The dramatic announcement by the government on Monday to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and birfurcate the state into two union territories raised a political storm and drew strong reactions from almost every section of society. For Aabha Hanjura, a singer who was displaced from Kashmir in the 1990s during the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, music is her way to reach out to her home state.
Welcoming the government's decision, Ms Hanjura told NDTV, "It was something that came out of nowhere... I am choosing to take the route of optimism. I want to stay optimistic that this will bring brighter, better things for everybody who is involved."
"May the road towards home be clearer for us and may we soon reunite with our homes. That's a dream in the eyes of all Kashmiris away from their homes," she tweeted soon after the government announced the move to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.
A global body representing the Pandit community, on Monday, said the decision cements territorial, political and cultural unity of the Indian Union.
Aabha Hanjura, who now lives in Bengaluru, recalled performing in Srinagar for the first time. "It was the best, best moment of my life.... 3,000 people came. There were girls, college kids, little kids," Ms Hanjura said. She said many in the audience had never seen a Pandit woman.
It was a chance visit to her father's old home in Kashmir - years after she had left the valley - that made her want to compose songs in her mother-tongue. Aabha Hanjura's father, who worked in the postal department, had built that home with all his savings.
"We're all children of conflict. I have had my own share of suffering as a Kashmiri Pandit who is away from home because of reasons that were never in my control, because we were forced to leave," she said. "My grandmother missed the mountains and the coolness," she added.
Aabha Hanjura's first Hindi song that released last week is about longing for home.
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