A rejoinder to 'Peace imperative for Progress'
Prof. A.N. Sadhu in his article, “Peace imperative for progress” published in The Kashmir Times on Nov.14, 2009 has hammered the factors leading to peace building, which if practised will attain tranquility and freedom from civil disorder and eventually to progress - to development and improvement, to keep us going on. It is a fact that we all crave for the peace to return in the valley. It feels the paradise is lost somewhere.
I am reminded of good old days when Kashmir was famous for Kashmiriyat, which would mean love, brotherhood, respect shown to guests (Mehman-nawazi), refraining from blood-shed - irrespective of colour, caste and creed, in short respect for human values. One could see people walking by the road-side during late night hours without any apprehensions of Ghosts roaming around. The valley of Kashmir looked colourful not only with the flowers, the green Chinars and the meadows but also with the colourful dresses of tourists. Tourism used to be the back-bone of the economy of Kashmir and had lead to its progress. The common people have the realization of the loss they have incurred by losing tourism in Kashmir. They perfectly understand that the pressures of not keeping peace at a cost are telling hard on the economy of the state in many ways. The mindsets of the common people have not changed or they have not turned hostile to peace. They have also not lost the realm of Kashmiriyat nor has their blood turned into water. Somehow, the rich culture, for which Kashmir is famous for, and the Kashmiriyat, for which the Kashmiris are known for, has gone dormant somewhere. Twenty years have passed in turmoil, exile and anguish; and allowing the state of affairs like this for another ten years will mean an irreversible change in our culture.
We need to awake ourselves to listen to our inner-voice, which I am sure is for peace and progress, not only materialistic one but of mind, body and soul. Need of the hour is to revive kashmiriyat for which we all are proud of. This way we will not only be doing good to our generation but to the posterity as well. Otherwise we will have to be answerable to the generations to come. Trust, tolerance and cooperation need to be imbibed to regain the blissful situation. Peace definitely cannot be enjoyed under the shadows of ghosts and guns. We need to nurture and promote our age-old values to re-establish peace. It may seem that peace has become an expensive affair to attain. It definitely costs men, money, material, time and energy to make peace attainable. But at the same time we need to ask ourselves that what price we are paying for not maintaining peace and order. And what shall be the outcome of true peace? let us all search as the answer lies within our minds.
While concluding I am reminded of the parable about our great emperor, Akbar, who once ordered each household to deposit one jar of milk in a tank to build up a reservoir of milk to feed poor children. All his subjects’ responded. The next morning when the lid of the tank was opened it was filled with clean water instead of milk. Perplexed he turned to the wise Birbal for an explanation and there came an explanation that it happened to be a classical case of individual gain and collective loss. Each one had deposited a jar of water thinking that it would go undetected among hundreds of gallons of milk brought by others.
If we think that our individual contribution will have no significant impact on the overall system, then we are bound to end up with a crippled and callous society. Let us all contribute whatever little we can and be the change that we would like to see around us to create peaceful lives for ourselves and for our posterity.