That Kashmiris are a hospitable people is almost in the nature of a cliché that is known and recognized across the world or, more accurately, those who have come into contact with the people here, contemporarily and historically. But, these are extraordinary times and under these conditions people have demonstrated their good nature all too eloquently. The reference here is to the very generous and hospitable gesture of an hotelier who threw open his business establishment to tourists who were stranded in Kashmir on account of the tension(s) that developed between India and Pakistan. ( It may be recalled that because of these tensions, the Srinagar airport was closed and airspaces elsewhere also thrown into suspension. This was a temporary measure that has now been revoked). Now, returning to the theme of extraordinary times, there were acts of gratuitous aggression against Kashmiris , physical, rhetorical and discursive. Thankfully, these acts did not escalate beyond a critical point and there was no tit for tat violence. Instead, Kashmiris opened their hearts, hearths and businesses to those who were stranded in the vale on account of structural issues and tensions. These salubrious and heart warming gestures deserve praise and accolades of the highest order. And, this is the actual character of Kashmiris which has remained despite odds and structural issues. However, this aspect of the people of Kashmir gets obscured in the morass of hostility generated by New Delhi based electronic media and channels thereof. These channels have painted and portrayed Kashmiris in a negative light. All this harks back to the nature of the media in contemporary times. The media and its various forms has not only become ubiquitous but also all pervasive and potent owing largely to the Information, Communication Technology(
ICT) and the revolution it has spawned, democratizing information in the process. But, salubrious, as it is, it has a dark side as well wherein those who have access to information and tools to disseminate it often times do not exercise restraint under conditions which warrant sobriety but actually fan and stoke hostility, animus and conflict. This is a condition that most would be familiar with in very recent times. Unfortunately, it is Kashmiris who have been made scapegoats in the whole saga for ends that are rather ungainly. Kashmir and its people are a nice, generous and warm hearted people. This has been the case and will remain so!