Nauroz Mubarak to all my Kashmiri sisters and brothers!!” A Kashmiri new year greeting by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been the eye of a storm on social media. Many twitter users pointed out that it is Navreh, and not Nauroz. Others insisted there was nothing wrong in the greeting as Navreh is also known as Nauroz. The greeting was a subject of much discussion and much trolling.

Republic TV declared that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had made a Twitter gaffe and sent Parsi new year greetings to Kashmiri Pandits. “Priyanka Gandhi invents a new spelling, or did she invent a new festival in confusion?” asked right-wing blog, OpIndia attributing her confusion to her mixed Kashmiri-Parsi roots. They explained that Navreh is a new year for the Kashmiri Pandits which falls on the first day of bright fortnight of Chaitra month and Navroz is the Parsi new year which was celebrated on March 21 this year.

News 18 declared it a faux pas that social media is not going to let her forget soon. Saying, “she was instantly called out for her ignorance“, the media house quoting Pakistani Canadian author Tarek Fatah as the first example. Fatah’s tweet correcting Vadra was shared over 4,300 times.

A few Kashmiri Pandits pointed out that Navreh is also known as Nauroz in Delhi/UP but their voice was lost in the noise of mocking Vadra’s ignorance about her festivals. So did Priyanka Gandhi Vadra make a gaffe in her greeting? Let us find out..

Navreh or Nauroz?

Alt News found that Nauroz was a perfectly acceptable form of greeting for Kashmiri new year, used by Kashmiris themselves. Here is the evidence for the same:

1. Other Kashmiri Pandits like Markandey Katju had also posted greetings saying, “Today is Navroz or Navreh for Kashmiri Pandits“.

Today is Navroz or Navreh for Kashmiri Pandits
Very early this morning my wife woke me up and showed a thaali (…

Posted by Markandey Katju on Friday, 5 April 2019

2. Twitter user Vaibhav Kaul shared a 2018 newsletter of the Kashmiri Pandit Association of Delhi, wishing its readers “NAUROZ MUBARAK”. He explained in a tweet that “we Hindustani-speaking Kashmiri Pandits of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, whose Sanskrit- and Persian-using ancestors migrated to courtly cities such as Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Lahore, Jaipur, etc. BEFORE the 20th century, still celebrate 1st Chaitra (Navreh) as NAUROZ

3. An article in Kashmiri Pandit Association, Delhi, newsletter of 2015 had an explanation of the Navreh / Nauroz confusion. According to an article in the newsletter, the term “Nauroz” is used by Kashmiri Pandit families that migrated to the plains before 1900. It also states that Kashmiri speaking Pandits use the term “Navreh”.

Another newsletter by Kashmiri Pandit Association of Delhi also had pictures of Nauroz celebrations.

4. The book, “Two alone, two together” which is a collection of letters between Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru in the period from 1922-1964 has several references to “Nauroz”. This points to the fact that in the Nehru family, Nauroz was the word commonly used for the Kashmiri new year.

The above evidence clears the confusion about Nauroz / Navreh. Nauroz seems to be the commonly used term by Pandits who had settled in Delhi/UP in early 20th century whereas Navreh is more common among Pandits who are in Kashmir or moved out of Kashmir at a later date. In Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s family like many other families like hers, Nauroz seems to be the term used. Either way, both Navreh and Nauroz refer to Kashmiri new year and it is unfortunate to see such vicious trolling over a new year greeting.

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