The Kashmir

February 18, 2012

The Snow Is Calling Once Again | #Kashmir


The Snow Is Calling Once Again 

By Ramesh Manvati

This time, I made my arrival quite early,

With the hope to embrace you tightly,

But, nowhere could you be seen.

Day in and day out, to meet you, I am so keen.

I am calling you once again.

Oh, Pandit ! Don’t you realise my pain?

The winter has set in yet again.

Have I to continue to seethe in pain?

I had called you in the past,

Your eerie silence has made me aghast.

Your roots, over five thousand years old, continue to seethe in pain.

I fail to understand what is the gain?

Over twenty painful years, we are already ages apart.

Your journey back home – not yet ready to start?

Seems, I have to bear, still, your being so upset.

To welcome you back, do I need to re-assure you,

That I will lay my best and thick velvety carpet?

Everything you have forgotten, so I feel.

Compelling me to remind you, with a fresh appeal.

On the onset of every winter, you would wait

for my arrival, with much zest and zeal.

And on my arrival from the heavens above,

within the warmth of your ancestral homes,

peeping through the doors and

through the windows-partly open,

or many a times from the ‘dub’ of your ‘bub’,

the leisure time you would enjoy,

gazing my elegant movements in sheer joy.

sonna sheen vollun dhaaray-dhaaray,

maharaaza raaza kumaaray aaw……”

some would merrily sing. And, at times, many

sipping ‘sheeri-chaai’ or even some hot ‘kehwa’

in the traditional ‘khos’ or a ‘kenzi-khos’,

held on the sleeve of your ‘pheran’,

prepared in a ‘samawaar’ and served by a ‘nosh’,

with a ‘garma-garm’ ‘taeil-woar’, ‘tomlla-tsaot’ or ‘ makkaai tsaot’,

or with it, even some enjoying ‘soa’tt’,

With a cosy ‘kaangar’ beneath your ‘pheran’;

The eldest among you, even smoking a ‘jajjeer’.

Forgotten? Occasional ‘shalfaa-malfaa’ , you had

with your toddlers to warm their hands and feet. And,

simultaneously narrating to them local folk-tales and lullabies.

Even ‘nav-sheen’ you celebrated,

in the company of your kith and kin,

music and dance; well dressed and decorated,

with the choicest of your dishes. And,

a ‘welcome drink’ would not be a sin,

even in the ancient times; just recheck

from the treasure of your ‘Neelmat Puraan’.

 

Remember? On my very first arrival,

the new brides you would routinely tease,

Forcing them to bring a ‘paschin’ – raw or cooked,

from their ‘maaluen’ with much ease.

Children would playfully sing everywhere,

sheena petto-petto, maama itto-itto…………”.

Even the stray dogs would dance merrily here and there,

on the roads, in streets or outside your ghetto.

You can be so forgetful, baffles me.

When I have not forgotten, how can you?

Walking, through your orchards and rice fields -spread across Kashyap’s valley.

Or through the towns and villages or ‘Sri-nagaree’ of goddess Sharada’s seat;

Through the serpentine and uneven lanes and narrow by-lanes,

with a ‘khraav’ or ‘pullhor’ or a long boot or a ‘duck-back’ shoe protecting your feet;

Your daily routine, even though being hurt, once in a while,

because of pervading ‘tulkattur’- exposing my frozen attitude,

would continue with serenity and great fortitude.

Even your cursing me at times – that, at times, I would mind,

while finding it difficult to move around.

Still, my cool but peaceful white cover on the ground,

over the surrounding houses, trees and the distant mountains,

lovely murmuring streams, though in deep sleep;

would make you overlook my hurt and dirt.

At the same time, no more feeling of being slighted, I am telling you.

Stray dogs, cows, crows and other perching birds,

without a fail and religiously you would feed, I still remember.

In the plains or atop a nearby hillock, temple bells you would ring,

Morning and evening, ‘kashiri leelaai’ you would sing.

