Tourists Throng 'destination' Kashmir
20 June 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Dr. Jitendra Singh
Jammu: Once-again, the majestic Chinar enriches the sky. After long many years of bloody nightmare, Kashmir wakes up to a rejuvinating summer. During the intervening violent decade, even the famously invincible Kashmir spring had become a casualty in the hands of protracted militancy. For, spring could blossom out a rose in the bud-but it could have never restored colour to a withering petal. Summer of '04, however, brings back to life the withering petals too. An unexpectedly high inflow of tourists into the Valley makes the season this year quite different from many a preceding season. The revival of a bygone era of tourist activity did take place, to a great extent, during the last year itself but it is during the current yar that Kashmir looks up to regain its lost glory. The visitors arriving from across the world find it reassuring that the Vale of Paradise continues to be a paradise notwithstanding the incessant assaults suffered by it. The local natives-the 'Shikara' wallahs, the house-boat owners, etc... too find it reassuring that the land of their birth still holds the grandeur and beauty to attract the world and sustain their livelihood. The revival of tourism does not only spell the revival of Kashmir's inherent natural industry but it also symbolises the revival of Kashmir's traditional culture that thrives on love, romance and warmth. The change in scene can be attributed, to a large extent, to the common man's resolve not to be taken in any more by the mischevous designs of dishonest leaders who induce the innocent Kashmiri youth to waste their lives at the altar of socalled 'Jehad' while their own children lead luxurious lives far away from Kashmir in other parts of India or abroad and they themselves have built mansions and piled up crores from the money pumped in through foreign channels. The mercenary militants and their sponsors across the border also now find themselves at the receiving end of a vicious cycle of violence initiated by them. A civilization survives on a set of promises. If these promises are broken, the civilization dies, no matter how rich it may be or how mechanically clever. Hope and faith rest on these promises.-Who broke the promise in Kashmir? Who was the terrorist and who the freedom fighter? Who was the tyrant and who the saviour ? Only the future historians will tell ! Meanwhile, atleast two generations of Kashmiris have paid the price for the antics of self-styled protagonists who play with the destiny of an entire community. 'We need a sense of tragedy to feel for others', wrote Edward Bond adding 'tragedy as something to use in our lives gives us sympathy and understanding of our people'. Will the Kashmir tragedy too end up serving atleast one positive purpose-that of rekindling a sense of mutual concern and kinship? It is this hope which sustains the common man's belief that the fire which gutted the Valley will eventually spare the inherently viable Kashmir spring and inherently refreshing Kashmir summer. Umapathy looks forward to the providential moment when a flower will bloom after the typhoon razes the countryside and when young Kashmiri lads surviving the aftermath of bloodshed will once again sing the lyrics of love and fervour 'Baki Hai Lahoo Dil Mein To Har Ashk Se Paida, Rang-e-Rukhsare Sanam Karte Rahenge..'