The true story of Kashmir narrated by its Villages
Kashmir has been an important landmark throughout the history of time. It is known not only for its scenic beauty and tourism but also for its history and heritage. it not only has a sacred significance but was also an important part of the silk route and has sparked conflict multiple times between India and Pakistan. The beauty of Kashmir comes from its beautiful landscapes, its roads, and its villages. These villages are where the true story of Kashmir resides. Here's a list of villages that are protagonists in this story of Kashmir.
Stuck between the turmoil of two rival countries and located at the border of the two is the Hunderman village. The village narrates the story of the brutal effects of the India-Pakistan conflict on the lives of people living at the border. Hunderman has witnessed four wars and has been snatched by one country to another repeatedly. The village which was once a part of Pakistan from 1947 to 1971 was made a part of India causing most residents to flee and most families to separate. The village was also left astray between a standoff between the two countries in 1965. To recall the story of Hunderman and its struggle the villagers have made a museum named “Unlock Humnderman” which holds a collection of old artifacts family pictures and letters sent across the border in an effort to surpass the barriers between the two countries through ink and paper.
The 1971 Indo Pak war left scars on both nations and paved the way for their future. However, the village that experienced the atrocities of the war firsthand is still nowhere to be seen in this future. In the war, India seized five villages from Pakistan, among which was the Tyakshi village. Although the village has been a part of the country for almost 50 years, there is no legal documentation and the villagers are still forced to prove their citizenship. The Tyakshi village shows the honest and raw story of the war and its aftermath in the border areas of Kashmir.
Sitting at the far end of the Nubra valley, near the line of control lies Turtuk. The village was once a part of Pakistan and still has preserved its cultural similarities with the Country. After the war of 1971, the village was seized by the Indian army and it was never returned. Turtuk is a prominent tourist spot in the state due to its scenic beauty and proximity to the border. The village is at a lower altitude of a mere 2900 m than the rest of the high-altitude area allowing the villagers to farm apricots and walnuts creating a beautiful view of the landscape. The village is also famous for its Mosques which add to its ethenic ‘Balti’ roots along with its irrigation channels and traditional dishes.
The Teetwal village is a peculiar village located half in Pakistan and half in India. The village is divided into two by the Kishan Ganga river which also acts as the border between the two countries. The people of Teetwal although separated by countries, still have a deep connection within themselves. The village is a real-life example of love transcending borders. Relatives and families were given permits to meet each other at a “meeting point” on the bridge that joins the villages under the supervision of the Indian army. However, the permits were removed after the Pulwama attacks. The villagers have found alternative ways, they now sit at the narrowest banks of the river and chat. It is truly amazing how the hatred between the two countries only acts as a small barrier of water for them and their bond.
Jourian is a village located about 55 kilometers from Jammu and has a population of about 5000 people. The village was a hotspot in the battle of Chamb that happened in the Indo-Pak war of 1971. The battle left some dreadful memories for the residents of the village. The village was bombarded by Pakistan in the battle and the residents were asked to vacate their homes and run to save their lives. In no time the village was full of deceased bodies and screams of children men and women in terror. The people of Jourian have experienced the pain that war comes with and will never recover from it.
This was just a glimpse of the vast historic background of Kashmir. The villages of the area are filled with stories of love, life, and loss. however, these stories are best experienced firsthand, narrated by the villagers themselves so it touches the heart. So grab your bag and go on this journey to rediscover Kashmir and its heritage.