of Kashmiriyat was witnessed in the village of Kulgam in South Kashmir where Muslims performed the last rites of a Kashmiri Pandit, Janki Nath, who was 84 years old.
The rites where performed in the absence of family members or any other members of the Pandit community in the area.
The local Muslims organised all the arrangements of the deceased and mourned his death as their own family member.
At a time when people believe that politics is being played on the return of Kashmiri Pandits, this incident sets a heart-warming example of communal harmony in the state. The deceased was the only member from Pandit community living among the 5000 Muslims in Malvan. Nath didn’t migrate from Kashmir when most of Kashmiri Pandits migrated to different parts of the country.
He stayed back in his motherland, and retired from the government service in 1990.
For some time he was ill and it was his Muslim neighbors who were looking after him.
As the news broke out, people in the area mourned his death. A local resident said that he was not from any other community, he was from their family. “He was just like my elder brother and I used to take suggestions from him before taking any step” said a resident of the area.
Ghulam Hassan, a resident of the area, said that to help neighbors without differentiating on the basis of religion is their duty which they performed. His neighbors also arranged wood for the cremation and performed his last rites.
According to locals, Janki Nath never regretted about his decision of staying back in Kashmir.
In another such story, around 26 years ago, Sita Ram Sokhal left his business in Srinagar after the insurgency broke out in Kashmir. Now after more 20 years when he returned, he got his property back which in market price is Rs 25 crore at Srinagar’s centre Lal Chowk. This all was possible because of the Muslim traders’ community who helped him to take control of his property again. The ‘caretakers’ of the business, who had managed it for a long time, were unwilling to return it to Sokhal.
Then he approached Regal Chowk Traders Association who within a period of five months handed over the possession of the property to the owners.