BUDGAM: On Thursday, Muslims neighbours over saw a marriage ceremony of a Pandit family in central Kashmir.
Housed in about 1400 Muslim households, Ichigam locality in Budgam district of valley has seven Pandit families. They did not leave Kashmir in early 1990s.
Neighbouring Muslim men and women assembled near the house Pyaray Lal Bhat where Kashmiri welcome songs were being sung. Bhat is the father of bride, Preeti Bhat, who is a private school teacher. The courtyard and rooms were filled with Muslim women who were busy singing welcome songs fro the bride groom who had to come from nearby Sheikhpora area.
As the days of marriage of Bhats daughter neared, neighbouring Muslims visited Bhat and offered help in kind and cash. They also helped Bhat in preparation for the marriage ceremony.
These heart-warming scenes of communal harmony took the groom, his family and friends by surprise as the wedding procession rolled into Ichigam village in central Kashmir, reports said.
Emotionally excited Pyaray Lal Bhat said, it (the scene at the village) was a pleasant surprise for all of us but more so for the groom and the guests accompanying him. Preeti married Ashu Krishen who is a migrant Kashmiri Pandit. After his return, Krishen lives at Sheikhpora village in Budgam.
For all these days, our Muslim women neighbours were here singing the marriage songs on my daughters wedding. All these days, the entire village was here participating in our happy moments, Bhat said.
Ichigam village has a history; history of communal harmony.
When militancy erupted in early 1990s, a Hindu temple was damaged due to bad weather in the village. The Muslim brethren rebuilt it from the donations collected to build a mosque in the village, he informed.
A locally managed Imam Zaman Trust, the villagers said that stands for brotherhood and communal harmony which always maintained calm and led people to such an atmosphere.