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


January 19, 2012

Future of Kashmiri Pandits | #Kashmir


Future of Kashmiri Pandits

  By B. Raman

It is 23 years today since Jammu & Kashmir saw the beginning of the ethnic-cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits, the original inhabitants of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), from their homeland at the instigation of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) by a group of Kashmiri jihadi elements trained, armed and motivated by the ISI.

2. The lead in this act of ethnic-cleansing was initially taken by the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM). Other jihadi organisations, which subsequently came into existence after having been trained and armed by the ISI, kept the ethnic-cleansing going till practically all the Kashmiri Pandits were driven out after having been subjected to numerous indignities and brutalities such as rape of women, torture, forcible seizure of property belonging to the Pandits etc.

3. The Pandits, who survived these acts of indignities and brutalities, were forced to leave their homeland and seek shelter in camps for refugees set up in Jammu and Delhi. Within a few weeks of the outbreak of the ethnic cleansing, a majority of the Pandits found themselves reduced to the miserable status of refugees in their own country.

4. As the Pandits and their wifes and children were subjected to indignities and brutalities and driven out of their homeland, the State of India totally caught by surprise watched helplessly and pusillanimously, as the plans of the ISI to change the demographic composition of the Kashmir Valley in order to make it a predominantly Muslim area were sought to be implements by the jihadis trained by the ISI.

5. Neither V. P. Singh, who was the Prime Minister when the ethnic-cleansing was carried out nor any of his successors had the least idea of how to deal with the situation. There were various options available. I would cite only two. The first option was to direct the Army to re-establish Indian sovereignty over Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and Gilgit-Baltistan as a punitive measure. Pakistan had by then acquired a military nuclear capability, but not a nuclear arsenal. It did not have a satisfactory delivery capability. We could have, therefore, easily re-taken the POK and Gilgit-Baltistan without fear of provoking a nuclear war. The V. P. Singh Government did not exercise this option.

6. The other option was to train and arm the Pandits and ask them to go back and re-occupy their property and fight against the ISI-trained jihadis. This option was carefully examined and given up as not advisable. There were legitimate fears that this option could polarise for ever the relations between the Muslims and the Hindus and play into the hands of the jihadis who wanted such polarisation.

7. The option finally chosen was to look after the Pandits in the refugee camps and other areas where they had settled down with their relatives and wait for the restoration of normalcy in the Valley so that these refugees could be helped to go back, re-establish their ownership of their property and resume a life of dignity as the residents of their traditional homeland.

8. The Pandits have been waiting for 23 years hoping that the day of their return with honour and security to their homeland would come. It has not so far despite the considerable improvement in the ground situation. In the meanwhile, the plight of the Pandits has been slowly forgotten. Everybody sheds crocodile tears over their sufferings, but there is nothing more by way of action. The future of the Kashmiri Pandits as an important dimension of the Kashmir problem is less and less talked about.

9. There was one man, who spent his years of retirement in attempts to ensure that the promises made by the nation to restore the honour and dignity of the Pandits was not forgotten. He took a lively interest in their future and interacted vigorously with leaders of the Government and opposition political parties to see that this dimension of the Kashmir problem was not forgotten.

10. His name was R. N. Kao, a Kashmiri himself, who was the legendary founding father of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW). The Kashmir tragedy broke out five years after he finally retired from public service in 1984. From 1989 onwards till his death in 2002, he devoted a lot of his time to his self-assumed task of restoring the honour and dignity of the Pandits.

11. Since Kao’s death in 2002, the Kashmiri Pandits find themselves orphaned. There is no one at the political or bureaucratic level, who is prepared to come to the forefront, stick his neck out and demand action to restore the dignity and honour of the Pandits. Hopes that the BJP-led Government would pay lively attention to the future of the Pandits were sadly belied. The BJP-led Government was as confused and as inactive as any of the other Governments that had held office since 1989.

12. How to move forward? Two realities have to be kept in mind. Firstly, it is too late in the day to think of identifying and punishing those who were responsible for the ethnic-cleansing. Any ill-advised attempt to do so would complicate the situation further.

13. Secondly, the return of the Pandits to their homeland cannot be enforced unilaterally by the Governments of India and the State. It has to be the outcome of a consensus among different political parties of the State and leaders of different communities. The Government of India has a moral responsibility for working towards such a consensus. Presently, it has not been doing so. It should be made to do so through public pressure. It is time to stop meaningless breast-beating on the plight of the Pandits and their future. It is time to work for concrete ways of enabling their return to their homeland in dignity and honour.

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com  Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

Source 

May 16, 2011

The Amarnath Pilgrimage – History & Facts


Historically, the worship of Shivalingam has been a very popular religious practice in Kashmir. The same stands corroborated by Kalhan Pandit who in his monumental work, Rajtarangini, makes a mention of ‘vateshwar’, an ancient Shiva-lingam worshipped even in his lifetime. A king of Kashmir, Ravana, (1000 B.C)worshipped it as it was believed to predict future occurrences & events through the light emanating from the Sri-cakra engraved on it.1 The king was so devout in his worship of the Shiva-lingam that he consecrated the entire valley of Kashmir to the Math where-in he worshipped the Shiva-lingam.2 The Mahadev Peak, Dyaneshwar lingam &Sureshwar lingam, known as svayambhu lingams, have been objects of worship for the Hindus of Kashmir. In fact, the interiors of Himalayas possess numerous such lingams & Hindus reverently call them Shiva-dhams. Pilgrimages to the Shiva-dhams have been a regular feature without interruptions.

 

            The ancient cave of Amarnath known for its icy-lingam that is naturally formed has been a venerable spot of pilgrimage for thousands of years. The icy-lingam waxes & wanes with the waxing &waning of the Moon. It attains its full length form on the night of shravanPurnima. As per the written records the icy-lingam has been nomenclatured as’amresh’, ‘amreshwar’, ‘rasa-lingam’, ‘siddhi-lingam,’ ‘buddhi lingam,’ ‘shuddhilingam,’ ‘puratan buddhi lingam’ & ‘pumsavan lingam.3 The nomenclature of ‘amarnath’ as is in voguehas been drawn from & owes its genesis to the ‘Amarnath Mahatamya’, anauthentic work on the Amarnath as a holy place of worship.

 

            As per the ‘Amarnath Mahatamya’ Shiva in the form of  icy-lingam bestowed immortality on gods,devatas & thus he is known as ‘amresh’ or ‘amreshwar’. He delivers hisdevotees from the pains & pangs of old age & disease soon after they have his ‘darshan’ & ‘Satksatkar’ in the formation of icy -lingam. As per the Tantric erudites, He is Amarnath because He commences His ascent from’ama-kla’ to ‘purna-kala’ & a mere drop from it liberates a pilgrim, adevotee, from age & death & grants him the state of oneness with Supreme consciousness, the same as Shiva. A pilgrim, who in his extreme joyfulness& ecstasy, dances inside the cave, is considered a veritable rudra. 

Historical records

 

            The references to the holy cave of Amarnathare available in Bringesh Samhita, Nilmat Puran, Amarnath Mahatmaya & Rajtaranginis of Kalhan Pandit, Rajanak Jonraj & Shuk Pandit & othertravelogues by foreign travellers.

 

            Bringesh Samhita is a compendium of the Mahatamayas of all the prominent & well known tirthas (holy places) of Kashmir compiled by Bringesh, a scholar of eminence. In Kashmir, we have a galaxy of three persons bearing the same name of Brigesh. One was agana, an attendant of Shiva, the other was a sage & the third a scholar of eminence. Bringesh, the gana, being an unworldly recluse could not have any cultivated interest in writing & compiling the Mahatamayas. The research scholars hold that initial task of compiling Mahatmayas was taken up by Bringesh who was a known sage & the date for it is supposed to be 5thcentury A.D. The third Brignesh given to scholarship & scholarly pursuits is supposed to have aptly culminated the work as begun by the second Bringeseh in 12th century A.D.4. The entire work is unfortunately lost & the manuscript  available in the Ranbir Library, Jammu, is a truncated version &hence falls short of providing multi-dimensional & authentic informationabout the culture & mores of ancient Kashmir including  the topography of the region.

 

Mythology

             The Bringesh Samhita relates that Mahakala threatened the gods (devas) with death &destruction & they in all trepidation called on Lord Shiva & humblyentreated Him to protect them from Mahakala’s menacing threat of decimation. Shiva in all mercifulness freed them from Mahakala’s threat by showering uponthem the boon of immortality. Again to seek Shiva’s support & protectiongods (devas) could not see Him as He was deeply immersed in His devotional& meditative practices. In absolute distress the gods (devas) lifted theirhands to supplicate Him to appear before them. Shiva, the merciful, appeared inthe formation of an icy-lingam & this is the genesis of the Holy Lingam& subsequent pilgrimage to the holy cave of ‘amresh’ or ‘Amarnath’.

 

            Bringesh Samhita also relates that Kashmir was a vast expanse of water & the sageKashyap drained the lake for the land to appear. Bringesh, the sage, was scouring the swathes of the valley & discovered the cave wherein an icy-lingam in full length form was standing. Lord Shiva gave him a sceptre for protection of pilgrims which has now taken the form of Chhari Maharaj, the holymace leading the annual pilgrimage.

 

            As per Amarnath Mahatamya, Parvati, the consort of Shiva, was ultra-keen to know in full details the mysteries of life & immortality .Entreating the lord to reveal the mysteries to her, Shiva traversing the tops& ridges of the Himalayas took rest in a cave & disclosed to her all the secrets about life & immortality. Finally Lord transmuted Himself into an icy-lingam.

 

Nilmatpuran

             Vital to the history of Kashmir Nilmatpuran as a fascinating store-house of socio-cultural materials is the earliest work of 6th century A.D. which carries a reference to the Holy cave of ‘Amreshwar.6 It authentically establishes that the cave known for its icy-lingam was well within the active consciousness of general populace in Kashmir. The people of Kashmir in particular & the vast masses of people in India in general believe Shiva as the god of mountains laden with layers of white snow. Shiva’s consort, Parvati, is the daughter of the Himalayas who got wedded to Shiva who has His abode in the snow-capped mountains. Pilgrimages to the mountains as a home to gods have been an ancient practice of the Hindus. The Hindus of Kashmir as part & parcel of the Indian cultural mosaic shared the same cultural spirit & ethos & made pilgrimages to the mountain peaks & mountainous caves in search of spiritual upliftment & spiritual bliss of peace and ananda.

 

Amarnath Mahatamaya

             Amarnath Mahatamya gives a full & elaborate account of the pilgrimage to the Holy Cave of Amarnath. It details out all the holy spots enroute to the Holy cave. It does not only mention the religious merit that a pilgrim earns by bathing & cleansing praxes at various holy spots, but also gives an authentic & credible account of their topography & geographical position. Amarnath Mahatamya has its essential base in the Adi-Purana establishing its original position as a Purana. It was regarded  as a standard Mahatamya giving lucid details & exact descriptions in concordance with well recognised literary  practices. The Amarnath Mahatamya certainly has a religious & legendary complexion, yet it is a mine of information on the cultural ethos of Kashmir in those hoary days of yore & also the socially-oriented behavioural indices of aboriginal Hindus of Kashmir.

 

Kalhan’s Rajtarangini (1148-50 A.D.)

             Kalhan Pandit, the Herodotus of Kashmir history, has made definitive & categorical references to the Holy cave of Amarnath. In Tarang I of his work, Rajtarangini, he makes a mention of a legend of Naga Sushravas, who had given his daughter in wed-lock  to a Brahmin youth for the help he had rendered him in harvesting the crops. But king Nara, the ruler of Chakradhar (Chakdar) near vijyeshwar (vegibror), tried to abduct the young Brahman’s youthful Naga wife. This aroused the wrath of Naga Sushruvas, who in all blood & fury, arsoned & destroyed Nara’s entire kingdom & put him to death. It was done in all bitter revenge & Naga Sushruvas, perhaps fearing fearful reprisals, carried his son-in-law & his spouse to his own abode, Sushram Naga, now known as Shesh Naga. Kalhan writes, “This place is now located en route pilgrimage to ‘Amreshwar’.

 

            Kalhan Pandit describes the Shesh Naga lake as ‘the lake of dazzling whiteness resembling a sea of milk’ This authentic account available in Rajtarangini unambiguously buttresses the assertion that the pilgrimage to the Holy Cave of Amreshwar must have been much in vogue in Kalhan Pandit’s time.

 

            The above-mentioned reference to ‘Amreshwar’ is not the solitary one that Kalhan Pandit has provided the succeeding generations about Amarnath. He as a historian possessed of an observant eye conveys more credible materials about the cave shrine.

 

            In Tarang II of Rajtarangini Kalhan Pandit conveys that “King Sandimat Aryaraj (34 BC) used to spend the most delightful summer in worshipping linga formed by snow in the regions above the forests.”7

 

            It is a clear cut reference to the icy-lingam at Amarnath cave.

