In South Kashmir, Weekend Saw A Muslim Cremation of A Kashmiri Pandit

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SRINAGAR: In a heartwarming gesture, Muslims in Tahab in Pulwama periphery performed the last rites of a Kashmiri Pandit, Makhan Lal on Saturday. They flouted the Covid19 SOPs and lockdown norms and came in good numbers to have a decent and tearful send-off to the man who was born in them and lived with them.

The cremation of Makhan Lal Tickoo in Tahab village in Pulawama was carried out by Muslims on May 8, 2021. He along with 10 other families refused to migrate out of Kashmir in the 1990s and lived at his place of birth. Pic: Social media

Lal, who was now in his late seventies, was working as a government employee in the Post and Telegraph department. He breathed his last on Saturday. He was born in Tahab and lived there throughout. He was one of the many families of Kashmiri Pandits who did not migrate.

Local Muslims arranged and performed the last rites for the deceased, mourned his death as their own, and he was cremated at Tahab itself.

“Makhan Lal ji was like a fatherly figure to every youngster of the village, always very affectionate towards us, it feels as if someone from my own house has left us,” a resident told Kashmir Life on phone.

Makhan Lal is survived by two daughters and two sons. While his elder son is a government employee and is currently in Jammu, the younger one works in Kashmir. Both his daughters who have been married in Kashmir work as government teachers.

Mourning the loss of his old friend, Abdul Aziz says, “he was more than a brother to me, we grew up together and today it feels as if a part of myself has left this world.”

Muslims performing the last rites of the minority individuals is nothing new in Kashmir. It is part of the culture for centuries togather. However, the migration of the Kashmiri Pandits in 1990 has left quite an insignificant number of pandits in Kashmir. Cremations have historically been managed by Muslims only even during peace times.

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