Washington, February 05 (KMS): Today, the world is observing the ‘International Day of Human Fraternity’ to highlight the importance of tolerance among the members of different religions, cultures and ethnicities.
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, ‘World Forum for Peace & Justice,’ said, “I am so proud to be an American and a Muslim from Kashmir. Because the Valley of Kashmir, where I come from has remained the symbol of communal harmony and tolerance for centuries. Kashmir has been haloed as the land of saints. Its culture celebrates diversity, and it has been the confluence of a rich mixture of philosophies and ways of life that merge without losing their distinct identities.”
Dr. Fai asked, can anyone deny the fact – of no small significance – that while the Subcontinent under British rule was the scene of recurrent murderous strife, communal riots were unheard of in Kashmir? That unquestionable fact brings out the real character of Kashmir’s heritage. “…It is really difficult for me to distinguish between a Hindu Kashmiri and a Muslim Kashmiri. You people speak one language and have one culture. While the rest of the country burns in communal fire, I see a ray of hope in Kashmir only…”
The present Indian leadership of Narendra Modi is wholly absorbed in pretty political concerns. Modi government has particularly failingly tried to equate Kashmiri people with fundamentalism. The term fundamentalism, Dr. Fai clarified, is quite inapplicable to the Kashmiri society. A hallmark of Kashmir has been its long tradition of tolerance, amity, and good will across religious and cultural boundaries. It has a long tradition of moderation and non-violence. Its culture does not generate extremism or fundamentalism.
Fai added that the five religious’ groups of Kashmir – Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and tiny minority of Christians – have for centuries flourished in harmony and mutual bond: no religious ghettoes; no religious apartheid; no economic or sharp cultural divides. All religious persuasions rejoiced at each other’s holidays and times of joy, attended social gatherings together, lived as neighbors in harmony, and treasured their mutual trust. The various faiths of Kashmir eschew fanatical or extremist dogmas that distort and debauch their doctrinal origins. Tolerance and mutual respect are their watchwords.
Dr. Fai cited two recent shining examples of tolerance, communal harmony, and open-mindedness in Kashmir, although there are hundreds of such instances. India’s leading weekly ‘India Today’ reported on May 14, 2022, that ‘Muslims helped in performing the last rites of a Kashmiri Pandit woman in Kulgam in a great show of solidarity amid heightened tensions in Kashmir.” And ‘Kashmir Life Magazine’ reported on September 2, 2022, that ‘In a classic act of communal harmony and amity, members of Muslim community Friday performed the last rites of an elderly Pandit woman in Pargochi village in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.