 

            In another  reference to Amarnath Kalhan Pandit in his Rajtarangini, Tarang VII conveys that Queen suryamati, the spouse of king Ananta “submitted trishuls, banalingas and other sacred emblems in the name of her husband at Amershwar”.8

 

Jonraja’s Rajtrangini 

            In his second Rajtarangini, Jonraj, a fearless historian of Kashmir, writes, ‘Sultan Zain-ul-abidin (1420-1470) paid a visit to the sacred tirth of Amarnath while constructing a canal on the left bank of the river Lidder (lambodari)’. 9

 

Shuka Pandit’s Rajtarangini 

            In his fourth Rajtarangini, also known as Rajavalipataka, Shuka, the disciple of Prajya Bhatt, whose Rajtarangini is lost, gives full length detail of the pilgrimage to the Holy cave of Amarnath. Shuka informs that Akbar who as per history had annexed Kashmir at the pleadings & prodding’s of two political advisors of Makhdoom Sahib, a Naqshbandi sufi of indigenous origins, anti-shia to his bone-marrow, had made some queries from his governor Yusuf Khan about some political-cum-administrative affairs regarding Kashmir. In his reply to the query made by the emperor he mentions among other things the Amarnath pilgrimage in broad & incisive details. It establishes that the Amarnath pilgrimage was surely in vogue even in the times of Akbar who annexed Kashmir in 1586 A.D.

 

Asif Vilas by Pt Raj Jagannath 

            As reinforced by historical evidences Shah Jehan vandalised temples & other places of worship of Hindus in Kashmir & a shocked foreign traveller, Francios Bernier, writes, ‘The doors & pillars were found in some of the idol temples demolished by Shah Jehan & it is impossible to estimate their value.’11

 

            But the Amarnath pilgrimage continued un-interrupted despite the emperor’s vile iconoclastic activities. In his well-known eulogy of Asif Khan, Shah Jehan’s father-in-law, a reputed aesthete, Panditraj Jagannath, makes a categoric mention of Amareshwar while giving a poetic description of Nishat garden as laid out by Asif Khan. In his flight of imagination jagannath writes in the ‘Asif vilas’ that ‘ Indira, king of the galaxy of gods, comes here to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva.’12

 

Francois Bernier, The french physician  

            Francois Bernier, the French physician, accompanied Aurangzeb, the Bigot, when he was on a visit to Kashmir in 1663 A.D. Driven by curiosity & wander-lust he visited Trisandya, Verinag, Achabal, wular-lake & Sangsafed facing Harmukh & therefrom he pursued ‘Journey to a grotto full of wonderful congellations’. 13 It had taken him two days to reach the grotto, which surely is no place other than that of the Holy cave of  Amarnath.

 

            In the second reprint of Bernier’s Travelogue titled ‘Travels  in Mughal Empire,’ a noted historian, Vincent A. Smith, writes in his introduction, ‘ the grotto full of wonderful congellations is the Amarnath cave, where blocks of ice, stalagmites formed by dripping water from the roof, are worshipped by many Hindus, who resort here, as images of Shiva, glaciers surround the………………….’14

 

Kirpa Ram dutt & holy cave of amarnath (1675 A.D.) 

            At the behest of Auranzeb his governor in Kashmir, Iftikhar Khan, cruel & theo-fascist, subjected the Kashmiri Pandits to the worst ever persecution & torture for their conversion to Islam. Kashmiri Pandits, five hundred in number, under the astute leadership of Kirpa Ram Dutt, a known Shaivite Scholar, met at the Holy cave of Amarnath to devise a workable strategy to meet the challenge. One of the pandits at the Holy cave saw Lord Shiva in a dream directing him to call on Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621-75A.D) at the village of Anandpur Sahib in the Punjab. It was from the Holy cave of Amaranth that kirpa Ram Dutta in obedience to the direction of Lord Shiva led the delegation of five hundred Pundits to Guru Tegh Bahadur & rest is history.15

 

Vigne, a foreign traveller 

            Vigne, another foreign traveller, paid a visit to Ladakh and Tibet during the times of Maharaja Sher Singh of the Punjab. He made an attempt to visit the Holy cave of Amarnath via the traditional route, but was forced to return from vayuvarjan (vavjan) because of inclement weather. Out of sheer curiosity he met various shades of people, mostly the natives and thus gleaned a lot of relevant material about the pilgrimage to the cave and put it to writing in 1842 A.D. In his reputed travelogue titled as ‘Travels in Kashmir, Ladakh and Iskardu’, vigne conveys, ‘The ceremony at the cave of Amarnath takes place on the 15th of the Hindu month of Sawan, 28th July…………… not only Hindus of Kashmir but those from Hindustan of every rank and caste can be seen, collecting together and travelling up the valley of Liddar (Lambodari) towards the celebrated cave, which from his description must have been the place which Bernier tried to visit but was prevented.’16

 

            What we get  from vigne’s travel account is that pilgrimage to the Holy cave of Amarnath was not only a local affair, but would draw a crowd of pilgrims from far and near in the country.

 

Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj (1563-1606 A.d.)

             It is a known fact that Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj granted land in Amritsar for the ceremonial depature of Chharhi, the holy mace of lord Shiva, marking the commencement of the pilgrimage to the Holy cave of Amarnath. This gracious act of the Guru Maharaj lends unimpeachable credibility to the fact that pilgrimage to the holy cave was not confined to the natives of Kashmir, but would draw enthusiastic pilgrims from across the country. To earn religious merit many devout Hindus would donate lands and moneys to the religious  groups and institutions to provide facilities to the pilgrims bound for the Holy cave of Lord Shiva.

 Pt Sansar Chand Koul, a naturalist of Kashmir

             In his booklet ‘The  Mysterious cave of Amarnath’, Pandit Sansar Chand Koul, the first ever geographer of Kashmir, author and scholar, informs that ‘in 1819 A.D. Pandit Hardas Tiku founded the Chhawni Amarnath at Ram Bagh in Srinagar where saddhus (renunciates) from the  plains assembled and where he gave free rations for the journey, both ways from his own private resources”.17 The year 1817A.D. as mentioned by Pandit Sansar Chand Koul marks the end of the brutal and tyrannical rule of the Afghans who persecuted Kashmiri Pandits to incredible limits, out-smarting the pains and wounds inflicted on them by the sayyid-sufis from Central-Asian countries.

W. Lawrence’s Valley of Kashmir  

            In his celebrated work ‘Valley of Kashmir‘ walter Lawrence, the Settlement Commisioner of Kashmir, has not missed to make a mention of the pilgrimage to the Holy cave of Amarnath.

             He writes, ‘Puranmashi the full moon of the month of Sawan is the day when pilgrims must reach the distant cave of Amarnath and worship the snow-lingam which gradually melts away  after the puranmashi. Strict Hindus both male and female discard their clothes and put on shirts of birch-bark before they enter this cave……………………………’ 18.

 Routes to the holy cave of Amarnath

             The traditional route to the Holy cave of Amarnath has been via Lidder Valley despite the fact that the cave is situated in the geographical environs of the Sind Valley. The prominent holy spots enroute the traditional path have been elaborately mentioned in the Amarnath Mahatamya. The holy spots other than Anantnag as elaborated in the Mahatamya are :-

Balihar (Baliyar), Vaghashram (Vagahom), Hastikaran (Hasikhan), Chakresh (Chakdhar), Devak (Divakiyar), Harish Chander (Chandanyar), Surya-guha-vat (Sirigofwar), Sakhras (Sakhras), Badoras (Badur), Hyashashishram (Kamalnag), Uttarnag (Wotarnag), Sarlak (Salar), Khilyayan (Balkhyalan), Narayan-Maha-Khetra (Kolar), Mamlak (Mamleeshwar), Bragupati (Pahalgam), Sthanu-ashram (Chandanwor), Giripesh (Pishbal), Sushrumnag (Shishirnag), Vayuvarjan (Vavjan), Pancha-tarni (Panchtarni), Garbagar (Garabyatra), and Amravati (Ombravati).19

 

            After having ritual baths and performing other ritual practices at these holy spots the pilgrim’s progress blissfully climaxes at the Holy Cave where the icy-lingam, the transmuted form of Lord Shiva, is standing either in suyambhu form or in full-length form only to bless the pilgrims and grant them deliverance from sickness of the world caused by meshy layers of duality.

 

The Baltal Route

 

            The Baltal route to the Holy cave of Amarnath is the Sind valley route which has not been popular with the pilgrims, either natives or from various parts of India. The route lies in inhospitable terrain, arduous and difficult, risky and menacing. Thanks to the Border Roads Organisation a negotiable path has been carved out and constructed and in view of the facility a multitude of pilgrims is seen ambling on the path for ‘darshan’ of the Holy icy-lingam. The path remains open for all months of the summer. Distance wise, the Baltal roiute is shorter than the traditional Pahalgam route.

 

Route from Zojilla Pass

 

            The Zojilla route to the Holy Cave of Amarnath has been a known route and comparatively the shortest route to the sacred shrine of Shiva. It is just a track that can be trekked on foot and descends near the cave from the Amarnath peak.

 

Kishtwar – Seru Route  

            Kishtwar -Seru route has equally been a known route to the Hindus of Kishtwar and other belts of the mountainous region. Kashmiri Pandits, who doggedly refused conversion to Islam during the tyrannical days of Sultan Sikander (1387-1407AD) fled to Kishtwar for shelter and safety, trek the same route to pay obeisance to Shiva in the Holy Cave. For them, it is a popular route, though it was already popular with the indigenous population of the region.

 Sacki- Pantsal route

             The geographical studies of the region reveal that Sacki-Pantsal route is also a route leading to the Holy Cave. But it has not been much in vogue because of its difficult terrain and weather disasters.

 

Pigeons in the holy cave

             A pair of pigeons, present and flying in the cave, drench its chill-cold and weird environs in mystery and mystique. The pilgrims consider it extremely auspicious and feel blessed, thrilled and transported to mystical realms when they catch a mere glimpse of them. The pair of pigeons in the Holy  Cave has been reverentially depicted in the Amarnath Mahatamya as the two messengers of Lord Shiva disseminating  His revealed verities and truths to the world of humans for their spiritual upliftment and emancipation.

 

            As per the legend Lord Shiva revealed to His ever-eager consort, Parvati, the mysteries of creation, life and immortality in the Holy Cave of Amarnath. The pair of pigeons, quietly perched in some niche of the cave, overheard the secrets in full details as were revealed to Parvati by Lord Shiva. Having learnt of their presence in the cave, Lord Shiva granted them the boon of immortality and hence their eternal abode in the Lord’s cave.

 

            Foreign travellers having found their way into the purlieux of Kashmir have not missed to make a mention of the pair of pigeons in the cave-temple.

 

            Anchored in speculation, waxing eloquent on the topic of pigeons, vigne, a foreign traveller, writes, ‘The dove (pigeon) has always been an emblem of peace, the sublime and preter-natural     have always been concomitants of wildness; solitude accompanied by an extra-ordinary degree of remoteness has often been a cause of sanctification. And the wild and gloomy the locality, the better has it been thought qualified to become the peculiar residence of God.’ 20

 

Swami Vivekanand on Amarnath cave (1897 A.D.)

 

            Swami Vivekanand, an eloquent and eminent spiritualist of India, paid a visit to the Holy cave and was mystified by the icy-lingam in the Holy cave where Lord Shiva had dwelt upon perennial subjects of creation, life and immortality that have ever been intriguing humankind from the days of its creation. As per his well known biography Swami Vivekanand is reported to have conjectured about how the Holy Cave could have been discovered. The author writes ;-

 

            ‘I can well imagine how this cave was first discovered. A party of shepherds, one summer day, must have lost their flocks and wandered here in search of them. What must have been their feeling as they found themselves unexpectedly before this unmelting ice-lingam of white camphor, with the wall itself dripping offerings of water over it for centuries unseen of mortal eyes ? When they came home they whispered to other shepherds in the Valleys how they had suddenly come upon Mahadeva.’ 21

 

            On having entered the cave Swami Vivekananda was overwhelmed with a mystical experience. He had a darshan of Shiva. He called the place religious, inspiring and extremely beautiful. He wove meticulously beautiful poetry about the icy-lingam and its impact on his total psyche.

 

The tyrannical Rule of Sultan Sikander 

            Sultan Sikander, who had pawned his soul to a Sayyid-Sufi from Central Asia, Mir Mohammad Hamadani, was not only an iconoclast, but a misanthrope, hater of books, enemy of aesthetics and worst form of Islamist. He issued an atrocious and contemptuous government decree ordering the Kashmiri Hindus to get converted to Islam or flee the native land or get perished. As a result, thousands of Hindus were brutally massacred, thousands got converted and thousands fled the land for shelter.

