A love affair with Kashmir- Part 1

Ammara Farooq Malik

Part 1:

I have been a supporter of Kashmir since I can remember, particularly as a 10 years old in 1987. I don’t know why I was so fascinated by it. Maybe because I had heard stories of Kashmir from my grandparents, particularly my grandmother (daadi jan) who loved conversation and talking about days gone by. Mostly because we were told that we are a proud Kashmiri household. We were also told that one day, Kashmir will become Pakistan.

But over the past 32 years, apart from my growing up, the Kashmiri people changed too. The slogans of 70 years ago seem dated. Yet, the love affair of Pakistan with Kashmir continues. Maybe it is the love affair of the people on both sides of the line of control, with the notion of freedom, liberty and to have the right of self determination one day…Maybe it is a love affair of humanity.

My ancestor, my great great grandfather Khairdin Wani was a notable in the darbar of the Raja of Kashmir in the 1800s.

On one Eid, Khardin sacrificed a cow on the occasion of Eid-ul- Adha. The people in the neighborhood told him that he had committed a grave mistake and the Raja would be sure to punish him for it. The Raja in all probability was Raja Ranbir Singh who ruled Jammu and Kashmir between 1856-1885.

He was a Hindu and Khairdin was a Muslim.

As a senior official in the Raja’s Court, this put immense pressure on Khairdin because his actions were sure to be found out. The neighbours coerced him to bury the cow at the back of his house. Khairdin buried the cow but with a heavy heart.

Raja Ranbir Singh (1830-1885) of Jammu & Kashmir.

The incident had such a life changing effect on him that he decided to leave his position, property and standing in Kashmir and migrated to Amritsar empty handed.

In Amritsar he joined the government again and built a mosque, the Maulvi Khairdin Mosque where he used to give the azaan himself.

Later, after many years, my grandfather Abdul Hameed Wain, an officer of the Indian Railways, also used to give the call to azaan in the same mosque.

My grandfather also migrated to Pakistan in 1947 to be able to freely practice the religion of Islam along with his wife and two small children, Amjad Shuaib and Amjad Awais Wyne, my father.

To be continued.

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