Tuesday 20th February 2024,
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Kashmiri Pandit community in ‘exile’ celebrates arrival of Spring

Kashmiri Pandit community in ‘exile’ celebrates arrival of Spring

NEW DELHI: The Kashmiri Pandit community that was displaced years back from Kashmir valley in wake of militancy celebrated the arrival of Spring and the New Year with a Kashmiri Rock Festival and a cuisine festival. The programme was attended by thousands of young Kashmiris across the NCR.

This is a unique festival. It binds us to the past not just a memory of the past but also a continuity of our tradition said Netri Bhat a young Kashmiri who was one of the organizers of the event.The festival showcased the performances by famous Kashmiri band Panchtarni, Sufi rock singer King Paul Singh, and ace humorist S.K Bhan. The festival was organized by Praznath in association with Roots in Kashmir.

“Events of such genre bring an exiled community together. Organising a Kashmiri Rock fest is the best way of connecting with the youth. I think this is the biggest gathering of Kashmiris that I have ever witnessed”, said Shreya Kaul, DU student.

The event marked an immense impression about fusion of ‘Kashmiri Chhakri’ (Kashmiri Folk) and Rock music. The music is genre music but the lyrics are of the past poets of Kashmir who have brought uniqueness to Kashmiri culture.

Actually this festival was celebrated on the foothills of Hari Parbat where Kashmir’s first mother Goddess resides. The festival used to be attended by hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits who congregated and marked the festival by singing, dancing and praying together and announcing the arrival of the New Year said Aroop Rayu, a young Kashmiri girl.The word REH is derived from Navreh which means Light or Flame, the flame that we want to keep kindled whilst we are in exile. We want this tradition to be carried forward to the new generation that’s why we celebrate this every year said Ashish Zutshi, who was 15 when Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee.

REH 2014a Biggest Kashmiri Rock Festival to mark the arrival of New Year in Kashmir (as per Kashmiri calendar) called Navreh (The New Fire or Light whichever way you wish) was celebrated with the Spring knocking the doors, valley is in full bloom and Almond flowers present the picture of a valley that wants to celebrate.

The exiled Kashmiri Pandit community celebrated the festival with gaiety on 29th March from 3:30-8 PM at KECSS Grounds, Pamposh Enclave, GK 1, Delhi. Roots in Kashmir the frontline Kashmiri Pandit organization organized a rock concert in which various Kashmiris across the nation performed in at a common platform.

Organisers told. “We reignite the fire and light within us as thousands of young Kashmiri Pandits groove to the beats of Kashmiri Traditional beats mixed with Rock Music. It is a gathering like no other. It has young, restless, aspiring blood in a blend with its own past, its legacy, its history albeit in a new fashion, a new trend”. 

The Concert was aptly titled REH ( a Kashmiri word for flame).

Renowned band Panchtarini, of the valley set the stage on fire and illuminated the flame. For the first time everyone hear Kashmiri Songs from a Kashmiri Sikh – King Paul Singh, a young Sikh Pop Singer born and brought up in Valley. S K Bhan, sing fusion of Chakri mixed with Rock Music.

The flame of continuity – REH as it is aptly called in Kashmiri; they sing together, dance together shout aloud till their voice resonates in the valley. As a new generation of Kashmiri musicians change tacks from Chakri to Rock to fusion or the more mellowed form of music, sing to the celebration of life in a new way and mark the arrival of the next generation of the Kashmiri Pandits.

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