 

            The Sultan’s numerous crimes against humanity are :-

 

1.       He did not permit the Hindus to go to temples to pray and worship.22

 

2.       He did not permit them to blow a conch or tolll a bell.23

 

3.       He stopped Hindus from performing their religious practices and celebrating their festivals. 24

 

4.       He killed them if they put a tilak-mark on their foreheads.25

 

5.       At the apperance of the new moon, the Hindus were not allowed to worship or take out processions.26

 

6.       He burnt six mounds (1 mound = 37 kilos) of sacred threads worn by Hindus as a mark of their religious initation only after putting them to cruel death.27

 

7.       He stopped Hindus from undertaking pilgrimages to all Shivadhams (Amarnath, Sureshwar, Harsheshwar, Dyaneshwar, Mahadev Peak).28

 

8.       He stopped Hindus from burning their dead.29

 

9.       He demolished and destroyed the marvellous temples of Martand, Vijyeshwar, Chakrabrat, Tripureshwar, Sureshwari, Varah and many others.30

 

10.     He imposed the hated Jazia (poll-tax) on the Hindus, thus declaring them dhimmis.31

 

11.     He waged war on the Hindus when Mir Mohammad Hamadani declared them ‘Kafirs at war’.32

 

12.     He burnt books on Hindu knowledge, science, astronomy, astrology, music, dance, poetics and medicine.33

 

          The worst ever hurricane fury of genocide of the Kashmiri Hindus 34 unleashed by Sultan Sikander and vigorously pursued by Ali Shah and their armies 35 forced Hindus to burn, hang and drown themselves in rivers and wells and jump over steep precipices to protect their religion. The genocide of Hindus acquired a renewed speed and impetus when another wave of Sayyid Sufis led by Sayyid Jalal-ud-din Bukhari 36 entered the borders of Kashmir. The Hindus and their cultural signs and symbols were ruthlessly destroyed the same manner as locusts destroy and devour the lush green paddy fields.

 

Q-factor in the History of Kashmiri Hindus

             Zain-ul-abidin came to the throne of Kashmir in 1420 A.D. In his treatment of and attitude unto the remaining small number of Hindus, not more than proverbial eleven families, the Sultan slavishly followed the marked foot-prints of his predecessors and felt no reason to swerve away from the state policy chalked out by the foreign Sayyid-sufis in choke-hold of state apparatus. The Sultan at the behest of Sayyid-suifs in his court repalced Sanskrit as the official language of court by Persian37. He showered lavish and unprecedented patronage on the foreign musicians from Khurasan and other Central Asian belts thereby discouraging and disparaging the indigenous trends and shades of music38. His court was under the total siege of foreign Muslim ulema and Sayyid-sufis whose inflow into Kashmir had gained tremendous volume and speed. As he was in the line of foreign unsurpers Zain-ul-abidin failed to architect a state that would transcend religious hue and complexion. Encouraging foreign craftsmen to pursue their crafts in Kashmir he dealt a massive blow to indigneous crafts and craftsmen, their jobs being practically stolen by foreign Muslims from distant countries. Sharia-bound the Sultan did not order the execution of a foreign Sayyid-sufi when he murdered a saffron-clad recluse in cold blood. The reason cited was that he was a Sayyid-sufi and hence above law and immune to severe punishment. The state that Zain-ul-abidin assiduously built was an all-round affair of the Muslims from distant lands and people in general though forcible converts to Islam remained deeply mired in despondency and alienation. As social and moral cohesion and bonding had ruptured and shredded the individuals as units in the social fabric were reduced to a state of sheer lawlessness and chaos.

 

            No historian of Kashmir has been precise in citing the date and time when the Sultan developed a fatal boil on his body. All sorts of treatment by a host of foreign physicians was administered to the ailing and wailing Sultan. In all desperation the Sultan was informed of a Hindu physician, Shirya Bhatt by name, who had somehow survived the holocaust and was living in obscurity away from the prying eyes of Muslim maruders.

 

            The Hindu physician was called in. In all Jitters and a chill going down his spine Shriya Bhatt examined the awe-inspiring patient, Zain-ul-abidin, the son of Sikander, the iconoclast and commenced his indigenous treatment. Some days elapsed and lo! the high profile patient showed encouraging signs of turning the corner. He recovered and came to live a normal life. Happy and elated the Sultan sent for the Hindu physician, a native under duress in a gulag and in all generosity asked him to name the beneficence or bountiful reward he would like to have from the Sultan.

 

            What the Hindu physician, Shirya Bhatt, in all humility and supplication asked for as the beneficence or bountiful reward  from the Sultan worked as Q-factor in the history of Kashmiri Pandits. A pious and noble soul, altruistic in his world view and harassed to his bone-marrow, Shirya Bhatt shell shocked the Sultan when he asked for naught for himself, but prayed for the return and rehabilitation of multitudes of his compatriots who had fled their native land to avert the Muslim persecution, allowing them to pursue their indigenous form of education and have jobs in government. The Sultan, more or less, chastened by the fatal boil and under a debt of gratitude to the Hindu physician ungrudgingly conceded all what the Hindu physician had supplicated for.

 

            The Sultan to the absolute  disapprobation and annoyance of Muslim Ulema and Sayyid-sufis despatched messengers to various parts of the country to spot out exiled Hindus and earnestly urged them to return to their native place. He reduced the quantity of Silver (4 tolas in weight) to be paid as Jazia (poll-tax) by half, but was not gracious enough to withdraw the hateful imposition in full thereby granting them total exemption from the punitive tax.

 

            As the Hindus could not cremate their dead under a despotic decree from the Muslim Sultan called Sikander, they were left with no option but to cremate their dead inside their dwellings and kept the ashes in an urn placed in a space created by removing mud and stone from the main doors of their dwellings. Srivar, a historian of Kashmir, writes that when the Sultan Zain-ul-abidin permitted the severely persecuted Hindus to immerse the ashes of their dead in the Gangabal Lake, ten thousand of them miserably perished in a horrific snow-storm that cruelly hit the upland regions the time they were on a return journey after performing rites and rituals connected with the immersion of ashes40.

 

            Srivar also informs that he as a faithful courtier had to pay tax-money, a monstrosity, for the cremation of his father. When he cheekily brought it to the personal notice of his Sultan in the court, he condescended to reduce the tax money, but was again not magnanimous enough to remit the levey in toto that was punitively imposed on the Hindus by Sultan Sikander41.

 

            The Muslim Sultan, Zain-ul-abidin, as a result of fundamental shift in his attitude permitted the exterminated Hindus to celebrate their religious fairs and festivals, circumambulate around the Sharika Parbat and chant hyms and mantras in high decibel and undertake pilgrimages to their holy spots and Shivadhams42.

 

            It becomes stark clear that pilgrimage to the Holy Cave of Amarnath was cruelly stopped by the Muslim ruler Sultan Sikander, from the day he launched a Muslim crusade against the natives and could not be resumed till Zain-ul-abidin suffered a change of heart after the fatal boil that was treated and cured by Shirya Bhatt, who was later included in his court and put in charge of health facilities for the people.

 

            As per the historical archives, Ibrahim Shah II (1552-54 A.D.) granted religious freedom to all. The Hindus were granted freedom of worship only on payment of Jazia (poll-tax). The Hindus made a request for the remittance of the oppressive tax. The Sultan in all hostility replied, ‘How can I who is a Muslim cease to levy tax from the Hindus?’43

 

            The chak fanatics (1554-85 A.D) who were Shias by faith re-imposed Jazia in full on the Hindus of Kashmir. Any Hindu wearing a sacred thread had to pay an annual tax to the chak rulers. Shuka Pandit, a contemporary historian, makes a comment, ‘The Hindus were overpowered by religious intolerance the same way as the sun is overpowered by the grey sable clouds.’44

 

            By implication what is conveyed by Shuka Pandit is that Hindus performing any religious act including a pilgrimage to the Holy cave of Amarnath had to pay a tax to the Muslim rulers.

 

            The Afghans as per all available versions of Kashmir history were barbarous, crude, cruel, ignorant and inhuman. They chopped off every twig from the tree of mercy. The atrocities inflicted on the Hindus of Kashmir by Afghans were unheard of and  beat all previous records. They plundered their houses, looted all what they had by way of material possessions, and anybody complaining or resisting was straight-away put to axe or sword. Persecuting and massacring Hindus was designed to exterminate their entire race or achieve their conversion to Islam. The Hindus fled their land of ancestors to the tropical plains of India to save themselves from the barbarous Afghans. When Hindus were existentially in peril, how could they  have thought of living a pious life of religiosity and performing pilgrimages to the holy spots (tiraths) that they reverred and worshipped for spiritual attainments ? The brutal Afghans stopped them from undertaking pilgrimages to well-known Shiva-dhams or even celebrating their auspicious fairs and festivals. They condemned them as manifestations of infidelity and heresy violative of Sunna and Sharia 45.

 

            The people of Kashmir in general heaved a great sigh of relief when the Sikh army from the Punjab expelled the brutal Afghans from the territory of Kashmir. The soothing relief to the Kashmiri Hindus was that all vexatious and oppressive taxes levied on them were mercifully withdrawn in toto and pilgrimage to the Holy cave of Amarnath was resumed. It was during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh that the Holy Mace symbolic of Shiva’s Mace was stored at Amritsar and pilgrimage to the Holy cave of Amaranath would kick-start right from Amritsar.

 

            With the Dogra takeover of Kashmir in 1846 A.D. the pilgrimage to the Holy cave assumed a new scale and dimension. The number of pilgrims increased manifold and proper arrangements for safe conduct of yatra were meticulously made. The Dogras managed the shifting of the Holy Mace from Amritsar to Srinagar where it was stored at Dashnami Akhara where from it is traditionally taken to the Holy cave in a massive procession of devotees, pilgrims, sadhus, sanyasis and general mass of Hindus.

 

Malikhs of Batakoot

 

            Before discussing the role and status of Maliks of Batakoot it becomes quite imperative to place the Maliks as a generic term in proper historical perspective. It can be gleaned from the pages of Hindu history of Kashmir that the Hindu rulers were extremely vigilant in guarding the frontiers of their kingdom. There were routes and passes that were vulnerable and militarily sensitive and could be used for incursions, surprise raids or full-scale aggressions by the invading hordes. To guard their territories the rulers had set up military-cum watch stations put under the charge of officials designated as dwarpals or dwarpatis. They were also tagged as ‘margeshes’ meaning those who mastered the routes or pathways. These military-cum-watch stations were so fortified  in terms of men and materials that the marauding armies of Mahmud Ghaznavi failed twice to invade Kashmir and conquer it.

 

Records Alberuni —   

            ‘They (Hindus) are particularly anxious about the natural strength of their country and therefore take much care to keep a strong-hold upon the entrances and roads leading to it. In consequence it is very difficult to have any commerce with them…….’ 46

 

            It broadly explains how Kashmir resisted going the Islamic way for full six hundred years after the advent of Islam in India.

             In the wake of the launch of Muslim crusade against the natives of Kashmir by Sultan Sikander and his Sayyid-sufi mentor from Central Asia, Mir Mohammad Hamadani, the dwarpals, dwarpatis and margeshes like all other hapless segments of Kashmiri Society were coerced, tortured and brutalized to change their indigenous faith. After they got converted merely as statistical Muslims they were renamed as maliks and were allowed to retain their profession or else they were to be de-mobilised. When army was used for whole-sale conversions by Muslim rulers, all the exit routes were totally closed for the fleeing Hindus so that they would not escape the orgy of conversion47. The same converted Maliks guarding the passes and other exit-points faithfully executed the atrocious writ of the tyrannical rulers.

             Maliks as a vital cog in the Muslim state apparatus were tortured, hounded out and made to flee in the aftermath of chaks getting defeated by the mighty Mughal forces. Most of them perished and some survived by hiding themselves in secluded mountainous regions. The surviving ones had no option but to make a truce with the Mughals to earn reprieve. They were permitted to pursue their profession of guarding the routes and ingress-points on mountains girting the valley.

 

            With the advent of Dogras the Maliks lost their professional moorings and utility as they established the same improvised policing methods and techniques that were largely prevalent in the Punjab, perhaps introduced by the Britishers.