As a habit, whether young or old; men or women,

busying yourself in the company of holy men,

always keeping your household, body and mind-neat and clean.

oftenly, you would praise my beauty and the surrounding scene.

My periodic arrivals and my stays

long or short, you enjoyed and cherished too.

I too enjoyed, let me now reveal to you,

your rolling me into a ‘sheena-mohneow’ occasionally-

in your ‘waaeri’, in the streets, or in nearby open fields. And,

even the ‘sheena-jung’ with your ‘mohalla’ friends.,

I remember vividly, why cannot you?

The vacations, children spent in their ‘maataamaal’, during the stay

of my old friends like ‘chillai-kallaan’, ‘chillai-khorrud’ and ‘chillai-buchcha’.

Remember? The sheer panic of being caught red handed,upon the sudden

bursting of a stolen egg – hidden inside the embers of your cosy ‘kaangar’ ;

Or, making and eating of a ‘mallai-kulfi’ on the ‘braer-k’anee’ of your residence,

secretly from the prying eyes of your elders including ‘bub’, ‘dyed’ or ‘baed- maej’,

 

Also, the ‘faaka’ many of you kept for the entire sacred month of ‘maag’;

Or the visit of your family priest, on the eve of ‘gora-trai’ of this month to your homes

with handmade pictures of ‘Saraswati’-blessing new brides and youngsters; and

exhorting them to continue the ancient tradition of learning.

I have just not forgotten; how can you?

hayrath-pooza’ was incomplete till, some of you, made my use.

That I had to be there even in the summer month of ‘haar’,

to defeat the evil designs of a tyrant Afghan ruler-Jabbar Khan,

and to uphold the sanctity of your sublime faith.

The popular tease – “wuchutoan yi jabbar jandha, haaras ti korrun vandha…..”

is an ample proof of my historical claim.

Even performing of your annual ‘jattae’n-ttae’n……..’,

on ‘teela-aettham’- concluding day of the sacred festival of hayrath’;

Or distribution of ‘dooen’ to ‘haenz’ children, curiously watching on the ‘yaarbal’ and,

offering of burning ‘chaeng’ to holy ‘Vitasta’ in the evening of the day,

Have you so conveniently forgotten?

I have not, how can you?

The aroma surrounding many of your winter festivals, rituals like

‘kheschri-maavas’, ‘gaada-batta’, ‘kaaw-punnim’, or

shishur’ of a new born child or a ‘nav-nosh’; And,

the twenty three day long ‘hayrath’ celebrations, still haunts me.

Such ancient festivities you will be observing in exile, so I earnestly hope.

Though, in an alien land, difficult it surely must be for you to cope.

The special dishes, as per your ‘reeth’, that you

prepared on such joyous occasions, still water my mouth.

Oh, Pandit ! Treat me back to that aroma and couth.

Decades have passed; have not heard a Lall-Vaakh,

“ hayrath maej aayay, marscha papar kyaaway………”

or “thukk-thukk, kuss chuv….”, nor seen anyone playing with cowries,

Please no more deprivations, I pray thee.

You cannot be so cruel to me.

Holding back the tears and trying to be brave.

My children – ‘shishar -ghaaent’, many now grown and

many on their way, hover in desperation. And,

for the warm kiss of your teeth continue to crave.

The winter has set-in, once again,

This time, I made my arrival quite early,

with the hope to embrace you tightly.

But, nowhere could you be seen.

Oh, Pandit ! I am reminding you once again,

Don’t you realize my seething pain?

Over two decades already, we continue to be apart,

Journey back home to your very own-‘Pannaen Maej-Kasheer’,

Still not yet ready to start???

