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JAMMU: The Lost Land, Wasted… And No More?

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By Mahima Raina:

I don’t know where Jammu is when we talk about Jammu and Kashmir. When that happens, it makes me very sad and I wonder, is it no more ? I spend a considerable time in making this point to people I meet outside of my state: I belong to Jammu, not Kashmir! To them it is one and then I always choose to mellow down on this because deep inside it is “one” to me as well. Having said that, I want to impress on this fact for those who do not know, that, I have a Kashmiri name: Raina, but I was born and brought up in Jammu. We must have migrated years and years ago. I have read abundant stories, articles and memoirs describing the beauty of Kashmir, the people, the mental and physical injuries of migration on Kashmiris and much more. To my chagrin, Jammu never gets mentioned when we talk about this pain.  Does the pain belong only to Kashmiris and Kashmir?

Do I need to glorify Jammu? It is our problem that we do not really do that enough. In its random, careless, virgin beauty, I feel every inch of it is mesmerizing. From Poonch to Rajouri;  Reasi to Katra; Mata Vaishno Devi to Shiv Khori, from Raghunath temple to Bahu Fort, it is sprawling , endless beauty. From Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Hari Singh to Dogra Regiment of the Indian Army, we are proud to have produced such brave sons. From kurta-suthan to dogri jhumkas, from rajma chawal to auriya it spells taste and rich culture. From the pickles as exotic as kasrod to jimikand, from sweets as peculiar as chocolate burfi to kud ka patisa. I wonder what all to list here and this is not what I want to talk about too . But nevertheless, I need to mention this.

When I was a kid, I used to think that the front page of a newspaper tells “how many people were killed the previous day”. Not a very healthy thought but that was all I ever read in the newspapers. I did not see movies in cinema halls until college because parents were afraid that there could be a bomb blast. I had many days of no-school or exam postpone because of curfews that were a commonplace in Jammu of those times. Those who grew up in Jammu in the 90s have similar stories, I feel sure. Even at this age, in another part of world where personal safety is not an issue, I find it hard to believe that I can feel safe. Yes, all that happened has affected a child’s psyche who grew up in Jammu then, too. Still, I agree I am the protected and pampered one. I wonder what happened to those people in Rajouri, Poonch, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar and Doda? Before the 90s, Jammu has lived to see Indo-Pak and Indo-China wars. My parents have witnessed those. My mother remembers living in bunkers and my paternal family had to migrate from Akhnoor to the Jammu city. Other such incidents of migration have occurred in Rajouri and Poonch which also involved mass human slaughters, arsons and everything heinous. A small book by late Justice Amarnath Saraf, tells such poignant but true stories .

Jammu has seen migrations and wars of sorts. We have been home to them. We have stood our ground, we are the valorous Dogras. We have fought. We have borne the pain inflicted to us and also been strong enough to lend help to those who needed it. We have been open, accepting, adaptive, encouraging to others. We have given too much and accepted too little. And, lastly, we have stood so tall even in others’ nonchalance and non recognition of our efforts to help them rehabilitate. We are modest too.

Jammu gives spiritual lessons. Lesson that as we give to others we become more beautiful. Lessons of cooperation, empathy, resilience and “ Athithi devo bhav.”   We are rich because we’ve been humane and we still profess, instill and maintain this stance. We are not worried about the results; we are not worried about what we earn from this. We are humanistic, philanthropic community and much more so than we realize and give us credit for. This takes me back to an old story of the 14th century when Raja Jambu Lochan spotted a lion and a lamb drinking water together from river Tawi. In my opinion, that tranquility and peace, although in transformed way, is still manifested in the people of Jammu.

May be the fact that I am half the world away from home has inspired me to think and write this.  But it is good because I want Jammu and the Dogras to feel proud and revel in their achievements and contributions for once. I sometimes feel severe identity crisis because of the way Jammu and Dogras are misrepresented and even dismissed as a part of the state and community. I feel Jammu stands ignored and wasted not because of others but because of sheer lack of awareness in us of our qualities and contributions. We are ill-represented because we never learnt what to say and how to say.

