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A Pandit woman recalls her struggle post migration from Kashmir
Missing badly the wonderful days of her childhood; which were full of life, happiness, security, communal harmony and free from criminals and pollution, Indu Jalali, a Kashmiri Pandit activist could not control tears as she recalled her struggle from a refugee to youngest Kashmiri female CEO of ESPIC Consultancy.

The 38-year-old woman has a strong faith that a day will come when she will go back to her roots along with family and get the feel of being a Kashmiri again. She wants to do something for Kashmiri women who have been the worst sufferers of the decades-old bloody conflict.

But, she regrets her daughter will never live her childhood the way she did in Kashmir and will never be able to speak Kashmiri the way she does because the people around her have no knowledge of the language. She will never understand what it is like to celebrate Eid and Diwali together with the people from other community, Jalali told this citizen journalist .

Jalali feels and understands the pain of displaced Kashmiri Pandits and in a bid to provide them some sort of temporary relief she is planning to open an old age home for Kashmiris in Delhi and Jammu.

She says the Kashmir was the safest place for her but rues that the gun culture turned her world upside down and everything changed in just one night when she had to leave all her memories. “I became a refugee leaving my childhood, my memories and my home there. Now when I visit Kashmir as a tourist I see hell of a change. We were very moderate people but now radicalization has left its impact. Traffic has increased with so much of commotion and hence the pollution.”

She says that common man is suffering as corruption is on the peak. “See Army people are all around which I had never seen before 1990. What amazed me the most was when a young Kashmiri girl asked me what I am wearing in my ears, which is ‘Dejhoor’ which earlier every Kashmiri knew about,” she rues.

Born with a silver spoon in her mouth in Kashmir, Jalali did her schooling from Presentation Convent School in Srinagar - one of the best schools of her times, where she learnt to be organized, punctual, honest, and someone who loves humanity and nature.

“I felt safe going school and had friends from my community and from majority community also. I never felt any difference amongst us. I never felt that we belonged to different religions, at school I always felt we were one,” she recalls.

“The teachers also never ever discriminated between us. We used to go to picnics, movies, libraries etc. without any fear or doubt in our minds. In-fact we used to go to late night shows for movies and walk down to our homes after finishing the film. It was so safe”.

During her 17-year-long stay in Kashmir, Jalali says that she never felt insecure. “I was never troubled by the majority community. In-fact I always received love and care from them. We have our family Guru or Peer Sabh from Hirey Qadir Bub. We all follow him and I truly believe that whatever I and my family have achieved it is because of his grace and blessings. Plus I have tremendous faith in Makhdoom Sahib besides Kheer Bhawani and Ganeshibal,” she says.

Recalling her struggle after migrating from Kashmir, Jalali says, “I fought for getting admission in colleges and schools in Jammu and all over India. We formed Students Front and my fight for justice began with getting Kashmiri Pandits’ admission in schools and fighting for getting admissions in professional colleges all over was my first achievement.”

Life in Jammu, according to Jalali, was terrible. “The heat took its toll and instead of a big house I was stuffed in one room apartment and we had no source of income other then my father’s salary. Still we managed to survive keeping one thing in mind that this ordeal is going to end soon and we will be back home soon and in our mothers lap, ‘Mauj Kashir’. Unfortunately, till now that day has not come,” she says.

After finishing college in Jammu, Jalali went to Pune University to pursue MBA. “Trust me my father had only Rs 1000 at that time in his pocket but I promised him that I will come out with flying colours and so did I,” Jalali says with a proud feeling.

Soon, Jalali started her professional career and in just few years she went to become the youngest Kashmiri female CEO of a company named ESPIC Consultancy – her second achievement.

Her first achievement would always be her fight for the justice of Priyadarshini Mattoo, who was raped and murdered by son of an IPS officer. “It took me and her father 10 years to give her justice and book her killers. During the fight for my friend (Priya), I was also threatened many times to back off or else they will kill my family and me. Even a maid was also planted in my home who was trying to poison us,” Jalali recalls.

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