CHENNAI : Jahangir once said — Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto. It means ‘If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here’,” said Moosa Raza, ex-chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, at the GRT Convention Center during the launch of his book Kashmir: Land of Regrets on Tuesday. “Every time I was there, I fell in love with it even more,” he said. “The book is a compilation of my interaction with the locals during Farooq Abdullah’s government and the insurgency period. I have also written about the undying beauty of the forests and the mountains.”
Raza was transferred to Kashmir in 1988 when militancy was on the rise. State tensions and social differences threatened the stability of the state. “I would venture out into villages and speak to the locals without revealing my identity. I tried to understand the situation at the grassroots. They told me about their financial situations and how the then underlying insurgency movement affected their daily lives,” he said.
Raza went on to add that after the loss of independence by the Kashmiris, they came under different types of rule. “Although the Mughals would use Kashmir as a holiday destination and built many gardens and palaces, their successors, the Afghans, were brutal. They exploited the butcheries and suppressed them. Every Muslim family had to contribute one member of their family to work for the Afghan army,” he said.
He has also recorded the state of Kashmir under the rule of the Sikhs and subsequent communities like the Dogras.
“Kashmiris have continuously suffered under various invasions,” he said. The situation now threatens to bring about militancy once more. “When I was there, a trend had erupted where locals would shout for help and act hurt as soon as they saw army personnel. As of now, with what information I have received from my sources there, the military has begun imposing their own rules. Shops open for two hours in the morning after which they have to shut to avoid military confrontation. Schools are still not functioning and fear is slowly turning into anger,” added Raza.