July - September 2001
Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India
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Krakal has always believed strongly in observing in Balidhan Divas every year and make as much 'krak' as possible on this occasion. It is not necessarily only to arouse the natural conscience, but to rekindle the spirit of their community feeling within. The recollection of persecution touches human feelings the most. Shias who lost 75 people in Karbala many centuries back are an example of how remembering persecution binds them even today.
KP's started observing this day with lot of passion for some years. We did it at Mumbai. Then for a few years we forgot about it. It is encouraging that the faction of Pannun Kashmir active in Mumbai has again started observing it since the last two or three years. This year it was done at Juhu Beach on the afternoon of 14th September, 2001. The crowd looked good as the place is often hustling with onlookers at this time of the day. There were a number of youngsters with big and bold posters and an OB Van in attendance. A sort of street play was on with the youngsters wearing 'Pherans' and holding mock 'AK-47' in their hands. One of the onlookers who sat by my side enquired from me the name of the movie for which the shooting was going on. I explained, it is no film shooting but a protest demonstration. The presence of film personalities like Mahesh Bhatt and some T.V. Artistes with video camera's on, completed the illusion.
My mind at this stage started comparing the scene at such meetings with those held in the earlier years. There was obviously more drama to the scene now as compared to feeling in early years, when the functions often ended with a march from Churchgate to V.T. Now it is more professionally handled than the earlier amateurish spontaneity. Earlier it was an all KP affair. Now there was a small smattering of KP, young and old. Posters and banners were now more expensively and professionally made and displayed. You can appreciate the visual effect now achieved from the fact that Times of India next day carried two big photographs of the proceedings but did not find few quarter centimeters to report the event.
The unconcern displayed by the community itself may not be confined to Mumbai alone. It is perhaps for this reason that the Kashmiri Samiti, Delhi and Yuvak Sabha, Jammu both decided to say it with a Hawan. KP's are easily attracted to a Hawan than other events.
I pray that the event be
not forgotten by the community. Let it serve to reinforce our feelings
which we harbour on losing our birth place. Let us participate without
worrying which group or individual is leading the function.