Kashmiri Muslim-Pandit bond reunites at Salaam Mahara event

Kashmiri Muslim-Pandit bond reunites at Salaam Mahara event
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Srinagar: A two-day event named as Salaam Mahra witnessed emotional outbursts of bonding that used to be between the two communities before Kashmiri Pandits left the Valley in the ‘90s.
The event held at Tagore Hall Srinagar was organized by Space Communications and H. N. Wanchoo Trust.
A statement said that Salaam Mahra event was meant to pave the way for reviving the old bond between Muslims, Pandits and Sikhs of the Valley.
“The event was hailed as one of the best ever held in the city post-migration of pandits as members from the two communities got together to share their stories of grief and torment, ups and lows, desperations and hope,” statement said.
The organizers had invited intellectuals and artists from the Pandit community including Satish Vimal, Meanka Handu (DiDa),Pragnya Wakhlu, Dr Sanjay Parva, Jigyasa Labroo, Rajesh Raina, M K Raina, Veer Munshi, Ashwath Bhat, Khushboo Mattoo, and Suneel Wattal.
As if to reaffirm Pandit community that all was not lost yet, Muslim and Sikh intellectuals from the Valley, which included Zareef Ahmad Zareef, Rouf Tramboo, Abid , Prof Nusrat Andrabi, Gurmeet Kaur, Abdul Wahid, Khursheed Qureshi, Raja Bilal, and Sajad Bazaaz shared their own experiences of 29 years of separation from Pandits, statement reads.
In what was reminiscent of old times, the event began with Isband soz ceremony, a ritual, among many others, that used to be common between the two communities. The highlights of the program included famous standup comedian DiDa expressing emotional bonding in a sweet comic form, Emotional poetry of Rajesh Raina about Homecoming, Artistic presentation “My Lost Home” by Veer Munshi, Lal Vaakh and Kehwah song by renowned singer Pragnya Wakhloo.
The First day started with a two-minute silence and display of posters for giving justice to an 8-year-old girl who was raped at Kathua.
“This was the first time in Kashmir where Kashmiri Pandits, Muslims and Sikhs came together on stage for such a cause. The program witnessed a lot of emotional scenes during every session. Right from a moving poetry by a labourer, Sufi song by Mohd Yusuf, song of hope by kids from Tarathpora, Kupwara and emotional speech by people of Pulwama, Budgam and other areas of the valley,” statement said.
M.K.Raina was of the opinion that we should not wait further as with time we will have no reference points and this will result in losing our rich culture and history. 13 years old young boy from Tangmarg stole the show when in his emotional speech, he asked for the return of Pandits. Meanka Handu was as usual best in her performance and got loads of appreciation for her act. Young Jigyasa Labroo shared her experience in Bandipora, wherein she spent two months in school transformation program.
The most emotional presentation in the event was a play enacted by Firdous Dramatic Club, a theatre group of the Valley titled Nam-Te-Maaz, a common term symbolizing KP-KM bond.
“Such events are a need of the hour and must be held frequently so as to forge a rejuvenated sense of brotherhood and belonging to all communities”, said Dr. Amit Wanchoo.
Zareef Ahmad Zareef, the noted poet and writer of the Valley, prayed for peace in the Valley and brotherhood between all communities in his inimical style. As part of Salaam Mahara initiative, Suneel Wattal a consultant did a workshop with Kashmiri youngsters on entrepreneurial strategy at Srinagar. Sajad Bazaz appreciated Space Communications and H N Wanchoo Trust for organizing this event and hoped that this will be carried forward.