  Myth of Discovery of the holy cave of Amarnath by a Malik

             It is a mere myth, a fib, a lie and a fabrication that the Holy cave of Amarnath was discovered by a Malik in1845 A.D. The litany of references and allusions to the Holy Cave are so profusely splashed in the historical works and theological literature of Kashmir that in no uncertain terms establish its enormous antiquity. Most of the Muslims rulers as borne out by historical records banned the pilgrimage to the Holy cave or created insurmountable hurdles and difficulties for the pilgrims to undertake the pilgrimage. Sultan Sikander banned everything that had a Hindu flavour. Ibrahim Hussain Shah imposed Jazia (poll-tax) on a Hindu to practise his religion including undertaking pilgrimages. Chaks were crude and intolerant fanatics. They used all wild and cruel methods in their armory to exterminate Hinduism from Kashmir. Afghans were the cruellest of the cruel. Their persecution of Hindus is bone-chilling and beggars description. The pilgrimage to any and all Shiva-dhams became impossible during the barbaric period. The pilgrimage to the Holy cave of Amarnath was a continuous affair. All written records amply bear it out and fully buttress it. It got interrupted during the time-periods when indigenous religion, medicine, theology and architecture were decimated. The unrelenting natives under constant on-slaught during the Sultanate chunk of history and even during post-Sultanate period resisted and rejected conversion and fled the land of their birth six times48. In the history of Kashmiri Pandits the stark resemblances to the Jewish history of the exoduses and persecution are writ large. The small numbers that survived the Muslim genocide or those who found it wise or expedient to return to their native land from the plains never severed and abandoned their linkages with the hall-marks of their religion and culture. Steely and resilient they continued to pay obeisance to the Holy cave of Icy-Lingam for spiritual fulfilment and ascendance. This fact is amply reinforced by the calender of the native Hindus, nearly five thousand year old in which the pilgrimage to the Holy cave of Amarnath is included as a day of fasting on account of ‘Shrawan Purnima’, the culminating day of the pilgrimage to the Holy cave.

 

Association of Maliks with the Amarnath Pilgrimage

             As per my personal findings the Maliks of Batakoot are those who proved stubborn beyond limits and failed to reconcile to the Mughal conquest of Kashmir and to avoid annihilation hid themselves at a distant place in the mountainous region away from the gaze of the Mughal soldiers. As they lost their ancestral occupation and had become rudderless and vagrant the Dogra rulers in view of their history harnessed their services as guides to the pilgrim’s enroute the Holy cave of Amarnath. Over the years they were assigned the additional jobs of maintenance of the rough track, raising of small sheds on the routes and physical safety of the pilgrims. In lieu of their services they were paid a sufficient part of the offerings that the devotees offered to the Icy-Lingam in the Holy cave.

 

            To reinforce my stand-point I refer to W.Lawrence who lucidly mentions that pilgrims on way to Holy cave were joined by Brahmins at Mattan and further up at Batakoot Maliks used to take charge of the pilgrimage. He also adds that Maliks were supposed to keep the track in order, guide or escort  the pilgrims and carry sick pilgrims and ensure that nothing was stolen and received one-third of the offerings at the Holy Shrine of Amarnath.

 

            My probe into the affair has led me to an alternate theory that the Malik clan after their conversion to Islam would collect tax money or Jazia (poll-tax) from the native Hindus and the devout pilgrims across the country on a pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath. For most of the Sultanate period barring a short-lived interlude the native Hindus, their religion and its prominent signatures littered over the entire region were under a determined onslaught and decimation. If Hindus were allowed some sort of vague religious freedom, anathema to Islam, they had to pay tax-money or Jazia (Poll-tax) for their religious observances and pilgrimages. As Maliks were stationed at all vulnerable spots, if Amarnath route was one and I believe, it was, they could have been assigned the authority of collecting the hated tax from any Hindu pilgrim, a dhimmi as per Islamic practices.

 

Who is Secular?

 

            With the eruption of mass frenzy over the diversion of some chunks of forest land at Baltal to Amarnath Shrine Board, some half-baked Muslim leaders, immature and ill-informed media men and ultra-liberals have claimed that the association of Muslims with the pilgrimage is something uniquely secular. Let these worthies be told that it is the Hindus who are ultra-secular for having allowed the Muslims to be a part of the pilgrimage and have a share from the offerings. Do Muslims allow the Hindus or for that matter Christians or Jews to be a part of their annual pilgrimage? It is an established fact that the Hindus have a catholic and tolerant view of the world and are accommodative and assimilative and view God’s essence in all men of all faiths. Their tolerant world-view gets established by the vedic dictum – Reality is one, interpretations vary.

 

            If some chunks of people involve themselves in economic activities during the period of pilgrimage to the Holy cave it is absolutely an absurd position to highlight it as basis for orchestration of the secular credentials of that chunk of population. The fact of the matter is that pilgrims on way to the Holy cave duly purchase the services of a chunk of people who happen to be Muslims. It is no charity, it is no benevolence, it is a simple position of purchasing the services of a labourer, a courier, a pony wallah willing to sell his muscle or bodily strength or any other means of assistance to a pilgrim. To color the pilgrimage as an expression of syncretic culture of Kashmir and to project it as a shining precedent of secularism are mere absurd constructions and far-fetched and irrelevant stipulations. The Kashmiri Pandits who have been hounded out of their native place sufficiently know the worth of syncretic culture of Kashmir and its facade of secular credentials.

 —- The Beginning —-

Author : Prof. Mohan Lal Koul

July 26, 2010

Letter to Mr. Rajiv Gandhi – Jagmohan


Jagmohan -Ex Governor J&K

Jag Mohan Malhotra (born 25 September 1927) is a former governor of Jammu and Kashmir in India. During his tenure as the Governor from 1984 to 1989, militancy in Jammu and Kashmir was at his peak and he was credited with providing capable administration to the state. In Jammu & Kashmir], Jagmohan is credited with bring order to one of the most revered shrines of Hindus, called Mata Vaishno Devi. He created a board that continues to provide administration for the shrine. Infrastructure was developed and that continues to facilitate pilgrims.

[The letter is being reproduced as this letter is of prime importance for readers to understand the callous attitude of central Govt in handling the terrorism in it’s initial stage ]


Letter to Mr. Rajiv Gandhi

Rajiv Gandhi - Ex Prime Minister of India

By Jagmohan
April 21, 1990

Dear Shri Rajiv Gandhi,

You have virtually forced me to write this open letter to you. For, all along, I have persistently tried to keep myself away from party politics and to use whatever little talent and energy I might have to do some creative and constructive work, as was done recently in regard to the management and improvement of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine complex and to help in bringing about a sort of cultural renaissance without which our fast decaying institutions cannot be nursed back to health. At the moment, the nobler purposes of these institutions be they in the sphere of executive, legislature or judiciary etc. have been sapped and the soul of justice and truth sucked out of them by the politics of expediency.

You and your friends like Dr. Farooq Abdullah are, however, bent upon painting a false picture before the nation in regard to Kashmir. Your senior party men like Shiv Shankar and N.K.P. Salve have, apparently at your behest, been using the forum of the Parliament for building an atmosphere of prejudice against me. The former raked up a fourteen-year old incident of Turkman Gate and the latter a press interview an interview that I never gave to hurl a barrage of accusations of communalism against my person. Mani Shankar Iyer, too, has been dipping his poisonous darts in the columns of some magazines. I, however, chose to suffer in silence all the slings and arrows of this outrageous armoury of disinformations. Only rarely did I try to correct gross distortions by sending letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines. My intention was to remain content with a book, an academic and historic venture which, I believed, I owed to the nation and to history.

But the other day some friends showed to me press clippings of your comments in the election meetings in Rajasthan.

That, I thought, was the limit. I realised that, unless I checked your intentional distortions, you would spread false impression about me throughout the country during the course of your election campaign.

WARNING SIGNALS: Need I remind you that from the beginning of 1988, I had started sending “Warning Signals” to you about the gathering storm in Kashmir ? But you and the power wielders around you had neither the time, nor the inclination, nor the vision, to see these signals. They were so clear, so pointed, that to ignore them was to commit sins of true historical proportions.

To recapitulate and to serve as illustrations, I would refer to a few of these signals. In August 1988, after analysing the current and undercurrents, I had summed up the position thus: “The drum-beater of parochialism and fundamentalism are working overtime. Subversion is on the increase. The shadows of events from across the border are lengthening. Lethal weapons have come in. More may be on the way”. In April 1989, I had desperately pleaded for immediate action I said: “The situation is fast deteriorating. It has almost reached a point of no return. For the last five days, there have been large-scale violence, arson, firing, hartals, casualties and what not. Things have truly fallen apart. Talking of the Irish crisis, British Prime Minister Disraeli had said: “It is potatoes one day and Pope the next”. Similar is the present position in Kashmir. Yesterday, it was Maqbool Bhat; today it is Satanic Verses; Tomorrow it will be repression day and the day after it will be something else. The Chief Minister stands isolated. He has already fallen-politically as well as administratively; perhaps, only constitutional rites remain to be performed. His clutches are too soiled and rickety to support him. Personal aberrations have also eroded his public standing. The situation calls for effective intervention. Today may be timely, tomorrow may be too late”. Again, in May, I expressed my growing anxiety: ‘What is still more worrying is that every victory of subversionists is swelling their ranks, and the animosity is being diverted against the central authorities”. But you chose not to do anything. Your inaction was mistifying. Equally mistifying was your reaction to my appointment for the second term. How could I suddenly become cammunal, anti-muslim and what not ?

When I resigned in July 1989, there was no rancour. You wanted me to fight, as your party candidate, election for the South Delhi Lok Sabha seat. Since I had general revolusion for the type of politics which out country had, by and large, come to breed, I declined the offer. If you had any serious reservation about my accepting the offer of J and K Governorship for the second term, you could have adopted the straightforward course and apprised me of your views. I would have thought twice before going into a situation, which had virtually reached a point of no return. There would have been no need for you to resort to false accusations.

May be you do not consider truth and consistency as virtues. May be you believe that the words inscribed on our national emblem – Satyameva Jayate – are mere words without meaning and significance for motivating the nation to proceed in the right direction and build a true and just India by true and just means. Perhaps power is all that matters to you – power by whichever means and at whatever cost.

REALITY: In regard to the conditions prevailing before and after my arrival on the scene, you and your collaborators have been perverting reality. The truth is that before the imposition of Governor’s rule on January 19, 1990, there was a total mental surrender. Even prior to the day (December 8, 1989) of Dr. Rubaiye Sayeed’s kidnapping, when the eagle of terrorism swooped the state with full fury, 1600 violent incidents, including 351 bomb blasts had taken place in eleven months. Then between January 1 and January 19, 1990, there were as many as 319 violent acts – 21 armed attacks, 114 bomb blasts, 112 arsons, and 72 incidents of mob violence.

You, perhaps, never cared to know that all the components of the power structure had been virtually taken over by the subversives. For example, when Shabir Ahmed Shah was arrested in September 1989, on the Intelligence Bureau’s tip- off, Srinagar Deputy Commissioner flatly refused to sign the warrant of detention. Anantnag Deputy Commissioner adopted the same attitude. The Advocate-General did not appear before the Court to represent the state case. He tried to pass on the responsibility to the Additional Advocate General and the Government council. They, too, did not appear.

Do you not remember what happened on the day of Lok Sabha poll in November 22, 1989 ? In a translating gesture, TV sets were placed near some of the polling booths with placards reading “anyone who will cast his vote will get this”. No one in the administration of Dr. Farooq Abdullah took any step to remove such symbols of defiance if authority.

Let me remind you that Sopore is the hometown of Gulam Rasool Kar, who was at that time a Cabinet Minister in the State Government. It is also the hometown of the Chairman of the Legislative Council, Habibullah, and also of the former National Conference MP and Cabinet Minister, Abdul Shah Vakil. Yet only five votes were cast in Sopore town. In Pattan, an area supposedly under the influence of Iftikar Hussain Ansari, the then Congress (I) Minister, not a single vote was cast. Such was the commitment and standing of your leaders and collaborators in the State.

And you still thought that subversion and terrorism could be fought with such political and administrative intruments.

Around that point of time, when the police set-up was getting rapidly demoralised, when intelligence was fast drying up, when inflitration in services was bringing stories of subversives plan like TOPAC, your protage, Dr. Farooq Abdullah was either going abroad or releasing 70, hardcore and highly motivated torrosists who were trained in the handling of dangerous weapons, who had contacts at the highest level in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, who knew all the devious routes of going to and returning from Pakistan and whose detention had been approved by the three member advisory board presided over by the Chief Justice. Their simultaneous release enabled them to occupy key positions in the network of subversion and terrorism and to complete the chain which took them again to Pakistan to bring arms to indulge in killings and kidnappings and other acts of terrorism. For example, one of the released persons, Mohd. Daud Khan of Ganderbal, became the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of a terrorist outfit, Al-Bakar, and took a leading part in organising a force of 2,500 Kashmiri Youths. Who is to be blamed for all the heinous crimes subsequet}y committed by these released 70 terrorists ? I would leave this question answered by the people to whom you are talking about the “Jagmohan Factor”.

The truth, supported by preponderence of evidence, is that before January 19, 1990, the terrorist had become the real ruler. The ground had been yielded to him to such an extent that dominated the public mind. He could virtually swim like a fish in the sea. Would it matter if the sea was subsequently surrounded ?

LABELLING ANTI-MUSLIM: In your attempt to hide all your sins of omission and commission in Kashmir and as a part of your small politics which can not go beyond dividing people and creating vote banks, you took special pains to demolish all regards and respects which the Kashmiri masses, including the Muslim youth, had developed for me during my first term from April 26,1984, to July 12,1989. Against all facts, unassailable evidence, and your own precious pronouncements, you started me labelling me as anti-Muslim.