      __________________________________________________________________________________

The writer , a Sr. Activist of Panun Kashmir, can be reached through e-mail : paannyaar@rediffmail.com /rameshmanvati@yahoo.co.in

        __________________________________________________________________________________

This poem is dedicated to the Youth of ‘Internally Displaced’ Kashmiri Pandit community ( now scattered across the globe) on the eve of “Ist International Kashmiri Pandit Youth Conference” organized under the aegis of Panun Kashmir, in Pune ( India), on 7- 8 January 2012


May 30, 2010

A pregnant “Kashmiri Pandit” woman in exile

Filed under: Pakistan, Terrorism In Kashmir — Tags: , , , , , — TheKashmir @ 5:01 pm

poem by Maharaj Krishen Santoshi…Translated by Arvind Giggoo

You grew
in me
like the moon
in the snowy winter nights.

In my moistened self
this was the first knock
of the blooming flower.

My child
I pleaded
to the snow for your beauty
to the Chinar for your height
to the lake for your depth
to the apples for your juicy sweet sweetness.

Ignorance was mine
when
the place where I beautified you
was
grabbed from me.

But
you are
inside me
throbbing
even in the loss of the land.

Praised be the Lord!
You will come
one day
my child,
smelling the fragrance
of the lost land in me.

I will not
rest you in the cradle
I will
keep you
on the hard rock of history
I won’t sing
lullabies to you.
I will cut the wings of
your sleep
and
keep you awake.

I want you to walk fearlessly on this earth.
My child,
I will pour
the droplets of the lake Satisar
into your innocent eyes
so that,
you don’t forget your climate.

April 8, 2010

99.14% Kashmiri Pandits forced to migrate out of Kashmir

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — TheKashmir @ 12:27 pm


KASHMIRI PANDIT SANGARASH SAMITI

Sathu Barbar Shah, Srinagar, Kashmir (J&K) – 190001

email: kpss.kashmir@gmail.com

 

 

Ref. No: …………………       Date: 07.04.2010

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

(State Government is now fiddling with the Kashmiri Pandits Data,

false reports submitted in the State Assembly)

 

The recent statements given by the representative of the ruling government on the floor of house has put us in a great shock. We never expected that the State Government will even fiddle with the data related to the Kashmiri Pandit Community. As we can understand that if they do so in respect of the Majority Community to satisfy their bosses in New Delhi, but to whom the State Government want to satisfy that they concealed the gave the distorted the facts and figures related to the Kashmiri Pandit Community.

 

In the year 2008 KPSS initiated a Independent Census Program of the Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley and visited every nook and corner of the State to collect the data related to the Kashmiri Pandits viz-a-viz population (pre 1990 upto 31.03.2008), Killings, temples, health, jobs, financial status and other important factors.

 

Population (Pre 1989 upto 31.03.2008) / Migration

 

Sr. No. Time Period Kashmiri Pandit Population
In Kashmir Valley (families) Migration (families) %age
1 Till 01.01.1990 75,343 - -
2 01.01.1990 – 31.08.1990 40,741 34,602 45.93
3 01.09.1990 – 31.03.1992 6,460 34,281 84.14
4 01.04.1992 – 31.03.1998 3,773 2,687 41.59
5 01.04.1998 – 31.03.2008 651 3,122 82.74
Total 74,692 99.14

These figures reveal that out of 75,343 (3,67,289 souls) families; 74,692 (3,64.130 souls i.e. 99.14%) families of Kashmiri Pandits living in Valley opted for migration from time to time. These figures also reveal that the KP population in the Valley is still draining out and obviously, it is not the security reason. This clearly indicates that the State and Central Government have failed in restoring their faith in the Community and nothing positive has been done to stop this effectively.

What about those who didn’t got themselves as registered with the State / Central Government and were also forced to leave the valley from time to time. That means that the State Government is not going to own them back if the normalcy prevails in this part of the World.

Presently the Census done by the KPSS reveals that there are 651 families at 104 places living in the Valley having than 2756 souls by the end of March, 2008.

On the contrary Government claims that 808 Kashmiri Pandit families are still in Valley.

Kashmiri Pandit Killing

 

As per the report of the Government 219* Kashmiri Pandits have been killed during the past 20 years by the militants.

