Punjab and Kashmir: Synergy of Masses

It is widely believed that Baba Nanak along with Bhayee Mardhana visited and spent some time at Martanda/ Mattan where u...

It was on my recent trip to Punjab that I realised, you can say recollected, that I had heard and seen four generations of mine traveling to the Punjab for succor including me. My grand father had purchased a book ilmi tib wa haq from Lahore somewhere in 1920s that is still in my possession, my father was a regular annual visitor/ worker for most of his life, I worked there for a few years and my son studied for about the same time. I realised that there have been generations of Kashmiris who had done the same and of course vice versa. I felt to write a piece on the subject from the common human perspective...

...On the other side we see Punjabi settlements in different parts of the Valley. Essentially it is the Sikh population that represents the Punjabi population living across the length and breadth of Kashmir. The Sikh population retains Punjabi as its mother tounge while speaking Kashmiri as well. It has retained all the elements of Punjabi culture while picking the local tradition and assimilating in the main body politic of the masses. Sikhs migrated to the valley during the period of the Khalsa rule, that as I said earlier, lasted only a brief period of twenty eight years between 1818 and 1846 but the Sikh-Kashmir connection is as old as the Sikh religion.

It is widely believed that Baba Nanak along with Bhayee Mardhana visited and spent some time at Martanda/ Mattan where unfortunately the Sikh baradhari is struggling to construct a Gurduwara due to some stubborn opposition from the other religious Kashmiri "minority" and the matter is lingering in Courts at Anantnag for decades now. Again it is at the complaint of alleged forcible conversion of the same local minority by Awrangzeb that was prostested by Guru Teg Bahadur leading to his martyrdom. Although not mentioned by the earlier Sikh historians, the official accounts of Sri Harmandir Sahib/ Golden Temple, I have been told, mention that its foundation stone was laid by the Sufi peer Sai Mian Mir at the invitation of Guru Arjan. I wonder if it has some Kashmir connection, as many Kashmiris carry the surname Mir. There is another community settled in District Kupwara and in and around village Yaripora in Kulgam district. It is the Bomba or as we call them b'umye tribe who we suppose have arrived from Muzafferabad but as I personally know the tribe speaks perfect Punjabi and has retained it as its mother tongue...

...To conclude I would say that there has been a lot of synergy among the common people of Punjab and Kashmir through ages. That continues to this day but is almost forgotten, neither written about nor documented. The interaction, exchange and the confluence of the two cultures needs an indepth investigation. The available history books seem to be occupied by the narrative of the battles, the wars, the rulers, the politicians and their courtiers lacking the necessary detail about the masses inhabiting the two adjustant geographies. The two people have come to the rescue of each other in times of distress, calamity sharing a bond of affinity, camaraderie and spirituality all along.

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