Magazine article New Internationalist

What the UN Means to Sheela Khazanchi

Magazine article New Internationalist

What the UN Means to Sheela Khazanchi

Article excerpt

Sheela Khazanchi

- grandmother, New Delhi, India and refugee from Kashmir.

SHEELA Khazanchi's earliest experience of the UN was of blue-bereted men buzzing about in jeeps in the rugged, coniferous terrain where the Line-of-Control (LoC) divides her native Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

'We had great faith in the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP),' she says, 'but more than half a century later they are still there - and still observing.'

In the mêlée before the UN arrived in 1949 to monitor the ceasefire along the LoC - where the armies of India and Pakistan had fought each other to a standstill - Sheela lost her grandfather, Raghunath Tikoo. He, like many others, was caught on the wrong side and kidnapped, presumed killed by kabailis (Pathan marauders).

'My grandmother died grieving a few years later and the rest of the family reconciled itself to the idea that they were never going to see the man they loved so much and who was their breadwinner,' says Sheela, who now lives in suburban New Delhi. …

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