When I go back home from here, I do not want to take “I Love Berlin” souvenirs. I take the commitment to speak Dogri more often. And I feel still live up to my Kashmiri name when I animatedly talk about the beauty of my state, Jammu and Kashmir, to these ignorant foreigners here.

Disclaimer: The article does not intend to hurt any community or person(s). I understand that I cannot feel your sufferings but still I share your pain. I am not against anyone, I am for the sheer love and sense of pride for my community. These are personal opinions, I admit my inadequacies. I only intend to infuse a sense of pride in my fellow Jammuites and congratulate them for their values, for being so wonderfully — them-the Dogras.

[box bg=”#fdf78c” color=”#000″]About the author:

Mahima Raina, Junior Research Fellow in Psychology, University of Jammu. Presently on an International Project at Humboldt Universitat zu Berlin, Germany.[/box]

You must be to comment.
  1. Aman Gupta

    very truely said mahima raina…………

    1. Mahima Raina

      Thank you Aman Gupta. I am happy to that we all think the same !!

    2. anjali kashyap

      really a good writing!

  2. Akhil Pathania

    Good writeup Mahima 🙂

  3. Ashish Sehgal

    Hi Mahima……..lovely article……..I m getting where this is coming from….as I too come across similar identity crisis while introducing myself to peeps in London. They know Kashmir probably bcuz of its beauty or may be its a terror hit state and makes headline very often….calling myself as Jammuite confuses them as I belong to some remote and distant part of India but moment you say Jammu-Kashmir their reaction is, ” O you are from Kashmir, my uncle went there once and I would like to go visit kashmir as well”. That time you feel atleast someone knows your homeland though thru Kashmir. Kashmir is beautiful but Jammu is no less. What needs is to glorify its beauty and vivid past, bring to light the achievement of jammuites just not dogras but all those who live here, need to represent Jammu more on the international scenario(albeit being a part ofJ&K). Not only the youth but also the state agencies and cabinet needs to devise promotional strategies to bring Jammu and Ladakh at the forefront of international scenario along with Kashmir……..

  4. Nkkandhari

    Very nice and meaningful post thanks Mahima god bless you

    1. Mahima Raina

      Thank you, Uncle 🙂

  5. Raina Bhowal

    I know someone very close of mine, he belongs to Jammu as well. After spending a lot of time with him, realised that how he is proud to be a Dogra too and shares the same sense of understanding as Yours.

    1. Mahima Raina

      Very happy to know that :-).

  6. Mahima Raina

    Thank you everyone. Feels wonderful to be appreciated by all of you. I hope we keep Dogri alive by speaking it more often..and hence our very rich Dogra culture ..

  7. Ankita Gupta

    You have really nicely put all the elements together. It’s an article i am sure Jammu people can relate to and i had a smile while you mentioned ‘patisa’ and ‘kasrod’ .I am proud of being a Dogra 🙂 Congratulations , you have written apt.

    1. mahima raina

      Thanks Ankita.. Patisa and kasrod is just the beginning.. I am so unhappy and angry when people say Dogras donot have any special dishes 🙁 !!!!! . Thats why I had to mention something of this sort in the article !

  8. Rahul Thapa

    A very well written article on Jammu, hope it rekindle the spirit of Jammu in people of Jammu

    1. mahima raina

      Thank you, Rahul, I hope so too !!

  9. Vikramjeet Singh Manhas

    Nice article mam……
    I on behalf of team of we for jammu thank you bringing such an article before us…and hope that in future too,u can bring such articles representing jammu n its people

    1. mahima

      Thank you sir

  10. tushar sharma

    It is very sad when no one knows jammu yet so many people know about kashmir. I am insulted when someone thinks I am kashmiri. We dogras conquered so much land and unified such a large area into the state of J & K yet we get no recognition. It is really a mystery.

    1. mahima

      It is also lack of awareness and understanding among us. We should begin with taking pride in our existence and culture..

  11. sg02

    @ mahima: nice article.
    but maybe, in India, controversy sells more. and Jammu being less of an ‘international’ controversy gets to be not as ‘popular’ or ‘in demand’ as Kashmir. (pun-intended) 🙂

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