Sameer Showkin Lone
Shopian | Feb 22: A small story from this Zainapora village of south Kashmir Shopian district may go a long way in letting the breeze of peace and communal harmony float across the divide.
When most of the Kashmiri Pandits flee Kashmir in 1990s because of the political circumstances, Chaman Lal, a Kashmiri Pandit, in his 80’s now didn’t leave. He found his companion in Mohammad Anwar Mir – his childhood friend, from a nearby Babapora village.
Lal and Mir share a special bond of friendship during their youth days. Lal preferred to stay back at his ancestral village in Zainapora, though his other family members moved out of Kashmir.
But as the days and years passed, Lal started losing his eyesight. With growing age, he completely turned blind because of some natural problems, some 30 years ago. However, his childhood friend, Mir, who lives few miles away from his village, became a reason for Lal to never feel any lonliness.
Since Chaman Lal can’t move around on his own, his friend Mir pays a visit to him every day for the past 30 years to help him to take a stroll in the surroundings.
“I visit him every day. It is a routine for me. He (Lal) puts his arm on my shoulder and we take a stroll around the streets. The same streets and shop fronts where we used to discuss our future some four decades years ago,” says Mir.
Chaman Lal’s 40-years long friendship with Anwar Mir is a lesson for all of us, say the locals.
“Their 40-years of long friendship is a lesson for all of us. It purely is an example that a ‘friend in a need is a friend indeed’,” says Aijaz Ahmad a local.
Lal never felt any insecurity here. “I was not blind by birth…It happened some 30 years ago,” he said.
Asked if he was ever troubled by someone, he said, “I am living in harmony. My friend is helping me here to move around. I was born here…I lived my life here and I will die here,” Lal said.
He said his friend Mir is always there in any kind of situation. “If I have to go to a medical shop…my friend helps me out. He is always there,” he said.
Th story first appeared in Rising Kashmir