Sunday, July 23, 2017

Keys to a house not There

Guest post by Pratush Koul, one of the younger reader who is sharing his bits and pieces. This one for "things that crossed over" series.


 Grandfather's Matriculation certificate from Panjab University, Lahore.



At the time the results were announced, partition had taken place and the students in India were later given these certificate from Solan. The result had been announced in 1947 but due to the migration and teachers moving across the border... the issuance of certificates was delayed. 

Just prior to the violence of 1947, my Grandfather Dwarka Nath Koul had a job offer that would have taken him to Muzzafarabad. Somehow he didn't take the offer, which later turned out to be a blessing. His mother's brother, Mama Ji, Jiya Lal Pandita was a renowned priest in Sharda village and  died in the violence of that year.

This was not the only 1947 tragedy in the family. My father tells me:

In 1947, when the Kaabali raid was going on his Nanaji, Niranjan Nath Raina (called taetha) and family were living in Pattan near Baramulla and when the Kabaalis reached their village, the whole of the area was reduced to ashes. Nanaji's father was hiding somewhere in drygrass and he was burnt alive. Nanaji then shifted to Srinagar. My dad's Nanaji had a lot of land back then but due to the "land to tiller" law, they lost most of the land in 50s. 



As per my elementary urdu (taught by grandfather) - the name on cover is "aman Umeed ki rah". 

My grandfather once found this inside his trunk in Jammu and told me that he got it from some Christian missionaries back in Srinagar, back when they used to give these away for free in Buses and Matadors. Around late 1970s-80s.

My father was born in Amira Kadal. We lived there till 70s. Then, brick by brick,  he built a small new house in Habba Kadal. He lived in that house for only seven years.
The violence of late 80s seems "normal" to them, Kashmir had lately seen lot of such violence. But, the killing of Tikka Lal Taploo brought the violence too close to home. Then there were other signs. My mother was working in Social welfare department at the time and was posted in Baramulla. It was in Baramulla, she was one day advised by a Muslim office clerk to leave early as there was going to be trouble in the town. She travelled from Baramulla to Srinagar in an "azaadi procession" bus. She hid her ears rings and took off her bindi. Identifiers of her religion and boarded the bus screaming, "Azaadi". Soon after these event, mother and my grandparents shifted to Jammu. My father later joined them, leaving Kashmir on a Chetak scooter. 
The house he built was burnt down somewhere in 90s.



I visited the house in Habba Kadal in 2014 with my father. I was 15 years old at the time and traveling to the place where my house once stood. The house was sold under distress.



I have among my possessions a very special thing which is responsible for keeping the "Kashmir" alive in me...it is the most valuable thing which is dearest to my heart and cannot be compared with any other thing.

I didn't have the chance to see personally my Kashmir house as it was reduced to rubble like many other pandit houses... My dad found these keys inside an old box while we were painting our house in Jammu... I could see the attachment of Kashmir in his eyes when they held these keys... I asked my parents about it, they then sat me down and told me about each key and which door and lock they unlocked. They also became quite sad to realize that these keys couldn't serve their function anymore. It was then given to me.

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2 comments:

  1. A moving narration. An oft repeated story. Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete

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