By R.C. Ganjoo
The play Kaali Barf opens with a background song ?Be Gyvne Az Su Nagme Wone…? (I will not sing that song now?) written by the late Dina Nath Nadim, the famous Kashmiri poet, in 1948 on Kashmir situation when Pakistani raiders attacked Kashmir. Kaali Barf (black snow) in Kashmiri language Kruhan Sheen means impossible-that can never happen. The play presents the existing reality and symbolises that the snow has not yet turned black, that is, the displaced Kashmiris have not yet lost hope of returning home. The play is purely the story of spirited soul of Kashmir conveying a clear message of peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits which has long been the Kashmir'sage-old tradition. The play focuses on how both the communities, Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims, in Kashmir became the victims of unforeseen situation and underwent sufferings and trauma equally.
This play staged at Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts in New Delhi on February 17 spins around a Kashmiri Pandit family uprooted due to terrorism. Pandit Shrikanth Vaukhlu (Tathaji) and his daughter Sharika are the characters of the play who are forced to exile from their homes. But a strong nostalgia-their love for their motherland and desire to return home-is alive and lurking in some corner of their hearts. Sharika, too, has pain in life for her fianc?, Chaman who is killed in violence.
One of the incidents dramatised in play is based on a real story that how a servant picked up gun against his master. Pandit Shrikanth Vaukhlu'sfamily friend Dr Naseeruddin Dar is returning home because the police has killed Gulla, his servant, who terrorised him and wanted to marry his master'sdaughter. This incident again raises Sharika'shope of returning home. She believes that soon their Gulla, too, will be killed. The ?Gulla? denotes terror and untruth.
Mushtaq Kak, the director of the play, has kept in mind the identity of both the communities alive by accurately designing the costumes of Muslims and Pandits unconnectedly.
Mushtaq Kak himself has undergone trauma when he visited his ancestral home at Rainawari in Srinagar after 15 years where he had spent his childhood. It was shocking for him when he knocked at his door hesitantly as a stranger and introduced himself to his sister-in-law that he was Mushtaq. ?I was aghast at that moment when I realised that I had lost my identity. Similaraly, Kashmiri Pandits too have lost their identity and tradition after taking refuge at different parts of India?, says Kak.