 

But as per the information so accured by the KPSS, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits were killed during the past 20 years and the first list of 403** persons has been identified those who have been killed by the militants.

 

Even the cases related to the massacres have been closed by the State Government on the want of evidence. For which KPSS has already filed a compliant before State Human Rights Commission.

 

Temples

 

As per the State Government report only 170 out of 430 temples have been damaged in the militancy related incidents in Kashmir Valley past 20 years. It also said that out of 170 temples 90 have been renovated with costs Rs.33.00 lacs to the State Government.

 

But, as on 31.03.2008, during the census programme KPSS came across 665 temples which have been damaged due to the militancy related incidents during past 20 years. And we ask State Government to just publish the list of temples that they claim to have been renovated during the past 20 years alongwith the cost incurred on each temple.

All the figures so given by the State Government representative on the floor of House is very un-realistic and smells some conspiracy against the Kashmiri Pandit Community.

KPSS is going to organize a series of seminars on these issues in the coming days against the false propaganda of State / Central Government so that the world community can understand the malafide intentions of State / Central Government against this miniscule Community.

Sanjay K. Tickoo

President

+91-9906564741

* The so called official figures of number of pandits killed is dsiputed and have not accepted by Pandit community. The community feels the figures are not correct .

September 26, 2009

Lost Home – Kashmiri Hindu Houses

Filed under: Kashmir, Kashmiri Pandits, Refugees, Temples — Tags: , , , , , , — TheKashmir @ 1:43 pm

This video should make every Kashmiri Hindu nostalgic and it would be very diffcult to fight back tears.

I would be greatful if someone can translate the Kashmiri Song in English so that the same may be added to this blog.

 

Update [ 30th Sept.,2009 ] “Irma” has shared the below translation of the song which is in the background.

MY  LOST  HOME  IN KASHMIR
GET  UP  ALL, 
WE WILL  TOGETHER  CROSS  TO  OUR  HOMES
ON  FOOT  WE  WILL WALK  TO  OUR HOMES,
HOME WHICH  WE  LEFT  BEHIND, 
WHICH  WE  LOST TOGETHER 
WE  ALL WILL  SEARCH  THAT  HOME!

SMALL  AND LITTLE  WAS  THAT  HOME  OF  MINE
SMALL  AND  LITTLE WAS  THAT  HOME  OF  MINE ;
LOVELY  AND PLEASING  WAS THAT  HOME  OF  MINE :
HOME,  WHERE  I  PLAYED  IN MY  CHILDHOOD  DAYS.
I YEARN  TO  SEE THAT  HOME  ONCE AGAIN  !
GET  UP  ALL ,  WE WILL TOGETHER  CROSS TO  OUR  HOMES  !

WHAT  WORTH  HAS  ONE  
WHO  HAS  NO  HEARTH  AND  HOME  ?
IT’S  LIKE  OUR  EYES  WITHOUT  THEIR  VISION.
UP  AND  DOWN   I  WOULD LIKE TO RUN IN MY HOME ,
AND  DANCE  AND PRANCE  IN  MY  COURTYARD  ONCE  AGAIN  !
I YEARN  TO SEE THAT HOME ONCE AGAIN .

THEY  SAY  SOMEONE  HAS  TAKEN  OVER MY  HOME     ,
SOME  SAY  A  STRANGER  HAS BEEN ALLOTTED  MY  HOME
SINCE  THEN  I  FEEL  I  AM  DYING    ONCE  AGAIN .
GET UP  ALL ,  WE  WILL  TOGETHER  CROSS  TO  OUR  HOMES  !

