SRINAGAR: Amid the rising terrorist attack on the Kashmiri Pandits in the valley, a gesture of brotherhood and harmony from the community members caught the attention of all.
Beautiful scenes of amity and large-heartedness from the community, that has suffered a lot, were witnessed outside the terminal gate of Srinagar International Airport on Saturday when a large group of Kashmiri Pandits welcomed the first batch of Haji’s who returned from Saudi Arabia after performing pilgrimage.
The gesture has won hearts and a video went viral on social media.
“Beautiful scenes of harmony & syncretism which sum up the ethos of an all-embracing ancient Indian culture & civilisational values. #Kashmiri Hajj pilgrims being welcomed back by their #Hindu brethren at #Srinagar Airport with aarti accompanied by naat.#Hajj2022 #KashmiriPandits,” Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister Housing and Urban & Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas tweeted with the video.
The first batch of 145 Hajis arrived here in the morning on the first return aircraft from the yearly pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Among 145 Hajis, 65 were females and 80 were males.
Beautiful scenes of harmony & syncretism which sum up the ethos of an all embracing ancient Indian culture & civilisational values. #Kashmiri Hajj pilgrims being welcomed back by their #Hindu brethren at #Srinagar Airport with aarti accompanied by naat.#Hajj2022 #KashmiriPandits pic.twitter.com/1vDDkruDQd
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) July 16, 2022
The Pandits brethren were wishing Hajis well and congratulated them on completing their pilgrimage. They also praised Prophet Muhammad (SAW) with naats, poetry in praise of Prophet Muhammad. The most well-known Muslim eulogies had previously been performed by Kashmiri Pandit singers like Vijay Malla, while Muslim singers have done the same with Hindu devotional songs.
This is the first time in history when the Hajis were welcomed by Pandit community members. The gesture took place even though Kashmiri Pandit community members and non-local labourers were shot dead by terrorists in targetted attacks since last October.
Earlier, there have been many instances when Kashmir’s Muslims and Pandits have set an example of brotherhood and harmony.
Last week Muslims who are involved with Shri Amarnath Yatra offered Eid Prayers near the holy cave in the backdrop of a cloudburst that took 16 lives. The local Kashmiri Muslim vendors expressed their grief at the loss of lives and said, “They are not bothered about the loss to their business due to temporary suspension of the pilgrimage.”
A 14-second video in which the local vendors are expressing their feelings to the GOC of the Srinagar-based Army’s 15 Corps, Lt Gen AS Aujla at Baltal, one of the two base camps for this annual high-altitude pilgrimage, was posted on Twitter and has gone viral.
“We are sad at the loss of lives (of Yatris). We are not worried about losses to our businesses,” said a member of a group of local vendors who are engaged in providing various facilities to the pilgrims.
More than 35,000 local Muslims are engaged in the Amarnath Yatra making arrangements and providing services and facilities for the pilgrims. Most of them are from Anantnag and its adjacent districts of Kulgam and Kishtwar (Jammu) for the Pahalgam route.
Others are engaged from the Sonmarg and Kangan areas of the Ganderbal district for the Baltal route. Nearly 20,000 local Muslims are serving as pony wallahs. The others include palanquin operators, transporters, vendors, shopkeepers, hoteliers, and tent providers.
Several senior Muslim officers of the J&K government spent their Eid-ul Adha en route to the Amarnath cave while discharging their duties for facilitating the pilgrimage.