May I, in this connection, also invite your attention to three of the important suggestions made in my book, Rebuild- ing Shahjahanabad: The Walled City of Delhi. One pertained to the creation of the green velvet between Jama Masjid and Red Fort; the second to the construction of a road linking Parliament House with the Jama Masjid complex, and the third to the setting up of a second Shahajhanabad in the Mata Sundari road-Minto road complex, reflecting the synthetic culture of the city, its traditional as well as its modern texture. Could such suggestions I ask you, come of an anti-Muslim mind ?

FORUM OF PARLIAMENT: How you and your associates use the fonum of Parliament undermine my standing amongst the Kashmiri Muslims, was evident from what N.KP. Salve, MP ?, did in the Rajya Sabha on May 25, 1990.

Referring to the so called interview to the Bombay Weekly, THE CURRENT – an interview which I never gave – Salve chose wholly unjustified expressions; “There was a patent and palpable attitude if very disconcerting communal bias and, therefore, he (Governor) was happy under the garb of eliminating the terrorist, the saboteurs and the culprits, in eliminating the whole community as it were; now the Governor has himself given profuse and unabashed vent to his malicious malignity, hate and extreme dislike, branding every member of a particular community as a militant”.

I know Salve. I do not think, if left to himself, he would have done what he did. Clearly, he was goaded to say something which was against his training and background. But the elementary precaution which any jurist, at least a jurist of Salve’s imminence, would have taken, was to first check up whether any such interview weekly had been given by me, and if so, whether the remarks attributed to me were actually made. The unseemly haste was itself revealing. The issue was raised on May 25, while the weekly was dated May 26 June 2, 1990. You yourself rushed a let to the President on May 25, on the basis ofthe interview that in reality did not exist. You explained that V.P. Singh had appointed a person with “Rabid Communalist Opinion as Governor. You also got your letter widely published on May 25 itself.

Since your party men did not allow me to have my say in the Rajya Sabha, even when an opportunity came my way to speak on the subject, I was left with no other option but to file a 20 Lakhs damage suit against the Current Weekly in the Delhi High Court. The case may take a long time and I may donate the damages, if and when awarded, to charity, but I intend sparing no effort to expose all those who have played dirty roles in the disinformation-drama.

ARTICLE-370: You created a scene on March 7, 1990, at the time of the visit of the All Party Committee to Srinagar, and made it a point to convey to the people in 1986 I wanted to have Article 370 abrogated. At that critical juncture, when I was fighting the forces of terrorism with my back to the wall beginning to turn the corner after frustrating the sinister designs of the subversives from January 26, 1990 onwards, you thought it appropriate to cause hostility against me by tearing the facts out of context. Whether this act of yours was responsible or irresponsible, I would leave to the nation to decide.

What I had really pointed out in August-September 1986 was: ‘Article 370 is nothing but a breeding ground for the parasites at the heart of the paradise. It skins the poor. It deceives them with its mirage. It lines the pockets of the “power elites”. It fans the ego of the new sultans, in essence, it creates a land without justice, a land full of crudities and contradictions. It props up politics of deception, duplicity and demagogy. It breeds the microbes of subversion. It keeps alive the unwholesome legacy of the two-nation theory. It sufficates the very idea of India and fogs the very vision of a great social and cultural crucible from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. It could be an epicentre of a violent earth-quake, the tremors of which would be felt all over the country with unforeseen consequences.

I had argued, ‘The fundamental aspect which has been lost sight of in the controversy for deletion or retention of Article 370 is its misues. Over the years, it has become an instrument of exploitation in the hands of the ruling political elites and other vested interests in bureaucracy, business, judiciary and bar. Apart from the politicians, the richer classes have found it aonvenient to amass wealth and not allow healthy financial legislation to come to the State. The provisions of the Wealth Tax, the Urban Land Ceiling Act, the Gift Tax etc, and other beneficial laws of the Union have not been allowed to be operated in the State under the cover of Article 370. The common people are prevented from realising that Article 370 is actually keeping them impoverished and denying them justice and also their due share in the economic advancement.’

My stand was that the poor people of Kashmir had been exploited under the protective wall of Article 370 and that the correct position needed to be explained to them. I had made a number of suggestions in this regard and also in regard to the reform and reorganisation of the institutional framework. But all these were ignored. A great opportunity was missed.

Subsequent events have reinforced my views that Article 370 and its by product, the separate Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir must go, not only because it is legally and constitutionally feasible to do so, but also because larger and more basic considerations of our past history and contemporary life require it. The Article merely facilitates the growth and continuation of corrupt oligarchies. It puts false notions in the minds of the youth. It gives rise to regional tensions and conflicts and even the autonomy assumed to be available is not attainable in practice. The distinct personality and cultural identity of Kashmir can be safeguarded without this Article. It is socially regressive and causes situations in which women lose thier right if they marry non-State subjects and persons staying for over 44 years in the State are denied elementary human and democratic rights. And, above all, it does not fit into the reality and requirement of India and its vast and varied span. What India needs today is not petty sovereignties that would sap its spirit and aspirations and turn it into small “banana-republics” in the hands of ‘tin-pot dictators’, but a new social, political and cultural crucible in which values of truth and rectitude, of fairness and justice, and of compassion and catholicity, are melted, purified and molded into a vigorous and vibrant set- up which provides real freedom, real democracy and real resurgence to all.

I must also point out that when other States in the Union ask for greater autonomy, they do not mean separation of identities. They really want decentralization and devolution of power, so that administrative and development work is done speedily and the quality of service to the people improves. In Kashmir, the demand for retaining Article 370 with all its ‘pristine purity’, that is, without the alleged dilution that has taken place since 1953, stems from different motivation. It emanates from a clever strategy to remain away from the mainstream, to set up a separate fiefdom, to fly a separate flag, to have a Prime Minister rather than a Chief Minister, and Sadr-i-Riyasat instead of a Governor, and to secure greater power and patronage, not for the good of the masses, not for serving the cause of peace and progress or for attaining unity amidst diversity, but for serving the interests of ‘new elites’, the ‘new Sheikhs’.

All those aspiring to be the custodians of the vote-banks continue to say that Article 370 is a matter of faith. But they do not proceed further. They do not ask themselves: What does this faith mean? What is its rationale ? Would not bringing the State within the full framework of Indian Constitution give brighter lustre and sharper teeth to this faith and make it more just and meaningful?

In a similar strain, expressions like ‘historical necessity’ and ‘autonomy’ are talked about. What do these mean in practice ? Does historical necessity mean that you include, on paper, Kashmir in the Indian Union by one hand at a huge cost and give it back, in practice, by another hand on the golden platter ? And what does autonomy or so called pre-1953 or pre- 1947 position imply? Would it not amount to the Kashmiri leadership say in: ‘you will send and I will spend; you will have no say even if I build a corrupt and callous oligarchy and cause a situation in which Damocles’ sword of secession could be kept hanging on your head’?

KASHMIRI PANDITS: You and the like of you have made India a country which has lost capacity to be true and just. Anyone trying to be fair is dubbed communal. The case of the Kashmiri Pandits bears eloquent testimony to this fact.

Whatever be the vicissitudes of the Kashmiri Pandits’ history and whatever unkind quirks their fate might have brought to them in the past, these all pale into insignificance in comparison to what is happening to them at present. The grim tragedy is compounded by the equally grim irony that one of the most intelligent subtle, versatile, and proud community of the country is being virtually reduced to extinction in free India. It is suffering not under the fanatic zeal of mediaeval Sultans like Sikander or under the tyrannical regime of Afghan Governors, but under the supposedly secular rule of leaders like you, V.P. Singh and others who unabashed search for personal and political power is symbolized by calculated disregard of the Kashmiri migrants’ current miserable plight and the terrible future that stares in their eyes. And to fill their cup of pain and anguish, there are bodies like ‘Committee for Initiative on Kashmir’ which are over-anxious and over active to rub salt into their wounds, and to label anyone who wants to stand by them in their hour of distress as communal.

In a soft, superficial, permissive and, in many ways, cruel India which has the tragic distinction of creating over one lakh refugees from its own flesh and blood and then casting them aside like masterless cattle to fend for themselves on the busy and heartless avenues of soulless cities, chances for Kashmiri Pandits to survive as a distinct community are next to nothing. Split, scattered and deserted practically by all, they stand today all alone, looking hopelessly at a leaking, rudderless, boat at their feat and extremely rough and tumultuous sea to face before they can reach a safe shore across to plant their feet firmly on an assured future.

The deep crisis through which the Kashmiri migrants, or for that matter, the entire Kashmir, is passing is really the crisis of Indian values – the perversion, in practice, of its constitutional, political, social and moral norms. If I visited the camps of the refugees and tried to extend the firm hand of justice to a community in pain, if I instructed that, instead of cash doles, the migrant Government servants should be given leave salary, and if I conceded the demand of a widow of the person brutally killed by a terrorist, for allotment of a house on payment, I became communal, a known anti-Muslim, about whom concocted stories were planted in the press. If, on the other hand, someone falsely accused the Indian Army and the Governor’s administration, if he assailed Jagmohan in particular, of giving inducements through provisions of plots and trucks, without giving particulars either of plots or of trucks, his accusations got published all over the press, his reports were flaunted in national and international forums and were copiously quoted in Parliament by the members of your party and he was labeled as secular and progressive and champion of human rights and what not. Hard Evidence about ‘Jagmohan Factor’. I do not like to refer to anything that looks like indulging in self-praise. But not to let you get away with your calculated campaign of disinformation, about Jagmohan communal factor, I must invite attention to some hard evidence about what the people of the Valley actually thought about me before you and your proteges started the smear campaign on my appointment for the second term.

Your principal prop of current politics of Kashmir, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, was not to be left behind in the drive launched to create an ‘anti-Muslim’ image of mine. In his interview published in the Times of India of August 30, 1990, he said, “A known anti-Muslim was appointed as Governor of a Muslim majority state”. How untrue, how unfair, was the propaganda, should be obvious from the fact that on November 7, 1986, at the time of his swearing-in-ceremony, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, in a public speech for which the records exist, said: “Governor Sahib, we should need you very badly. It is, indeed, amazing that such remarkable work could be done by you in a short time through an imbecile and faction-ridden bureaucracy. If today three ballot boxes are kept – one for the National Conference, one for the Congress and one for you, your ballot box would be full while the other two ballot boxes would be empty”.

The misfortune of our country is that we have leaders like Dr. Farooq Abdullah who have no regard for facts or truth and whose superficiality is matched only by their unprincipled politics.

Incidentally, did it not strike you that Dr. Farooq was virtually accusing your late mother of being anti-Muslim because she was the Prime Minister when, in April 1984, a ‘known anti-Muslims’ was appointed for the first term, as ‘Governor of a Muslim majority State”?

Apparently in consultation with you, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, on February 15, 1990, issued a written statement to the press in Urdu in which he inter alia, said, “The Governor, in the personification of ‘Hallaqu’ and ‘Changez Khan’, is bent upon converting the valley into a vast graveyard. On account of continuous curfew since January 20, it is difficult to say how many hundreds of people have become victim of the bullets of the army and paramilitary forces, and in this general slaughter how many hundreds of houses have been destroyed. At this moment, when Kashmiris are witnessing their beloved country being converted into a vast graveyard. I appeal to the national and international upholders of humanity to intervene in Kashmir and have an international inquiry made into the general slaughter of Kashmiris at the hands of army and paramilitary forces”.

Here is your ‘patriot’ calling Kashmir “Aziz Wattan”, suggesting a separate country. Here is your ‘national leader’ asking for an international inquiry into the general slaughter of the Kashmiris by the Indian Army and paramilitary forces. Here is your ‘responsible friend’ speaking about the continuous curfew for 25 days in the valley and his consequent inability to find out many ‘hundreds of innocent and unarmed Kashmiris’ had been massacred and how many hundreds of Kashmiri houses razed to the ground, although he knew perfectly well that there had been a number of days when there was no day- curfew, partially or wholly, and the authorities had brought out the list of casualties, about 40 upto February 16, and were daily asking the public to provide with the additional names, if they had any, so that correction in the official list could be made. Here is an erstwhile Chief Minister who did not care to explain how ‘innocent and unarmed’ people were ruthlessly shooting down IAF officers, BSF jawans, senior officers of the Television and Telecommunications Department and young men in the streets; and how, while inciting people through lengthy and fiery statements, he did not find a single word to condemn such brutal murders.

Is the nation not entitled to know why you have not disowned such unfortunate behaviour on the part of Dr. Farooq Abdullah? And how do you account for his recent statement as published in The Times of India of February 7, 1991: ‘I directed my party men to lie low, go across the border, get training in arms handling; do anything but not get caught by Jagmohan’ ?

Stabbing me in the back at personal level, perhaps, did not matter. But by keeping the pot boiling, you your proteges prolonged the agony of Kashmir and caused many more deaths and much more destruction. The politics of unscrupulousness was brought to its lowest depth.