(HARI) PARBAT AND TULAMULA  (OUR  RELIGIOUS  ICONS)  WERE  NEAR  MY  HOME ,
ZEETHYAR AND MATTAN  (OUR  SHRINES  ) WERE  MY  RELIGIOUS  BACKBONES  ‘
OH  THEN!  WHY  WAS  MY  HOME  SHATTERED  TO  SHAMBLES ?
I  YEARN  TO  SEE  MY  HOME  AGAIN  !
GET  UP  ALL,  WE  WILL  TOGETHER  CROSS  TO  OUR  HOMES ,
ON  FOOT  WE  WILL  WALK  TO  OUR  HOMES :
WHICH  WE  LEFT  BEHIND ,  WHICH  WE  LOST
TOGETHER,  WE  ALL  WILL  SEARCH  THAT  HOME  !!

July 4, 2009

My Mother’s 22 Rooms


KP House

Story Courtsey : Rahul Pandita

There it is. Huddled among other dolls and a few shreds of cloth. It is wearing a blue dress. I don’t remember what mine wore, for it has been sixteen years since I saw it. It might not be there anymore, but I would like to believe that it is there, invisible to the new occupants of my house. It is a dancing girl made of earth, decorating a corner of my friend’s drawing room. Touch it a little and it will start dancing, moving her neck gracefully. My dancing girl, mother bought it, when I was a child, from a potter selling his stuff on a pavement in Lal Chowk.

And sixteen years later, as I speak to you, there is no significant noise outside my room. No guttural voice and no sound of my mother’s U-shaped walker making its presence felt through the small corridor of my house. Mother fell down from her bed again this morning.

23 years ago, in Srinagar, a team of health officials was to arrive at our school. Their aim was to administer cholera vaccines to children. But for that we were supposed to take the written permission of our parents. Back home I told my father and as expected he wrote ‘No’ on my home task diary. I found it very insulting. Tomorrow all my classmates would take the vaccine and sing laurels of their bravery. And me, I would be hidden in some corner, red-faced with shame. It was not acceptable to me. So I erased father’s nay and wrote ‘Yes’ on the diary. Next morning as the needle of the syringe pierced my left arm, I did not even flinch once. I became an instant hero. But as it is with most acts of heroism, I had to pay a price for mine as well. By late afternoon, a lump had formed in my arm. By the time I reached home I was feverish and drenched in sweat. As I pulled off my shoes, mother saw me and in one instant she knew what had happened.

It was August and even by Kashmir valley’s standards, it was hot. I flung myself on the bed. Mother came and sat next to me. She gave me a glass of milk and kept her fair arm on my forehead. It felt very soothing and cold; like a spring. I went off to sleep. Next morning as I opened my eyes, the fever was gone.

Mother handled the affairs of the house like a seasoned ascetic would control his senses. She knew what was kept where. Rice, coal powder, woollen socks and gloves, soap – she kept a tab on everything. Her daily routine was more or less defined. She would wake up in the wee hours of the morning, wash clothes in the bathroom, sweep and mop the floor of every room and corridor, put burning coal dust in Kangris in winters and ultimately take stock of the kitchen. She did not believe much in spending time in worship. She was not an atheist but her belief was restricted to occasionally folding hands in front of the Shivalinga. Her God was her home and hearth.

But mother was in awe of nature. She feared its fury. Sometimes, when a storm blew, she would close all doors and windows and sit in one corner. When she no longer could face it, she would ask my father, “Will this storm stop?” Father would usually try to pacify her, but ultimately he also lost his patience. “What do you think? Would this storm last till the doom’s day?” he would snap at her. But the same meek heart turned into brave heart when any family member struggled with adversity.

It was in the mid of 1988 that my father had a mild heart attack. Actually father had a pain in the stomach and an injection prescribed by a gastroenterologist reacted, which led to the attack. Everyone in the family was too shocked to react. But not my mother. She single-handedly took my father to the hospital in an auto rickshaw. At the hospital, mother recalls, a doctor appeared like an angel. He had a black mark on his forehead, a result of praying five times a day. The moment the doctor started examining him, my father vomited. Mother says it was so intense that it went right into the doctor’s shoes. But not once did he raise his brow. He kept on treating my father.

