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

Posted on July 25, 2012 in Society

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]