Nineteenth January 1990

My sincere apologies to all my KP friends on my miss. Not a word from me (about 19 January) on 19 Jan 2018! And that is tantamount to blasphemy. No, I have not forgotten 19 Jan 1990. Neither have I forgotten 23 Dec 1989, the day I bid my last farewell to our home and house in Kashmir – the house that I had seen rising from the ground and taking shape brick-by-brick – and that street in front of our house, which I had helped to construct, stone by stone, with my two little hands. I had never undertaken any manual labour before that; my hands were full of sores and scratches.

I left my home because I felt deeply betrayed by my Kashmiri community – my own flesh and blood – and the then governments,  both State and Central. I have never been able to understand how and why religion succeeded in separating brothers from one another. After all, we were ONE Kashmiri community, historically related by blood. Amazingly, at that time, the State government seemed to have abdicated and the Central government was clueless about what was happening in the valley. But I was alert and aware; I saw it coming and was afraid, really afraid.  My God did certainly cry with me when I left in deep fear, for an uncertain future…

I finally got uprooted from my soil on the morning of 20 Jan 1990, when my parents decided to leave suddenly, under duress and after repeated pleas and advice (to leave the valley) from my father’s Muslim colleague. They were dropped at Srinagar airport by our Muslim neighbour, Dr Abdul Majid (RIP). While leaving, they crossed path with Mr Jagmohan, the newly (re)appointed Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, who landed at the airport around the same time. Rest is history…

Lest I forget, or our children forget about our sad story, I decided to permanently document a piece of my (our) history in my book, 22 Years – A Kashmir Story. It is book worth reading. A request to my KP friends: Please write down your own story before the world loses it when you finally depart from here.

History must not be forgotten or allowed to be distorted.’ … Bill K Koul

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