SRINAGAR: A Kashmiri Pandit trader who miraculously survived in an attack in his Zaina Kadal shop finally returned to his business on Wednesday. The local Gaad Koche market celebrated his return as hundreds of people visited the traders and wished him well. This, he said, is something he did not expect.
Roshan Lal Mawa is 74. Post-migration, he lived in Jammu for some time and then shifted to Delhi where he resumed his business. Prior to his return, Mawa would spend some summer months in Srinagar. The family has a home in Srinagar and his son, a medical doctor is already living here.
Mawa told reporters that he spent three decades in business in Delhi but was always longing for the home in Kashmir. He said he was doing ten times more business in Delhi than he expects to do in Srinagar. “But I wanted to resettle in Kashmir,” he said.
In Delhi, the family started a spices shop at Khari Baoli. It was named Nandlal Maharaj Krishan, the same as their Kashmir shop was named before the family migrated. He lived in a bungalow at Sainik Farms valuing Rs 20 crore.
What makes this return interesting is that Mawa miraculously survived an attack that was aimed at killing him. On October 13, 1990, he told reporters, a young man came to his shop and shot at him. He received four bullets – three in his belly and one in the shoulder, in his shop. That was the day the family decided that they must migrate.
The work on his shop was going on for more than a year. Finally, when it was formally thrown open, Mawa’s old friends started coming in. “One of my old friends came to meet me today after six years and he broke down,” Mawa was quoted saying. “Lot of locals came and met me.” Members of the local trade came to see him and formally honoured him and his son by tying a turban on their heads.
Insisting that there is no fear, Mawa has said the reopening of the shop in one of the most sensitive markets in Srinagar means it is all right.
Mawa has resuming doing what he was doing earlier: selling dry fruits, dates and spices.
The return led God Kocha to celebrate the return of one of its major members. They boasted about his return and said this must explain the situation to the people who are resorting to propaganda against Kashmir.
“Migrant Pandits must follow Roshan top return home,” Sheikh Ashiq, the president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. “We have many non-Muslim traders doing their businesses despite the turmoil. People have no ill will against any community here.”