By Citizen Journalist: Nishant Tripathi
Jammu and Kashmir has been a special state right from the Independence. The state’s political scenario and demography has been different from rest of the states. But, then it’s India where ‘Ghat ghat pe badle paani, chaar ghaat pe wani’ which translates into that India is a land of diversities where after every mile, the taste of water changes, and after a few; the language. Jammu and Kashmir is as Indian as any other state yet it drives a lot of myths and misconceptions into the minds of people who have not visited here and had only national media profess their idea about it. Hailing from the land itself, let me clarify some of these myths:
Militants standing outside our doors:
‘How do you get out, aren’t you scared of the militants standing outside’ was one of the worries someone addressed to me when he came to know that I belonged to Jammu and Kashmir. And this must have been asked a million times to anyone from Jammu and Kashmir. But to put a pin to it for once and all, No! There aren’t militants roaming free on the roads. The actual city roads are perfectly safe and see a peaceful life most of the times.
(More from the Author: 10 reasons to fall in love with Jammu and Kashmir)
Jammu is Kashmir, Kashmir is Jammu; Same, Same!:
As the name suggests, Yes, Jammu is not Kashmir. The name it self says Jammu ‘AND’ Kashmir! Jammu and Kashmir are about 300 kms apart. The state has two capitals as well. In addition to Srinagar being the summer capital, Jammu city serves as the ‘winter capital’ for the state. This means there is a secretariat shift once a year.
Heavy snowfall in Jammu!
This might come to you as a bit of a shock but yeah, Jammu, the proper city, has never seen the snow. It only snows in the upper altitudes and some picnic spots and that too very lightly. It is Kashmir and Ladakh that see a heavy and significant snowfall. For, Jammu, winters are dry and misty.
It’s always cold in Jammu and Kashmir:
Jammu and Kashmir has a wide and extreme ranges of temperature, with Ladakh seeing blood freezing temperatures as low as -19 degrees in deep winters, Jammu sees temperatures as high as over 45 degrees in cruel summers. So, yeah, it’s not quite as cold as you might think in Jammu and Kashmir.
Majority of population is Muslim:
It is true that J&K is the only Muslim majority state in India but Jammu and Ladakh have a different set of demography. Jammu has a Majority of Hindus while there’s a rich number of Buddhists as well as Mulims in Ladakh. Along with them, many Pahadis, Bhadarwahis, Gujjars, Punjabis, etc. also constitute the population.
Everyone is a Kashmiri:
Dogras live in Jammu, Ladakhis live in Ladakh and Kashmiris live in Kashmir. Not everyone is a Kashmiri. Three different regions that constitute the state has three different natives with totally different roots and origins. Their language, life style and food varies vastly as well.
Everyone has a personal gun:
Really? Holding unlicensed arms and ammunition is as much illegal in J&K as it is in rest of the country. And to add to that, we are not taught weapon science at home to manufacture guns and bombs.
The state is under a constant curfew:
Yes, there are days and times when curfew has indeed been imposed in the sensitive areas of the state. But it happens anywhere and everywhere there is sensitivity to terrorism. It is only rare when a curfew has stretched over two days (with relaxations of course).
So, now that you’re enlightened a bit more about the state, be nice when you meet someone from J&K instead of growing weary of his or her terrorist ties. They are as much Indian as you are.