A THREAD CONNECTING DIVERSITY.
By Kavya Kamal
The Kashmir Valley is all set to celebrate the annual Kheer Bhawani Festival which is celebrated with great devotion and joy followed by fast and a gathering at the place where the temple is located on the eighth day of full moon in the month of May and June which is the time when the goddess changes the color of spring’s water which is ascribed as different manifestations of the goddess as per the believes
WHAT DOES THE ACTUAL BELIEVE SAYS:
The Goddess Mata Ragnya Devi is symbolised as a sacred spring at Tula Mula village, near (27 kms) Srinagar, Kashmir in J&K India. The spring of Kheer Bhawani is quite large and has always been held in veneration by the Brahman population of Srinagar.
The Temple, dedicated to the Goddess Mata Kheer Bhawani (originally Bhawani Mata), has been constructed over a Sacred Spring. Within the spring is a marble Temple. The Temple-Spring complex is affectionately known as Kheer Bhawani as thousands of devotees offer milk and ‘kheer’ to the Sacred Spring.
HOW IS THIS CREATING A DIFFERENCE?
The nation has always been sensitive when it comes to the issue of Kashmir and the views which appears in our minds is all about the AFSPA and the turmoil with the scenic beauty, but wait this is the time to add something new to it. This very festivals brings and sets the biggest example of the wishes of both kashmiri pandits and them muslims to unite and live together with peace,brotherhood and happiness. If you take a look around the joyous atmosphere of this very temple,surrounded by happiness and togetherness, one could see Muslim brothers setting up stalls and shops making the event much more meaningful and exciting adding the colors and urge for unit.It is the Muslim brothers of that area who help the pandits to make the event more extravagant through manufacturing and selling the prayer related materials all around the temple.Rare scenes of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood is witnessed as locals in Tulmulla village serve milk in earthen pots to the Pandits, keeping alive the centuries-old local tradition. The Kheer Bhawani is an example of the communal amity between Hindus and Muslims in the Valley as the latter take an active part in making arrangements every year. The Muslim brethren who want to meet their old time friends are seen searching for them in the shrine premises.
In the outer compound of the pantheon, stalls set up by local Muslims sell everything needed to perform the rituals of the festival. ‘Puja thalis’, the plates carrying commodities offered as tributes to the goddess, are prepared by Muslims, who place them in the nearly two dozen stalls that dot the outer compound of the shrine.
The Kashmiri pandits who migrated from the valley in 1990s after the attack by militants are divided by the proposal of establishing different land while some are staunch op-posers of the very same.
“we do not want separate colonies,we want to live with our muslim brothers”-said K.Bhatt. a kashmiri pandit. Another kashmiri pandit,Vijay Bhatt said “locals are not our enemies ofcourse there are some miscreants, but they are everywhere. we have lived as brothers for ages and we will continue to do so”
When someof the government policies tries it hard to crack the wall of unity through the specter of some fundamental ideas ,promoting vested interest, festival like kheer bhawani sets the actual example of the simplicity and love for every single individual.