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Kashmir 1990.

1990 was a watershed year for Kashmir. My generation was severely impacted by the turn of events that year. 

Prior to the onset of armed insurgency and counter insurgency in the Valley, the dominant perception was that we lived in a region that could exist as an autonomous unit, the security of which would be guaranteed by India and Pakistan. 

The dominant perception also was that Kashmir was an exotic locale with mountains of silver and fields of gold.

But the cataclysmic events of 1990 burst our bubble, and my generation lost its innocence. 

Several Pandits fled the Valley for fear of religious persecution and suffered the irreparable loss of their homes. 

Several Muslims fled the Valley for fear of political persecution. 

Several Muslim businessmen fled the Valley for fear of extortion. 

Several people who continued to live in the Valley feared the aggression and bellicosity of paramilitary personnel as well as the wrath of militants. 

Several Kashmiris learned about custodial disappearances and custodial deaths for the very first time. They were reduced to being mere statistics, and suffered irreversible losses.

In the murky rooms and turbid waters of Kashmir, these narratives seek supremacy over one another. 

No one narrative can encompass the reality of Kashmir. All I see is large-scale suffering and loss of home and hearth.

Vitriol will not heal wounds, which continue to remain raw. Pluralism is the only antidote to the toxicity of majoritarian politics.

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