Spirit of the Kashmiri Women: Dreams & Determinations
They have a dream, they have a vision, and they have determination. Their roots lie in Kashmir. Their being is held well with a concept, which is an amalgamation of years of evolved culture. “Kashimiryat” is one word that defines them well.
In their early 20s, these young women who were born in Kashmiri families are today either away from their place of birth or from the place of their origin. They are busy chalking out a path for themselves, strengthening their foundations, and dreaming of a future.
While celebrating the month of March 2014 as a tribute to the women of Kashmiri origin, we connected with five young women, who share their hopes, despairs, desires, and ambitions with TheCherryTree.in
Vichitra’s family settled in Jammu after they left Kashmir, and she came to Delhi to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Kamla Nehru College. Though her parents wanted her to pursue a degree in medicine, Vichitra had a heart set on journalism. She feels this would eventually enable her to make films or write about Kashmir.
Her observations on Kashmir are based on the narrative of her elders where they often speak about how wonderful their childhood years were. She feels that staying out of Kashmir has influenced their festivities a bit. “For instance, we observe Navratras and abstain from having non-veg food during that time period,” she says. However, they still follow all the other traditions at home – Herath, Gaad Batti, Khyech Maavas.
A postgraduate student of Public Administration at Jamia Millia Islamia, Rabia has a deep interest in literature. She feels it liberates and uplifts her thought process.
Though her family lives in Kashmir, she decided to move out and study in Delhi. “I wanted to get an objective view of life, world, and everything else that matters.” She cherishes her Kashmiri roots and often talks to her parents about the past – her childhood, youth, and how the state has evolved culturally and socially over the years.
Rabia tells us how her parents miss their Pandit friends who moved out of Kashmir during the 1990s. “Things are not the same now,” she says. However, one thing she is grateful to her parents for is giving her the liberty to chase her dream of pursuing a degree of her preference in a place away from home.
Rabia aspires to join civil services and feels her choice of subject will assist her in cracking the exams.
A diploma holder in French, Subha is pursuing a B Tech from Vellore Institute of Technology. She is also pursuing a degree in Actuarial Science from the Institute of Actuaries of India. She is also a member of AIESEC and ISTE.
Shubha’s family had to move out of Kashmir after militancy erupted in the valley in the 1990s. They lived in Jammu for a few months before settling down in Delhi. Though they got isolated from the soil of Kashmir, their roots remained intact. She has never lived in Kashmir but her impressions are primarily from the memories recounted by her parents and grandparents.
“Our household is as Kashmiri as it can be, with grandparents singing traditional bhajans, eating foods like sheer chai, kahwa, kulchas, and bakharkanis,” she says.
Shubha, however, feels that there is a huge gap between the earlier generations and now in terms of culture and tradition. “My family and I follow the LFF phenomenon which stands for language, food, and festivals. These three factors can keep any ethnic tradition alive and we try and follow that at home too,” she says.
Hina was raised in Kashmir but came to Delhi to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree from Jamia Milia Islamia. Specializing in Applied Arts and Fine Arts, she loves to paint – her subjects contrary to her lighthearted temperament – are based on the struggles in the minds and hearts of the Kashmiri youth. She is also inclined towards writing poetry both in Urdu and English as she feels it is the best way to give vent to her emotions.
She comes from a family which misses the bonding Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits shared in the valley before insurgency set in. “My father told me that he had more Pandit friends than Muslims,” she shares.
Hina has integrated a lot of things from her non-Kashmiri friends in Delhi, a place she now likes to call home. “When I first came to Delhi, it was a totally different world, but I feel more settled. Just like a ship goes through a lot of storms before it reaches the shore,” she smiles.
A student of Fashion Communication from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Khushbu was primarily raised in Delhi as her family members had to relocate after the family was targeted in Srinagar in 1991. Like most Kashmiri Pandits, they too dream of returning back to the Valley someday – but also realize that it may not be the most realistic thought.
“My parents talk a lot about the old times in the valley. Most of the time, they miss the beauty of the valley,” she says. Khushboo dreams of pursuing a career in fashion communication. “My job would be to assist producers in showcasing and selling their products to prospective buyers.’’
She says Kashmiri is the spoken language at home and with it, her parents have ensured that all rituals, and festivals are celebrated with fervor and gusto – to keep the tradition alive.