Expressing gratitude, Kashmiri papier-mâché artists offer to adorn Golden Temple for free


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After the Sikh community sheltered many violence-affected Kashmiris, in the fallout of the Pulwama attack, under the safe-shadows of Gurudwaras, the Kashmiris residing in the Valley are expressing their gratitude via offering small favors. Joining the chain, another Kashmiri trio of Papier-mâché artists have offered to perform their artistry at the Golden Temple in Amritsar for free.

Hailing from Srinagar’s Zadibal area, Fida Hussain, a 36-year-old man first raised the offer on a social media platform, Facebook. This offer only added more to a pile of existing ones, including free school admission to discount on household items, and as common as car repairing, free snow sledding rides, free accommodation in hotels, following the rescue and nurture of Kashmiris by the Sikh organization, Khalsa Aid.

The panic draped India, and Kashmiris started a run to home. Via air, road, rail-track, or, with un-checked luggage on the back, walking on foot; the only way out to save the life was to walk back home — walk back to Valley — suggested administrations of institutes across the country. 

“One of my Sikh friends owes me 48 thousand rupees. However, due to the situation getting worse in south Kashmir, he has not been to able to pay back the money. I want to inform him through social media that I have waived off the money. He can unblock my number. May humanity win,” wrote a social media user.

Khalsa Aid is an international NGO with the aim to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones around the world. The organisation is based upon the Sikh principle of “Recognise the whole human race as one”. They have been exemplary in helping Kashmiris in states including Punjab and Jammu region of J-K. From providing free accommodation and food to make sure that Kashmiris reach home safe, Khalsa has lifted all on their shoulders.

On similar lines, Mr. Hussain, who has been doing this artistry since the age of 6, made an overwhelming offer of designing the Golden Temple in Amritsar. “We would like to design Papier-mâché work on the inner walls of the holy Golden Temple free of cost,” he posted on Facebook along with his number. The post has been shared widely on social media with many applauding the offer.

Papier-mâché is an art comprising of a composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive, such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.

Talking to The Kashmir Walla, Mr. Hussain said that it was just a gesture to what the Sikh community had done to Kashmiris in Jammu and elsewhere, “They helped our brothers when they were on the brink of death. We want to now pay back by this small gesture,” he added.

He added that he alongside two of his friends, Farooq Ali and Shabir Hussain Baba, will start the work once the Temple body accepts the offer, “my two friends and I are willing to start working as soon as they approve.

Adding that the offer was nothing to what Sikhs had done to Kashmiris he said, “We can never forget what they did for our brothers outside Valley. It is just a small gesture of humanity.” He also mentioned that the Sikh community has exhibited great sympathy towards humanity, and “now it is time to show ours.”  

“They (Sikh community) saved our life, our belonging and more importantly our dignity. So this little gesture from us is an apt response,” he said.

Mr. Hussain Baba added that the Sikhs saved the dignity of the Kashmiri women and there is nothing more important than that, “for a human the most important thing is respect. And the Sikhs saved the respect and dignity of our women. Nothing can suffice that,” he told The Kashmir Walla.

Adding to it, he told that the videos of Kashmiri women pleading for help had broken their heart and kindness shown by Khalsa Aid was something that motivated the trio of making such an offer.

On being asked if they knew the offer was huge and could take a lot of time and money the trio responded by saying that, “we are ready to sacrifice both their time and money, once the temple accepts the offer. It would not matter to us how much time it takes. What matters is that the Sikhs saved us and our dignity.”

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