ROOTS: You once said, ‘I do not read history; I make history’. Apparently, you do not know that those who happen to make history without reading it, usually make bad history. They cannot understand the undercurrents and the fundamental forces that really shape the course of events and determine the ultimate destiny of a nation.

In the absence of historical perspective, you and the like of you never perceived the roots and tendrils, which gave rise to the current crop of separatism and subversion in Kashmir. Poisonous seeds were persistently planted in the Kashmir psyche. And these were liberally fertilised. Those of you whose obligation it was to stop these plantations and their fertilization, were not aware of even the elementary lesson of history; to compromise with the evil was only to rear greater evil; to ignore the inconvenient reality  was only to compound it; to bow before the bully was only to invite the butcher the next day.I could cite scores of cases to support my contention. Here I would restrict myself to only two examples.

Softness and Surrender. On October 2, 1988, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday his statue was to be installed in the new High Court complex at Srinagar. The function had been announced. The Chief Justice of India, R.S. Pathak, was to do the formal installation. But a few Muslim lawyers objected. They threatened to cause disturbance at the time of the function. The Chief Minister gave in, almost willingly, to the bullying tactics. The function was cancelled.

What are the implications of what happened ? A secular Kashmir, part of a secular India, could not have, even in its highest seat of justice, a statue of the Father of the Nation, of a sage, who laid down his life for communal harmony. Who was the person spearheading the move against the installation ? It was none other than Mohd. Shafi Bhat, an advocate of the J and K High Court and an active number of the National Conference, who was later on given party ticket for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat in the elections held in November 1989 and with whom you kept warm company during your visit to Srinagar on March 7, 1990, to create as many difficulties as possible for Governor’s administration.

At that time there was National Conference (F) Congress (I) Ministry in office. Such was its lack of adherence to principles, such was the character of Congressmen who formed part of the Ministry and such was its disposition to cling to power that not even a little finger was raised when the function was cancelled.

The bully’s appetite could not have been whetted better. Intimidation could not have secured better results. The troublemakers could not have perceived a more casual and non- committed adversary. Was it not natural for them to nurture higher ambitions and think that more spectacular results could be achieved by deploying a more aggressive and threatening strategy ? Only a naive would believe that in the context of the Kashmir situation, softness and surrender on basic principles would not act as an invitation to terrorism and militancy.

The Union Government enacted the Religious Institutions (Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1988. It was made applicable to all the States of the Union except J and K. Because of Article 370, concurrence of the State Government was needed for extension of this law to the State. But the same was not given. Why ? Because J and K is different what an argument for having a law which aimed at eradication of misuse of religious premises for political purposes.

Nowhere was this law needed more than in the State of J and K. Nowhere were religious places misused more than here. Nowhere were seeds of fanaticism and fundamentalism sown every Friday more assiduoulsy than from the pulpits of the mosques here. Nowhere was it preached more regularly than here that Indian democracy was un-Islamic, Indian secularism was un-Islamic and Indian socialism was un-Islamic. And yet, neither the State Government which was ruled by two supposedly secular parties, nor the Union Government took the matter seriously. What intrigued the most was that the law which was considered good for 100 million Muslims in other parts of India, was not considered good for 40 lakh Muslims of Kashmir.

What was the use of the nationalist forces ruling the country when they would not act in national interest at all, when they remained mental slaves of the politics of communalism; when they were inclined to place reliance on words and not on deeds; when they did not lead, but succumbed; when they encouraged, and not defeated, separatist elements; when, instead of building a new society strong in human and spiritual values, they did everything, wittingly or unwittingly, to repair, renovate and strengthen the old decaying and smelly sitadel of obscurantism; and when they invariably gave precedence to expediency over the basic goals and principles of our Constitution ? What could be the result of all this? Did it require any unusual insight to understand where such imperious forces would take us?

I leave it to the well-wishers of the nation to consider, without any political or personal bias, a basic question. How was it that Dr. Farooq was calling me Hallaqu and Changez Khan, and you were travelling all the way to Srinagar to ‘expose’ me as anti-Article 370, anti-Kashmiri and anti-Muslim and, at the same time, Miss Benazir Bhutto was vowing to tear me to pieces – ‘Jagmohan ko Bhag-Bhag Mohan Kar Denge’ ?

There are many other facets of Kashmir’s truth which lie buried underneath the heaps of disinformation and also of superficiality and shallowness. These days I am busy in an attempt to remove some of these heaps. One day, I hope, the country will acquire the true perspective of the problem. The Kashmiri masses would also realise that I was their greatest well-wisher. I wanted to save them permanently from the exploitative oligarches and also from the machinations of religious ‘Czars’ and forces of obscurantism.

You have already committed the sin of letting down the Bharat Mata in Kashmir. Now do not add to it another sin of letting down the other Mata also. There is, after all, some power above. Conscious of her. She may condone your negligence. But she would not condone your sin of blaming an innocent person for what were your own faults, particularly when he had been persistently reminding you of your obligations.

So far as I am concerned, I am content with my gloomy pride of having done the correct thing in Kashmir. True, I seemingly and, perhaps, temporarily, lost the goodwill of some of the locals. But I was not seeking a certificate from anyone. I had gone for the second term to do a national duty.

The country’s polity and administration have assumed such a character that it has become incapable of solving from its roots, any serious problem. Elections have virtually lost all meaning. And these would continue to be meaningless until and unless Indian democracy and its constitutional structure acquires a healthy cultural base, a pure soul and soil, from which the seed of justice, truth and selfless service could sprout and blossom into a Great Tree providing shade and shelter from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Currently, the inner light is gone, and we are being led virtually by blind men with lanterns in their hands. We stumble from one crisis to another. As a poet says:

It has happened
and it goes on happening
and it will happen again.

With best wishes,
Yours sincerely,
Jagmohan

Reproduced from:
Converted Kashmir – Memorial of Mistakes
A Bitter Saga of Religious Conversion
Author: Narender Sehgal
Utpal Publications, 1994

Source :Kashmir Information Website

May 31, 2010

Holocaust of Kashmiri Pandits

Filed under: History Of Kashmir, India — Tags: , , , , , , — TheKashmir @ 4:51 am

Satanic Holocaust of Kashmiri Pandits – by Dr. Satish Ganjoo

Myth and reality move together in the Saffron Valley of mystic splendor. The reclamation of land from Satisar created certain complications. The Saraswati River that flowed into the eastern Punjab, Rajasthan, Sind and other parts of Indian subcontinent suddenly got dried up. Geologists are of the opinion that all those streams, which fed Satisar and form the source of water for the Saraswati river, mostly ran underground. Once the cleft materialized at Baramulla, the water of the Satisar flowed out in an opposite direction, leaving the Saraswati basin dry. The Aryan Saraswat Brahmans, who used to live on the banks of Saraswati river, migrated to the Kashmir Valley to continue their austerities. With the passage of time these people came to be known as ‘Bhattas’ in Kashmir. The word is derivative of Brahman. Now they are called the Kashmiri Pandits or the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir, who believe in the mystic combination of Shaivism, Kali Bhakti, Shakta worship and Tantra.

History of the Kashmiri Pandits is the history of Kashmir since last more than 5000 years. They are associated with its society, culture, civilization, customs, traditions, myths and realities. The rise of Buddhism and reactions by Brahmans gave rise to a long struggle between the two rival ideologies. The Naga (Snake) worship was also the dominant religion in the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. However, Buddhism flourished in the Valley during the reign of Durnadeo, Simhadeo, Sundersen, Ashoka and Kanishka. The great Buddhist council was held at Kanishpur in Kashmir during the rule of Kanishka and it was presided over by two eminent scholars — Asvaghosha and Vasumitra. About 500 monks from different parts of the subcontinent attended the same. Nagarjuna , a Bodhisattva and the greatest philosopher of Buddhism, lived in Kashmir. During the reign of Abhimanu, a number of people were converted to Buddhism. It was first struggle of the Kashmiri Brahmans for their survival. A number of Kashmiri scholars – Kumarajiva (AD 384-417), Shakyashri Badhra (AD 405), Ratnavera, Shama Bhatta (5th Cen AD) and others went to China and Tibet to preach Buddhism. However, the Brahmans regained their supremacy during the reign of Nara I . The struggle between Buddhism and Brahmanism came to an end with the emergence of modern Hinduism. A period of comparative historical validity began with the establishment of the Karkuta rule in AD 627. Avantivarman (AD 855-833) is believed to be the first Vaishnavite ruler of Kashmir. During his rule there was a tremendous cultural development in the Valley. The great Shaiva philosophers of this period were Kayyatacharya, Somananda, Muktakantha Swamin, Shiva Swamin, Ananda Vardhana and Kallata.

The struggle between the Brahmans and other castes, such as Kayasthas, began during the reign of Shankara Varman. The authority of the Brahmans was broken and the sacred character of their citadels was violated. However, the Shaivite thought and philosophy flourished. Pradyumana Bhatta, Utpalacharya, Rama Kantha, Prajnarjuna, Lachaman Gupta and Mahadeva Bhatta have made a tremendous contribution to this philosophy. During the regime of Lohara dynasty, Kashmir came into contact with the Muslim invaders who attacked India. When Mahmud Ghazni annexed the Punjab, most of the tribes on the borders of Kashmir embraced Islam. At that time, the Valley was ruled by Sangram Raja (AD 1003-1028). Even after their conversion to Islam, these people continued to visit Kashmir – as traders, wanderers and even missionaries. There are historical evidences that some of these tribals settled in the Valley and made some venture into propagating their new religion.

Harsha (AD 1089-1101), was a man of extravagant habits and a jumble of contraries. He robbed the temple treasures and melt idols of gold and silver to tide over his financial crisis. Before him two other kings, Jalauka and Kalasa, employed the same approach of plundering the temples and melting the images of gold and silver to augment their depleted treasuries. Harsha also employed Muslim generals, who are called Turushkas by Kalhana, for the first time in the history of Kashmir. Now Muslims as a class appeared in the political field and began to consolidate its roots. Bhikshachara, a descendant of Harsha, organized a cavalry force mainly consisting of the Muslims. During the reign of Gopadeva (AD 1171-1180), the Brahmans consolidated their position. But the Lavanya tribe shattered their roots once again. The Damaras, Lavanyas and other tribes never allowed the Brahmans to monopolize. In the reign of Jassaka (AD 1180-1198), two Brahmans – Kshuksa and Bhima, endeavored to capture
the throne. But it was the fear of Damaras or feudal lords that prevented them. Ramadeva (AD 1252-1273) humiliated those Brahmans who had helped him in his coronation. They conspired against him but could not succeed. A reign of terror, loot and plunder was let loose against them. Many Brahmans were killed and others crushed barbarously. This was the first direct assault against them in the history of Kashmir. To save themselves they cried ” Na Batoham” (I am not a Bhatta). The Kashmiri Pandits are even now taunted as Bhattas and Dalli Bhattas.

(more…)

January 22, 2010

WANDHAMA MASSACRE -12 Years Later



The Massacre at Wandhama,Kashmir

On January 25, 1998, 23 Kashmiri Pandits living in the village of Wandhama were killed by unidentified gunmen. According to the testimony of one of the survivors of the incident, a 14 year-old Hindu boy named Vinod Kuman Dhar. the gunmen came to their house dressed like Indian Army soldiers, had tea with them, waiting for a radio message indicating that all Pandit families in the village had been covered. After a brief conversation they rounded up all the members of the Hindu households and then summarily gunned them down with Kalashnikov rifles.

The indiscriminate firing on the Pandits spared 16 year-old Manoj Kumar Dhar, and, he was the lone eyewitness to the massacre. In a statement to police on that night, Kumar said a group of masked gunmen came to his house at about 11:30 pm and forced all those inside to come out. “I jumped out of the wall of my house. As soon as my father, brothers and sisters came out, I saw the gunmen shooting them. They were crying and begging for life,” he had told the police.

The massacre was allegedly committed by Abdul Hamid Gada of Hizbul Mujahideen and was timed to coincide with the Shab-e-Qadar, the holiest night of the month of Ramzan, when believers stay awake until dawn. Gada was subsequently shot dead by Indian security forces in 2000.

Kashmir’s Divisional Commissioner S L Bhat, who knew some of the Pandits personally, was quick to arrive at the scene of the carnage. He said, “This is the worst incident I have witnessed”.

Meanwhile, the police that day claimed to had recovered a letter in which an unknown militant organisation, Intikaam-ul-Muslimoon, had claimed responsibility for killing of Pandits. The letter that was tagged to one of the bullet-ridden bodies disclosed that this was the beginning of a seriesof such attacks

After the massacre, the local Hindu temple was destroyed, as were the houses of the Pandits.

Police , as usual, falied to arrest or get anyone convicted . The case was subsequently closed by police.Sub Divisional police officer Ganderbal Showkat Ahmad, who was then Station Hose Officer for the area told Kashmir Times, “The case has been closed, as no one was identified as the killer of these Pandits.”

