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Leaving Behind Flourishing Business & Delhi Villa, This Kashmiri Pandit Returns to Valley After 30 Years

Roshan Lal Mawa's old shop was in ruins and to restart the business, they reconstructed the shop at the same location.

Aakash Hassan | News18.com@Aakashhassan

Updated:May 1, 2019, 10:38 PM IST
Leaving Behind Flourishing Business & Delhi Villa, This Kashmiri Pandit Returns to Valley After 30 Years
Roshan Lal Mawa, in his 70s, returned to Kashmir after 30 years (News18)

Srinagar: Gada Kocha, a famous spices market in the heart of old city of Srinagar, wore an unusual festive look on Wednesday. Amid rains, people thronged a newly constructed double-story shopping structure.

Roshan Lal Mawa, was emotional, his eyes filled with tears. A Kashmiri Pandit, Mawa, in his mid-seventies, returned to Kashmir after thirty years.

Mawa was a well-known trader in Zaina Kadal, a locality in Downtown Srinagar. In the autumn of 1990, he was allegedly attacked by militants. He was at his shop when suspected militants fired upon him. Three bullets pierced his abdomen and one his leg.

Days after the attack, Mawa said, “The family packed the bags and migrated to Jammu.” During the firing, Mawa's wife, two sons and a daughter were all in Kashmir, except for one son who settled outside the valley.

After the attack, Mawa was left badly wounded but he survived. Soon, the family fled and settled in Jammu's migrant camp like thousands of other Kashmiri Pandits who left valley around the same time.

It took his son, Sandeep Mawa — a medical doctor by profession and a political activist — a lot of time and medical counselling to persuade his father to set up business in Delhi. Sandeep and his mother stayed in Jammu and other family members left for Delhi to establish the business.

Working in Delhi was not easy for Mawas but, after years of hard work, they established a successful business in the spices market of Delhi's Khari Baoli.

“In Delhi, we didn’t change the name of our shop — ‘Nandlal Maharaj Krishan’, Mawa told News18.

But after 30 years in Delhi Mawa decided to return to the valley.

But why?

“A Kashmiri can never love Delhi,” Mawa said, surrounded by the neighbouring shopkeepers and traders, who interestingly never stopped business with him. “I am a successful businessman in Delhi and my house costs over Rs 20 crores in Sainik Farms. But I could never depart from my Kashmiri identity and call myself a Delhite,” he added.

“I can sacrifice anything for the breeze of Kashmir. It is where I belong,” he said. “There is no life in Delhi.”

Mawa said, his urge to return to valley never died, “it was surging with each passing day.”

Mawa wants to die in his homeland. “As I am getting old, I want to die in Kashmir. My ashes will be floated here,” said Mawa in a moving tone.

Mawa's old shop was in ruins and to restart the business, they reconstructed the shop at the same location.

“I have shifted to valley. I am hopeful that it will flourish like it is in Delhi,” Mawa told News18.

During the past three decades, Mawa visited valley a number of times for a brief stay.

The situation in Kashmir valley has worsened again in past half a decade but Mawa says he feels “no threat”.

“I never felt threatened during my past visits. I think this is a safe place to live,” he says.

He said that the people in Kashmir are as warm as they were 30 years ago. “Nothing has changed,” he said. “I appeal Kashmiri pandits living outside the valley that they should come and live amongst their brothers.”

Mawa believes that a wrong picture of Kashmir and Kashmiris has been created outside the valley. There is no need of separate colonies as is being demanded by a few, he said. “Kashmiris as always are welcoming and those who are pitching for separate colonies are politicising the issue.”

Mawa concluded that the only wish he carried all along these thirty years was that his ashes should flow in the rivers of Kashmir.

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