Kashmir Diary – The Happy Haven, Srinagar
The unhappy land.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
In its issue dated 21 April 2012, Open, a Delhi-based newsweekly, published a cover story on Kashmir titled “Sorry, Kashmir is Happy.”
The author Manu Jospeh asks: “Why is it obscene to accept that a historically wounded people are ready to move on?”
In the story, he writes:
Srinagar does not have pubs or discos or cinema halls. Most young people there do not drink. A popular form of fun is sitting in a café and having coffee with friends. They are still uncorrupted by city slickness and there is an endearing honesty in their words.
The Delhi Walla is in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, a divided region under the control of India and Pakistan in which thousands of people have lost their lives in their violent struggle for independence.
Trying to search for happy Kashmiris, I found my happy Kashmir in an outdated guidebook. Kashmir Tourist Book was published during the 1950s when the Delhi-Srinagar airfare was Rs 172 and Srinagar still had cinemas (Neelam, Regal, Palladium, Sheraj, Naaz, Broadway, Firdaus and Khayam).
The guidebook delves deep into Kashmir’s happiness.
The happy vale of Kashmir is renowned most for its wonderful air, lovely scenery and excellent beauty. This is that happy valley where one can make life most enjoyable to different tastes and interests. This is that happy valley where spring appears in all its glory. This is that happy fairy lotus-land where the lotus blooms to greatest perfection. This is that happy valley where trees like chinar and poplar are most beautiful at all stages. This is that happy valley before which the title “Eden of the East” blushes and artists find undreamed beauties of colour and scenery for the brush.
This is the final volume of the Kashmir Diary series.
Scenes from a ‘happy’ Kashmir
God bless Kashmir
no. 15 is a cute Policewallah! He would look gorgeous in a suit. Although he looks nice even in those terrible khaki things.
Naushirvan, mukh ki baat chhin lena is a bad habit!
Gee, it sounds like you were totally miserable there. Was it supposed to be a vacation? I’ve never read a more un-travel blog in my life! If Kashmir ever became independent and we had to apply for visas, you’d probably make their Top 10 persona non grata list. Well, maybe top 1000.
Matka, it seems you really do not understand what is dealt with here. This article is in fact saying that Kashmir is NOT happy with the current status quo (I too can use bland Latin locutions) and continues to hope for independence. Mayank would in an independent Kashmir actually become a guest of honour.
By the way “persona non grata” is enough, no need to add list. The sentence you have written, little mischievous Matka, conveys the meaning that Mayank would be the one deciding who must appear on the list of personae non gratae.
Abistis, Dulces Caricae!
nice pics mayank. i’ve visited kashmir before..guess it’s time that i do.
LOL Just imagine what a travelogue by Arundhati “gandhians with guns” Roy would have been like!
Ummm, well I lived in Kashmir and the people must be amongst the poorest, but the happiest as well. (pre 1982) It is a tragedy, should never have been divided. I adored Kasmir and its people and would go back in a flash were it more stable.
So some of them seem a teeny bit unhappy. That’s normal – we all are. The girls in the park and the couple on the gorgeous lookout point are definitely happy.
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