Also Check : Massacre at Wandhama KOSHUR SAMACHAR

Also Check : A Slide Presentation on IKashmir

Also Check : Roots In Kashmir Blog

Also Check : Soul In Exile blog

Also Check : The Forgotten Tragedy

Also Check : AdityaRaj Koul’s Blog

January 21, 2010

Indian Media ignores plight of Kashmiri Pandits


January 19th., 1990 that announcement was made across all mosques in Kashmir through loudspeakers ,asking Kashmiri Pandits to leave the valley. They shouted “Asyi Gassyi Pakistan .. Batav Roch te Batnyav Saan” [ We want Pakistan ..Without Hindus but with their womenfolk ]. “Yahan Kya Chalega – Nizam E-Mustafa” [ Islamic rule would prevail ] , etc etc

Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits were subsequently killed and almost the entire  Kashmiri Pandit population of 7,00,000 fled from valley,almost overnight.

A genocide followed by exodus of one of the most patriotic community happened.

January 19th., 2010 marked the 20th anniversary of that event. Kashmiri Pandits are living as refugees in their own country ,where they stand ignored and neglected. Read the article at REDIFF, click HERE

On this 20th anniversary of exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir , the Indian media completely ignored them as well. Indian media is well known for their Psuedo secular policies as most of the people in media are known leftist supporters . For them it has been a fashion to speak about Gujarat and problems to Kashmiri muslims , however give prompt them to speak about Kashmiri Pandits and they would fume.

They have a dead conscience.

Here I take an opportunity to show what all they preferred to discuss on that particular day  , and at the same time not even a word was discussed about Kashmiri Pandits.

What else to prove of how biased the Indian media is against Kashmiri Hindus . These screen shots have been taken from the twitter account of respective media channels and the celebrity journalists  whom you see everyday on your idiot box.

Times Now had “much important” thing to discuss . They cried for Ustad Amjad Ali Khans ‘Sarod’. Not a word for Kashmiri Pandits.

(more…)

January 18, 2010

India-Pakistan Road Map to Peace: Insult to Indian Patriots


By Kamal Hak

Panun Kashmir

The 150-odd gathering in the India International Centre Auditorium was oblivious of the irony of the situation. While Yaseen Malik, self-proclaimed father of religious terrorism in Kashmir, was threatening the nation with a return to arms, a couple of highly agitated Kashmiri Pandits outside were inhumanly dragged into police custody. Their fault? They were trying to be mirrors to reflect the failure of Indian civil society towards their internal displacement in the land.

In my heart of hearts, I was glad Rajinder Sachar provided us an opportunity to give vent to our pent-up frustrations. Listening to Sachar’s apologetic introduction on ‘Indian treachery in annexing Kashmir’ (yes, it’s true, he said that), I found reasons for continuing my struggle for a separate homeland in Kashmir.

Yaseen Malik was not destined to have it easy that day. This group of young displaced Kashmiri Hindu boys and girls were determined to make the event memorable for him. He looked ruffled. As somebody pointed out, no man would like to be damned as a ‘ra—t’ in the presence of his wife. Later, his repeated attempts to explain his position clearly betrayed his discomfort and invited more protests.

I resisted a strong temptation to be adventurous. Perhaps the spectacle of young boys and girls, many of whom might not have set foot in the lost homeland even once, taking over the baton of our struggle had a calming effect on my nerves. I sat down patiently to listen to the trash being blared out from the dais. An elderly lady sitting to my right with a snobbish expression on her wrinkled but botoxed face declared the protestors ‘oxymorons’. I was amused and felt sorry for her; later I discovered she was part of the organizing team.

Yaseen was boring. His articulation is more self-aggrandizement, distortion of facts and constructed ideology. He laid claim to five thousand years of Kashmir history and dumped Kashmiri Pandits as only a small class of society. A small section of the audience with preconceived notions nodded in approval. He proceeded to insult displaced Kashmiri Pandits by accusing the protestors of being ‘paid whipping boys of Indian intelligence agencies’. This evoked another strong reaction from the protestors. This prompted me to look towards the young boys and girls shouting at the top of their voices. Sudden realization dawned…

The parents of most of the youngsters expressing anger at the VIP treatment being accorded to the person responsible for rendering them refugees in their own country are personally known to me. Yaseen Malik dubbed them members of an affluent section of Kashmiri Pandits. This might be an exaggeration. That these youngsters belong to families that have done well during the last twenty years can’t be denied. But was it so always?

Many of these young persons were either not born or were mere toddlers when the Malik-led JKLF unleashed a campaign of terror against their families. The process of selective killings of Pandits reached its climax with a mass frenzy created through an eruption via thousands of mosques dotting the Kashmir landscape during the night of 19 January 1990. And while the boorish section of the audience were enjoying their cushy lives in India and abroad, the parents of these young persons were abandoning their homes and ancestral homeland in the stealth of dark winter nights. I still shudder at the memory of those initial years when most of us struggled to provide some semblance of human existence to our children and parents. I wish Yaseen Malik had seen us living six to eight persons in 8ft by 8ft rooms without basic amenities.

Today Kashmiri leaders and their cohorts in India lament the tragedy of the families who fell to the bullets of militants or security forces. I wish they were there with us when most of our parents and grandparents died a thousand deaths before succumbing to heat-strokes, mosquito bites, stress-related diseases, unnatural accidents and unfulfilled longing for their lost homes.

At times I pity Yaseen Malik’s intellect and laugh at his idiotic articulation. For him, Kashmiri Pandits living in Delhi need not be taken seriously as they drive their own cars and live in air-conditioned homes. The oxymoron in him forgets Kashmiri Pandits, unlike his own community, have traditionally valued only two things – their own roof over their heads and their children’s education. Malik, though aware of this fact, doesn’t allow his politics to admit it. I have a strong conviction that Malik and his ilk can’t reconcile with the survival and prosperity of displaced Pandits. It would have mightily pleased them to see Pandits begging on the roads of the Indian plains.

The self-declared intellectuals sitting in the auditorium and frowning at the protestors would have done well to understand the sociology of the Kashmiri Pandit community. They would have understood how even under extremely hostile circumstances, the Pandits not only survived, but most even prospered. I wish they knew “We are because We believe.”

We may not eat one meal, but we will not deprive our children the best education. Our success is due to this inherent quality. The Maliks and Sachars of this world have no right to deny us the claim on our homeland because we came to protest in our own cars. Unlike those whose millions have accrued from liberal contributions through Indian peace interlocutors, Pakistani masters, and other dubious sources, Kashmiri Pandits have shed their own blood and sweat for their little accumulations. While Yaseen shows his discomfort at the prosperity of Pandits, his sympathetic audience should have known that displaced Kashmiri Pandits collectively pay enough Income Tax to feed all the poor families in the Valley.

Yaseen Malik finished his speech with threats of returning to militancy and no achievable solutions to offer. He was clearly shaken by the protestors accusing him of the alleged rape and murder of a Kashmiri Pandit girl. Meanwhile, a young person in a black jacket came up to me and asked:

–        “Sir, don’t you think it is unfair to brand him as ra—t?”

–        “Why?” I counter question.

–        “Because you can’t prove it,” he replied, almost innocently.

I decided he deserved no further attention.

The next speaker went through his speech unhindered and it was time for summing up. Under fierce pressure of the protesting youths, Rajinder Sachar allowed a few interventions. Further shocks awaited us. To an observation from a Kashmiri Hindu, Sachar brazenly declared that the nation should be grateful to those who centuries ago forced the Kashmiri Pandits out of Kashmir. He extended a sadistic logic behind his assertion, “we would have otherwise been deprived of persons like Nehru.” There was more commotion and still more before the session ended.

We came out of the auditorium and decided we could not partake lunch with the people who paid no cognizance to our geo-political aspirations. We also did not want to give company to the biggest terrorist in the country. We began dispersing. Some of us had a task at hand. We needed to seek the release of friends detained earlier for objecting to the presence of a staunch enemy of the nation in the national capital. For me the day was not finished. A person calling himself Engineer Rashid, a sitting Kashmir MLA, walked up to me aggressively and started a discussion.

–        “Are you Pandits aware that during the last two decades more than 80,000 Muslims have lost their lives in Kashmir?” His tone was arrogant.

I may not agree with the figures, but I can’t deny the immense human tragedy that has befallen Kashmir. But I was in no mood to prolong the discussion. Though the country may have failed to utilize Kashmiri Pandits in understanding the psyche of Kashmiri Muslims, given an opportunity no one can score in a dispassionate argument with them.

–        “Why are you lamenting the death of 80,000 Muslims?” I asked Engineer Rashid.

–        “These people died for a cause as they wanted to be part of Pakistan. And why should thousands of Pandits have died? They had no cause to die for.”

Probably Rashid understood where this discussion could lead; he walked away sheepishly.

As I was walking towards my car, I was suddenly stopped in my tracks by the young man in the black jacket.

–        “Sir, you didn’t answer my question. How can you prove Yaseen Malik r—d and k—-d that girl?”

Impressed by his persistence, I decided to give him some hard-earned wisdom. On enquiry, he revealed his connections with some civil liberties group (but naturally).

–        “Have you ever heard of Bitta Karate?”

–        “No sir.”

–        “Haven’t the apologists told you about him?” He looked awkward at his ignorance.

–        “Please ask your promoters about him and if they don’t tell you then call me to know your answers.”

He stared at me bewildered as I walked away.

[Bitta Karate is a Kashmiri terrorist who confessed – to a journalist on video – to killing around 40 Kashmiri Pandits. He was arrested for his crimes and released without conviction for want of witnesses]

The writer is a displaced Kashmiri Pandit living in Delhi and a senior Panun Kashmir activist

Source : Vijayvaani

December 2, 2009

Kashmir’s struggle for so-called azaadi has been subsumed by the worldwide jihad – – Tavleen Singh


Times have Changed, Issues are Different

There was a time when it seemed as if a solution in Kashmir could bring peace with Pakistan. That time has gone. The Taliban now have a grander plan for the subcontinent

T he average Indian is so bored with Kashmir these days that I always hesitate to raise the subject in a column. If I do this week it is because a meeting took place in Delhi that has to go down as one of the most extraordinary in recent times. It was organized by social activist Madhu Kishwar under the auspices of the Centre for the Studies of Developing Societies, on November 7, and I went along because she invited a glittering array of politicians from Kashmir. I have not been to Srinagar in more than five years and thought the meeting could be a good way to revive my interest in a subject I once wrote a book on.

Among those who came to the meeting in the library of the Nehru Memorial were Mehbooba Mufti, Muzzafar Baig who was Deputy Chief Minister in the last government, Mohammad Sufi Uri from the National Conference, Professor Abdul Ghani Butt from the Hurriyat and Yasin Malik from the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). The meeting was chaired by Ram Jethmalani and attended by journalists, academics, Kashmir activists and sundry others. It was a full house.

Madhu, an eager beaver peacenik as ever was, began the day’s discussions by emphasizing loudly and often that we were gathered together to find solutions. Despite this, things got off to an interminably dull start because Mr Uri from the National Conference made a long, boring speech that was full of historical grievances that everyone present was more than familiar with. Muzaffar Baig took over from him and was more interesting because he offered a solution. He said that Kashmir’s borders needed to be made irrelevant as Dr Manmohan Singh has himself often promised. Instead of redrawing maps there should be a softening of the borders so that Kashmiris, Pakistanis and Indians could come and go freely and there should be ‘‘dual currency’’. In view of what is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this suggestion seemed so naively oblivious of geo-political realities that I went up to him when he finished speaking and asked if he had heard of the Taliban. Was he aware that this group of Islamist jihadis was close to threatening the existence of Pakistan and Afghanistan? How long would it take the Taliban to conquer Kashmir if Indian troops were withdrawn? He laughed sheepishly.

In any case the meeting carried on peacefully and in a dull sort of way until the late afternoon when it came to Yasin Malik’s turn to speak. I had not seen him in many years and was impressed to see him look dapper and elegant in a black, velvet jacket and a black and white polka-dotted shirt instead of the drab, Kashmiri clothes he usually wears. He looked more like an urbane Srinagar businessman than the terrorist he once was, but he was not allowed to forget his past. No sooner did he rise to speak than the meeting deteriorated into chaos.  The hall was filled with insults hurled at him by a group of young Kashmir Pandits who till then had sat silent and unnoticed.

‘‘We will not allow this monster to speak,’’ they yelled, ‘‘ask him who raped and killed Sarla Bhatt? Ask him how many Hindus he has killed? He is a terrorist. He has no right to be here.’’  They said other things as well, angry, ugly things, and they made so much noise as they stood up and shouted their abuse that the meeting was totally disrupted for several minutes. Yasin Malik was infuriated and ready to leave. It was only after many entreaties from Madhu and Mr Jethmalani that he agreed to speak. But then Mr Jethmalani put his foot into it by saying that he himself loved Pakistan more than Pakistanis loved Pakistan and that all Indians should develop a similar love for Pakistan. Then he added there would have been no militancy in Kashmir at all if the 1987 elections had not been rigged to coincide unfortunately with a large number of mujahideen in Afghanistan suddenly becoming ‘‘unemployed’’ because the Soviet Union withdrew its troops.

