Appetite & longing for ‘Home’

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Omkar Dattatray

East or west home is the best is not only a theoretical postulation but is very much practical and real as well as universal. Everybody loves his or her home and likes to remain in home. Parting with the home is very unpleasant and painful phenomenon and Kashmiri Pandits are experiencing the loss of home from over three decades and do not see the possibility of returning to their homes and hearths in Kashmir. Many uprooted Kashmiri Pandits have constructed houses out of compulsion in Jammu and other parts of India. The construction of the houses was and is the need of the time as these unfortunate people have to pass their days under some roof and hence many of them were compelled by the circumstances to construct houses. But these houses do not compensate the loss of their homes and cannot be called homes because home is where heart is. Displaced Kashmiri Pandits have a great appetite and longing for their homes and want to return to their deserted homes in Kashmir but the so called crusaders of the Jihad do not like their coming back to their homes and successive centre and state now UT governments have failed to make return and rehabilitation in their place of birth in their homes a success. Majority of homes of Kashmiri Pandits had been burnt and vandalized and thus these hapless people feel the loss of their homes and in their heart of hearts feel urge to return to their homes because love and liking of the home is the deep rooted feeling and consideration of the majority of the exiled Kashmiri Pandits. No doubt many of them have constructed their own houses in Jammu and elsewhere in India but they are no substitute for their homes and cannot be called homes but houses. Therefore the loss of the homes is hardly compensated with the construction of the houses in Jammu and other places in India and these unfortunate people do not feel at home in these houses constructed under compulsion. So the displaced Kashmiri Pandits do not feel at ease in their houses constructed at heavy costs. Thus they yearn to return to their sweet homes in Kashmir as the memory of their homes remains ever present in the minds of these people and they long to return to their homes and hearts which stand deserted by the community under the threat of gun and stand vandalized by the terrorists. The uprooted Kashmir Pandits have constructed the houses in and outside Jammu under the compulsion of the circumstances and these constructions of the houses have laid much economic burden on them as many of them are living on the government doles. They were thus not in a position to construct their own houses but have been left with the no option but to construct their own houses in and outside Jammu division. However, appetite and longing to return to Kashmir and embrace their homes so that the appetite and longing will be satisfied and their dream of return to their homes will be possible. The construction of the houses under compulsion has been a big financial burden upon the majority of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits because they are living from hand to mouth and are making both ends meet with great difficulty. But in spite of the construction of the houses in Jammu and other parts of India ,these houses proved to be houses only and could not turn and transform into homes though the displaced Pandits have spent much hard earned money on the construction of the houses but still these houses cannot be called as homes by any stretch of imagination. The houses so constructed lack the ease and warmth of the homes and the Kashmiri Pandits living in them lack the sweetness of homes in spite of having many comforts in them. The houses as such constructed are symbolic and superficial homes and do not have the ease and affection of homes and therefore these houses cannot be called homes as they lack attractiveness and warmth of the homes. So the majority of the exiled Kashmiri Pandits still long for the return to their sweet homes in Kashmir and the successive governments have failed to embark on the return of the Kashmiri Pandits back to their homes and hearths even after more than three decades of their forced migration. Thus on one hand the government has not made sincere efforts to ensure the return of Kashmiri Pandits back to their homes and hearths in Kashmir and on the other hand the so called crusaders of jihad and the gun wielding and indoctrinated youth did not like that Pandits should return to Kashmir and live in their homes. But they should know that no power on earth can stop Kashmiri Pandits to return to their homes and live with peace and dignity. Kashmiri Pandits know it well that the majority of their houses and other immovable properties stand burnt, damaged and vandalized by the anti social elements, but still Kashmiri Pandits nurse an appetite of returning to Kashmir so that they can live in their homes. The government should provide financial support to the Kashmiri Pandits to construct their houses in Kashmir which can be called homes and thus satisfy their appetite and longing to have their own houses in Kashmir which can be termed as homes and the sweet memories of their homes and embracing and living in these homes will become possible. Majority of the displaced Pandits are eagerly waiting for return to their homes and hearths in Kashmir and their wait and tolerance to be away from their homes is weaning and their desire and longing to return and embrace their homes in Kashmir is increasing with the each passing day. The successive governments of the centre and state and now the UT government have done little to embark on the plan of the return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pandits back to their homes in Kashmir notwithstanding the loud claims of normalcy in Kashmir and bringing them back to Kashmir and live in their sweet homes. The government should sincerely work to normalize the ground situation in Kashmir and end terrorism using proactive strategies and give adequate freedom to the security forces to crack on the terrorists so that the terrorists will be on the run and the residual terrorism will be eliminated so that normalcy and peace and security returns the valley so that people and the minority Pandits will live in peace with dignity. Therefore there is need to reverse migration and for this the government, security forces and majority community should work in tandem and coordination so that return of Kashmiri Pandits back to their homes will become a reality and for this all the people an d the government and the security agencies should work sincerely to make the mission and program of return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homes and hearths a possibility. The appetite and longing for the homes is so intense that the safe return to the homes and hearths in the native land of Kashmir will become a reality. The appetite and the liking to return to the homes of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir is increasing with each passing day and the uprooted Pandits yarn for return to their homes in Kashmir. In fact the appetite and longing to return to their homes in Kashmir is becoming stronger and the community prays for return to their homes and hearths in Kashmir so that they can experience the warmth and ease of the homes. The write up can be summed up by quoting a line of Kashmiri poetry, ‘Ghar Vandahay Ghar Sassa Barhae Nerha Ne Za’.
(The author is a Columnist and Social Activist).