By the end of 1989, men like that doctor somehow became rare in Kashmir. One day mother came back from office and she was crying. In the bus someone had tried to help an old Hindu lady in getting down from the bus. Another woman, who was a Muslim, criticised that man saying that the woman he helped was a Hindu and she should have been kicked out of the bus. Mother didn’t know whether what she heard was true or whether it was a nightmare. But what she had heard and seen with her naked eyes was what seemed like holding a mirror in front of Kashmir in a few months time. The time had come, once again, to leave our homeland. The migration began. Salvaging whatever little we could, essentially a few utensils and educational degrees of my college-going sister, we reached Jammu.

(more…)

February 16, 2009

Dear Omar – hope you remember us


Dear Omar (Abdullah please and not Omar Farooq),
 
As one of your contemporaries, I will take the liberty of addressing you by your first name and not as the honourable CM or any of the official titles. I write to you as a fellow Kashmiri whose ancestors shared the same land, air and water as yours.  But somewhere I seem to have lost the right over the place while you have achieved the highest office in land. As an Indian and a Kashmiri I was thrilled to see someone like you take the oath of office of the CM, rather than a rabble rousing ranter. The gods of Kashmir seem to be finally listening.
 
Though you might know and be aware of the existence of the community of Kashmiri Pandits, I don’t know how many of the current generation of the Valley are aware that such people did live alongwith their ancestors not so many years back. For their information I will add a few details about the community. Kashmiri Pandits are Hindus (all of them Saraswat Brahmins) whose generations were the early habitants of the Valley. Sparing the detailed historical tomes over here, the Kashmiri Pandits or KPs as they are called for short, suffered a series of religious persecutions over centuries. Yet to the surprise of everyone they managed to survive and achieve a high-level of erudition, both at the scholastic and spiritual levels. However as history teaches us, smartness doesn’t always lead to success. Continuous years of persecution created a shift in demographics against us pushing us to lose our religion and culture. However being a very stubborn and at times a very arrogant race, the Kashmiri Pandits decided to fight back on ways to preserve their way of life.

(more…)

September 28, 2008

Kashmiri Pandits hand over memorandum to Ban Ki-Moon at United Nations Office in New York


 

On September 26th, 2008 scores of Kashmiri Hindus demonstarted outside the United Nations Office in New York [USA].
Some of the demands of Kashmiri Pandits to the UN were :
  • Declare Kashmiri Hindu community as Internally Displaced People (IDP). The Human Rights Working Group on Minorities in Geneva has since recognized Kashmiri Hindus, formally, as a Reverse Minority. The use of the insulting term ‘Migrants’ for this forcibly exiled community may be removed from all records and communications relating to us hence forth.
  • Direct the Government of India to set up a ‘Commission of Enquiry’ to establish the causes that led to the selective and targeted killings of Kashmiri Hindus and their subsequent forced exile, and appropriate the responsibility and punish the guilty.
  •  Direct the Government of India to ensure adequate protection to the residual Kashmiri Hindu population currently living in the Kashmir valley.
  • Direct the Government of India to restore Kashmiri Hindus’ political and economic rights that would give them equal status rather than a second class citizenship in their native land of Kashmir. Share of Kashmiri Hindu jobs in government bureaucracy, placement in state supported professional educational institutes and the representation in the state assembly has steadily diminished to virtually nothing in the last two decades.
  •  Grant funds to Kashmiri Hindus for the preservation and documentation of relics of Kashmiri Hindu heritage and culture.
  • Direct the Government of India to hand over the management of Kashmiri Hindu religious shrines, icons and cultural centers to Kashmiri Hindu leadership.

 

It is further requested that the United Nations Human Rights Commission may put on record these Human Rights Violations by Pakistan and its agents, and Pakistan be declared a terrorist state.

The complete memorandum can be downloaded by clicking here iakf-un-memo-sept262008

 

For more info , log into www.iakf.org

 

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