poetry

By the road i stood

I stood watching,
watching where we are,
watching where we were.

By the road I stood
gasping, struggling,
reminding myself of Kashmir.

Where people were humane,
where discrimination was taboo,
where brotherhood prevailed,
where harmony ruled,
where corruption was a crime.

What could be done,
was done without money,
what couldn’t be done,
was never done with money.

By the road I stood,
it was not a common day,
cause Kashmir was missing,
cause Kashmir was lost.

Published in Kashmir Life, 2014

RELIGION, SOCIAL WORK

Interfaith Marriages In kashmir.

Interfaith Marriages… The Real Story.

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Leave alone inter-faith marriages, in India inter-caste marriages are treated with much anxiety and a hostile outlook. It is a social taboo to marry out of your caste or religion. Talking about the Kashmir, a more backward area or India, where terrorism has made the life slow and dull, where development is a miss, the culture of inter-faith marriages is not yet accepted. We Indians are not so westernised that we would allow our children to marry whom-so-ever they want. We have special respect for our religion and want to keep our relations confined to own religion. From Kashmir the Hindus have already been forced to move out, they know live in exile suffering from a mass exodus. The cases of interfaith marriages are seen once in a blue moon. There have been some very interesting personalities which are exemplary in this segment. Omar Abdullah, the CM of the state has married a Hindu girl, Payal Nath. From the same family Omar Abdullah’s Sister Sarah Abdullah has married a Hindu boy, Sachin Pilot.

The lesser Known tales of misfortune!!

Similarly one Amina Yusuf of Kashmir and Rajnish Sharma of Jammu fell in love eight years ago in Gulmarg, they dreamt of a new life and a new Kashmir. By Amina’s own admission before the Jammu police and the media, the couple went on to marry against the wishes of the families and the diktats of their community leaders. But they could live together only for a few days. Rajnish was booked on the charge of kidnapping and forcibly marrying the 26-year-old Amina, aka Anchal Sharma post marriage. He was “picked up” by the cops on September 29 and found dead in the Srinagar police’s custody on October 4. `A judicial investigation is on in the case. Amina, after living with her in-laws for three months, returned to her parents’ house.

Talking to a senior police officer in this concern, he said that, “No community here wants its members to join another community after marriage. The community members fear that one by one, their numbers will dwindle and the demographic change can affect the separatist demand. Interestingly, parents don’t mind if their son brings a girl from another community and converts her. But when it comes to their daughters marrying outside the community, there is violence and bloodshed,” says former DGP M.M. Khajuria.

“What wrong did we do?” asks Shabnam with her husband Ravi Sharma (names changed) holding her hand tightly in their two-room rented house in the city. “We are both working in a multinational company. We liked each other, respect each other’s religion and told our parents of our decision to marry. But there was a volcano of a protest. We had no option but to elope. We got married but were caught. He was booked for kidnapping but the court came to our rescue. Now, we are living happily,” she says. Some even take the fight up to the Supreme Court. The case of a Muslim girl from Doda and a Hindu youth from Nagrota is a case in point. The apex court provided security to this love-lorn couple, hounded by relatives and cops. Anjum, 19, a Muslim from Doda, and Khemraj, 24, a Hindu from Nagrota, both belong to influential families. They are reportedly living in hiding.

Conversion after marriage becomes the main issue. The DGP remembers how a Sikh girl despite marrying a Muslim in England spent a torturous life for years. She wanted to follow her religion but there was opposition. She pulled along for a few years. But when it came to the children’s religion, she left the family.

That’s not the end, several cases go unreported, several are muted for the fear of insult and shame.

(Source: Tribuneindia, reports from various media channels.)