Yasin Malik decided to pick this up as the starting point of his speech. He said, ‘‘I was shocked to hear Jethmalani Sahib say what he did. I was the one who started the armed struggle in Kashmir and I was neither Afghan nor unemployed. I picked up the gun because it seemed there was nothing else to do. We had tried peaceful means to achieve azaadi and failed.’’

He then gave details of how the JKLF was among the groups that had set up the Muslim United Front to contest the Assembly elections in 1987. ‘‘We contested the elections because we thought that if we won we would declare Kashmir independent through a resolution in the Assembly but they were not prepared to give us our basic democratic rights. So we had no recourse but to pick up the gun.’’ He added that he had given up violence because he was persuaded by the ‘‘Indian civil society’’ that solutions could come peacefully. He felt betrayed, he said, because he now knew that all the Indian civil society could do was talk.

The Kashmiri Pundits were not going to take that lying down even if the panelists were, and they started yelling that the armed struggle had never ended. What about the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen? Who were they? And who were the other militant groups that continued to kill innocent people in Kashmir?

In the end there was more rancour and rage than debate, and the solution to our Kashmir problem remained as elusive as ever. Sitting next to me at one point was General Lakhvinder Singh, a hero of the Kargil war, and I asked him if he thought that there was any chance of reducing the deployment of Indian troops in Kashmir. He said, ‘‘We’ve tried it. And wherever we have reduced deployment we have seen an immediate increase in militant activities. It is not as easy as these politicians make it sound.’’

It is not easy at all because it is clear to many of us who have followed the Kashmir story carefully for many, many years that the problem has changed. There was a time when it seemed as if a solution in Kashmir could bring peace with Pakistan. That time has gone. Kashmir’s struggle for so-called azaadi has been subsumed by the worldwide jihad. The Taliban have a grander plan for the Indian subcontinent. They want to conquer Islamabad, and when that is done they want the flag of Islam to fly over India.

Author : Ms Tavleen Singh

Source : SentinelAssam

November 22, 2009

An Open Letter To Yasin Malik – Madhu Kishwar


Dear Yasin,

Dialogue on the Future of Jammu & Kashmir organized by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies gained enormously by your presence on November 7, 2009. We recognize that the overlap in timing meant you had to rush to Delhi after registering your attendance at a TADA court hearing in Jammu. I also appreciate the fact that despite provocative slogans against you by a group of Kashmiri Pandits opposed to your presence in the Dialogue, you sat through the meeting to the end and not only explained your politics but also made a public commitment to consider some of the solutions proposed at the meeting as a starting point for a wide spectrum dialogue for the resolution of the Kashmir problem.

However, your outbursts of anger, disappointment and your cynical comments directed at the civil society organizations of India seem to me so misplaced and misleading that they demand a public response; a lot of them were directed at Manushi and at me. Since they have been widely reported in the Kashmiri and Pakistani newspapers, hence my response is also through the media.

For those who do not know the background, let me summarize your grievances as stated in your presentation at the Dialogue. You said that you had given up the gun at the urging of civil society organizations in India, that you took to “Gandhian methods of struggle” due to our persuasion. However, despite your move to non-violent means of struggle, you feel “betrayed” by the human rights community in India for ostensibly failing to help you achieve your political ends. You also claimed that subsequent events and your failure in achieving “azadi” have convinced you that Gandhian methods do not work in today’s India. In your view, they worked only while the British ruled India because the British provided a supportive environment for non- violent struggles.

What proof do you offer for that conclusion? That Gandhi was not subjected to third degree torture by the British, nor was Gandhi killed in an encounter with the police! No responsible leader would provide this form of naive praise of the British. You cannot dismiss the brutalities of the British colonial regime so easily. You don’t have to go too far—just read the life story of Badshah Khan—Gandhi’s most valued colleague and the most inspiring satyagrahi of that period. The brutalities inflicted on the army of satyagrahis mobilized by Badshah Khan—popularly known as the Frontier Gandhi— would put to shame even the apartheid regime of South Africa. Lakhs and lakhs of non violent satyagrahis were tortured in British jails. Many innocents were murdered in cold blood. The manner in which unarmed women and children were massacred in Jallianwala Bagh by General Dyer was not an isolated example of British brutality. Hundreds of thousands of satyagrahis took deadly beatings without raising their hand even in self-defence during the Salt Satyagraha. The cruel treatment routinely meted out to the Indian peasantry in extracting unprecedented high revenue and confiscating their lands arbitrarily for failure to pay ruinous usurious revenue, not sparing them even during crop failures, led to millions dying in unprecedented man made famines and left many more millions destitute, malnourished and terrorized.

You claim to have taken to Gandhian methods and claim that the movement for “azadi” in Kashmir is non violent —all on the grounds that some years ago you gave up the gun. Dear friend Yasin, you gave up the gun after you were arrested and jailed, not while you were on the outside, fighting. You never gave up supporting and defending those who continued using the gun. In the November 7 meeting, you declared openly that you are proud of having been the first one to take up the gun for the cause of Kashmir. When a young Kashmiri Pandit commented: “You may have given up the gun but that does not mean Kashmiri Muslims gave up the gun. The Hizbul Mujahiddin is also comprised of Kashmiri youth.” Your response was: Since the Indian government did not hand over “azadi” to the “non-violent” JKLF, and since human rights organizations in India failed to persuade the Indian government to do so, Hizbul Mujahaddin are justified in taking up the gun. Yasin bhai, a true commitment to non-violence should not be so conditional and fragile. Gandhi did not say: “Give India independence or else I will unleash terrorist brigades on you.” That was Jinnah’s method, not Gandhi’s.

As one of many people committed to strengthening democracy and human rights in India, one of my mandates is to ensure that even those who take to terrorist means, are given fair treatment, due process, and a fair trial, and that innocents are not targeted by security forces while combating terrorism. Our primary task, however, is to try to prevail upon the Indian government that draconian laws should not be used to crush democratic dissent. I don’t think I have failed in being consistent about those issues. I have often done my best to intervene with the government of India to defend the Constitutional rights of you and your colleagues, even when I have strong differences with your political goals and means you make use of to achieve them.

(more…)

November 7, 2009

Ruined Temples of Rainawari , Kashmir !


Shiv Temple [ Bod Mandir ], Near VB College, Rainawari, Srinagar,Kashmir

Shiv Temple Naidyar,Rainawari ,Srinagar,Kashmir

Shiv Temple, Jogilankar, Rainawari, Srinagar,Kashmir

Shiv Temple, Near Bridge, Naidyar, Rainawari, Srinagar,Kashmir

Shiv Temple, Near Mishan Sahib, Naidyar, Rainawari, Srinagar,Kashmir

Shri Vaital Bhairav, Mal Mohalla, Jogilankar, Rainawari, Srinagar,Kashmir

Shri Vaital Bhairav, Motiyar, Rainawari, Srinagar,Kashmir 

Shri Gopantar Ashram, Bagh-i-Jogilankar, Rainawari, Srinagar,Kashmir 

Also Check THIS

Video Courtsey : Mr Vijay S

October 6, 2009

CONSTITUTION & POSSIBILTY OF CREATION OF PANUN KASHMIR


CONSTITUTION & POSSIBILTY OF CREATION OF PANUN KASHMIR 

Continuing with the discussion of what the constitution says about creation of a separate state /union territory , I would touch the few specific points available in constitution of India , J&K and under article 370.

What does the Constitution of India say ?

According to the constitution of India and its first schedule,the The territory of India shall comprise:

The territories of the States The Union territories specified in the First Schedule; and such other territories as may be acquired. In the article 2 , it states that Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.

In the article 3 it states that Parliament by law may form a new State by separation of territory from any State .

In the above context the law is clear that a new state formation is possible by a law passed by the parliament.

Possibilities according to constitution of J&K and the role of SADAR -E-RIYASAT

Under Article 370 , any changes to be bought should be passed by the J&K assembly. Where does that lead us ?

The answer does not stop just here.Firstly we must understand that Article 370 is a temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover there have been many contradictions itself within the constitution, according to my understanding, unless i am being made to understand otherwise.

The constitution of J&K recognise the heading officials as “Sadar-E-Riyasat “( President) & “Wazir-E-Azam” (Prime Minister),the terms which have now been abolished but may still be reflecting in the constitution.

The Constitution of J&K says the qualification of the “Sadar -e _riyasat ” has to be following :-

The Sadar-i-Riyasat shall be the person who for the time being is recognised by the President as such:

Provided that no person shall be so recognised unless he:

(a) is a permanent resident of the state;

(b) is not less than twenty-five years of age; and

(c) has been elected as Sadar-i-Riyasat by a majority of the total membership of the Legislative Assembly in the manner set out in the First Schedule.

In the present case I do not feel that the Governor (Sadar-E-Riyasat ) is any longer required to be a resident of the state ,and no longer requires an approval from legislative assembly. The reason I am discussing the role of the Governor is because the Governor of J&K has many powers which can alter the future of J&K state.

The constitution states that the Governor ,except in few matters can not bring in a rule unless approved by the legislative assemble of J&K by 2/3rd majority. However at the same time the constitution states that the constitution make such incidental and consequential provisions as appear to the Sadar-i–Riyasat to be necessary or desirable for giving effect to the objects of the Procla-mation, including provisions for suspen-ding in whole or in part the operation of any provision of this Constitution rela-ting to any body or authority in the State :

The rule can easily be surpassed by will of the central Government by invoking Article 356 and 357 of the Indian Constitution which was extended J&K in 1964, giving emergency powers to the President in the event of the failure of the Constitutional machinery .

The authority of the Governor or Sadar -E Riyasat can not be challenged in court as the law states in act 143 that :

143. (1) The Sadar-i-Riyasat shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise of performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purposing to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those -powers and duties , and in part 2 it states that

2) No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the Sadar-I–Riyasat in any court during his term of office. No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the Sadar-i-Riyasat shall issue from any court during his term of office.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR PANUN KASHMIR

We all should understand that a strong Government is required at Centre ,capable of taking strong decision in national interest.

The Public awareness has to be created to make the nation understand the necessity of a separate Union Territory.

Good Friends have to be made across all Political Parties.

WOULD CONSENT FROM ALL NATIONAL POLITICAL PARTIES MAKE PANUN KASHMIR POSSICBLE.

Not necessarily. Considering the case of Telangana case of right for statehood, all Political parties with the exception of Congress(I),have given their formal support.

Even in last election the Congress promised the separate Telangana state and its ally was TRRS.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

According to my understanding the Supreme court can play a BIG BIG role in affairs of J&K. Maybe as I said the political will is needed.

Any legislation can be stuck down by Supreme court and that may include article 370 as well.

The example being In 1974, the Supreme Court of India in the landmark case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala enunciated the Basic Structure Doctrine, which expanded the scope of judicial review to include the power to review Constitutional Amendments passed by the Legislature. Using this doctrine, the Supreme Court has struck down the 39th Amendment and parts of the 42nd Amendment as being violative of the Basic Structure of the Constitution. The doors of Supreme Court are also open for us to alter the consitution.

WHAT DOES ALL THE ABOVE TELL

1. Panun Kashmir is possible constitutionally.

2. Achieving Panun Kashmir is certainly not an easy job,neither is it easy for anyone else as well. It would be a long sustained campaign and can be achieved through our collective effort.

3.The idea of Panun Kashmir has to be sold to all Indians and each Kashmiri pandit would have a role to play.

4. Panun Kashmir has to present themselve as nationalistic rather than a Hindu right wing organisation.

Changing strategies as needed is important. We should have  more thoughtful people to be part of the Team to help us achieve the goal. Would we have a fellow soldier in you ?

September 24, 2009

Temples of Kashmir – Looted & Plundered


No matter how much the media tried to hide the facts , the truth is there for everyone to see.

The Temples of Kashmir having been looted and destroyed by Islamic fanatics even in the capiltal city Srinagar . One of the temple is just a stone throw away from the ‘secure’ area near world famous Dal Lake.

And the world continues to remain silent !!!

July 29, 2009

India Got Talent – Priya Raina


For a Change , besides usual Politics , I would be introducing the readers of this blog to the youth of Kashmiri Hindu Community , their talent and their contribution to the society.

These youth are the future of Panun Kashmir.

To start with , please find below video of Priya Raina , who now hails from Jammu at “India Got The talent Show” . This show featured on 19th July 2009.

Pls do vote for Priya Raina

July 27, 2009

Panun Kashmir Resolution by various state Goverments ?

Filed under: History Of Kashmir, India, Panun Kashmir, Politics, Protests/Events — Tags: , , — TheKashmir @ 12:47 pm

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: