Genealogical Tables of Kasmir Dynasties according to Kalhan

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Source-Rajatarangini by M.A.Stein

Maps of srinagar and parihaspura by A.Stien

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Yaarbal..

As a teenager and -that too in Kashmir- The Mountains, valleys, lakes , streams and rivers just looked so familiar,natural, perennial and Ubiquitous .Even in my imagination and dreams, I would see myself somewhere surrounded by these elements.

Swimming was my all time favorite activity. Being a Rainawarian, I used to swim in Dal Lake very often . And whenever I used to stay put for night/s at my ‘Matamaal’ in HabbaKadal during summers, I used to make it sure to go for a swin along with my friend Sanjay to River Jhelum near the bridge of Habba-Kadal .

We had chosen the ‘Yarbal’ (Bathing Ghat with steps)of ‘Purushyar Temple’ as a base for our swims.We used to  swim across the River and reach The opposite bank of Yarbal , then swim back. Because of the drift of river, we were flown down and while coming back towards the purushyar, we were further drifted away downwards. We used to run barefoot in the bylanes and reach back to The Yaarbal. The River was deep and many a times , we would hear about the incidents of drowning. But we were expert swimmers and that hardly bothered us.

Sometimes, we along with other teenagers and children would jump from the Bridge of HabbaKadal straight into the Vitasta.The exhilarating feeling of jumping and hanging in the air for some seconds was awesome.So was the feel of the adrenaline rush ,  when our feet touched the Sandy bed of the Jhelum.

I re-visited Kashmir last year in the month of August.I had hired a taxi and directed the Driver-Ajaz to take me to Habba Kadal.Once we reached the Bridge, I told him to stop.I looked around but could not identify most of the New Habba Kadal locality.I alighted the door and stepped down.

The  KP’s once formed the majority population of this area.Their conspicuous absence added to the feeling of being at an unknown, yet familiar place.

A new Bridge has been constructed just adjacent to the Old bridge. When I looked down from the bridge to River Vitasta, she looked emaciated. I tried to compare her with the images of Jhelum,that were imprinted in my memories. She looked as if someone had drained out all her water and her vigour.The shallowed-Vitasta, looked as if   she was ashamed of her present condition.

I ambled further the bridge and turned right towards a by-lane.I was told that it will lead me towards the famous ‘Purushyar Temple’.I walked ahead in the claustrophobic , stinking , narrow bylane and within a couple of minutes ; I had another glimpse of the temple. It was already late evening.I stood for some time at the mouth of the wider staired lane ,that lead to the temple . Few steps further downwards , I could see the barren Yarbal.

I could recall vividly , how the ‘Yaarbal’ abuzzed with activity.In the mornings, KPs  from the adjoining locality visited the Purushyar temple, some even used to take a dip in the waters of Vitasta before entering the temple.Other’s  used to come in the Late morning and take a bath with the River-water.They rubbed and covered their bodies with the thick froth of the Soap. The bubbles of the froth would many a times float in the air for a short distance and then  blow off silently. Some people would be seen washing their clothes. A few people would just sit on the stairs and watch the River passing by.

I turned my sight towards the Temple.It looked as if somebody had turned on a Bulb.I peered through the late evening light , but could not see any figure. Nonetheless, it was evident that , some KPs are coming to the temple and are offering their prayers.However, I could not see a single soul around the temple.The so familiar waft of the incense sticks and ‘Dhoop’ too was absent.So was the resounding peal of the temple bell.

Few Passerby’s looked astonished at my behaviour. After all ,how many people would stand at that junction and look at the Yaarbal and Temple in that late evening ! For them , my behavior was suspicious.A group of men gathered at some distance from where I was standing and started murmuring something.

Finally a man from that group came forwad and  asked me in Kashmiri, “Are you looking for someone?”. I smiled and in a friendly way, I answered, “Oh Nothing”. I gestulated. “Well, I have spent some of my early days in this area.I just wanted to see the places where I had lived”. “Are you a Kashmiri Pandit?” he asked exitedly. “Yes, I am.” I replied. “I am looking for a KP friend’s house, who too lived in this locality, but can’t locate it”. I added.

“Most of the people who live here now, have come from other localities. But, there is this fruit-vendor at the start of HabbaKadal.He knows about all the Pandits of this area.I will lead you to him”. He said warmly. “Yes, I saw that Vendor.I will speak to him just now.” I feigned.”I think I should go now.” I informed him. He shook my hand firmly and went away in the lane and disappeared from my sight.It was dark now.I decided to go back and in no time, I reached the bridge, where the driver of the cab was waiting for me.

Ajaz-the cab driver was waiting for me anxiously. As soon as I approached him, he said impatiently, “Should we go now Jenab?” Without looking at him, I answered , “Just give me two more minutes.”

I walked a few steps further on the HabbaKadal bridge.I again looked down at the Vitasta.I could just see the reflection of the shimmering lights on it. I looked at the Purushyar temple once again for the last time. It was dimly lit.The Windows were still closed.

And the Yaarbal still barren……

Indian Dogs go back-The story of Hall Transit camp

 

One can see a Graffiti that writes- Indian Dogs go back-widely in Kashmir.

The recent incidents in Kashmir, put a stamp of approval on this graffiti. The incidents of attacking of KP’s in transit camps at Hall, Kupwara and vessu further strengthen this belief of the Jihadi –separatist nexus and their supporters. And turning a blind eye on these incidents puts a question mark on the intentions of PDP-BJP Govt.

Why am I writing this? Well, Please read:

I was told briefly by some of my Kashmiri Pandit(KP) friends, about the incidents that transpired with them, after the killing of Terrorist Burhan Wani, at Kashmir. These employees are working under Prime minister’s package for kashmiri migrants, at Kashmir. They are protesting at jammu and Delhi from last 27 days under the banner of All migrant employee association.

An acquaintance, who resided in the ‘Hall Transit camp’ , and was present in the camp from 8th july 2016-15th july shared his poignant ordeal with me in detail. He requested to keep his name Anonymous. I will address him as Ajay in this write up.

“So, Ajay, what happened with all of you, during the nights of 8-10th july”, I asked him over Phone. There was a pin drop silence from the other side. “May be, he is trying to recollect”, I thought. “Are you there, Ajayji?”, I enquired once again.

He cleared his throat, and thus began his story.

“ The news of Burhan Wani’s death came to us at around 8-8.30 p.m. on 8th july. We were apprehensive that, we may get attacked once again.”, Before he could complete his sentence, I interrupted him and asked curiously, “ Have you been attacked previously too?”

“O Yes. Officially, we have been attacked 11 times, and unofficially, it is 17 times. We were attacked in the past , when Afzal Guru was hanged. Every year, on Deewali, the miscreants hurl stones on our Houses. We do not burst crackers on Deewali, not that we don’t want to, but we get attacked if we do so. Instead we only light up the Diyas.” He informed.

Please continue, I requested him.

“Because of our apprehensions, and our past experience, we locked the main entry door of our colony/camp. At around 9.00 p.m, the loud speaker of the local Mosque urged the Kashmiri Muslims(KM’s) to gather at the Mosque. Within no time, a crowd of 5000 people gathered outside the Mosque. A stringent voice from the Loud speaker of the Mosque directed the crowd to surround our colony.” Said Ajay and he paused for some time.

“At least 4000 so-called-miscreants encircled us and started raising derogatory slogans against us and against India. But the most used slogan was-Indian dogs go back. We were the dogs, as we were the Indians. ” He explained. “ Then, they resorted to indiscriminate stone-pelting .They hurled at least 40-50000 Stones on our quarters. The shrilled tones of their slogans was frightening. We felt like trapped pigeons. Children in the camp were crying out of fright. Some of the children clung to their mothers for comfort and hid their eyes in the bosom of their mothers out of fear. Many women fainted repeatedly out of fear”. His voice was brittle. I could feel uneasy emotions welling up in me as well.

“A rivulet passes near by our transit camp. The Jihadi-Mob diverted the route, and the direction of the stream to our compound, They wanted to flood our camp, so that we would be forced to come out of our colony. And kill us. But they could not succeed in their devilish plans.” He said emotionally.

“The hostile mob tried to break the main Door. Some goons or so-called-jihadis, tried to scale the main wall of the compound. It was at that time, the Police(4-5 numbers) meant for our protection, came forward to our rescue. They opened fire into air in order to scare away the mob. 65 rounds of bullets were fired to scatter the crowd. And it did helped. But briefly”. His voice modulation was sketching out pictures of the incidents in my mind.

“Did the mob run away after the fire into air incident”? I asked curiously. “No. It was a temporary respite. The Mob, re-gathered and started hurling stones at us again, once they realized that the police was out of ammunition. They also hurled glass bottles at us. It was so scary. We thought, they would kill us and rape the ladies of our camp”. He said in chocked voice. “The hostile crowd damaged 8-10 cars too, that were parked inside the premises of the camp.”He complained. “The respite came at around 12.30 a.m in the form of rains. It rained heavily and the belligerent crowd dispersed. At least, for the time being” .He informed.

“Didn’t you tried to contact the administration over phone”?, I asked him. “We called up everyone in our contact list. We contacted the police as well as the administration. But whole administration had collapsed. Or if any Administration, existed, it did so to aggravate our woes. The administration was playing wait and watch policy and had kept the lives of the Kp’s of our camp as a bait. They were missing, when we needed them the most.” He complained.

“To be honest with you, we thought, we would be dead soon. We were like the frightened pigeons. We were concerned about the welfare of the two and a half year child, who was hit by the stone. We were nervous about the condition of a pregnant lady of our camp. We needed a doctor. We needed protection. We needed administration. But we were wronged by all those, who are in power.” Said he in a distressed tone.

“What happened after that”. I inquired.

“Next day i.e 9th july 2016, some policemen came to our compound for our protection, but they left the camp by evening. We were again left with the usual 4-5 policemen. And now they were unarmed.” He informed.

“The local Mosque at around 3.30 p.m once again urged all the KM’s to throw away all the Indians. It was a direct threat to us. But nobody cared for us. Again the Mob swelled by the late evening and encircled our camp. Again they pelted stones on our houses. Again they raised the belligerent slogans. Again they gagged us to leave the valley.” He was getting angry. And I could feel a sense of helplessness in his voice.

“It was after 48 hrs, on 10th july 2016, The Army came to our rescue. The Mob refrained to some extend, but still some stones were hurled on us. We asked about the security situation outside the camp from some people. It was decided that the employees would leave the camp for Jammu in the night. An arrangement was made to send away some 250 odd KP residents of the camp in the dead of night, during the next few days. By 16th july whole of the camp was deserted and the entrance was locked by us.” He informed. “The other camps too in the valley had to face the wrath of the Jihadi-Mob. The camps were stoned at Kupwara and Vessu too. An attempt was made by the miscreants at Sheikhpura too. And at all these places, The administration was caught napping.” He said. “There are around 2000 KP employees stationed at Kashmir. Out of these, 1665 employees were recruited under the PM Package. All the employees under PM Package are protesting against the injustice meted to them.” Ajay Informed.

“What do you want now from Govt”? I sked him.

“we all should be deployed/re-posted at jammu until all the KP’s are rehabilitated at Kashmir. We risked our lives in 2010, we were assured of security, we were assured that a conducive environment will prevail, But during all these years of service at Kashmir, we have noted that the jihadi-fundamentalists are gaining their ground and all their activities are directed towards us. We are the sitting ducks for them. Enough is Enough. At least, we did never raise our voices for Pakistan. We are proud Indians and we would like to remain as Indians.” He asserted.

“we also request the center to release our salaries unconditionally. Our KM counterparts in Kashmir, have got their dues from the state, in spite of being absent from the duty. We, on the other hand, have been told that we won’t get our salaries as we were absent from our duty. Why double standards for us”?, he lamented.

The communication was snapped because of some network issue. But, I guess, he told me, What I ought to know.

I was forced to think , Does it matter that KP’s are the indigenous race of Kashmir, with a known history of 5000 years! Does it matter to Hindus and India that Kp’s have been ousted from Kashmir purely on the basis of Religion! Does India care for the Hindus of Kashmir?

If yes,

Where is India? Sleeping? Or, has the eyes of justice been blinded by the shenanigans of the politicians and their polity and their version of Truth!

Kashmiri Hindus are proud Indians. And in Kashmir, when a Graffiti is painted that says, “Indian Dogs go back”. The Dogs that are referred to are Kashmiri Hindus as well….

The point is, will the grievances of KP employees of Kashmir redressed. Or will they be forced to go back, where they will again hear or see a graffiti, that says:

Indian dogs go back……

Dilapidated temples of kashmir

 

 

 


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Selective targetting of KPs?

What is wrong in showing concern for our brethren in Kashmir?

Just a few days back, when Burhan wani was shot dead in an encounter with the Armed forces, whole of Kashmir valley shut down.They have right to protest but so does the KPs.

Isn’t it true that some transit camps of KPs were stoned by the angry protesters-most of whom happened to be Muslims-and it took hours before they were rescued by the Indian armed forces.May I ask , why were they stoned? May I ask why are they holed up in transit camp?

They are living in transit camps for the same reason due to which 4 lakh(approximately) KPs had to fled in the dead of the night.Should we forget that in 1989-90, KPs were killed in the most gruesome manner, for absolutely no fault of theirs except one.

We were Hindus and represented India…

The KPs in the transit camps were targeted by the so-called-miscreants for exactly the same reason.while, they were targeted by the frenzied mobsters, few KP had sent an S.O.S to their friends and relatives outside the camps.There was complete chaos all around.

The memories of 1990 haunted back to KPs once again.

Many rumours were also spread by the rumour-mongers; and it was very difficult to sieve out the truth from falsehood.Most of the KPs were concerned about the welfare of their friends and relatives back in Kashmir.Different platforms as well as social media was used to apprise the community about the latest situations in Kashmir.And many KPs were doing their bit to spread the information pertaining to KPs in Kashmir.

One such KP was SH.Ashok Koul-a journalist and a senior citizen.He was informed by one of his acquaintance in Kashmir that 2 KPs are reported to be killed.He posted the information on his FB.Later on the news proved to be false.Ashokji apologised publicly as soon as he came to know that the news was a canard.

However, as it proved to be, Ashokji was booked by the Cyber cell for creating rumours and creating ill-will between the two communities of Kashmir.

C’mon, you must be joking! A KP booked for showing concern for his Brethren ! But unfortunately yes! This is what has happened.

Is false-reporting the parameter for booking someone.If yes, why is this exercise implemented only on a KP? Isn’t it true that BJP’s unsucessful contestant from AmiraKadal constituency-Ms.Henna Bhat just a few days claimed on a National News channel that 1 lakh Kashmiri youths have lost their lives during the 27 year long insurgency.Where did she get those figures?

Officially approximately 55 thousands people have lost their lives. The figure includes all civilians, Militants, and Armed forces.Doesn’t that exaggerated figure fuel the communal tension and malign the image of India!

Hurriyat conference and its coitere puts the figure to somewhat 5 lakhs. Has the Cyber cell booked them too? If we look at the Pakistani supporters and their puppets, many of whom are very active on the social media; and the inflated figures provided by them about the so-called atrocities committed on Kashmiris; One will be bewildered. They in fact should be booked on the charges of sedition.But have they?

No.

For such elements, the govt has the policy of healing touch.

What about the wrong-reporting of the Kashmir newspaper ‘Greaterkashmir’. Isn’t it true that in 2014, they had mislead the entire valley, when they claimed 4000 KPs are undertaking the ‘Kaunsarnag-Yatra’. However the fact was that only 28 KPs were going for the Yatra.

I challenge the Cyber cell to book them first.If one goes through the content they have been publishing over the years; it might look as if ‘ISI’ is directly owing it.

If no step has been taking against all these people and organisations; then why only a KP? At least he immediately apologised when he realised the news was fake, unlike Hurriyat and its coitere.

Kashmiri Pandits demand the harassment of SH.Ashok Koul should be stopped immediately or else book all those people who are / have been indulging in the same acts.

If not, take back the case against SH.Ashokji.Concerning about the welfare of our brethren is not a crime.Don’t choke the voice of a KP.

Let there be equilaty of justice for all….

Queen Didda of Kashmir

The Kashmir of the yore ; is draped in the tales of Kings and queens. Though many rulers came , ruled over Kashmir and then were erases by the Time, yet some of these rulers had an indelible imprints on the History of Kashmir. Traditionally it has been the fiefdom of the Kings, Yet, there had been brief instances, when the Queens of Kashmir ruled over the land of Kashmir.
IT was not easy for these Queens to rule with an Iron grip; But they somehow managed and found their own place in the History of Kashmir. One Such Lady, who rose against all the odds and decimated her enemies by following the proverb, ‘everything is fair in love and war’ is Queen Didda. She is an epitome of mystery, lust and an intense desire to Rule.
And till date she retains her position of numero uno as the Queen whose rule spanned for almost half a decade.
Diddaksema( Didda and Ksemagupta)
Queen Didda was married to King Ksemagupta(950-958 A.D) of Kashmir. She was the daughter of King Simharaja-The lord of Lohara and Grand Daughter of King Bhima-Sahi of Kabul. She had transfixed the King Ksemagupta, and had wholly engrossed his mind. The King had engraved the image of Didda on the coins and was thus also known as DIDDAKSEMA.It was a derogatory appellation used for Ksemagupta. The King was also married to ‘Candralekha’-The daughter of his Minister(Dvarapati) Phalguna. Didda had developed an animosity towards the minister. Didda had a son named ‘Abhimanyu’ with Ksemagupta.
In 958 A.D, King Ksemagupta died of the disease-‘luta’, that accompanied high fever. The king was known to have lived an epicurean life and Kalhana in his epic, ‘Rajatarangani’ had deprecated his Sybarite life.
Kshemagupta’s Child Son-Abhimanyu became King under the Guardianship of Queen Didda. And thus began the love-hate relationship of the infamous Queen with anyone, who came in between her and the urge to Rule.

Kalhana has portrayed her as an merciless and suspicious character, with many paramours, incapable of making her own decisions and who used to get influenced by others, Particularly those, who would feign to be her ally or confidants, and provoke her to sideline a rising benefactor , for their own personal gains. And almost always, she fell into the trap of the conspirators and removed the persons in question.
But in spite of everything, she survived, and ruled Kashmir directly or indirectly for almost 45 long years.

Rise and Fall of Phalguna
After the Death of her Husband, Phalguna had become the Prime Minister( Sarvadhikara) and thus exerted great influence. ‘Rakka’-The commander-in-chief (Kampanesa) had become resentful of the might of Phalguna and embittered Queen Didda about the apprehensions that the Prime Minister might usurp the Kingdom.
Phalguna’s son Kardamaraja had gone to take the bones of ‘Ksemagupta’ to the Ganges, The prime minister, who distrusted the palace and apprehended (evil) from his enemies, resolved to stop at ‘Parnotsa’(poonch) until his Son’s return. He left the city followed by numerous troops, and had arrived near ‘Kasthsvata’, and then to ‘Varahakshetra’ (Varamullah/Baramullah).
Didda at the instigation of ‘Rakka’ and others, took a quick resolve, and instead of polite requests sent staff bearers after Him. Phalguna was grieved by this dishonor and turned back and marched to Baramullah, attended by a large armed force.Didda and her ministers feared that he might attack them.But instead of attacking them, Phalguna laid his sword at the feet of ‘Varaha’ (Lord Vishnu).Kalhana writes that by this act of Phalguna, The ministers rejoiced as the boys when left by their teacher.
But Didda could not rejoice for a long time as new problem had come up.

 

Mahiman, Patala and rise of Yashodhra

When Kshemgupta’s Father, Parvargupta(Father-in-law of didda) was aiming at the crown, he had married two daughters to the ministers ‘Choja’ and ‘Bhubata’, who had taken (with him) the oath of sacred Libation (Kosapitin). The two sons, who were born from these, the renowed ‘Mahiman’ and ‘Patala’, grew up in the King’s palace as if they were his own sons, and had remained there up to that time. These two eager for the throne, entered a conspiracy with Himmaka( a Turk) and others who knew no restraint.
Mahim and Patala were turned out by the Queen Didda from the Royal Palace and thus they developed hatred for her and yearned to retaliate and oust the queen. She had sent office bearers in open hostility behind Mahiman, in order to have him banished. They followed him to his Father-in-law Saktisena’s house too. In spite of Saktisena’s request, they did not leave. Hence, Saktisema gave open shelter to Mahiman. Thus having found a refugee, he was joined by Himmanka, Mukula, Eramantaka, Udayagupta and Yashodra.
They formed a confederacy, sided with Mahiman and raised a rebellion. At that time of great danger, the faithful minister ‘Naravahana’ was the only one who, together with his relatives, did not abandon the side of Didda.The battalion of enemy with glittering weapons came into the vicinity of temple of Padmasvamin(in pampore), eager for battle.

Didda sent her Son to Suramatha( in Srinagar), and in distress sought various means for averting the disaster. She gave away plenty of Gold to Brahmins of Lalityadidtapuram(litpur) , and thus broke up the league of her enemies.The Brahmins took an oath of Libation (Pitakosa), declaring that if one were attacked, they would all resent it, and then brought about a reconciliation between Mahiman and the Queen.
To further weaken the power of her Enemy camp, she bestowed upon Yashodra and the rest the command of the Army(Kampana) and other( offices).After a few days she put Mahiman, out of the way by Witchcraft, and her Rule became undisputed in the land.
Yashodra’s rebellion and the rise of Naravahana
The new commander-in-chief Yashodra, out of spite, along with his relatives undertook an expedition against the ‘Sahi’ ruler ‘Thakkana’ and humbled him.Yashodra took a tribute from the King, who did homage, and watered afresh the creeper of fame with the water(sprinkled) at the inauguration ceremony (Abhisheka).
Rakka and some others, who had become resentful of the rise of Yashodra, who had access to the Queen, stirred up enemity in her against the commander-in-chief. They incited Didda by falsely reporting her that Yashodra was betraying her, and that he had taken money for keeping ‘Thakkana’ on his throne.She took their Slander for the very truth.
Swelled with pride over his victory, when Yashodra reached back to his residence, the Queen dispatched staff-bearers with the evident intention of banishing him.When ‘Himmaka’, ‘Eramantaka’ and others heard of this insult, they remembered what they had agreed upon under their oath by the sacred libation( Kosa) and raised a rebellion as before.
Didda’s troops became disaffected, but ‘Naravahana’ and those with him did not desert her side. And when ‘Subhadara’ and other enemies of her entered the city with fury, She sent her Son away to ‘Bhattarakamatha’( Bradmaer, Srinagar).Thereupon, fighting commenced between the troops of the two hostile groups, that had held positions extending near ‘Jayabhattarika’( a possible temple in precincts of Srinagar) to the vicinity of ‘Suramatha’( a building in Srinagar).
The Royal force panicked and started fleeing. At that time the Ekangas( probably the palace guards or a marital race) displayed their array at the main gate of the palace. They rallied the routed force, attacked the enemy’s troops, and turned to flight some of their opponents. ‘Rajakulabhatta’ too joined the fight and with his valor scattered the ememy’s army and humbled Himmaka-who was slain in the fight, and the rebellious Yasodhara was captured by the soldiers. Eramantaka was caught alive and ‘Udayagupta’ escaped somewhere.
As soon as Didda secured victory, she in wrath, punished Yashodra, Subhadhara and Mukula along with their relatives. Eramantaka was thrown in the waters of ‘Vitasta’(Jhelum) , with a large stone bound to his neck.
The Queen placed ‘Rakka’, and others, once again, in charge of the chief command of the army, and of the other state offices.
Naravahana, the best and the loyal of the ministers was coroneted with the title of ‘Rajanaka’. Their mutual respect for each other grew as the days passed by, and he became the most trusted aide of the Queen. Kalhana writes about their relationship in these words , “When he kept within his house, she was not happy without inquiring about his health, without requesting his advice, and without sending him things of her own.
Suicide of Naravahana
‘Sindhu’, the son of a litter-carrier, had become a favorite of Didda’s father-in-law Parvagupta, and in due course became the treasurer. He had obtained charge of the treasury from the Queen. Kalhana has depicted him as a wicked person, who poisoned the mind of Didda against his trusted-aide Naravahana. He told her that He took from her most of her royal power. At the time, when the conversation between the Queen and Sindhu was going on, the minister, by chance, out of fond devotion, requested her to his house for a meal.

Sindhu warned Queen that if she goes to his house, he would imprison her and her attendants. The queen turned down his invitation and sent him a word that she had got her menses. The Minister too got the feelers that the Queen no longer trusts him, and thus suspicion grew between them and mutual respect ceased. She exasperated Naravahana on repeated occasions to such an extent, that tormented by his disgrace, he committed suicide.
Re-induction of Phalguna and death of Abhimanyu
After The Death of Rakka, She had apprehensions that the Sons of ‘Samgrama’-The Damara(feudal lord) might attack her . she needed a man with strong administrative capabilities and thus she recalled ‘Phalguna’ back. He had exhibited his prowess and martial capabilities in the past when he had conquered the ‘Rajapuru’(Rajauri).
Kalhana writes that her son-Abhimanyu, fell into consumption owing to the evil-deeds of Didda.He further writes that His(Abhimanyu) eyes resembled lotuses, was learned, cherished by the sons of the learned men and versed in the sastras; learning and youth rendered him brialliant.
His young son died on the third day of the bright half of karttika in the year 972. She was grieved at his Son’s untimely death. Out of contrition for her past actions and for the peace of her departed son, she constructed several religious monuments.
But, after one year, when her grief was allayed, she displayed her true character yet again.
Throning of her Grandsons Nandigupta,Tribhuvana, And Killing them by Witchcraft
When Didda’s Son Abhimanyu had died, she had installed her Grandson ‘Nandigupta’ at the throne in 972 A.D, while she retained the position of the Regent. In fact, it was she-who had the complete hold over the Kingdom. Kalhana writes that she killed him(Nandigupta) by a witchcraft in 973A.D.She then installed her other Grandson Tribhuvana at the Throne in 973AD.She killed him in the same fashion as Nandigupta in 975A.D.
Thereupon, she installed her last Grandson Bhimagupta at the throne in 975A.D.
Rise of Tunga and killing of her last Grandson Bhimagupta
‘Tunga’ was the son of ‘Bana’, whose native village was ‘Baddivasa’ in ‘Parnotsa’(Poonch). He had come as a herdsman of Buffaloes. After reaching Kashmir, together with his five brothers-‘Sungandhisiha’, ‘Prakata’, ‘Naga’, ‘Attayika’ ‘Sanmukha’, He had attained employment as a letter-carrier( Lekhaharaka).Once before the minister of foreign affairs he was seen by the Queen and won her heart.Kalhana writes that, she had the youth brought up secretly by a messenger, and took, as fate willed, an affection for him, though she had already many paramours.
Rakka’s Son-‘Devakalasa’ acted as a procurer and had access to the Queen.The other high ranking official such as ‘Kardamaraja’-Lord of the Gate and other officials too did the procuring.
The Child ‘Bhimagupta’, after living 4 or 5 years in the Palace, had become a little more developed in intellect, and recognized in his mind that the affairs of the Kingdom and his Grandmother’s ways of living were not right, and in need of reform, he became an object of suspicion to Didda.Kalhana attributes his (Bhimagupta) intellect to a noble family and further writes that ‘Abhimanyu’s’ wife had secretly substituted him as her own son.
On the advice of ‘Devakalasa’( son of Rakka), The Queen openly imprisoned him and was subjected to various tortures until he died in 980/81 AD. Thereupon , She ascended the throne and ruled Kashmir for another 23 years(980-1003).The Queen’s infatuation for ‘Tunga’ made him insolent and his impudence knew no bounds when he was appointed as the Prime Minister(Sarvadhikarin) and was raised above everybody.
Vigraharaja’s rebellion and Shieding Tunga
The former minister whom ‘Tunga’ and his brothers had ousted, were filled with dissatisfaction, and exerted themselves to raise a rebellion in the Kingdom. For this Endeavour, they approached Prince ‘Vigraharaja’-The Son of Didda’s Brother.He was strong and possessed formidable valour.He induced the Brahmans holding the chief Agraharas to enter upon a solemn fast( Prayopavesa), in order to cause disturbance in the Kingdom.
When the Brahmins had united, the whole of the people was in uproar too, and searched daily in different places for ‘Tunga’, wishing to kill him. Didda, fearing a revolt, hid Tunga for some days in an apartment with closed doors. By presents of Gold, she gained over ‘Sumanomantaka’ and other Brahmins, and then the fast ended. This weakened the grip of Vigraharaja , his power was broken and he went as he had come.
Tunga and his people having again secured the power, strengthened their position, put to death, in due course, ‘Kardamaraja’ and others who had raised the rebellion. When dissatisfied, they exiled ‘Sulakkana’-Rakka’s son, and other chief councilors, and brought them back again, when pleased. Vigraharaja, whose animosity was growing, again by secret emissaries caused the Brahmans to begin a solemn fast(Praya).
The Brahmins met again to hold a fast, but as they were willing to take bribes, ‘Tunga’, who had firmly established himself, got rid of them. ‘Sumanomantaka and the other Brahmins, who had taken the Gold of Didda, were all caught and put into prison by Tunga.
Tunga had exhibited his valour and skills, he had become the most trusted aide of the Queen.He showed his temerity and cleverness when he successfully subdued ‘Pritvipala’-The king of Rajapuri(Rajauri) and forced him to pay tributes.
Samgramaraja made the Prince
Didda without scruple raised the son of her Brother ‘Udayaraja’ called ‘Samgramaraja’ to the rank of Prince, after testing him as follows:
In order to test her Nephews, children all, who were assembled before her, she threw down before them a heap of apples (palevata). “How many of these fruits can each get hold of?” thus she spoke and caused thereby a scramble among the princess. She saw that the others had got but few fruits, but had received their knocks, while ‘Samgramaraja’ held plenty of fruits and was yet untouched.
When she asked him in surprise how he had secured that large number of fruits without getting a blow, he replied to her thus:
“I got the fruits by making those boys fight furiously with each other, while I kept apart, and thus I remained unhurt.” On hearing his reply, which showed his collected mind, she who was timid by a cautious course, and this could not be otherwise.
Queen Didda died in year 1003.The Hindu calendar of that day was Bhadrapada shukla Paksh Ashtami.Before her death, she made Samgramaraja and Tunga take an oath by sacred libation(Kosa) not to harm each other.
During the rule of Samgramaraja, Tunga was a force to reckon with and was seen as a threat by The king .He got him murdered by his own brother Naga.
Was Didda Lame?
There are three verses where Didda has been termed as lame.In Book 6 of Rajatarangini, she has been labeled as lame in the verses 226,276 and 308. Some scholars opine that the word ‘Lame’ here refers to her ‘ incapability’ and ‘lack of morality’.Some opine that may be the word ‘lame’ in reference to Didda is actually , ‘ physical’.

226. The lame (queen) whom no one had thought capable of stepping over a cow’s footprint got over the ocean-like host of ( her enemies), Just as Hanumat( got over ocean).
276.That foolish( queen) who was unable (to use) her feet (caranahina) became, through her want of moral principles ( srutibahyata), an object of reproach, being in character just like a stupid Brahmin {( Who, Being foolish and ignorant of the ritual (carana), becomes an object of reproach through his want of vedic knowledge(sruti)}
308.’Valja’, a porter women, who used to carry about on her back the lame queen at games which required running, caused the ‘Valgamatha’ to be erected.
Physical or allegorical aside, She was an intriguing forceful figure- who inspite of all ups and downs, praises and condemnations, overcame all and ruled Kashmir directly or indirectly for almost half an century.
And her indelible imprints on History of Kashmir shall remain forever..

REFERENCE:Kalhana’s Rajatarangini(A.stein)

some photos of Rainawari, Srinagar, Kashmir

IMG_5248 IMG_5252 IMG_5226 IMG_5227 IMG_5229 IMG_5230 IMG_5231 IMG_5232 IMG_5233 IMG_5234 IMG_5244 IMG_5239 IMG_5237 IMG_5247 IMG_5253 IMG_5254

Lord Spontaneous (Shivratri-Herath)

The esoteric form of Shiva as Swacchand Bhairava with his consort Agoreshwari is central to Kashmir Shaivism, writes Sunil Raina

Shivaratri, celebrated on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Phalgun, is also called Har-ratri or Herath in Kashmiri. The festival has great religious and spiritual significance as it coincides with the emergence of Shiva tattvas on the physical plane. Shiva, at the early dawn of human creation, thought of Shakti, and in her search, donned the form of 18-armed Swacchandnath Bhairava.

Shakti, frightened by this form of Shiva, cast a glance on a pitcher full of water, wherefrom emerged Vatuk Bhairava and Rama Bhairava to defend her. Shiva at that time changed his form to Jawalalinga. Amazed by Shiva’s new form, Shakti along with her defending bhairavas merged with the Jawalalinga. Since this event is believed to have taken place on triyodashi, Kashmiris celebrate Shivaratri on this day, whereas the rest of the country, celebrated the festival on chaturdashi when the linga was pacified.

The esoteric form of Shiva as Swacchand Bhairava with his consort Agoreshwari is central to Kashmir Shaivism, and has been in existence since medieval times. Swacchand Bhairava signifies the prakasha, or the light consciousness, and Agoreshwari signifies vimarsha or Self-awareness. Swacchanda — as the term is understood — means free, independent and spontaneous and is synonymous with Swatantra. Kashmir Shaivism says that nondual conscious freedom is the only freedom that exists where the union with the Absolute is singular, amounting to you being Shiva, and is not dual.

This esoteric form of Shiva is imagined and deified as:

lWhite, five-faced and wide-eyed lord.

lHe is adorned with serpents and wears a necklace of scorpions which is called gunas. The word gunas in Kashmiri means serpent; Kashmiri women wear gunas bracelets that have at their ends, two serpents or red scorpions gazing at each other. This is symbolic of his instantaneous play with the bonds of soul.

lHe wraps a lion skin around his hip and an elephant hide over his shoulders.

lHe wears a garland of skulls, has a black throat and 18 arms.

His consort, who sits on his right thigh, has the same characteristics. By the power of his autonomy, the lord manifests this form with the highest level of Shakti. The lord has done so to facilitate and allow aspirants to enter the light of impartible that is indivisible or nondual as there is nothing like this in appearance anywhere else.

He is wide-eyed. He is in Bhairava Mudra intent on liberation of souls. He is focused within. He neither opens nor closes his eyes. He is overflowing with consciousness and bliss and has three power tools: icchha or will; jnana or knowledge and kriya or action. It is with these tools that Swacchandnath Bhairava manifests this universe with his fivefold acts of shristi or creation, stithi or sustenance, samhara or dissolution, triodanha or concealing and anugraha or revealing.

lBy his act of shristi, he holds and nourishes the universe in a way that he manifests the universe on the panoramic canvas of his identity.

lStithi is the persistence, the moment in which the consciousness is immersed in its projected content.

lSamhara is retraction; consciousness reabsorbs the content it has projected, essentially turning it towards nondual essence.

lTriodanha is enfolding or concealing of creation with respect to time and space.

l Anugraha is unfolding or revealing projections in the manifest world.

With these fivefold acts, Swacchandnath Bhairava, along with Agoreshwari, create an animate and inanimate world, thus unleashing the divine play of reality. The world is nothing but the mirror image of Swacchandnath Bhairava, and to recognise this unity between the individual soul, is the purpose of a well-meaning life. Shiva spreads the nectar of creativeness; shields the jivatman from torturous transmigration; brings forth the inner consciousness by tearing apart the individual ego, which essentially is ignorance; terminates maya; binds the universe and brings forth bliss, which is unlimited.

The night of Shivaratri is essentially considered to bring supreme awareness of Shivahood on the physical plane among aspirants. It removes nonduality among the souls and pushes the seeker to the higher orbit of Self-realisation. The festival of Shivaratri is celebrated with grandeur and reverence in every Kashmiri Hindu household, where each family member observes a fast and contributes towards making this festival a great success.

 

Written by:-Sunil Raina

Leftist-Jihadis; where is my free speech?

 

On the name of ‘Free Speech’-The sloganeering at the JNU in early Feb, in Support of the Terrorist Afzal Guru was meticulously planned by the Jihadists and supported by the leftists. This combination of leftist-jihadi in India is very peculiar and rather Unusual. The Islamist are the religious zealots, and they propagate Islam and its ideology. The communists on the other hand are known to be Atheist. So, how come they have become the Blood-Brothers!

The slogan, “Bharat tere tookde Hoonge, InshaAllah InshaAllah” is no way an expression of Free speech, Rather it shows, how much tolerant Hindu-India is. Had the slogan, “Pakistan/China tere tookde ho” been raised in Pakistan/China by any minority, He would have been hanged to Death by now.

I wonder, “What is a free speech”?

“Free-Speech”-reminds me instantly of the sloganeering that was witnessed by me in Kashmir, when every Mosque in my vicinity gag-ordered my community to either mingle with them( and become a Muslim) or else be ready to die. I was a victim. I was the oppressed. But, I didn’t had the freedom of ‘free speech’. There is no way, any minority group in a Muslim Majority area can have the privilege of a ‘Free Speech’.

For Leftists, all the problems existing in India is merely because of the Brahmins. Being a Kashmiri Hindu, that too a Brahmin, I am by-default deemed to be fit to be called a Fascist, communal and any attempt to raise my voice against the atrocities meted out to me in a Muslim Majority state will be turned down by the leftists and term it as a Threat to Indian Muslims and the secular fabric of India. The terminology of the “Victim” changes when it comes to the Kashmiri Hindus.

My lands have been encroached illegally by the Muslim Majority, My temples desecrated or burnt Down by the Jihadis, My Brethren murdered in the most inhuman way. But for the people of Leftist-Jihadi mindset, I remain as an oppressor.

The leftists claim to be the messiahs of the oppressed; and they often term their opponents as fascists. USA is a Fascist. Japan is a fascist, so are all the powerful nations where communism failed miserably. They often quote, “The violence of the oppressor is unjustified, but the violence of the oppressed is Justified.”

The oppressed is always who adheres to their ideology. Otherwise how can we justify the stoic silence of the leftists on some of the issues where the Oppressor was a Communist Country and the Oppressed was someone, who did not adhere to their ideology. They condone the atrocities by any communist Nation or Group.

It will be foolish of me to expect that the so-called-liberal-leftist can ever propagate and live in any Muslim Nation; That is why the ideology of communism could not make any inroads in these nations; except for Turkey, where it showed some strength, some resistance, before it got swallowed by the totalitarian-religious-ideology.

In fact both the ideologies are expansionist, totalitarian and there is no room for the dissent.

Tibetans are still languishing in India. They like the Kashmiri Pandits were forced into the Exile by their oppressors. But for the leftists, Tibetan Buddhists and their supreme leader, Nobel prize for peace winner-Dalai Lama is a Fascist.

Kashmiri Pandits, who were ousted by their leftist cohorts-the jihadis, are not allowed to return to their Homes. In fact there are no Homes left now as 50% of the properties were sold in Duress and the other 50% are illegally occupied by those people whom the leftists term as the “Oppressors”. The reason for being them as Oppressor is merely because of the Prefix ‘Pandits’ to Kashmiri Hindus.

The leftist and the Jihadis dream of balkanization of India. They do not recognize India as a Nation and are often heard opining that with so many linguistic differences between so many ethnic and regional groups, The Title or the Nation, ‘India’ is a misnomer; citing examples from the past when there were more than 600 small Princely states under the Britsh.

The Leftist-Jihadi combination are also supporters of all those groups who are advocating for separate Nations to be carved out from India. In short, they are the enemies of the Nation, who are merely propagating the Chinese and the Islamist Propaganda. And get paid for their Endeavour by their masters.

It is a war waged by the Islamists and the Chinese, through their surrogates, Otherwise, how can the incidents of Muslim-Suppression in China be explained. Islamist are under attack in the province of Xinjiang. Imams from its eastern Muslim majority Xinjiang region were forced to dance in the street and swear to an oath that they would not teach religion to children. The imams were also forced to tell children that prayer was harmful for the soul.The Muslim imams were further forced to brandish the slogan that “our income comes from the CKP [Chinese Communist Party] not from Allah”.

Similarly the Communists were slaughtered by the Islamist forces in Indonesia in 1965-66.It is estimated that in that slaughter nearly 1 million people were murdered. The majority of the people were those, who were active communists or their supporters.

The Jihadis ideology and the leftist ideology though totalitarian and Expansionist, are totally opposite to each other. The leftists who are showing their dissent against India are the puppets of China, and the Islamists represent an ideology, where the world population recognizes Islam as their religion. It is just because India happens to be their common enemy, they have embraced each other. This combination will remain till the Time India remains as a Nation. Otherwise there are ample examples, some of them cited above, that indicate that are these two ideologies can not stand each other.

And for the ‘Free Speech’-As long as it is termed as an expression against Hindus and against the Nation of India ; and as long as India remains a Hindus majority state, they will be tolerated.

Unfortunately…..

 

By-Manish Zijoo

 

The Night-A story of a Kashmiri Hindu.

It was jan 1998. Veenaji was in the Kitchen. Her Husband Roshanlal was reading the newspaper in the living/Drawing room of their cramped two-room Govt. Quarters at Tope Sherkhanian. She could hear the flipping  sound, when her Husband turned the leaf of the Newspaper. She was thinking about her children, who were perusing   ‘B.E’ in Pune. A knock at the Door was heard clearly in the backdrop of the silence of the Quarter. Roshanlal stood up and opened the Door. A man was standing outside.

“Namaskar Roshanlalji. I am Irfaan. Your neighbor from Banamohallah”. Veenaji too had heard the’ knock’, she came out from the Kitchen out of curiosity. Her Husband, greeted Irfaan. “Come inside. Why are you standing there!  “. Pointing towards Veenaji, Roshanlal asked Veenaji, “Did you recognize him?” The face looked familiar, But She could not recognize him. Irfaan, it seemed understood the confusion of Veenaji. “I am the Son of Khatijah. Remember my Mother! “.  Veenaji’s face lit with happiness.“Yes. I remember her. How is she?” asked Veenaji. “ She died last year because of Heart Failure.” Said Irfaan with regret. She was saddened to hear what he said. “I am so sorry. Please have a seat. I will make tea for both of you.” She went back to the Kitchen.

Irfaan had come to Roshanlal to persuade him to sell his share of  ancestral house. Veenaji was listening to them, while she started making  tea . The memories of her last visit to Kashmir were still vivid. She recalled how she along with her Husband Roshan Lal and their two  Children , a Son-Sachin and Daughter- Meenakshi had moved to Jammu .Her Husband was working in the Govt.Secretariat. They used to live in the Govt. Quarters Tope Sherkhanian. They had moved to jammu in Dec-1989.

J&K has two capitals, i.e, summer capital-Srinagar and winter capital-Jammu. Every year,In winters, the employees of the Govt. Secretariat would move to Jammu for 6 months ; and move back to Srinagar in summers for rest of the 6 months. This custom was/is in vogue since the times of Dogra Rulers . This was/is termed as “Durbaar Move”.

veenaji lit the Gas Stove. She put some milk, sugar and water in an utensil and placed it on the stove.  She looked through the Kitchen Window, although she was not looking at anything, But her past.

The memories of the past started flashing in front of her eyes.

Veenaji and her family loved the winters of Jammu. It would be sunny and warm in Jammu, compared to the cold and gloomy weather of the Srinagar winters. But that year,in 1989-90, It was different. In spite of the warm and sunny weather, she would occasionally feel the shivers. Not because of the weather, but because , on T.V and Radio, she would listen to the news . The merciless killing of the Kashmiri Pandits had started.

And then came the horrendous macabre night of 19 jan 1990.And everything changed after that.

In the last week of Jan 1990, that late night, Her elder Brother Makhan lal along with his family landed at their residence in Jammu. He had come by a taxi. His old mother –Amaji, wife-Lalitaji and two sons Rakesh and Sunil too had come.

As soon as they arrived at their residence, Lalitaji hugged tightly Veenaji and started crying. “it is only by God’s grace that we have reached here safely.” She complained amidst sobs . Amaji tried to console her as she said, “Lalitaji, don’t be a weakling. Be bold. You have yet to face the hardships of life. Be always grateful to God.”

They stayed with Veenaji for some days with this hope that the violence unleashed by the terrorists will be abated soon. But  the destiny of Kashmir had its own plans. After a month, They realized that it might take a long time before they would return back to Kashmir. It was decided by the two families that, they would enroll their children in Jammu for studies , as it was safe.

Since Veenaji and her Family didn’t knew that the situation would deteriorate so much in Kashmir; hence when they had moved to Jammu on the eve of annual “Darbaar move”, they had not taken any documents such as the Mark sheets and other educational documents related to the education of their children. Without these papers, it would be very difficult to get the admissions in the Schools and Colleges. Also, She wanted to get  the documents related to banks such as FD, Saving a/c etc.

Somewhere in  March 1990, She decided to go back to her residence at “Bana Mohallah” , Habbakadal, Kashmir.It was decided that Her sister-in-law lalitaji too would accompany her. In fact Lalitaji had volunteered herself to accompany her. The Males of the House were barred to go to Kashmir as they were more prone to be Shot by the Militants.

They flew to Srinagar and  landed at the Airport by 3-4 P.m. It took them almost 4 hrs. to reach their house at Bana Mohallah. The lanes and by-lanes were muddy as it had rained the previous night. Some Muslim neighbors , who saw them entering their Mohallah, murmured something. By their Gaze , it looked  as if they didn’t wanted them to be there. As they were about to enter their House, Khatijah-the neighbor and friend of Veenaji , came from nowhere and greeted her with a Broad smile. “How are you veenaji. I missed you. Now since Durbaar move will be over shortly,   you be staying  in Kashmir till November!” she exclaimed.  Veenaji  warmly asserted “No, I will stay here for a few days and rejoin my family. We will come back in Mid-April.” She half-lied.  Veenaji knew that she will leave Kashmir tomorrow for Jammu and may not come back next month.

“Then stay put for the night at my house. The curfew will be imposed very soon and you will not get Rice and any other food-item after 15 mintes ”  Pleaded Khatijah.  “ I have brought some rice and Dried-vegetables with me. Thanks .” Veenaji  kindly declined. But Khatijah kept her conversation going and it took another 20-25 minutes before Veenaji and her Sister-in-law entered their house.

Veenaji’s Husband  Roshanlal lived in their ancestral house along with his three Brothers and 3 cousins. Their house was Big and hoary with a courtyard. Though, the house had 25 rooms, But it housed 7 nuclear families. Roshanlal, his 3 Brothers and 3 Cousins(Brothers) though were living in one house, But the wives of all the 7 brothers had decided to cook separately , in separate Kitchens, for their Families(consisting of Husband and Children).All the 7 Brothers had partitioned the 25 rooms in almost equal proportion. Apart from a Kitchen, Veenaji and her Husband had inherited 2 big rooms.

On a normal day, prior to 1990, their house was abuzz with activity. In the morning and in the evenings, many a times, one would hear the synchronous hissing sound from the steaming pressure-cooker, coming from 2 or more Kitchens of the House at the same time. The floating aroma of Knol Khol(Hak) or lamb-meat would titillate the Olfactory of the whole neighborhood. In the afternoon, the shrilled voices of the Children playing in the courtyard was common .In spite of 7 separate kitchens, Veenaji and her 6 co- sister-in-law would often share their delicacies with each other.

But the House was different this time.

As soon as Veenaji entered her House, she was welcomed by the eerie silence. It was frightening. All her 6 co-sister-in-law and their families too had moved to Jammu. The last family that had moved from this house to jammu was almost 15 days back.As she climbed-up the stairs of her house, a strange fear crept  into her heart. It was almost 8.00 P.M by now and the darkness had covered almost everything.

She and Lalitajee were feeling the Hunger pangs. Into the utensil, Veenaji took a handful of rice from the polythene  bag , she had brought with her from jammu. Soon, she realized that she has forgotten to get a matchbox or lighter to light up the cooking gas stove. “I will go downstairs to Ashaji’s kitchen and get the lighter .” she informed Lalitaji. “Do you have the keys of that Kitchen?” asked Lalitaji. “No, she never locks her Kitchen.” Replied Veenaji. “It is so scary here, I too will accompany you.” Said Lalitajee.

The Kitchen-door was indeed unlocked. As soon as Veenajee, switched-on the light, her face became pale out of fear. Shockingly, she exclaimed “Oh! My God. Someone is cooking here!”  . “Hey Bhagwan ! what will we do now?” asked Lalitajee nervously. She was Gaping and beating her chest. Veenaji  knew that her sister-in-law is weak-hearted and might behave strangely or may even faint.

She assessed the situation quickly. There was a matchbox lying on the ground. Many burnt match sticks were scattered over the floor of the Kitchen. From The cooked rice in the utensils, it looked as if ,just a few hours back, someone had cooked it. She did not waste much time in investigating. She opened the cupboard that was at the right corner of the Kitchen. She swept her fingers over the things in the cupboard and soon took a lighter , a torch and a candle from the cupboard. And switched off the main light of the Kitchen and closed the door.

“Follow me quickly”, she whispered . Lalitajee did not protest and followed the instructions. “As we know, someone is using the Kitchen of Ashajee, It might be a militant or a group of Militants. We cannot afford to switch-on the lights and invite any unwanted trouble. Understand Lalitaji?” she looked at her sister-in-law. Lalitaji was very scared, but she acted Bravado and said , “Yes, I do. You are right. But can we make the dinner for us?” she asked. “No. We cannot, since, the aroma of the Rice might give them a clue, that someone is inside the house.” she explained to Lalitaji. “Anyways, I don’t feel hungry now”, lied Lalitaji.They ran up towards the room.

Veenaji  pulled an iron-Chest, that was placed at the corner of the room . She opened the lid and switched-on the Torch. suddenly, Lalitaji could see A bundle of papers, some folders containing some documents, a photo album, and some books. Veenaji took only a couple of  Folders from the Box, closed the lid and placed it to the original position. Lifting the two folders in her hands, she said to Lalitaji, “This is for what we came here and took all the trouble”. She kept the two folders in the bag, that she had brought with her from Jammu.

They were sitting besides a window, so that they could have a direct and unobstructed view of the main Door, leading towards the courtyard. As it was still quite cold, they had draped themselves in the blankets. The main wooden Door of their House was Huge. A big rectangular latch, may be one feet long and 5 inches wide was connected to a wooden Knob  .The latch moved up or down angularly, if the Knob was rotated. The latch faced towards the courtyard and the Knob towards the by-lane. It would make a lot of noise, if someone would open or close the Latch of the Door. Lalitaji was constantly praying to Mother Goddess for their protection. They had even made a plan, in case a militant or a group of Militants enter their house.” In case any intruder comes here, we will slip beneath the Bed. Understand!” explained Veenaji to her Sister-In-Law. Lalitaji had nodded her head in approval.

Just past the midnight, It began to pour heavily. The staccato of the rain hitting the tin-roofs of the Houses was rather unwanted and irritatingly. The odd street lamp positioned on the pole went off too.  It was pitch dark outside. Because of the pitch darkness and noise, they thought, they have lost the chance of detecting  any intruder. Lalitaji was chanting the Hymns of Goddess Indrakshi rather loudly to invoke the blessings. But the sound  of heavy rains superseded her frequency of voice modulation .It stopped raining after a couple of Hours.

Both of them were feeling very sleepy. Pretending to be vigilant at this odd hour of the night, they were looking at  the main Wooden Door. They were drowsing. Their heads would inadvertently hit the wooden window pane and they would concentrate briefly their attention on the wooden door again. Then, they would drowse yet again. They did not talk to each other for couple of Hours.

And then Dogs began to Bark. They woke up.

 

A pack of Dogs were barking on a Shadowy figure. The figure, it seemed was waving something to keep away the Dogs. Soon, another figure appeared, it was smaller in the size than the one who was waving something. The smaller figure grabbed the Loose clothing, most probably the ’ pheran’ of the larger figure . It looked as if, the smaller figure was trying to stop the larger figure. And then, their conversation became louder.

“Leave me Aapa, I have to follow the orders”, fulminated the  belligerent larger figure . The other voice, that of a female in a protesting tone said, “No. I will not let you do it. I will talk to them tomorrow. I will tell them to leave”.

Veenaji’s heart sank. She recognized the voice of the female. It was unmistakably that of Khatijah. Her neighbor. Many thoughts crossed her mind. “Is somebody coming here to kill me. Am I going to live for another day or not! Will I be able to see my Children and Husband again.” She was weighed down by the weltschmerz. Tears began to roll down from the corner of her eyes .Fortunately for her, Lalitaji’s attention was focused towards the two shadowy figures and was unaware of the upheaval of emotions going on in her sister-in-laws’s mind.

The lone street light began to glow suddenly. They could clearly see the two figures. It was indeed Khatijah. Veenaji recognized the other figure too. It was Ajaz-The youngest Son of Khatijah. And, he was carrying a Gun. Khatijah had held the collar of her Son’s Pheran. Ajaz was approaching towards the main wooden door of Veenaji’s House. Khatijah was getting literally dragged, but she didn’t let loose her Grip on the collar.

Khatijah’s tone was changing constantly. From dominant to Pleading, she was trying her best to stop her son from opening the Door. But Ajaz was equally adamant. He dragged her to the Gate and rotated the Knob of the wooden Door. There was a creepy , unpleasant loud sound of opening of the wooden latch. Ajaz Kicked the door open.

“Oh my God! He is coming to Kill us.” Screamed lalitaji. She threw the Blanket and ran Hysterically from one end of the room to other end. “ Control yourself  lalitaji. Instead of getting nervous, think of a plan.”, she comforted lalitaji . She too came out from the warmth of Blanket and held lalitaji’s Shoulders with both of her Hands. “ Let us see and listen to what they are arguing about”. Lalitaji followed her without protest.

Ajaz opened the wooden door. Khatijah’s Grip loosened from the collar. But she grabbed the left leg of her Son. Ajaz kept her dragging. Her pheran was smeared in Mud. “ I will kill myself, if you do not listen to me”. She was crying. Ajaz stopped. He lifted up his Mother and began to clean the dirt from the pheran of his mother. She was still crying Helplessly. Something happened. Ajaz hugged her mother and said, “OK, As you wish. Let us go back”, in a comforting tone. Khatijah kissed the forehead of his Son. They both went back and closed the big wooden door. The dogs started barking again.

Veenaji and Lalitaji had a sigh of relief. They kept on looking at the wooden door until the Dawn. With the first azaan of the mosque, they left the house. Veenaji opened the wooden latch of the Door. She looked back at her House. Little did she realized that she was looking at her hose for the last time.

Within no time, they were at Habba Kadal. The security guards stopped them and asked, “Where are you going?”. Lalitaji’s face lit up. “We are Kashmiri Pandits. We are going to RTC. From there, we will board a Bus for Jammu”. The security Guards let them go. They were intersected and stopped by the Security guards at many places. Upon hearing that they are KP’s, they were let off immediately. It took them more than an Hour and a half to reach RTC by foot.

There were Buses and Taxis waiting for the passengers to take them to Jammu. A sardarji approached them. “Where will you go sister? Jammu! Come sister, in my taxi. Let me take you”. Both Veenaji and Lalitaji were exhausted both physically and mentally. They decided to go by Sardarji’s taxi.

They reached Tope Sherkhanian, Jammu by 4.00 p.m. Lalitaji  narrated the whole incident to everyone present there melodramatically. Veenaji had not interfered lalitaji. She wanted her to vent off her feelings.

Veenaji’s Brother’s family had stayed with them for more than four months, before they moved to a rented accommodation at Subash Nagar.

The tea was boiling in the utensil. Some portion of the boiling tea fell on  the Flame of the cooking gas stove. The burning smell of the tea, drew back Veenaji from her Past. She closed the knob of the gas and  cleaned the Stove with a cloth and washed her hands with a soap. After pouring the tea in the cups, she put the cups in the tray and came out of the small kitchen to the living room.She placed the Tray on the top of the Central table.Irfaan and  Roshanlal  took one cup each from the tray.

Irfaan and Roshanlal were engrossed in a conversation and were oblivious to veenaji’s presence. She was wringing her hands impatiently. “How is your Brother Ajaz?”, She interrupted Irfaan, with a tone of anger. Irfaan looked at her, Put the cup down,  and with a deep sigh, he  said with regret, “He died in an encounter with the security Guards 4 years back .He had become a militant. My mother pleaded with him to give up arms .But he did not listen”. And then he looked the other side. “I am so sorry.” Said Roshanlal apologetically. Veenaji did not tried to comfort him. “You carry on. I have some work in the Kitchen. Excuse me.”She said casually as she did not wanted to be a part of the conversation. She stood up and went again to the Kitchen.

She pretended to dish-wash. But for some reasons, once again, the Flashes of the Horrendous night kept coming to her mind…

 

 

 

 

 

36 elements and the Basics of Kashmir Shaivism….

 

 Chaitanya (shiv ) (supreme consciousness )is the first element (of 36) according to Kashmir Shaivism(KS). Everything (whole universe) is held in Chaitanya and is non-different from it in reality. the next 35 elements of KS comes out of this first element. Just like the fire has no effect on space that holds it; or water can not wash away the space; earth can not weigh down space or air can not blow space…….similarly the gross world (universe) or subtle world though owe  their existence to Chaitanya, yet it is unaffected by it.
Chaitanya has also be referred as ‘Hridyam'(Heart) in the lingo of Ks and Advaith vedant.
The word “Hridyam” comes twice in ‘Shiv sutras’, and means ‘consciousness ‘ at both places.
The first slok of Shiv-sutras is ‘chaitanyam Atma’ meaning supreme consciousness is the reality of everything. chaitanyam is a synonym of ‘Atma'(that which holds everything ).
Chaitanyam due to its own will, when reflects in the mirror of Maya, diversifies, because of the self- imposed limitations namely anavamala(contraction of real nature), mayayimala (contracted knowledge) and karmmala(contraction of action ) and five kanchukas of maya(kala, kala, raga.niyati and vidya ).
Owing to this  contraction , the unlimited supreme consciousness becomes chit(mind).
This whole world has been termed as the solidification of the limited mind…this mind though owes its existence to Chaitanya, yet because of the forgetfulness of its real nature(that is supreme consciousness), it keeps on taking births after births..
It is the subtle body(Manas, buddhi, Ahamkar and 5 tanmatras), also known as ‘Puryashtak’, that sheds the old body and takes the new as an expression to fulfill a desire(that is endless).

Brahman and Atman has been too often used in the philosophy of Advaith Vedanta . Whereas in KS the emphasis is on Chaitanya.
Chaitanya  has been referred as an Ocean, and the waves as the different worlds/ jivas.
Because of the desire in Shiva(consciousness); time and space comes into effect. A wave (limited being) exists in time as well as space. It rises up(due to spanda in consciousness) in space and lives in a time frame(rising and falling of wave).Though it looks as if a wave is an independent entity ; but in reality waves are but Ocean. So in reality, nothing is happening.
This concept has been used by Advaith Vedanta as well as KS.
Another example to illustrate consciousness is Space and jar. Space is inside the jar. When the jar is broken ; nothing happen to the space inside it(as it is inside as well as outside).
Another example is of a newspaper, we read all the words ; while as we ignore the paper on which all the words and pictures are printed.
In Yoga Vashista, It has been said that ,From the supreme Brahman(consciousness), the mind first arose with its faculty of thinking and imagination. And this mind remains as such in that Brahman(consciousness), even as fragrance in a flower, as waves in Ocean and rays of light in the Sun. Brahman(supreme consciousness) which is extremely subtle and invisible, was forgotten, as it were, and thus arose the wrong notion of the real existence of the world appearance.
If one thinks that the light rays are different and distinct from the Sun, to him the light rays have a distinct reality. If one thinks that the bracelet made of Gold is a Bracelet, to him it is indeed a bracelet and not Gold.
But if one realizes that light rays are non different from the Sun, his understanding is said to be unmodified(nirvikalpa). If one realizes that the waves are non different from the ocean, his understanding is said to be unmodified(nirvikalpa). If one realizes that the bracelet is non-different from Gold, his understanding is said to be unmodified(nirvikalpa).

‘O’ Rama, whatever you do that is nothing but pure consciousness. Brahman(consciousness ) alone is manifest here as all this, for nothing else exists. there is no scope for ‘this’ an the ‘other’. Therefore , abound on even the concepts of liberation and bondage. Remain in the pure, egoless state, engaging yourself in natural activity.’
Said Sage Vasishta to Rama( from the book yog vashishta)

The 2nd element according to KS is the Shakti-tattva. She is also referred as Anand(bliss). Shiv and Shakti are intertwined and inseparable. Without Shakti,  Shiv become lifeless corpse(shav).. It is because of Shakti , Shiv has been been referred as Shaktiman.
The nature of consciousness (shiv) is Bliss (Shakti). Shiva is the light and Shakti  is the luminosity .Shiva is Prakash and Shakti is the Vimarsha. though for Many, they may sound two; but actually they are one .
Shiv and Shakti together are also referred as Aham. A ‘-represents Shiva and Ma’ represents Shakt. the letter ‘m’ indicates the whole ”pratyahara’, which are contained  in the letters from ‘a’ to ‘h’ and which has created according to KS one hundred and eighteen worlds, the thirty six elements, and five circles(kalas), has in reality created nothing. It is just one point.
All the vowels represent Shiv and all the consonants represent Shakti. When they meet together, a word is formed and then sentences are formed. It is by these words and sentences an impression is formed on the mind and one gets entangled in samsara; and when due to the Anugraha (Shakti) of Shiva, all the words and sentences unfold themselves as nothing but Shiva.
‘Aham’ in this stage is the ‘I’ of the universal ‘I'(Parmshiv). It also means as ‘I am’. this stage has been referred as Shiv pramtri(experiencer), as it is none but Shiva who is the real experiencer of everything through our senses.
All the actions (verbs) are but Shakti. All the actions carried out by mind and the sense organs are but Shakti. whatever one can think of, or whatever one sees or feels is but Shakti. She is the Maya Shakti , she is Maya, she is khechri, Buchari. She is ‘AMA’, ‘Kama’, ‘Parvati’. She is Sharika. She is Tripura, who dwells in the three stages of Waking state, Dreams and Deep sleep. She is also the Turiya.

The third element according to KS is Sadasiva tattva. This is also known as iecha(desire/will).Here Shiv-Shakti(Aham)(I am) expresses itself as ‘Aham-idam’ (I -ness or I am in this ness).I am this whole universe .This is a subjective   Tattva as is Shiv-Shakti, Iswara and Shuddh Vidya.

The pramatri (experiencer) of this stage is also termed as ‘Mantra-Mantreshwar’. this tattva further expresses itself as the five vital breaths, namely Pran(centered at Heart and moves upward. This is also known as Sun as the outgoing breath is hot/warm.  It’s movement is from Heart to Throat.) Apana(centered near the organs of sex and Excretion. and it’s movement is always downward ), samana( centered near naabi. aids in digestion), Udan vayu( moves from neck to the crown ) and Vyan( holds all the breaths in itself like the Akash.)
‘SadaSiva’ tattva is denoted by the letter ‘gha’ of Sanskrit.
The fourth element is ‘Ishwara tattva’. This is also known as Gyan(knowledge ). Here ‘Aham’ expresses itself as ‘Idam Aham'( this ness in I-ness).From Sadasiva tattva where the expression was ‘I am this whole universe ‘, it becomes ‘This universe is my own expression ‘.It further expresses itself in the five ‘Gyanindreyas'(organs of knowledge ). Here the Pramatri( experiencer) is known as ‘Mantreshwar’.
It is represented by the letter ‘na’ of Sanskrit.
The fifth element is ‘suddha vidya tattva’. This is also known as ‘Kriya'(action ). Here ‘Aham’ expresses itself as ‘Aham Idam-Idam Aham'( I-ness in thisness ; thisness in I-ness).The experiencer experiences at this level that this universe is not an illusion and this universe is my own expansion.The pramatri(experiencer) at this level is known as ‘mantra-Pramatri’. It expresses further as the five organs of action(Karmindreyas).
The letter ‘I’ of Sanskrit represents this tattva.
These first five elements come under the category of ‘Shuddh tattvas'(pure elements). Here there is no duality as yet.
After the first five tattvas(pure elements), the subjective non dual aspect of Shiva descends in Maya(6th element ).the subjective experiencer after entering / reflecting in Maya  becomes the Knowlege(pramana) and objects(prameya). Subjectivity ends and the world of Objectivity begins .One becomes many. The supreme consciousness tends to forget its own nature(in the mirror of Maya) yet it is aware of its own nature( because the Maya itself gets it’s power from it and that it is always aware of itself in the subjective plane of Sudda tattva). The diversified tri-Guni Maya is represented by the alphabet ‘ca’ of Sanskrit.The five unlimited powers of Parmshiv ( Chaitanya, Anand, Iecha, Gyan and Kriya) gets contracted after entering in the field of Maya and become the five coverings/sheaths namely Kala, Vidya,raga, Kala and Niyati owing to the triple ignorance namely Anavamala(contraction of Iecha),Mayaimala(contraction of knowledge ) and Karmmala(contraction of Kriya).
The first kanchukas namely ‘Kala'(7th element) creates an impression that it has limited creativity and  not unlimited .It is denoted by the letter ‘cha’ of Sanskrit.The second kanchukas namely ‘vidya'(8th element) creates an impression of limited knowledge .It is denoted by the letter ‘ja’ of Sanskrit.The third kanchukas is ‘Raga’ (9th element) meaning ‘attachment’. This is that attachment which results from not being full and that he must have this or that to make him full. It is denoted by the letter ‘jha’ of Sanskrit.The fourth kanchukas I.e the 10 th element is the ‘kala’. Here it means ‘Time’.The action of this tattva is to keep ‘purusa’ in a particular time or make him believe that he is 30 years old or 40 years old and and that he is not timeless or eternal. This tattva is represented by the alphabet, ‘Dha’ of Sanskrit .The fifth kanchukas ie the 11th element is ‘niyati tattva’. this element makes an impression in the experiencer in the Purush that he is residing in such and such place and not at all places.this is represented by the letter ‘ va’ of Sanskrit .
The next element(12) is the ‘purusa’ and 13 the is ‘prakriti’. these two tattvas are interdependent .
Prakriti is the element which is referred to as nature(three gunas, namely Sattvic, Rajsic and Tamsic ). ‘Purush’ is that which reacts to ‘Prakriti’ .purush is represented by the letter ‘ na’ and Prakriti as ‘ta’ of Sanskrit.
The experiencer(pramatri) form ‘Purush’ to ‘Maya’ tattva is known as Vijnankala pramatri’. This is Akin to the stage of ‘Deep sleep’.The ‘pralayakala pramatri stage’ lacks the mala(ignorance) of ‘Mayayimala’ and ‘karmmala. It has only one mala I.e ‘Anavamala’. This is our stage when we are in deep sleep.

The 14th element is ‘Ahamkar’(ego connected with Objectivity ).The 15th element is ‘Buddhi'(intellect ).The 16th element is ‘Manas’. Together these three elements is typically , what is termed as ‘Mind’. This is also referred as ‘Chitta’. The contraction of Chit-Anand shakti(Shiv-Shakti) due to ignorance(duality) is the ‘Chitta’.
At this level, the limitation of Knowledge has set in. Before this level, the knowledge is in a dormant stage.
The expression of Chaitanya is the Manas; the expression of Anand Shakti is Buddhi and Ahankar.
The Prakriti tattva(13 the element) has three attributes ie Sattvic, Rajsic and Tamsic. As already discussed , the further expression of Ishwar tattva(knowledge) and Shuddh vidya(Kriya ) is the Gyanindreyas (organs of Knowledge) and Karmindreyas (organs of action).
The three gunas of Prakriti makes the Gyanindreyas , Karmindreyas and Panch Mahabhoot(5 gross elements viz  Earth water air fire and Ether) as Sattvic, Rajsic and Tamsic respectively………
Buddhi, Ahamkar and Manas are represented by the letters ‘tha’ , ‘da’ and ‘dha’ of Sanskrit respectively…
After Antahkarnas,(3+2).. (Internal organs), comes the ‘Pancha Gyanindreyas ‘ (five organs of cognition)..
These are
(17th)Srotra-ear…organ of Hearing
(18th)Tvak-Skin, organ of touching
(19th)Cakshu-eye, organ of seeing
(20th)Rasana-tongue, organ of tasting.
(21st)Ghrana-nose, organ of smelling
They are represented by the  alphabets ‘na’, ‘ta’, ‘tha’, ‘da’ and ‘dha’ of Sanskrit respectively…

 

Pancha Karmindreyas (five organs of action ) consist of
(22nd)Vak(speech ), (23rd)pani(hand),(24th) pada(foot), (25th)payu(excretion) and(26th)Upastha(creative/reproductive).
They are represented by the letters ‘na’ , ‘ba’, ‘bha’, ‘Pha’ and ‘pa’ of the Sanskrit alphabets respectively

Panch tanmatra(five subtle elements) consist of:
(27th)Sabda(sound)
This tanmatra is found in Akasa tattva(32th element)
(28th)Sparsha tanmatra (touch); representing the gross element of (29th)vayu(air-the 33th element)
(30th)Rupa tanmatra(form), 29th element ; this is found in the gross element of agni(fire)(34th element)
(31st)Rasa tanmatra(taste)-the 30th element is found in the gross element of jal(water)(34th element) and Gandha tanmatra(smell) is chiefly found in the 36th element of Prithvi(earth)
The gross elements of Earth(36th), water(35th) , fire(34th), air(33rd) and Ether(32nd) are related to the tanmatras in this way
Earth-this has all the five tanmatras namely Gandha , rasa,rupa, sparsha, and Sabda.but the chief tanmatra connected with Earth element is Gandha(smell).
The water element has only four(rasa, rupa,sparsha and sabda ).the chief tanmatra connected with this element is rasa (taste).
The tejas(fire) element has only three tanmatras connected with it(rupa, sparsha, sabda)…the main tanmatra however is rupa(form) attached to fire element.
The vayu(air) Element has only two tanmatras connected to it(sparsha and sabda).the chief however is Sparsha.
The Akasa(ether ) has only one tanmatra attached to it and that is ‘sabda'(sound)
The Sanskrit alphabets representing these elements are
Earth(‘ksa’), water (‘ha’), fire(‘sa’), air(‘sa’), akasha(‘sa’)
Gandha(‘va’), rasa(‘la’), rupa(‘ra’), sparsha(ya) and sabda(‘ma’)
From Prikriti tattva to the jala(water) tattva, the experiencer (pramatr) is termed as Pralayakala pramatri. In this stage apart from anavamala; Mayaimala ( limitation of Knowledge ) too has set in.
This has also been referred as Dream state.

Sakala pramatr is the stage of the experiencer at Gross level. This has its effect on only one element and that is Earth.This level has all the three limitations namely Anavamala, Mayayimala and Karmmala(limitation of action).This is what is also known as the Waking state.
Pramatr, pramana and pramey meaning Experiencer, Knowledge(of object) and Object is an important concept of both Vedanta and KS.In the level of Shuddh tattvas(pure elements); there is only the Experiencer. It is a stage of non-duality.It is only after Shiva wants to experience his own state of duality; Maya (duality) comes into effect and thus the Knowledge and the Objects appear.
First the knowledge of Duality appears and the Mind is formed and then the Mind solidifies itself and the world materializes.

To realise that the Object(Prameya), knowledge of object (pramana) and the experient(pramatra) are not different from each other and that our real ‘self’is none other than Shiva-the universal experient is the essence of Kashmir Shaivism.

The Legend of Sarda, Shankaracharya and mysterious Sandalwood idol…

 

I had heard of the Mysterious  Sharda Temple at Village Sardi(P.O.K) many a times in the past. The word ‘Sarda’ itself is as mystical as is the Goddess Sarda. Kashmir in the past was a synonym to the Goddess. The ancient script of ‘Sarda’ that was once the vernacular of the Kashmiris ; or was widely spoken and written by the learned Scholars of Kashmir, clearly indicates that ‘ Sarda’ had a very deep impact on the lives of the Kashmiris and thus Kashmir.

Namaste Sarada Devi, Kashmira Mandala Vasini (Salutations to Goddess Sarada who resides in Kashmir’. This hymn unambiguously states that the Mystical Goddess was widely believed to live in Kashmir.

The Sarda temple was  just like any other venerated temple of KP’s for me and did not arose special attention, until I read the account of the pilgrimage of King Zain-ul-Abidin(AD 1420-70) to Sharda  possibly in the year 1422 A.D. I found the mention of the pilgrimage in Rajatarangini of Kalhan by  M.A.Stein, ” in the Chapter “The Shrine of Sharda”.

It was rather interesting to note that Sarda temple at one stage in the long History of Kashmir attracted many devotees and Scholars. The area where the temple is situated, was not under the sovereignty of the Rulers of Kashmir in continuity, and intermittently, the area of Sardi was out of bound  for rather long stretches of time. This political constraint dissuaded the Kashmiri Hindus to visit this place as frequently as they used to,  when it was a part of the Kingdom of Kashmir. The rough terrain  and the inclement weather too ensured that the Temple maintained its Aura of mystery , solitude and Spirituality.

For some reasons, I was intrigued to know that  there was a wooden(sandalwood) image of Goddess Sarda at Shardapeeth(Kashmir) and that the original idol was taken away by the Shankarachraya.It crossed my mind that If the original idol was taken away by Shankaracharya,; was the wooden idol of Sarda at the time of Zain-ul-Abidin, a different one then!

Traditionally, and may be historically, if we look into the past, we can easily conclude that the KP’s worshipped the God/Goddess mostly in their natural state/form. For example, KP’s worship Goddess Sharika as a ‘Srichakra’, believed to be inscribed naturally on a Boulder, smeared in vermilion. Again at Raithan temple, Goddess Ragya is venerated in the form of a natural Boulder. A Stone slab is revered as Goddess Bala Devi in Balhoma. Mata Jwalaji in the form of  an uninterrupted, continuous flame is worshipped at Khrew. There is also a stone slab, that too is venerated by the devotees. At other places, the object of worship is either a natural spring or a lake. The exception is for the Stone Shiva-Linga, which is widely worshipped throughout the state.

But a Wooden Idol, and that too of Sandalwood ! seemed incongruous. Before coming to any conclusion, some historical facts documented in the form of Books of History and legends can not be ignored.

The legend of Sharda

According to Mahatmaya, The sage Sandilya, son of sage Matanga, was practicing great austerities, in order to obtain the sight of the Goddess Sarda, who is a shakti embodying three separate manifestations. Divine advice prompts him to proceed to the place-Syamala. There at GHOSA, i.e ‘Gus’, appears to him ‘Mahadevi’, and promises to show herself in her true form( Shakti) in the Sarda’ forest. The Goddess vanishes from his sight at Hayasirsasasrama, (Hayhom), situated about 4 miles to the N.N.E of Gus.

The Sage next proceeds to the Krisnganga, a spring now usually known as Krishnganga, in which he bathes. Thereupon,  half his body becomes golden, emblematic of his approach to complete liberation from darkness. The Naga is situated above the village of Drang also known as Son-Drang. It is this appellation which the Mahatmaya wishes to reproduce by calling the place of Sage’s miraculous transformation ‘Suvarnardhangaka’.

From thence, Sandilya ascends the mountain range to the north, on which he sees a dance of Goddesses in a forest called Rangavati (Rangvor), immediately below the pass by which the route leading from Drang towards the Kisanganga crosses the watershed. He then passes the Gostambhana forest, i.e, the Marg Gthamman and arrives at TEJAVANA, the residence of Gautama, on the bank of the Krisnganga. The Mahatmaya describes at some length, the sacred character of the latter place which is identical with Tehjan(Thagain), a small hamlet on the left bank of the Kisanganga. It then relates how the sage after crossing on the way a hill, on the east side of which he sees the God Ganesha, arrives in the Sardavana i.e, at the present Sardi. After a Hymn in praise of Sarda in her triple form of Sarda, Narada(sarswati) and vagdevi, an account is given how the goddess at that sacred spot revealed herself to the Sage and rewarded his long austerities by inviting him to her residence on Srisaila.

Pitrs also approach there to Sandilya and ask him to perform their Sraddhas. On his taking water from the Mahasindu for the purpose of the Tarpana rite, half of its water turns into honey and forms the stream hence known as Madhumati. Ever since baths and Shraddhas at the Samgama of the Sindhu and Madhumati assure to the pious complete remission of sins, etc.

The mention of this confluence leaves no doubt as to where the Mahatmaya places the site sacred to Sarada. By SINDHU can be meant only the Kisanganga which, as in Kalhana’s days, is still locally known merely as ‘Sind’ , the river. Madhumati  is the name which local tradition gives to this day to the stream that joins the Kisanganga at Sardi from the south.

The temple is believed to be one of the Shakti-peethas(out of 51).It is believed that the right hand of Shiva’s consort-SATI-had fallen here.

 

 

The Mystical wooden(Sandalwood) idol of Sharda

A.Stein has mentioned that the Sharda temple is found in “Jonararaja’ Chronicle. The passage containing it belongs to those additions of the text with which Professor Peterson edition(1896) had first acquainted them. It is mentioned that the tolerant King Zain-l-Abidin(Bada Shah), whose attitude towards his Brahman Subjects was well Known, is believed to have accompanied the regular pilgrimage, apparently in the year 1422 A.D, in order to witness the miraculous manifestations of the Goddess. From the description in the  verse 1057, it seems that these were ordinarily the appearance of Sweat on the face of the image of the Goddess, the shaking of the arm, and a sensation of the Heat on touching the feet.

After bathing and drinking at the Madhumati Stream, the King seated himself at the Sacred spot which was thronged by pilgrims and Temple priests. Owing to the baseness, he witnessed in these people, the King is said to have displayed anger and to have lost faith in the goddess. Having failed to see her manifest herself in a visible and material way, which Jonaraja plausibly explains by a reference to the Kaliyuga and the want of faith in the worshippers, he then endeavored to obtain her sight in a Dream. For this purpose,   the King went to sleep on the night of the 7th day of waxing moon in the month of Bhadrapada in the court of the temple. Sarada, however refused to vouchsafe any sign of her presence to the King in his sleep either. From due regard for the prince’s high personal qualities, the author is forced to ascribe this disappointment to the Wickedness of his servants and the conflux of Mlecchas. Having thus disappointed, the virtuous Zain-ul-abidin, the goddess is said to have, herself, crushed her image to pieces.

It is mentioned unambiguously,  that the idol self-destructed itself. However much later, Alberuni , too has written that a miracle-working image of Sarada, was yet in existence in the early part of the fifteen century, and that its destruction, rightly or wrongly, was connected with a pilgrimage which Zain-ul-abidin made to this site.

In the Sixteenth century, the temple of Sarda must have enjoyed yet considerable reputation in Kashmir itself. This is proved by “ABU-L-FAZL’s” notice of the site(Ain-Akb.,ii.p 365): “At two days distance from Hachamun is the river named padmati(Madhumati), which flows from the Dard(Dard) country. Gold is also found in this river. On its Banks, is a stone-temple called “Sarda”, dedicated to Durga and regarded with great veneration. On every eight tithi of the bright half of the month, it begins to shake and produce the most extraordinary effect.”

Here Haehamn stands plainly for Hayhom: Padmati is an evident clerical error for Madmati, i.e, Madhumati. From the statement which makes this River come from the Dard country, it appears that there is here some confusion between the Madhumati and the Kisanganga, which latter alone can be described as flowing from that region. It must, however, be noticed that a not very clear passage of the Sardamahatmaya,120, seems to ascribe to the Kisanganga also the second name Madhumati.

The notice of Gold being found in the river clearly applies to the Kisanganga, which drains a Mountain region known as auriferous to the present Day. The story told of the Sarada temple Shaking on the eight sudi of each month, is evidently a lingering reflex of the miracle ascribed to Sarda’s image in Jonaraja’s account.

The date indicated is that still observed for pilgrim’s visits to the Shrine, but when A.Stien visited the site in Sep 1892, The legend of the Shaking of limbs or sweat from the forehead of the idol of Sarda was unheard of. In fact, there was no idol of Sarada at all. Instead, a large rough slab on the ground which measures about 6 by 7 feet, with a thickness of about half a foot is worshipped as Goddess Sharda.This stone is believed to cover a KUNDA(spring-cavity), in which Sarada appeared to Sage Sandilya, and is the object of the Pilgrims’ special veneration. At the time of “Stein’s” visit to the temple, a red cloth canopy with plenty of tinsel surmounted the sacred spot. Conches, bells, and other implements of worship filled the remainder of the interior space.

Adi Shankaracharya’s visit to Sarda temple and Kashmir

Most of the Scholars believe that Adi Shankaracharya (A.D-788-820) visited Kashmir in the first quarter of ninth century A.D.

Adi Shankaracharya, a great philosopher is believed to have visited Kashmir in the first quarter of 9th Century (788-820 A.D) .According to writer of ‘Sankara Digvijaya’ — ‘Sankara visited Kashmir after giving a final blow to Buddhism in the rest of India”. PN Magzine,  a research scholar of repute, writes in ‘Shankaracharya Temple and Hill’ that Shankaracharya visited Kashmir with the intention of advancing Vedantic knowledge. That time Kashmiris were culturally and spiritually much advanced and believed strongly in the greatness of both Shiva and Shakti. Shankara did not, at that time, when he visited Kashmir, believe in Shakti cult . PN Magzine mentions that Shankaracharya with his party camped outside the city of Srinagar, without any boarding and lodging arrangements. Seeing the plight of visitors a virgin was sent to meet Shankara. She found the party uneasy and frustrated because of not being able to cook as no fire was made available to them. The first glimpse of Shakti was exhibited to Shankara by this girl, when Shankara expressed his inability to make a fire, in reply to girl’s question that you are so great, can not you make fire. The girl picked up two thin wooden sticks (samidhas) into her hand, recited some mantras and rubbed the sticks and fire was produced to the surprise of Shankara. PN Magzine further adds that later a Shastrarth (religious discourse) was arranged between Shankara and a Kashmiri woman. This discourse continued for 17 days. Shankaracharya yielded before the lady in discussion and accepted the predominance of Shakti cult (greatness of Devi).

According to PN Magzine, after accepting predominance of Shakti cult, Shankara wrote Saundarya Lahari, in praise of Shakti, at the top of the hill, known till then as Gopadari Hill. Pandit Gopi Krishan writer that Panchastavi–gamut of Shakti Shastra–a priceless gem — a peerless hymn of praise addressed to Kundalini. The work has been cited as source book by several eminent scholars, but the name of the author has remained undisclosed”. According to him the only other work in whole gamut of Shakti Shastra in the country, comparable to Panchastavi is Saundarya Lahari. PN Magzine says that Saundarya Lahari is acclaimed as master-piece in Sanskrit literature. After the visit of Adi Shankaracharya to Kashmir, he became staunch believer of Shakti-Shri Chakra – the symbol of Devi (Goddess) as mentioned in ‘Shankara Digvijay’ – Life history of Shankaracharya. Thus we know that even, a very knowledge philosopher, a Saint of greater order- Adi Shankaracharya – gained further depth in spiritualism and mysticism in Kashmir.Kashmiri Pandit – great ‘Mehman Nawaz’ – highly appreciative of knowledge (which has at time proved undoing for them), awarded a degree of the Sharda Peetha, the highest honour conferred on any dignitary of knowledge when Shankaracharya visited Sharda, a famous temple, Shrine of Goddess Saraswati and a famous university of learning.

 

It is believed that was  Adi shankaracharya entered the Sarda temple from its Sothern gate and had a debate with the Scholars of that Area/Temple. He emerged as a winner and was conferred to sit on Sarvanjnanapeetham or Sarvajna peetha(Throne of Wisdom).In his Honor, the southern gate of Sarda temple was closed for ever. The Śāradā image at  Shringeri Shardamba temple was once said to have been made of sandalwood, which is supposed to have been taken by the Shankaracharya from Sarda temple Kashmir.

Adi-Shankaracharya according to Sringeri Sharda peetham

Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada established the first of the four Amnaya Peethams at Sringeri more than twelve centuries ago to foster the sacred tradition of Sanatana Dharma.

Hallowed for all times by Sage Rishyashringa who stayed and performed Tapas here, Sringeri attracted the great Acharya with a remarkable sight.

Tradition has it that after the Acharya had dispersed all the non-Vedic creeds prevailing in the country, He was on the look-out for a convenient and holy place where he could establish an institution to spread the truths of Advaita Vedanta. When the Acharya came to Sringeri, he saw an unusual sight on the banks of the Tunga. A cobra was seen spreading out its hood over a frog in labour pains, to give it shadow from the scorching mid-day sun. Struck with the sanctity of the place, which could infuse love between natural adversaries, the Acharya chose this very location to establish His first Math.

The Madhaviya Shankara Digvijayam describes that the Acharya came across many virtuous people at Sringeri and taught them the doctrine of Advaita. He then invoked the Divinity of Knowledge, Goddess Sharada and consecrated an icon of the Goddess. Thus the Peetham He founded at Sringeri in South India for fostering the Vedas and the sacred tradition of Sanatana Dharma came to be known as the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham.

The Acharya appointed his prime disciple, Sri Sureshwaracharya as the first Acharya of the Peetham. Since then, the Peetham has been blessed with an unbroken Guru Parampara, a garland of spiritual masters and Jivanmuktas representing Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The succeeding Acharyas have led a life of such austere penance that it has led disciples to adore in them the radiance of Sri Adi Shankara Himself.

Sandalwood Idol of Sarda Mata at Sringeri

 

The ancient temple of Sri Sharada, the presiding deity of Sringeri has a glorious history that begins with the setting up of the Dakshinamnaya Peetham by Sri Shankara Bhagavatpada. Originally it was an unpretentious shrine with the Murti of Sharada made of sandalwood, installed over the Sri Chakra that Sri Adi Shankara carved on a rock. Subsequently Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha and Sri Vidyaranya had a temple built in the Kerala style, with timber and tiled roof. Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha substituted the sandalwood idol with the present golden idol.

However, it is not clear whether, the installed idol was the same Idol, that Adi Sankara had allegedly brought with him from Kashmir.

Geographical Availability of Sandalwood in Kashmir and Karnataka

The availability of Sandalwood is abundantly found in and around the district of Chikmaglur (Sringeri comes in this district) in Karnataka. While as, it is hardly found in and around Kashmir valley. But, before coming to any conclusion; it will be pertinent to discuss again, here, the Temple and Legend of Kapteshwar Temple of Kashmir Valley; where, a mysterious Sandalwood idol of Siva used to emerge from a pond.

The legend of Kapatesvara(From Rajatarangini)

The valley of the Arpath or Harsapatha, which opens to the east of Anantnag, is also known as Kuthar. The name is in all probability connected with that of the ancient Tirtha of KAPATESVARA, situated on the Southern side of the valley close to the village of Kother. The name of the latter is undoubtedly a derivative of Kapateshwara as the analogy of Jyether<Jyeshthesvara, Triphar<Tripuresvara, etc. clearly shows.

The place of pilgrimage is the sacred spring of PAPASUNDA(Sin removing), situated a short distance above Kother near Acchabal. In it Lord Shiva is believed to have shown himself in the disguise(Kapata) of pieces of wood floating on the water. The legend is related at length in the Nilmata, and the author of the Haracaritacintamani devotes to it a separate canto which has now become the Official Mahatmaya of the Tirtha.

According to Nilmata; Once many sages stood in great penance on the sacred bank of Drsadvati in Kurukshetra to have a sight of Rudra-the lord of the Gods. Impressed by their Devotion, Shiva told them in a Dream to go soon to Kasmira where there is a spacious and immaculate abode of the Naga. He told them that there he would be visible in Disguise. Having heard him in a dream they all reached the abode of the Naga. They could not see even a little water, for the water was all covered with pieces of wood. Moving the wooden logs with their hands, the best sages obtained Rudrahood with their bodies by merely taking bath.

However, one vasistha Brahman, named Graparasar neither took the bath nor touched the wooden logs. He went on prolonged fasting and made his body decay. Rudra then spoke to him in a dream and advised him to obtain Rudrahood quickly by taking bath and touching the wooden logs.  Gauraparasara persisted, ‘that you can be visible after the attainment of Rudrahood is a fact, ‘O father of the world! But my mind is not satisfied without the sight of the lord of the Gods. You have said that you would be visible in disguise in the abode( of the Naga).

The Brahman refuses to leave and continues fasting, Sankara replies:  I have already provided them, my manifestation in the form of the wooden log. Merely by seeing me, they attained Rudrahood, O twice-Born! Now, due to your penance which is greater, I give you the desired boon. Ask for what you desire and Obtain Rudrahood.

The Brahman demands that Mahesvara should manifest in the form of a wooden log, to all the human beings, as it did to the sages. Mahesvara agrees and remarks, ‘O best among the twice-born, all those people who will see(the god) standing in the form of wood, (will see the gods) not always but only occasionally. With a desire to do favor to them, my gana-the Nandi in the form of wooden log shall always be visible to the human beings. And having seen (him) they would attain Rudrahood with their bodies. As I shall appear before men, so I shall obtain the name, Kapatesvara.

Alberuni too had heard of the Kapateshvara tirtha and its legend. He writes ‘ a pond called Kudaishashr(Kapatesvar) to the left of the source of the vitasta, in the middle of the month of Vaisakha, Mahadeva appears annually.’

AB-L-FAZL, Ain-I Akb, ii, p.358, mentions “in the village of Kotihar, a deep spring surrounded by stone temples. When its water decreases, an image of Mahadeva in Sandalwood appears.”

The sacred spring rises in a large circular tank which is enclosed by an ancient stone-wall and steps leading into the water. According to Kalhana’s account this enclosure was constructed, about a century before his own time, at the expense of the well-known king Bhoja of Malava.The latter is said to have taken a vow always to wash his face in the water of the Papasundana spring.

Connection between Sarda temple and Kapteshwar temple

Though, the architecture of Sharda temple (POK) resembles to that of the Kashmiri architecture , which can still be found in the ruins of Naranaag or the the Sun temple of Martand, But for some reasons, Sir A.Stein thought that the ruins of Sarda resemble most to that of Kapateshwara temple.

Also, it is intriguing,   to note that the famous travelers and Historians of the past, like Alberuni and Ab-L-Fazl, both have written that there was the legend of the mysterious and venerated Idol of Sharda at the Temple (POK). Pertinently, both have mentioned that the wooden idol of Mahadeva would emerge from a pond at Kapatesvara, when its water receded.

This clearly indicates, that in Kashmir, there was use of Sandalwood for making Idols of Gods/Godesses; although it is not clear, how it came into existence for religious purposes and how it ended .But, as of today, The Redoubtable temples of Kashmirian architecture, be it Sarda, Martand, or Naranaag are at the brink of extinction and need immediate attention from the concerned authorities. The hoary legends, that once reverberated in the cradle of Kashmir valley, are reduced to dying  echoes .

However, some of the sacred Hymns like- ‘Kashmir Purvasini, Vidhya Dieyinam Shawetambuj Viharinam, Chaturbuj Dharini… Shattantriveena Vadini… Mokshadayini, Papanashneemam … Vitasta Rupenam … Himachidit Girishshobinam … Kalashamrit Dharayae. Translated this means;Residing in Kashmir from ancient times..giver of knowledge.. seated on a white bird {Swan}..having four arms, carries hundred stringed veena.. giver of moksha and forgiver of sins.. just like with grace of Vitasta {Jhelum River}.. gracing a snow clad mountain..carrying a pot with holy nectar-    will remain immortal. And with it, will live- ‘the legend of Sarda ‘ forever.

And so will the mystery…

 

( by:Sandeep Raj koul)

 

 

 

 

 

sharda1 sharda2

(Photo courtesy: Rukhsana Khan)

 

 

References:

the shrine of Sharda-note B-I 37-Kalhana’s Rajatarangini(M.A.Stein)

tirtha of Kapatesvara,p-467,Kalhana’s Rajtarangini-ii volme(M.A.Stein)

http://www.ikashmir.net/saints/shankracharyavisittokashmir.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharada_Peeth

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandalwood

http://www.sringeri.net/history

http://www.sringeri.net/history/sri-adi-shankaracharya/biography/abridged-madhaviya-shankara-digvijayam/part-5

http://panunkashmir.org/kashmirsentinel/maya1999/4.5.html

http://koausa.org/temples/sharda3.html

 

3 reasons for the Radicalization of Kashmir(1947-90)..

3 reasons about the Radicalization of Kashmir(1947-90)..

In 1990,Tej Krishan Razdan, came back from Punjab to his native village in Budgam District, as he had heard in the TV, and read in the Newspapers about the deteriorating situation in the Kashmir valley. The Target-Killing of Kashmiri Pandits had started. He wanted to make sure that his family is safe and was thinking of shifting his family to a safer place. Little did he knew , What was in store for Him.

On 12th Feb. 1990,in Budgam, He was accosted by one of his Muslim friends. He persuaded Tej Krishan, to accompany him to Srinagar and both boarded the Matador from Budgam to Srinagar. When the Matador reached Gaw-Kadal, Suddenly, his Friend, pulled out a Revolver and Shot him several Times in the chest. He was dragged to the Local Masjid and his Dead Body was put on display there. It was only in the evening, with Police intervention, his body could be secured.

He was killed mercilessly. So were hundreds of KP’s. Before Killing a KP , the militant in many cases would subject the Body to dismemberment, and incidents , like gouging out of eyes, Multiple Fractures, Skinning of KP Victims took place. The inhuman way of Killing was a part of their Planned Strategy, That was carried out by the Militants backed by Pakistan. The message was clear to the KP’s that, “Don’t you dare to stay here “.

Apart from the target individual killings of the Pandits; to keep away KP’s from coming back into the valley, the Pakistani Backed Militants also carried out Massacres’ of Kashmiri Pandits from Time to Time. On 21 Mar. 1997, in Sangrampra, 7 KP’s were led away in the dark and shot dead. On 25 jan. 1998, in Wandhama, 23 KP’s were massacred and the local Temple damaged. On 23 March 2003, at Nadimarg, 24 KP’s were massacred.

Not only that, to dissuade the KP’s and instill a fear psychosis, the Militants confronted KP’s in Jammu region too.3 KP’s were Killed in Garhat Gool village, Ramban by the Militants impersonated as Army men. They identified and separated 5 KP’s amongst the passengers that were travelling in the Bus. There were Muslims as well as Hindu Dogras too travelling in the same Bus, but they were not touched by the Militants. The 5 KP-men were ordered to alight from the Bus. Sensing danger, 2 KP’s escaped from the clutches of their captors as one jumped down into the ravine and the other one ran up towards the Hill. The rest of the3 KP’s were Shot Dead. There was a 6th KP in the Bus, who escaped Death , as he did not revealed his real identity. Instead, he had introduced himself as a Muslim and was thus saved.

The message was again Loud and Clear to KP’s-“Don’t you dare to return, back to the valley”.

All these actions were not abrupt. In fact, if we look from 1947 onwards, the complete-Radicalization of the valley took many years and was carried out in at least 3 stages, before its culmination in 1990.

Plebscite Front(1955)
Sheikh Abdullah’s Bonhomie with Jawahar Lal Nehru was well Known. He formed “All Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conference” in Oct.1932.The name itself suggested that the party ,he formed,was Muslim-centric. In 1939, He changed the name of “Muslim conference” to “All Jammu & Kashmir National Conference” and affiliated it to “All India state people’s conference”. At that time Pt.Jawahar Lal Nehru was the president of that conference. It is evident that Sheikh Abdullah was persuaded by Pt Nehru in one way or other to shun the Muslim conference, make a new party that looks secular, and affiliate the party to his conference.

After Maharaja Hari Singh signed the “Treaty of accession” with India, with the support of PT.Nehru, Sheikh was elected as the 2nd Prime Minister of J&K in March 1948. He remained as the Prime Minister of J&K till 1953, when he failed to prove his majority in the House. In fact all his Cabinet pledged their support to Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed-who went on to become the third Prime minister of J&K.PT. Nehru too was instrumental in abdicating the Shiekh. By, this time, the cracks had appeared in the Friendship of Pt.Nehru and Sheikh.

Pt. Nehru was informed by the Indian intelligence agencies about the ploy hatched by the Pakistani Intelligence agencies, CIA and Sheikh Abdullah and their information was substantiated by the Proof and Documents. From the Proof, It became clear that Sheikh was working against the Nation. For this Sedition, He was incarcerated by Bakshi Gh. Mohd.

The Plebiscite front was formed by Mohammed Afzal Beg -a trusted aide of Sheikh Abdllah- on 9th Aug 1955.He became its titular Head and Sheikh Abdullah was made the Patron of the Front. .From 1955 till 1974, The Plebiscite front acted as the main opposition. To Garner support, the members of this group exploited the religious sentiments of the Muslim Majority of the valley. Plebiscite front issued its own version of decree; and urged the people of Kashmir not to vote for the Congress or NC. Pertinently, National Conference was merged into the congress from 1965 till 1975.
At various gatherings, they would invoke the verses from the Holy “Quran” and incite the religious sentiments amongst the people. They intertwined politics and Islam for as long as “Plebiscite front” existed. They sowed the seeds of Hatred between the Hindus and Muslims of Kashmir.

The objective of the Plebiscite front was to carry out a referendum and through the referendum come to the conclusion whether:
1.Kashmir should accede into Pakistan
2.Remain with India
3.Become Independent Nation.

But after the “Indira-Sheikh” accord in 1974, Strangely , or rather comically, the Titular Head of the Front, Mohammed Afzal Beg, proclaimed that the purpose of the Plebiscite front was to cement Kashmir into India forever. Following the agreement with the Union government, Sheikh Abdullah merged the Plebiscite Front into a renewed National Conference in 1975, which won the democratic elections and affirmed Abdullah as the new Chief Minister of J&K.

However, During their existence of almost 20 years, the seeds of communalism had sprouted in the Hearts of the Kashmiri Muslim and remained so even today.

Unsuccesful Operation Gibraltor(1965):
Ever since, J&K acceded into the Dominion of India, Pakistan had tried its best to snatch away Kashmir by any Means. They had kept a close watch on India .When in 1962, the war broke out between India and China; the vulnerability of India got exposed in front of the World. It became evident that the Militarily equipments are Out Dated and their Air-Force is below standard. At least, this is what Pakistan thought. They were confident that the weapons that India possessed at that time are no match to their’s.

The episode of 1963, when the Holy relic of Prophet Mohamed was stolen, had flared up the religious emotions of the Kashmiri Muslims, and the episode had developed an intense feeling of Islam in KM’s. Pakistan was of the view that because of this incident, KM’s will side with them, if they happen to attack India and enter into Kashmir.

In 1965, They got another shot in the arm, when in an armed confrontation with India at Rann of Kutch, they had some gain .All these factors, made them believe that they not only ready to take India Heads on, But defeat India and annex Kashmir. However, they did not wanted to indulge into a full-fledged war with India.
Under the Operation Gibraltar; Pakistan had planned to capture all the high passes of Jammu Kashmir, and send their troops in Disguise into J&K, incite the Public against India and give the whole episode the color of Local uprising against the state. Their initial Plans succeeded to some extent. But their Theory, that the locals with side with them, was far away from the reality.
Pakistan pushed 40,000 Army personal of Azad Kashmir Battalion impersonated as Locals(Pakistan claims less than 1000) into J&K, But they were identified by the locals of Kashmir as intruders and non-locals. It was the Locals-who gave information to the Indian Army about the intrusion-and the Army took the corrective actions immediately. The fiasco of “Operation Gibralter” resulted in the war of 1965 between India and Pakistan.

Operation Topac(1988):
In April 1988, the President of Pakistan Gen. Zia-Ul-Hak, called a meeting in the President’s residential office. The meeting was attended by selected corps commanders, Top ISI Officials, an Afgan Mujahid Leader, and two Kashmir Liberation Front Leaders.The main contents from Presidents address were leaked through a mole from a third world country, and became available to India’s Research and Analysis wing (RAW) agents somewhere in sept-Oct 1988.The contents were as follows:

“Gentlemen, I have spoken on this subject at length before, therefore, I will leave out the details. As you know due to our pre-occupation in Afghanistan, in the service of Islam, I have not been able to put these plans before you earlier. Let there be no mistake, however, that our aim remains quite clear and firm-the liberation of the Kashmir Valley-our Muslim Kashmiri brothers cannot be allowed to stay with India for any length of time, now. In the past we had opted for hamhanded military options and therefore, failed. So, as I have mentioned before, we will now keep our military option for the last moment as a coup de grace, if and when necessary. Our Kashmiri brethren in the valley, though with us in their hearts and minds, are simple-minded folk and do not easily take to the type of warfare to which, say, a Punjabi or an Afghan takes to naturally, against foreign domination. The Kashmiris however have a few qualities which we can exploit. First, his shrewdness and intelligence; second, his power to persevere under pressure; and the third, if I may so say, he is a master of political intrigue. If we provide him means through which he can best utilize these qualities – he will deliver the goods. Sheer brute force is in any case not needed in every type of warfare, especially so in the situation obtaining in the Kashmir Valley, as I have explained earlier.

Here we must adopt those methods of combat which the Kashmiri mind can grasp and cope with-in other words, a coordinated use of moral and physical means, other than military operations, which will destroy the will of the enemy, damage his political capacity and expose him to the world as an oppressor. This aim, Gentlemen, shall be achieved in the initial phases.

In the first phase, which may, if necessary, last a couple of years we will assist our Kashmiri brethren in getting hold of the power apparatus of the State by political subversion and intrigue. I would like to mention here that as no Government can survive in Occupied Kashmir unless it has the tacit approval of Delhi, it would be unrealistic to believe that the MUF or any such organization can seize power through democratic or other means. In view of this,’ power must “apparently” remain with those whom New Delhi favours. We must therefore ensure that certain “favoured politicians” from the ruling elite be selected who would corporate with us in subverting all effective organs of the State. In brief, our plan for Kashmir, which will be codenamed as “Op Topac” will be as follows:

PHASE-1(TOPAC)
A low-level insurgency against the regime, so that it is under siege, but does not collapse as we would not yet want central rule imposed by Delhi.
We plant our chosen men in all the key positions; they will subvert the police forces, financial institutions, the communication network and other important organizations.
We whip up anti-Indian feelings amongst ” the students and peasants, preferably on some religious issues, so that we can enlist their active support for rioting and anti-Government demonstrations.
Organize and train subversive elements’ and armed groups with capabilities, initially, to deal with paramilitary forces located in the valley.
Adopt and develop means to cut off lines of communication between Jammu & Kashmir and within Kashmir and Ladakh by stealth, without recourse to force. The road over Zojila upto Kargil and the road over Khardungla should receive our special attention.
In collaboration with Sikh extremists, create chaos and terror in Jammu to divert attention from the valley at a critical juncture and discredit the regime even in the Hindu mind.
Establish virtual control in those parts of the Kashmir Valley where the Indian Army is not located or deployed. The Southern Kashmir Valley may be one such region.

PHASE-2(TOPAC)
Exert maximum pressure on the Siachen. Kargil and Rajauri-Punch sectors to force the Indian Army to deploy reserve formations outside the main Kashmir Valley.
Attack and destroy base depots and HQ located at Srinagar, Pattan, Kupwara. Baramulla. Bandipur and Chowkiwala by covert action at a given time.
Some Afghan Mujahideen, by then settled in Azad Kashmir, will then infiltrate in selected pockets with a view to extending areas of our influence. This aspect will require detailed and ingenious planning. The fiasco of Op Gibraltar (1965) holds many lessons for us here.
Finally a Special Force under selected retired officers belonging to Azad Kashmir, with the hard core consisting of Afghans, will be ready to attack and destroy airfields, radio stations, block Banihal Tunnel and Kargil-Leh Highway.
At a certain stage of the operations Punjab and adjacent areas of Jammu & Kashmir will be put under maximum pressure internally by our offensive posture.

PHASE-3(TOPAC)
Detailed plans for the liberation of Kashmir Valley and establishment of an independent Islamic State in the third phase will follow.

We do not have much time. Maximum pressure must be exerted before the general elections in India and before Indian Army reserves which are still bogged down in Sri Lanka become available. By the Grace of God, we have managed to accumulate large stocks of modern arms and ammunition from US consignments intended for Afghan Mujahideen. This will help our Kashmiri brethren achieve their goals. Even if we create a kind of “Azad Kashmir” in some remote parts of Occupied Kashmir as a beginning, the next step may not be as difficult as it appears today. On the other hand, it should also be noted that a part of the Indian Army, particularly the Infantry, will be well trained by now for such a situation due to their experience in the North-Eastern Region and more recently in Sri Lanka. But the situation in Kashmir will be somewhat different; more like the “Infetada” of Palestinians in towns, and on the pattern of the Mujahideen in the countryside to attack hard targets. A. period of chaos in the State is essential in the circumstances.

And what of our Chinese friends? They can do no more than ensure that Indian forces deployed against them are not moved. out; but this may be required only at the last or the third stage of our operations. Of course, if we are in serious trouble, the Chinese and our other powerful friends shall come to our rescue one way or the other. They will ensure if we do not
win-at least we don’t lose.

.”Finally, I wish to caution you once more that it will be disastrous to believe that we can take on India in a straight contest. We must, therefore, be careful and maintain a low military profile so that the Indians do not find an excuse to pre-empt us, by attacking at a time and at a point of their own choosing, at least before Phase 1 and 2 of the Operation are over. We must pause and assess the course of operations after each phase, as our strategy and plans may require drastic changes in certain circumstances. I need not emphasize any further that a deliberate and objective assessment of the situation must be ensured at each stage, otherwise a stalemate will follow with no good for Pakistan.

Conclusion
The seeds sown by the “Plebiscite Front”, and watered by its communal politics, and manure by Pakistan with “Operation Topac” gradually began bearing fruits for Pakistan. 1990 Jan is a testimony to the fact, that how the whole administration collapsed , and how the Mobocracy was rampant .The Fiasco of Operation Gibraltar prompted Pakistan to think differently.Rather than attacking India directly, they started a psychological war based on Islam and pushed forward their own version of islamization, that obliterated the Rishi-Sufi culture and burgeoned the salafi-wahabi culture in Kashmir. All the above factors made Kashmir the Hot-bed of Radicalization……

Refrences;
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gibraltar
2. http://www.indiandefencereview.com/spotlights/op-topac-the-kashmir-imbroglio-i/3/
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plebiscite_Front
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jammu_%26_Kashmir_National_Conference
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_Wandhama_massacre
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Nadimarg_massacre
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_Sangrampora_massacre
8. http://www.rediff.com/news/jun/16kash.htm

My recent conversations in Kashmir…..

The jinx of going back to Kashmir after a gap of 25 years was broken last year by me; when I opted to go to the “Gangabal Yatra”. This year again, in Jul-Aug, I re-visited Kashmir with my Family. A month later, I was once-again in the lap of “Maej-Kashir”(Mother Kashmir) as I went for the “Gangabal Yatra” from 19-24 sep 2015.

One of my KP Friend-a travel buff-had recommended a guest house in Brain, Nishat. I was in touch with the Manager of the Guest house from last 15 days .I had informed him that I along with my friends will be checking-in on 22nd sep. We had expected to reach the Guest house by evening. We started from Naranaag at around 4 or 4.30 p.m and reached Nishat at around 6 p.m. I and my group of 4 friends alighted from the Bus at Nishat Garden amidst rains. It was already 6.00p.m.Because of the Rains, most of the Autos and Taxis were off the road. Immediately, we called up the Guest house and requested them to arrange a Taxi for us. In the meanwhile, we took shelter at a Shop opposite Nishat Garden. After waiting for another Hour and a Half, The Manager of the Guest House sent a Taxi to us.

The Driver of the Taxi greeted us with a “Namaskar”. His warm welcome was a pleasant surprise to us all. As soon as he took control of the steering, he started talking about “Good old days”, when KP’s and KM’s lived together. In a way, he was bold enough, as he admitted the atrocities committed by the majority on the minority KP’s in the early nineties. “We wronged you. But then, it was a different Phase.” Justifying the violence that marred the valley in nineties. I was looking at him, while his eyes were fixed on the road ahead. I could also smell Alcohol, while he spoke to me. “But then, Jagmohan too was responsible for your Exodus. He planned your exodus and you all fell into his trap.” He continued. Driving in the dark, through the alien lanes and By-lanes of Brian, Soon, we reached the Guest House.

We were received by the Manager of the Guest House-Bilal. He showed us the rooms. The rooms were Big and Tidy. In a traditional Kashmiri Hospitability, he served us the hot piping “Kehwa”. Sipping the Hot Kehwa, we unpacked our Bags, changed our Clothes, and tucked ourselves under the smooth, warm quilts. We were tired and We had planned an early Dinner, as we wanted to go to the bed as early as possible.

But then, the owner of the Guest-House Mr. Mir came in.

“The room is your property for the next 2 days.” He gesticulated. Out of courtesy, I respectfully said, “Please have a seat sir”. He immediately ordered a chair. Bilal hurriedly brought a Plastic Chair. After sitting on the Chair, He immediately enquired about our names and the localities where we lived in. When Manish and I told him that we used to live in Rainawari, He pressed his forehead with his right Thumb, as if recollecting something.

“Many years back, I was working as a contractor. I had been given a contract to build a Road near “Puej Mohalla” in Rainawari. One day, I heard the distinct Gun-Shots. From the sounds, it seemed as if many rounds of bullets were fired.” He said with intermittent pauses. We were all glued to his narrative. I could see the tense lines building on his forehead. “I also ran for Shelter. Suddenly a Door opened in a lane, and a lady told me to come inside.” Said he ,in emotive voice. “I hid myself under the stair case. The whole area was cordoned off by the CRPF. Suddenly few CRPF men barged in.” He again paused. His voice had become softer and feeble. “Those men, raped the ladies of the House, and I could do nothing.” He sobbed. Tears rolled down from the corner of his eyes. “How can they do this. They are not Humans.” There was a pin drop silence in the Room.

His emotional -narration was so much believable. In our Hearts, we empathized and sympathized with the victims.

Then he veered towards Jagmohan, “He told you to go out of Kashmir, so that he could kill one lack Muslims.” He said with a certainty. We all protested that this is not true. But, he was not in a mood to listen. Manish got irritated. He threw the quilt to his right, and stood up to confront our old Host. “The loudspeakers of the Masjids were ordering the Pandits to leave the valley. Our men were being selectively killed. The masses had risen against India. And for them, we KP’s were India.” He was fuming.

Our Host looked unconcerned. Suddenly, he stood up. Pulled his shirt up and said, “see this long scar on my chest; I had had an open heart Surgery. I have Diabetes also.” The tension was diffused by his Statement as we felt pity on his condition. It was evident that nor our Host, nor we wanted any sort of acrimony. But in spite of everything; the political discussion continued. It seemed as if our Host had deep interest in the political affairs of the Valley.

Mr Mir’s sincerity became dubious, when he touched the subject of KP’s and the reason , why KP’s are not returning back into the valley. While narrating an incident about a KP girl; whom our Host claimed to have loved as his own Daughter, He told us that the KP girl is working in a foreign embassy in Delhi, and that she is drawing a salary of 1.75lakh/month. He also claimed that she is getting a relief( RS 5K/month) from the GOI in lieu of being a KP migrant. He claimed that She is not returning back to the valley, because, she told him that she might loose the Relief amount if she opt to come back to the valley.

During our discussion, The topic of our current Prime Minister also popped up. Our Host, Mr. Mir, while speaking with dismay about Mr. Modi told us that He (Mr. Modi) is communal. To substantiate his statement, he said with a whiff of anger, “When our Babri-Masjid was broken, It was Mr. Modi who was responsible for the demolition of the Mosque.” I asked him surprisingly, “How is it sir?”. He answered with confidence, “ Because, he was the Home-Minister of India at that time.”

We all grinned. We told him that he was not our Home-Minister or for that matter any “Minister” at that time, But it seemed that he had already made up an image of Mr. Modi. May be to defend his argument, he started narrating about the environment that prevailed in the early Nineties. The love for the militants. The making of the revolution.

When our Host had entered into our room, and narrated his first anecdote, we had believed him. Then when he presented his views on the reason , as to why KP’s are not returning back to the valley, His sincerity posed a big question mark for us! And then when he claimed with absolute confidence that Mr. Modi was the Home Minister of India, when Babri Masjid was demolished; it became evident that He had a biased-typical-Muslim- outlook. And that he was cooking up the stories.

We had started to reason with him, by giving him the exact details. When it became clear to him, that he no longer can win against us, in the discussions, he retracted. As he was about to leave, He came closer to my Bed, looked straight in my eyes and said with a whiff pride and frustration, “My elder son is settled in England, My younger Son too is settled. But if Both of my sons would have got killed in the early Nineties for being Militants, I wouldn’t have been saddened. In fact, I would have felt proud.” And he left.

I looked at my friends. They were smiling and nodding their Head in Disbelief. Soon, we too followed him and had our Dinner Downstairs.

Mr. Mir , His family and Manager served us very well. Their Hospitality was superb. They made us feel very comfortable. We did not discuss politics after that episode. It was sort of an tacit agreement between us and them.

Mr. Mir represents the section of the Muslim society of Kashmir. His views about KP’s are the view of the Majority of Muslims of Kashmir. However, It is amusingly- intriguing to see how, to induce a feel-good factor to the collective conscience of the KM’s; the ethnic cleansing of the KP’s is being justified.

And that too, Without remorse…….

Gangabal Yatra-2015 in pictures….

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The Mystic Chakra of Sharika Mata (Tripuasundari) at Hari Parbhat

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“Hari Parbhat” also known as “Sharika peeth” is one of the most holiest sacred Place for the Hindus of Kashmir. Legend says that at this Place, Goddess Sharika killed the demon “Jalodbhava”. The Goddess in the form of “Haer”(Myna) at the behest of her devotees dropped a Pebble from above on Jalodbhava. The pebble became larger and larger. When it Hit the Demon, the pebble had grown to the size of a Hill.The Demon was crushed under the Hill. The Hill that dropped on the Demon came to be known as “Hari Parbaht”. The Mother Goddess resides there by the name of “Sharika” or “Tripursundari”. The eighteen-armed Goddess is considered as the presiding deity of the Srinagar city. She resides here in the form of syambu “Sri-Chakra”, also known as “Maha yantra”.This mystic Chakra is self-engraved on the Holy Shila( a vertical rock smeared in sindoor).Since the Divine Mother resides in the form of a “Chakra”, hence, she is also locally known as “Chakeshwari” and the place/temple as “Chakrieshwar”.

The significance of Sri-Chakra , is written on a Board in the premises of the temple. I am merely reproducing it verbatim.

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The sacred “Sri Chakra”, commonly known by the Hindus as “Sri Yantra” is composed of circles and the lotus petals, contains nine independent trikonas(Triangles), mystically drawn within the other. The four Triangles that point upwards represent “Shiva” and the other five pointing downwards represent “Shakti”.The Shiva Triangles are called “Sri Kanthas” or Shiva element, and the Shakti triangles are known as “Shiva-yuvatis” or Shakti element. All these are quite independent of the central Bindu and are formed by the Mulaprakrati of Shiva Bindu.
The intersecting triangles represent the play of creation, protection and absorption of the whole universe by the pure divine force known as “Sudha Shakti”.The central point in the Chakra is Bindu which symbolizes the union of “Shiva with Shakti” or “Kameshwar with Kameshwari”.
“Sri Yantra” is, in fact, the most magnificent composition of nine independent trikonas, charged with the supreme occult significance. The Trikonas in their upward and downward positions intersect one another and form themselves into forty three big and small triangles. All these triangles are enclosed in the first inner circle on which is drawn one Lotus with eight petals called “Ashta Dal”, which represents the mystical lotus of creation. The another circle following this with sixteen petalled lotus, drawn on it is called “Shada-shadal”. This Lotus is significant of sixteen kalas or phases of the moon. The whole set of triangles and the Lotus petals are further enclosed in triple concentric circles or three-fold girdles called “Trimekhla”, The whole diagram, forming the mystical chakra, fixed in a square, with triple parallel lines, having four openings or gates on its four cardinal points make up the Devi’s mansion. In the center of the whole composition lies the Bindu(point) which, in fact is the mysterious matrix of the Maha-Yantra. The description of this “Yantra” is given in sloka 11 of “Sundaryalahri”, reproduced just below the Yantra itself.
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The “Yantra” is adopted for the worship of the mighty “Shakti-Lalita Devi” and is considered to be the most popular symbol that the Icon or image of “Srividhya” i.e “Tripursundari” herself.
The mystery of “Sri Yantra” is quite remarkable. Its secret doctrine is largely acknowledged even by the renowned foreign authors and scholars. While acknowledging the mystical performance of these mysterious Yantras and Mandals, a foreign Scholar “Shree Guiseppe Tuccti” has stated In his book, “The theory and practice of Mandals” that the best example of Hinduist Mandal is the one called “Sri Chakra” or the wheel of “Sri” i.e the mystic wheel of “Shakti” or divine power, which is the motive force of the universe and by virtue of which God manifests and displays himself in things which are all of necessity the effect of Shakti itself. Since without “Shakti”, God can do nothing. One can well imagine and understand the might of this “Shakti”, which the God himself has acknowledged as stated in “Sundarya-Lahiri” that only conjoined with thee Oh! “Shakti” have I the power to be the absolute lord otherwise I would not be able to move. Such is the mighty “Shakti-Lalita-Devi”, the ruling Deity of this celebrated “Maha Yantra”.
The “Yantra” can be described in two ways.It may be started from any of the four gates of outer Chakra and worked inwards towards the central Bindu or in the reverse order, It may be started from the Bindu and worked outwards towards the gates. The former process is called “Layakrama”(involution) and the latter “Srashtikrama”(Evolution). Here it is described in the latter way.
Starting from the central point (Bindhu) and ending with the for gates the whole complex is divided into nine Chakras or wheels called Yantras which according to “Tantraja Tantra” are:-
1.Central Red Bindu, described as ……………………………………………………………………………………………Sarvanandmaya.
2. Central White Triangle, described as…………………………………………………………………………………….Sarvasidhipradha.
3.Eight red Triangles, described as ……………………………………………………………………………………………Sarvaroghara.
4.Ten Blue Triangles, described as…………………………………………………………………………………………….Sarvarakshakar.
5.Ten Red Triangles, described as……………………………………………………………………………………………..Sarvarthasadhak.
6.Fourteen blue triangles, described as ……………………………………………………………………………………Sarvasaubnagyadayak.
7.Eight Red Lotus petals, described as……………………………………………………………………………………….Sarvasamksobhan.
8.Sixteen blue lotus petals, described as …………………………………………………………………………………..Sarvaparipuraka.
9.Surrounding Yellow ground between the outer most circle and four gates……………………………Trilokyamohan.

Explaining the complex of these yantras the sacred, “Tripuramahimstrotam” says that the same “Mulavaidyaksars” as having contributed towards the unfolding of this “Sri Yantra” are responsible for the evolution of this universe as well, when it says that:-
(a) From the “Lakar”, which, according to “Laya-Krama” represents the first outer chakra i.e the yellow surrounded ground, This “Pararupa” earth on which we live has been born and on which there are Mountains, Forests, Grooves, fifty peetas(Seats), all places of pilgrimages, all Ganges, all “Khetrasthanas”, this chakra is known as “Trilokyamohan”, that is the Enchanter of the Universe.
(b) From “Sakar”, representing the second chakra of sixteen blue petalled lotus, it took the form of the Moon, Stars, Planets, Zodiac(Rashi Chakra).This Yantra is described as “Sarvasanksobhan”.
(c) In “Ikar”, which is represented by the fourteen blue triangles, It is “Turyamaya” or the creator of the universe. This yantra being fourth in the order is described as “Sarvasaulhagvadayak” i.e all auspicious.
(d) In “Ekar”, which obtains the fifth place in the order and it is represented by Ten Red Triangles the “Vishavi Shakti” manifests herself as one engaged in “Vaishvaplan” (preservation of the universe). This Yantra is described as “Sarvarthasadak” or fulfiller of all desires.
(e) In “Rakar”, which is represented by ten blue triangles and is the sixth yantra in the order, the all luminous and the most flaming aspect of the deity is revealed.This Yantra is described as “Sarvarakshakar”-That is all protecting deity.
(f) In “Kakar”, the shakti is radiated as “Kamda” or granter of all desires, “Kamrupni” or changer of form at will and “Avaya” or eternal. This Yantra, represented by eight red Triangles and occupying the seventh position in the order, is described as “Sarvaroghara” or curer of all diseases.
(g) The eighth Yantra which is represented by the crescent shaped central white triangles is known as “Vishvayoni” or the Womb of the Universe signifying the Karnam or the cause.Here Shakti is identified in “Shunyarpa” (Zero or void form) of the Bindhu Rupa Shiva. This Yantra is described as “ Sarvasidhiprada” or giver of all Siddhis.
(h) The ninth and the last Yantra, represented by the central Bindu, is described as “Sarvanandmaya” i.e all pervading and all blissful flaming Shiva or “Shivajyotimaya”.

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The wheel of the universe( Sansar Chakra) is thus equated with the “Mulavidya” and identified with the “Sri Chakra”.The letter established in Lakar,Sakar, Hakar, Ikar, Ekar, Rakar, and Kakar and associated with various Yantras described above, are its “Beejaksharas”(seeds) and the protecting deities, which are symbolic tattwas, are the Shivas themselves.
The central Bindu has three fold aspects. It is called “Bindu Triya”.The upper part of this focal point, represents the face of Devi and the two below it, her breasts. This is the symbolism of worship in which such anthropomorphic forms are employed by the worshippers who clearly see such images as they are carved or conceived in their minds during their worship. More abstractedly the three Bindus are compared to the Sun, Moon and the fire representing the names given to the aspects of “Para Bindu”.
While commenting upon the Yantra worship, Sir John Woodroff, (Arthur Avalon) another learned Scholar and noted Author says, “that the more experienced and correct view is that the mind is shakti, which is a particular manifestation of it. By continual and repeated practice in that Chakra after Chakra everything becomes divinized” and again hesitates that “Practice of the ritual transforms the mind itself and what is at first seen merely as an external Yantra with lines, curves and petals, becomes a pure mental state in the Sadhka himself. He too is a “Sri Yantra” and realizes himself as such.. The body of the Sadhaka is thus identified with “Sri Yantra” and its nine apertures (Naudwar) correspond to the nine chakras in the Yantra. The Human body, is as such considered like an Island of nine gems which are described to be:- Ajas, Sukra, Majja, Meda, Asti, Mamsa, Roma, Tvak and Rudhir. “The object of the worship of these chakras, as such is the realization of the one Abedabhavana of the Knower who is the one’s own self-(Swatma) or the worshipper, the knowledge and the object of the Knowledge i.e the “Sri Chakra” itself. In fact worship of sri yantra is the unification of these three-The knower of the Knowledge and the object of the knowledge.”
“This celebrated yantra”, says Sir John woodruff further, represents the human body, the whole universe and the man for what is in the former is in the latter and vice-versa as also the Shiva Shakti Swarupa or Atma. It is thus the symbol of Devi as she is in her own form (Swarupa) and as she is in the form of the universe (Vishwatma).

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According to the TANTRAJA TANTRA, there are 960 yantras which are assigned to ADYA, NITYA AND LALITA, the three Goddesses, who are known as “Tripurasundari”. Conjoined in one.
Different fruits are gained by worshipping different Yantras. Of the 960 Yantras the principal one’s are:- Sri yantra, Puja Kamal Chakra, Amritghat, Siddhavajra, Kesthavajra, Wajralinga, Merulinga, Yoni, Vajravajrak, Maha Vajra and Vajra.
Yantras are purely linear diagrams. They are drawn provisionally or permanently. When it is desired to be drawn permanently, It is inscribed on a stone or on copper or Bronze Plates that are often seen in Hindu temples, Shrines and other places of worship. Righteously, the Yantra deserves a place in every Hindu Home if one desires to be happy, prosperous and free from ailments.

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The legend of Ksheer Bhawani-Tulumulla

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Ksheer Bhawani temple situated at Tullamulla,in the Ganderbal District, is an important shrine.The temple is associated with the Hindu Goddess ,Ragyna Devi.An Annual festival is held here on Jest-Ashtami(May-Jun) when Hindus visit this place in large numbers.Pilgrims also throng on every Shukla-Paksh Ashtami(eight day of waxing moon) round the year and perform havans to please the Mother.
The historic temple of Ksheer Bhawani was built by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1912 and later renovated by Maharaja Hari singh. Surrounded by streams, the place abounds in Chinar Trees in-and-around the compound complex, within which is a Hexagonal spring, wherein the Diety of Goddess Ragyna is decorated and housed in a small White marble temple.
The legend goes that Ravana worshiped Mother Ragyna, who showered her blessings on his Kingdom. The goddess thus resided in Srilanka. Later on due to Ravanas misdeeds, the Goddess cursed him and ordered Hanumanji to take her to “Satisar”(Kashmir).A place cut off from the outside world by snow-clad Mountains.The Mother on her vehicle along with 360 Nagas, was installed at Tulumullah. Exclusively preferring Milk, sugar and all vegetarian form of offering,The Mother is worshiped by the name of “Maha Ragyna”.

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The abode of the Mata Maha Ragyna is mystic spring.This mystic is only one, and one in four of the world, where numerous Nagraj and their Ashtakul-Nag Devas reside. Sh.Ganapati, Bhimraj and Kumar reside at the door of Amrit-Kund.In the middle of Amrit-Kund, towards East resides Astanag Devas namely Vasukinag, Neel Nagraj, Takshak Nagraj,Padbnagraj, Maha Padam Nagraj etc. In the center of the Amritkund, Anant Nagraj resides which is surrounded by one thousand crore Nagas having two thousand eyes and two thousand tongues.Mata Maha Ragyna is seated on this Anant Nagraj on the one thousand petalled Rose.The temple in Amrit Kund is a divine invitation to all the devotees to see how Para-Prakrati Functions.It is vivid(intriguing) that the colour of the spring changes, serving as an oblique Omen, about what is going to happen in near future.The pink, Milky, light Green colour of the spring suggests the Auspicious Omen, and the Black, dark Red indicates the wrong and inauspicious Signals.
Tulmulla Nag, where the Mata Maha Ragyna resides, in the form of Jal-Rupi(water-form), having the form of water or Serpent has allegorical meanings.The surrounding water of Island is the Ocean of infinite life energy full of dormant potentialities Which spread unfold, expand and transport into tangible reality,The Goddess under the Canopy is the precious stone that grants all desire.
As late as 1844, People used to cross the marshes by walking over Reeds growing in the Sump.The legend has it, that the curiosity about the spring spread further, when the learned Brahmin, Sh. Govindjoo Gadoo had a vision of the Goddess, who manifested herself as a serpent.The devotee Brahmin carried a vessel of Milk, arranged a Boat, rowed through the marshes of Tulumulla and upon reaching the sacred spot to which the Serpent/Spring Goddess had led him, slowly poured out the Milk.

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Supreme Mother Ragyna is variably  “Maha Ragyna”. The word “Ragyna” means the divinity of establishing, preservation and protection of manifested world. She is the most adorable Mother, who brings forth the entire Universe. She keeps the cycle of life in the process through different tires of consciousness, known as “citta-agni-kunda-sambhuta”, which refers to the consciousness aspect. She accepts no trace of ignorance. She is the vaishnavi sprit, always in the tune with her consort adored as “thousand faced-Bhuteshwara”.
As we know the Vedas, tantras and Sutras are the rare source of knowledge of the supreme reality, which on the practical realization give true solace and eternal joy.Among the paths, suggested by the sutras for realization of the truth, sufficient importance has been laid on the path of Devotion.The sincere, clear and true devotion lies in the sense of Motherhood, which is an undeniable fact.Supreme power therefore is approached and worshiped  as mother.The mother is thus the supreme reality, supreme love,supreme beauty. Realization of this truth supreme sublime and divine as Mother is the final beautitute  of life.
Ksheer Bhawani is eulogised as the Goddess of learning and Knowledge on the mundane level and Goddess of wisdom and enlightment on the spritual level.She values education and grants blessing for various examinations to all her Devotees.It is said that all the leading saints have undergone penance “Sadhna”, in the Ksheer Bhawani complex, and got the spiritual  Bliss at this Place.

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My Gangabal Travelogue-2014

It was probably August or September 1989..I along with my friend had gone to Gulab bagh, to meet his relatives. Their house was situated just below the Mountain. My friends cousin-who at that time was working with JK Police-was a raconteur. He narrated his experiences of the journeys up in the mountains and I was glued to his narration and eloquence of story-telling. It was at that time, from him, when I first heard of Gangabal.

 

He told us about the mythical-creature-Krim, that lives in the Lake called Gangabal. “Krim pulls down any man who attempts to swim in the lake and then eats them alive”, he gesticulated and his tone reflecting sincerity. When he was speaking about the “Krim”, a picture of a water creature such as an Octopus or a squid came in front of my eyes. “Where is Gangabal?”, I asked him out of curiosity. He pointed his finger towards the Mountain situated just above his house and replied, “Beyond these Mountains”. At that very moment, I had made up my mind to visit Gangabal next year in 1990.

 

But 1990 had its own plan. It took me another 24 years before I could realize my dream. Thanks to team APMCC for doing a yeoman’s job by organizing the Yatra after a gap of more than 100 years.

 

I landed in Srinagar Airport on 31st August along with my friend Manish Zijoo. It was a bright sunny day. My friend Ravinder Koul was already there waiting for us. He drove us to Zeethyear Shrine. Vinod Pandit of APMCC had organized the stay of yatris for the night at the Dharamsala in Zeathyaer.

 

Next day, on sep.1, amidst heavy rains, 95 pilgrims, including I and my 3 friends started our journey from the shrine. We were supposed to leave by 7.00 a.m, but rains played a spoilsport, and we got delayed by 2 hours. APMCC/HGT had arranged two buses for transporting the pilgrims from Srinagar to Naranag-the base camp. The weather had cleared up by the time we reached Naranaag. The Indian Army Battalion, Rashtriya Rifles, had organized the breakfast for all the pilgrims. After having the breakfast, and the ceremonial pooja, our ascend towards Gangabal Started. The option of ascending by a horse/ pony-ride was also available. All the Horsemen and Ponywallas are the indigenous Muslim-Gurjars. They were charging 900 rupees/person.

 

Vinod Pandit had in fact advised us to hire a horse/pony up to the Lake as the climb was very steep. We hired two horses for the journey for two of my friends . The starting climb-known as Buthsher- was indeed very steep. After a few hundred meters of climb, I looked down towards the valley below. A lone cloud was running through the valley below as if in a hurry to meet its beloved, A stream ran through the cleavage of the lush green valley below, Its zig-zag course getting lost out of sight somewhere in between the tortuous valley below. The ruins of the Narannag temple was no longer visible. The imprint of the hooves of the horses on the soil kept on changing, so did the staccato made by the hooves striking the rocks.

 

I had decided to ascend the journey by foot. My friends who had started the journey with me were left behind somewhere. For most of the time during the ascend, Manish and Ashok kumar koulji remained with me as my companions. While Manish and I were going for the first time, It was second consecutive trip for Ashokji. “Mahra, when will this steep climb end? When will we reach the pinnacle?”, we pestered Ashokji, many a times. “We are almost there”, he would assure us each time.

 

The steep climb-Buthsher-is an strenuous 4 hour jouney. The path is dotted by the tall Deodar tress. The winding rocky path occasionally threw open the beautiful vistas, worth to be captured by the memory. En-route, a vast stretch of Burnt Deodar was intriguing. The nip in the air had increased and many pilgrims opted to wear extra woolens.

 

The climb ended at the only refreshment-point cum Dhaba- “Hotel Khedmat”. At this point, we ate the yellow-rice known as “Tehar”. This Tehar was provided to us by the organizers of the journey at the Zeethyaer shrine. After that, most of the pilgrims sipped the hot tea at the Dhaba. After a few hundred meters ahead of the Dhaba, the mist engulfed us, and the chill factor intensified.

 

The journey from the Dhaba to Gangbal Lake is rather gentle as compared to Buthsher . After an hour or so, a lush meadow revealed itself to us. This meadow also serves as a camp to Rashtriya Rifles. In their traditional hospitable style, they offered the pilgrim snacks and tea. After an hour or so, as we were reaching close to our destination Gangabal, another lake-Nundkul passed by us.

 

I reached the camp at around 7.30 p.m. I checked-in a camp along with Manish. I was shivering with cold. By 8.30 PM, most of the yatris had reached the camp except two groups-Who reached the camp by 11.30 p.m. At 9 p.m or so we had our dinner and immediately, we nestled under the thick Quilt to keep us warm .In our tent, There were total six quilts and six mattresses for six persons. The tent where I stayed put for two nights was shared by my three KP friends and two Non-KP’s from Ghaziabad. we all bonded well during our stay at Gangbal.

 

In the late evening, I could hear the sound of Rain. The cold was so intense, that we all opted to combine two mattresses and two quilts per two persons. One mattress was layered above the other and one quilt layered above another quilt. We snuggled under the thick quilts, thus getting some respite from the Cold and all slept like a baby.

 

Next day , 2nd September,I woke up at 6 a.m, I opened the zip of my tent and peeped outside. The mighty redoubtable Harmukh was standing in front of me.I decided to have a clear look and came out of my tent, hanging a DSLR in my neck. The Harmukh mountain was besieged by a thick blanket of perennial Glacier . A sight to behold.

 

As I was watching the Mountain, I could not forget that, It was probably, during the reign of Mir Shamas-ud-din iraqi, when, in 1519 AD,10,000 KP’s were killed during pilgrimage to Harmukh Ganga as they had gone there to immerse the ashes of 800 Kashmiri Pandits, who were massacred during Ashura, a year ago.

 

I ambled towards the lake. The sun had not yet risen. The first looks of the turquoise waters mesmerized me. Nestled in between Mountains, Its aura was reflecting beauty par excellence. Once I reached close, I could see the limpid waters. The pebbles at the base of the lake were quite visible. And the waters quite-Icy!

 

Before coming to Gangabal, I had read a bit about the lake. It was written in an article, that KP’s used to come here and do the Obligatory “Shraddh”(prayers offered to ancestors) and immerse the ashes of those who had died. Before, immersing the ashes into the lake, they used to stock the water for drinking and cooking, as immediately after immersing the ashes, the colour of the waters would change to Red, (because of some micro-organisms), thus making the waters unfit to drink or cook food in.

At around 9.00 a.m, in the freezing cold, I along with my friends Vishal, Ravi, Manish and Ashokji had a dip in the icy-cold waters of the Gangabal. A group of pilgrims later on performed the “Sharadh” of their ancestors by the bank of the Holy Lake. I meandered around the camp site and climbed down a bit to have a close look of the lake “Nand-kul”. A rivulet joins the Lake Gangabal,-which is some feet higher- to Lake Nand-kul. Both the lakes are situated at the base of the Harmukh-Mountain.

The lake is situated at around 13000 feet above sea level, thus making even an easy activity like walking somewhat difficult. It was raining intermittently from morning till afternoon. After our lunch, the rains felt incessantly till we left the Kashmir valley. Mind you, It was at that time when Kashmir valley faced its worst floods in recent times.

With the advent of the incessant rains, the activity of all the pilgrims was limited to their tents. I and my tent-mates spent most of our time discussing a wide spectrum of topics from religion to politics to caste system, Kashmir, History etc. Occasionally, one among my companions would narrate a joke and the rest would Guffaw, thus making us forget about the Rains outside.

.
The intensity of the rains ebbed somewhere in the evening-when we got some time to click Group photos-The short respite was soon overtaken by the heavy downpour all night. It was raining cats and dogs. The tents where we stayed-in, were erected on the least slanting surface available of  the Small-meadow ,near the banks of  the small stream, that connected Gangabal lake to Nandkul Lake.

 

The  Rain-proof tents proved to be of no match to the heavy incessant downpour, the water was trickling into our tent throughout the night. The water had also seeped in into our tent through the ground. The mattresses on which we were sleeping was soaked in rain-water at many places. It was rather a difficult night for all of us. We were all waiting for the Dawn.

 

Next morning 3rd Sep., It was still raining. A group of pilgrims decided to descend as they thought, it to be useless to stay put at the Gangbal. After some deliberations with other pilgrims, It was unanimously decided to climb down the Mountain ASAP. The descend of the group started somewhere around 9-10 a.m. The rain had made the journey precarious, The paths had become slippery. Tracing each other’s footsteps, all pilgrims queued towards the destination.

 

When I reached back at the only Dhaba-Hotel Khedmat- it was already over crowded. I sipped a couple of hot tea with some biscuits. The Dhaba-Owner had also prepared lentil-rice. I saw Some policemen relishing the same. The descend of the “Buthsher” started from this point. Because of the very heavy rains, The soil was being washed down the track, that lead towards Naranaag.

 

The Muddy track made the descend on this track very difficult. I lost my balance, and fell down, a couple of times, on this track, but I did not stop. I was drenched in rain, though I had worn a Raincoat. As we neared our destination, the puddles of muddy-water had transformed into an ankle-deep rivulet. The volume, roar and speed of stream below our feet increased with each turn.

 

Finally, I reached back to Naranaag at around 2.30 p.m. I had driven from “Zeethyaer” shrine to “Naranaag” by a car and I had kept some pressed- clothes in the trunk of the car. The dry-clothes gave me a lot of respite from the cold. There is a Hotel-cum-restaurant at Naranaag, just at the starting point of the journey. I and RavI ordered a cake, which we gulped along with a couple of  piping hot Kehwa.

 

By 4.30 p.m, most of the pilgrims had reached safely back to the base camp at Naranaag. The restaurant was thronged by the pilgrims and each one satiated their thirst and Hunger. It was still raining. Our journey towards the “Zeethyar” shrine started at around dusk.

 

I left Kashmir Valley on 5th sep. It was still raining incessantly.

 

The journey of Gangabal remains one of the most adventurous pilgrimage to me till date. The trek is mesmerizing. The Harmukh mountain is transfixing. And the Harmukh ganga also known as Gangabal is surreal, beautiful, mystifying and its waters ooze out spirituality.
The mythical creature “Krim” was not seen by me in the lake, but,  when I had heard about it for the first time, it had bewildered me and stirred my imagination. I still wonder whether it ever lived in the lake or not.

I missed many things last time because of the inclement weather. Therefore, I am looking forward, yet again, one more time, to undertake this yatra……

 

 

 

 

 

for pics..check the link:

https://kashmirblogs.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/gangabal-yatra-2014kashmir-some-photos/

Protests by Kashmiri Hindus

Kashmiri pandits protested at different parts of India including Jammu,Delhi,Pune,Bangalore and Jallandhar ,against the ,Resistance shown by Pak-Backed-Separatists , govt plans of resettling KP’s back in Kashmir.jagati jagati-2 jagati3 jagati4

Propaganda against Re-settlement of KP’s

Since last 25 years, it has been projected by almost all political parties, whether J&k-based or National level, like INC and BJP, that they want to re-settle KP’s back in the land of their ancestors .But never ever, has any political party acted as audaciously, as did the Modi-led NDA govt .The Home Minister of India Sh. Rajnath singh had asked Omar Abdullah in the first week of Sep 2014 to identify the land for the re-settlement of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir. But the unfortunate floods procrastinated the Plans of GOI.

Now again, just a couple of days back, The home minister of India-Mr. Rajnath singh asked the Chief Minister-Mufti mohammed syed to identify the land for the “composite re-settlement of Kashmiri Pandits”. And it looked as if the C.M nodded his head in agreement. But as expected, he U-turned on the issue of giving land for the settlement of KP’s thus showing his true colour of being a true Islamic-sikluar.

And thus started the Grand- Drama of the Pak-backed-separatists.

Yasin Malik-the leader of the JKLF faction objected to the GOI’s plan of re-settling the KP’s into the valley. He and his coterie are of this view that KP’s should be settled in their original homes with their original Muslim Neighbors. They want KP’s to live as they lived prior to 1989-90.

But, Is it possible for pundits to settle at those places,that they left out of fear in 1990!

An real life anecdote when I visited Kashmir after 24 shows totally different picture of the locality and the people that lived with us pre-1990.

I went to Rainawari, in Srinagar, Kashmir last year .I landed in Kashmir valley on 31st Aug 2014. Immediately, I opted to go to my abandoned-Home in Rainawari. The place looked so different. “Kraylar” looked so different. The lanes and sub-lanes looked Chocked because of illegal encroachment.

When, I reached Bagh jogilankar, I was surprised to find out that even the police-station, that was once situated at the entrance of the Bridge has been shifted to “Silai-center”, opposite Hari singh school.

I tried very hard to identify my old acquaintances. Though I could identify the shops, but the shopkeepers were different. I tried to look into the eyes of the shopkeepers hoping to revive something of the past. But I got blank looks from them. The strange looks made me uncomfortable and unwanted. The appalling condition of the by-lanes was beyond words. The people of the locality have illegally captured the already-narrow-bylanes.

At last, I could identify someone. It was “Magga”. He was the barber. He had trimmed my hair N times , right from the time when I was a Kid, till I grew up to an adolescent. I accosted him and introduced myself. He too looked blankly at me. He could not identify me, as he had seen me when I was a Kid. I told him about my family, my father, Grandfather, My Uncles. With each name, his eyes sparkled in joy. And then he gave me a tight Hug. A few men gathered around us. They started asking me questions about the welfare of my family, my relatives and my Hindu-neighbors. I tried to answer them to the best of my information.

I chatted with them for about 10 minutes. Then I told them that for strange reasons, all the people in Rainawari look different to me. I told them that they looked strangers to me. They listened to me patiently. An acquaintance of “Magga-Barber”, informed me that only 40 indigenous Households/ families are living in that area and rest of the families have shifted to other places in Kashmir. As, I was departing, I could hear his shout, “Even we-the leftover families sometimes feels living among aliens. KP’s did the right thing by migrating to other places.”

The same story has been repeated in many of the localities that were once dominated by the pundits. The original Muslim residents have shifted to other places. Most of the Muslims from the downtown have shifted to posh localities like Rajbagh, Barzullah, etc.

The trite rant of the separatists like Yasin Malik and Syed ali shah Geelani, on the return of Kashmiri Pandits does not hold any water. They too are aware of the fact that during last 25 years, many KM’s have shifted to the posh localities and many amongst them have bought the houses of KP’s- who had to sell their properties in distress.

If they want to re-settle KP’s into their original localities, they will have to re-settle back all the Muslims too- who were the neighbors of KP’s. But that is not possible and that will not be of any help to KP’s .As a matter of fact, The Muslim neighbors of KP’s were totally helpless in protecting their Hindu neighbors in 1990’s. Instead of protecting them, many KM neighbors corroborated with the terrorists and gave vital information about those KP’s, who were on the hit list of Terrorists, thus resulting in Death of many KP’s.

Over the years the mainstream political parties have practiced soft-secessionism. They have over the years poisoned the minds of the majority-Muslims. Separatists as well as the valley-based mainstream political parties have tacitly projected the forced-exodus of KP’s as their victory. Victory of Islam and Hegemony of Muslims. They might be saying hundreds of lies to the Government of India, but the reality is that they are constantly conveying to their vote-bank that KP’s will never be allowed to come back.

The resistance shown by Yasin Malik against the proposed “composite-resettlement” has been portrayed as “inclusive-townships” for KP’s. It has been alleged that GOI is planning to make colonies like Israel did in Palestine. The resistance towards the return of KP’s have been portrayed akin to the resistance of Palestine’s towards the Israel-settlements.

And top of that, the mainstream political parties too have shown the same resistance as did Yasin Malik and company. It is an astutely-planned-propaganda against the return of Kashmiri Pandits. All the valley based-political-parties have excluded deliberately the word “Composite” and are instead using the word “Inclusive”.

The deliberate blatant trampling of the fundamental right of KP’s will once again go unnoticed. Once again the possible return of KP’s will be thwarted. Once again the false propaganda of the Anti-Nationals will echo in the valley. Once again justice will be denied to the KP’s.

And once again,
the goddess of Justice will remain Blindfolded…

Kashmir flood 2015…some images

Police stand amidst the rubble after a hillside collapsed onto a house at Laden An ailing woman is carried on a wooden plank to a safer place from her partially submerged house after incessant rains in Srinagar cc dd n A man throws his belongings towards another to be moved to a safer place at a flooded neighbourhood after incessant rains in Srinagarsource:news agencies/Internet

HINDUS and BJP IN J&K

 

Politics has always been a game of opportunists and manipulators. It will remain so in the future too. Jammu and Kashmir too has seen its share of so-called-leaders. Mainstream leaders, who are in fact softer version of Demagogues. These leaders have always thrived on the hate-they incite on the name of Religion. The exodus of Kashmiri pundits from the valley is a classical example of the divisive politics that is rife in Kashmir.

Congress(I)-that once dominated the Indian Politics had always projected themselves as the messiah’s of Kashmiri Hindus prior to 1990.They projected themselves as the core-seculars, but remained as mere spectators when Kashmiri Hindus were forced to flee their homes. They never raised their voice in support of the KP’s, though they owe their existenance to a KP-Jawahar lal Nehru. They never remained true to their ideologies and practiced opportunist-politics instead of the Secular politics.

A core congress(i)-man, and a freedom-fighter, some years back ,when confronted by a group of non-political KP’s-who blamed congress for the Kashmir imbroglio, received a shock of their lives, when instead of answering them with logical answer, he retorted back and said, “ I can kill the whole KP community for the sake of India”. His answer not only reflected his rotten-thinking, but exposed the congress(i) attitude towards KP community. In fact it reflected the congress’s attitude towards anyone who dare to raise their opinion against them.

Then came BJP.

BJP, along with Shiv-sena and RSS supported KP’s initially in 1990.The contribution of Shiv sens was/is immense. They along with BJP gave reservations to the KP students in Maharashtra. The reservation quota was expanded to other states too in the course of time. BJP-RSS were instrumental in establishing some of the prominent KP organizations that raised the concerns of the KP community as a whole. BJP-RSS were instrumental in raising the demand of Homeland for KP’s through its affiliate organizations.

Surprisingly, today both RSS-BJP seems averse to the concept of Homeland-they once supported. They in fact have made a complete U-turn to some of their demands. It is surprising to see how they backtracked from the abrogation of article 370.Their promise of a Hindu-CM for J&K was also surreptitiously put under the carpet. Not one demand features in their CMP; that can be termed as a step of Core-Nationalists.
Instead, They have acted as an anti-Nationalist party.

Giving a ministerial-Berth to Sajjad lone is beyond the belief of any Nationalist. Just a few months back, sajjad ganie lone-The son of separatist leader Abdul ganie lone and son-in-law of former chief of terrorist organization ,JKLF Amanullah Khan- was spitting venom against India. His father-in-law is accredited with the murders of at least 70% of all the Kashmiri Hindus killed in Kashmir during late eighties and earlier nineties. His elder brother is still a senior separatist leader. How Nationalist of BJP to make him a minister!!!

Releasing a pro-pak-separatist, Masrat alam was another blunder. In 2010, 120 innocent children and youths were killed because of him. He incited the mob against the police and armed forces. The mob was incited on the name of religion and on the name of Amarnath Yatra. It was alleged that India is making a colony in Baltal(at the base of Amarnath). What did BJP do? Except projecting their helplessness! How nationalist of BJP!

Forming a govt. with PDP is a compulsion for BJP. It is a known fact that because of the lust for power, 7 BJP MLA’s of the previous govt(2008-2013) had connived with the ruling party NC. To keep the flock of 25 BJP MLA’s together, this time,they had to form a government. The dilemma is that their partner in coalition is PDP. Though it is a mainstream political party; but it is known to be more communal than NC. Although both of these valley-centric-political parties follow the policy of soft-separatism and pro-Pakistan polity.

I remember vividly, How BJP would raise the slogans like, “Jaha huwe baldan Mukherjee, wo Kashmir Humara hai”(The place where Mukherjee was martyred is ours) and “Jis mitti ko khoon se seencha, wo Kashmir hamara hai” (Kashmir-that was irrigated by our Blood, is our’s).And then I think of the present stance of BJP Govt. in J&K and nod my head in disbelief.

That is why, they could not fulfill even their two basic points, that was in their election manifesto, when BJP was known as Jan-sangh. These two points are always in their election manifesto even after 30 years. The points are:
1.Construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya.
2.Uniform civil code.
It will be only naïve to think that they will abrogate article 370 or rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir. They too are just another political party who can do anything to divide and rule. Another opportunist. Another Manipulator…..

Hairath(Shivratri)

Once Jabbar Khan, the Afgan Governor , continuing the Islamic-proselytism and hegemony,  banned the Kashmiri-Pandits from celebrating “Shiv-ratri” on the usual day(normally feb-March). KP’s believed that Rain and Snow will definitely accompany “Hearath” .To break their faith in the myth accompanying “Hearath”, He ordered that  Shivratri should be celebrated instead in June-july. Distressly, KP’s were forced to abide the tyrannical-dictum. To the surprise of everyone, though, that year, the Shivratri was observed in June-july, It snowed in the valley of Kashmir that day, and the belief of KP’s in their religion strengthened and increased manifold.

During the last 25 years-in exile, My memories of celebrating the “Hearath” or “Shivratri”(in Kashmir) have faded to an extent. But the feeling of the “Heart” in Kashmir is still fresh. The smell of the burning “Kantgun”,  the havan, cold water-soaked-walnuts. The happy faces of my family. “Hearath Kharach”. “Haare”(shells).The shrilled voices of the exciting-children of our neighborhood. The weather. Rain and snow. The fervor. ….

Shivratri normally begins from the lunar calendar of Falgun Krishan paksh-Dwadishi/Triodishi(12 or 13th day of descending moon) and  culminate on falgun-paksh-Amavasya(new-moon).

In Kashmir, My Grandfather would be pre-occupied whole day on Haerath. First with the preparations of the pooja, and then with the actual pooja. It would take him anything between 4-7 hours to go through the intricacies and religious-hymns of the festival .During the pooja, of and on, he would look down towards his right and read the shlokas from the Pooja-Book. And if anybody , accidentally, interrupted him , while he was amidst  chanting the sacred mantras, He would get agitated and would shout loudly, “ Keep quiet, Don’t you see I am chanting the Mantras.” After the pooja was over, his face would reflect a sense of  accomplishment.

Mother and Grandmother would be busy whole day, mostly in the kitchen, during the festival of “Hearath”, that would last for 3 consecutive days. On religious occasions such as “Hairath”, I recall them smearing the floors with the mixture of special-clay(gurut maicz) and cow-dung.( This is still a regular-practice in the rural-India.).There used to be a unit of 2-3  earthen-Chulhas(Stoves) in our old house. These dry-wood-fuelled Stoves would only be used on special occasions and festivals. And Shivratri definitely topped the chart of religious festivals of Kashmiri-Pandits. In new house, However, there was no “Chula”, but the floor of the room where the “stahpana” and ritual had to be performed was smeared.

Children would wait impatiently for Salaam(13th or 14th day of Falgun-Krishan Paksh). “Hearath-Kharach”-Money to be spent away-was given by the elders to the young.(This is still widely practiced).The celebrations would culminate on the Amavasya(New-moon).

Over the years, I have seen 24 “hearath’s” outside the valley. Since, I didn’t had my own house after being forced-exiled in my own country, I have changed as many as 5 houses and as many different locations. But, my elders always made it sure, as is in our traditional ritual, to leave Shiva and his consort alone in the room, where  we do staphana(invoke and arrange the Shiv-parivar in a particular manner), even when my whole family of eight was living in a small quarter of 2 rooms.

I am a link between the past and the future. I feel blessed to have seen and lived with my elders, not only in Kashmir but elsewhere also. The elders have mystically carried on the Kashmir, in their own-self. The aura of “Kashmir-ness” is visibly written over them. So are their stories of Kashmir and the unique tradition of “Hearath”.

In Kashmir, our compound comprised of two independent houses with at least 40 members. It used to abuzz with the activity and energy of not only my whole family, but our neighbors too. The “Prasaad”-in the form of walnuts was distributed amongst the in-laws of my Aunts as well as neighbors. The Muslim shopkeepers and Children would often pester us to give them our days old water-soaked-walnuts.

However, Today, most of us are scattered all over the Globe. The prasaad of walnuts are still handed over to the in-laws of our Daughters and Aunts, in case they live in the same city.Otherwise, Walnuts are couriered to the family members in  various parts of India and Globe. Almost all Pandit-neighbors of Kashmir are forgotten and seldom are walnuts sent over to them. Nonetheless, they form a part of  sweet memory of the “Shiv-ratri” that was once celebrated with zeal in the valley.

Today, I am celebrating 25th “Hairath” outside Kashmir, like most of KP’s. Preparations have already started since yesterday .Kalash, Kand, flowers, wood for havan etc is ready and the pooja will start today at around 6.00 p.m and will last till 10 or 10.30 p.m.

But for strange reasons; I am thinking about how it might have looked in Kashmir today. If I would have been in Kashmir; though still cold, the windows would have  been opened today and the fresh cold-air would rush-in and titillate  the chocked walls of the first floor. Sometimes the occasional sunshine would tease the freshly-drenched soil and its  sparkle on the quagmire would look like the shining-jewels. The passing clouds over my house would block the sunshine for a while and the wind would then merrily swing it away over the mountains…..

I do not know, how many more “Haeraths” will a KP  have to spend outside Kashmir. History is a witness to the seven exoduses of Kashmiri Pandits. It is also a witness that the “KP’s” did come back although their numbers dwindled with each exodus. I pray to Shiva, today, on “Hairath”, and ask for his “Anugrah”(Blessings) to the entire KP community..

A Muslim friend just whatsapped me that it is raining today in the plains of Kashmir and snowing in upper reaches of Kashmir. The legend of Hairath lives on.

Happy Hairath to all…

 

Protest by Kashmiri Pandits(19/01/2015)-Holocaust day

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Jammu Kashmir elections 2014, winning candidate names..

Contituency Name Leading/Winner Trailing/Runnerup
Karnah Raja Manzoor Ahmad (PDP )Winner Kifil Ur Rehman Khan (JKNC )Runner-up
Kupwara Adv. Bashir Ahmad Dar (JPC )Winner Mir Mohd Fayaz (PDP )Runner-up
Lolab Abdul Haq Khan (PDP )Winner Qaiser Jamsheed Lone (JKNC )Runner-up
Handwara Sajad Gani Lone (JPC)Winner N.A
Langate Abdul Rashid Sheikh (IND)Winner N.A
Uri Mohammad Shafi (JKNC )Winner Aijaz Ali Khan (PDP )Runner-up
Rafiabad Yawar Ahmad Mir (PDP )Winner Abdul Gani Vakil (INC )Runner-up
Sopore Abdul Rashid Dar (INC )Winner Nazir Ahmad Naikoo (PDP )Runner-up
Gurez Nazir Ahmad Khan (JKNC )Winner Faqir Mohammad Khan (INC )Runner-up
Bandipora Usman Abdul Majid (INC )Winner Nizamuddin Bhat (PDP )Runner-up
Sonawari Mohammad Akbar Lone (JKNC )Winner Yasir Reshi (PDP )Runner-up
Sangrama Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari (PDP )Winner Shuib Nabi Lone (INC )Runner-up
Baramulla Javid Hassan Baig (PDP)Winner N.A
Gulmarg Mohd. Abass Wani (PDP )Winner Ghulam Hassan Mir (JKDPN )Runner-up
Pattan Imran Raza Ansari (PDP )Winner Aga Syed Mehmood Al Mosavi (JKNC )Runner-up
Kangan Altaf Ahmad (JKNC )Winner Bashir Ahmad Mir (PDP )Runner-up
Ganderbal Ishfaq Ahmad Sheikh (JKNC )Winner Qazi Mohammad Afzal (PDP )Runner-up
Hazratbal Asiea (PDP )Winner Mohammad Syed Akhoon (JKNC )Runner-up
Zadibal Abid Hussain Ansari (PDP )Winner Peer Afaq Ahmad (JKNC )Runner-up
Idgah Mubarik Ahmad Gul (JKNC )Winner Ali Mohammad Wani (PDP )Runner-up
Khanyar Ali Mohd Sagar (JKNC )Winner Muhammad Khurshid Alam (PDP )Runner-up
Habbakadal Shamim Firdous (JKNC )Winner Moti Koul (BJP )Runner-up
Amirakadal Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari (PDP)Winner N.A
Sonawar Mohammad Ashraf Mir (PDP )Winner Omar Abdullah (JKNC )Runner-up
Batamaloo Noor Mohd Sheikh (PDP )Winner Mohd Irfan Shah (JKNC )Runner-up
Chadoora Javaid Mustafa Mir (PDP )Winner Ali Mohammad Dar (JKNC )Runner-up
Badgam Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi (JKNC )Winner Gh Mohi-Ud-Din Bhat (Muntazir) (PDP )Runner-up
Beerwah Omar Abdullah (JKNC)Winner N.A
Khansahib Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen Shah (JKPDF (S) )Winner Saif-U-Din Bhat (PDP )Runner-up
Charari Sharief Ghulam Nabi Lone (PDP )Winner Abdul Rahim Rather (JKNC )Runner-up
Tral Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Shah (PDP )Winner Mr. Mohd Ashraf Bhat (JKNC )Runner-up
Pampore Zahoor Ahmad Mir (PDP )Winner Yawar Ali Abass Masoodi (JKNC )Runner-up
Pulwama Mohd. Khalil Band (PDP )Winner Ghulam Nabi Wani (JKNC )Runner-up
Rajpora Haseeb A Drabu (PDP )Winner Ghulam Mohi-Ud-Din Mir (JKNC )Runner-up
Wachi Aijaz Ahmad Mir (PDP )Winner Showkat Hussain Ganie (JKNC )Runner-up
Shopian Mohd Yousuf Bhat (PDP )Winner Shabir Ahmad Kullay (IND )Runner-up
Noorabad Abdul Majid Padder (PDP )Winner Sakina Itoo (JKNC )Runner-up
Kulgam Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami (CPM )Winner Nazir Ahmad Laway (PDP )Runner-up
Homeshalibugh Ab. Majeed (JKNC )Winner Abdul Gaffar Sofi (PDP )Runner-up
Anantnag Mufti Mohd Sayeed (PDP)Winner N.A
Devsar Mohammad Amin Bhat (INC )Winner Mohammad Sartaj Madni (PDP )Runner-up
Dooru Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi (PDP )Winner Ghulam Ahmad Mir (INC )Runner-up
Kokernag Abdul Rahim Rather (PDP )Winner Peerzada Mohammad Syed (INC )Runner-up
Shangus Gulzar Ahmad Wani (INC)Winner N.A
Bijbehara Abdul Rehman Bhat (PDP )Winner Bashir Ahmad Shah (JKNC )Runner-up
Pahalgam Altaf Ahmad Wani (JKNC )Winner Rafi Ahmad Mir (PDP )Runner-up
Nobra Deldan Namgail (INC )Winner Tsetan Namgyal (JKNC )Runner-up
Leh Nawang Rigzin (INC )Winner Chering Dorjay (BJP )Runner-up
Kargil Asgar Ali Karbalaie (INC )Winner Anayat Ali (PDP )Runner-up
Zanskar Syed Mohammad Baqir Rizvi (IND )Winner Ghulam Raza (INC )Runner-up
Kishtwar Sunil Kumar Sharma S/O Lt Bansi Lal Sharma (BJP )Winner Sajjad Ahmed Kitchloo S/O Bashir Ahmed Kichloo (JKNC )Runner-up
Inderwal Ghulam Mohd Saroori S/O Late Saidullah Saroori (INC )Winner Tariq Hussain Keen S/O Ghulam Hussain Keen (BJP )Runner-up
Doda Shakti Raj (BJP )Winner Abdul Majid Wani (INC )Runner-up
Bhaderwah Daleep Singh (BJP )Winner Mohd Sharief Niaz (INC )Runner-up
Ramban Neelam Kumar Langeh (BJP )Winner Dr. Chaman Lal (JKNC )Runner-up
Banihal Vikar Rasool Wani (INC )Winner Bashir Ahmed Runyal (PDP )Runner-up
Gulabgarh Mumtaz Ahmed (INC )Winner Abdul Gani Malik (JKNC )Runner-up
Reasi Ajay Nanda (BJP )Winner Saraf Singh (IND )Runner-up
Gool Arnas Ajaz Ahmed Khan (INC )Winner Kuldeep Raj Dubey (BJP )Runner-up
Udhampur Pawan Kumar Gupta (IND )Winner Balwant Singh Mankotia (JKNPP )Runner-up
Chanani Dina Nath (BJP )Winner Krishan Chander (INC )Runner-up
Ramnagar Ranbir Singh Pathania (BJP )Winner Harsh Dev Singh (JKNPP )Runner-up
Bani Jewan Lal (BJP )Winner Ghulam Hyder Malik (JKNC )Runner-up
Basohli Lal Singh (BJP )Winner Davinder Singh (JKNC )Runner-up
Kathua Rajiv Jasrotia (BJP )Winner Som Raj Majotra (BSP )Runner-up
Billawar Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh (BJP )Winner Dr. Manohar Lal Sharma (INC )Runner-up
Hiranagar Kuldeep Raj (BJP )Winner Girdhari Lal Chalotra (INC )Runner-up
Samba Devinder Kumar Manyal (BJP )Winner Yash Paul Kundal (JKNPP )Runner-up
Vijaypur Chander Parkash (BJP )Winner Surjit Singh Slathia (JKNC )Runner-up
Nagrota Devender Singh Rana (JKNC )Winner Nand Kishore (BJP )Runner-up
Gandhinagar Kavinder Gupta (BJP )Winner Raman Bhalla (INC )Runner-up
Jammu East Rajesh Gupta (BJP )Winner Vikram Malhotra (INC )Runner-up
Jammu West Sat Paul Sharma (BJP )Winner Surinder Singh Shingari (INC )Runner-up
Bishnah Kamal Verma (JKNC )Winner Ashwani Kumar Sharma (BJP )Runner-up
R.S. Pura Dr. Gagan Bhagat (BJP )Winner Bushan Lal (PDP )Runner-up
Suchetgarh Sham Lal Choudhary (BJP )Winner Taranjit Singh Tony (JKNC )Runner-up
Marh Sukhnandan Kumar (BJP )Winner Ajay Kumar Sadhotra (JKNC )Runner-up
Raipur Domana Bali Bhagat (BJP )Winner Mula Ram (INC )Runner-up
Akhnoor Rajeev Sharma (BJP )Winner Sham Lal Sharma (INC )Runner-up
Chhamb Dr. Kirshan Lal (BJP )Winner Tara Chand (INC )Runner-up
Nowshera Ravinder Kumar (BJP )Winner Surinder Choudhary (PDP )Runner-up
Darhal Choudhary Zulfkar Ali (PDP )Winner Choudhary Liaqat Ali (JKNC )Runner-up
Rajouri Qamar Hussain (PDP )Winner Chowdhary Talib Husain (BJP )Runner-up
Kalakote Abdul Ghani Kohli (BJP )Winner Rachhpal Singh (JKNC )Runner-up
Surankote Ch Mohd Akram (INC )Winner Mushtaq Ahmed Shah (JKNC )Runner-up
Mendhar Javed Ahmed Rana (JKNC )Winner Mohd Mahroof Khan (PDP )Runner-up
Poonch Haveli Shah Mohd Tantray (PDP )Winner Ajaz Ahmed Jan (JKNC )Runner-up

source-elections.in

J&K ELECTION RESULTS

View vote share
Jammu & Kashmir
Result Status

Status Known For 87 out of 87 Constituencies
Party Won Leading Total
Bharatiya Janata Party 25 0 25
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 1 0 1
Indian National Congress 12 0 12
Jammu & Kashmir National Conference 15 0 15
Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party 28 0 28
Jammu & Kashmir People Conference 2 0 2
Jammu And Kashmir People Democratic Front (Secular) 1 0 1
Independent 3 0 3
Total 87 0 87
Partywise Vote Share
Please move your mouse over the chart or legend to view more details.Party {Votes%,Vote Count}BJP {23.0%,1107194}JKPDP {22.7%,109…JKN {20.8%,1000693}INC {18.0%,867883}IND {6.8%,329881}JKNPP {2.0%,95941}JPC {1.9%,93182}BSP {1.4%,67786}JKPDF {0.7%,34886}JKDPN {0.5%,26221}1/223%22.7%18%20.8%

PartyName Votes Wise(%)
BJP {23.0%,1107194} 1107194
JKPDP {22.7%,1092203} 1092203
JKN {20.8%,1000693} 1000693
INC {18.0%,867883} 867883
IND {6.8%,329881} 329881
JKNPP {2.0%,95941} 95941
JPC {1.9%,93182} 93182
BSP {1.4%,67786} 67786
JKPDF {0.7%,34886} 34886
JKDPN {0.5%,26221} 26221
CPM {0.5%,24017} 24017
AJKMP {0.1%,5087} 5087
SP {0.1%,4985} 4985
NCP {0.1%,3128} 3128
CPI {0.1%,2500} 2500
AKAKRP {0.0%,1853} 1853
JKPPAP {0.0%,1696} 1696
HJP {0.0%,1413} 1413
AIFB {0.0%,1244} 1244
RPI(A) {0.0%,1221} 1221
BMUP {0.0%,1041} 1041
RKSP {0.0%,1039} 1039
LJP {0.0%,830} 830
RAJPA {0.0%,775} 775
RPI {0.0%,765} 765
BHBP {0.0%,253} 253
AAAP {0.0%,215} 215
JKPPS {0.0%,190} 190
HKRD {0.0%,167} 167
JD(S) {0.0%,162} 162
ABHM {0.0%,137} 137
JSM(P) {0.0%,118} 118
IPCP {0.0%,73} 73
DGPP {0.0%,73} 73
NOTA {1.0%,49129} 49129

Random Pictures(Kashmir)

A man rowing a Boat in Dal Lake

A man rowing a Boat in Dal Lake

A distant view of Hari Parbhat

A distant view of Hari Parbhat

Two vegetable vendors rowing in the back waters of Dal Lake.

Two vegetable vendors rowing in the back waters of Dal Lake.

The famed clock tower of Srinagar.

The famed clock tower of Srinagar.

SPS Musuem

SPS Musuem

Confluence of a brook into a Bigger Stream.

Confluence of a brook into a Bigger Stream.

The Ordeal-Tale of a Kashmir flood Survivor

Last evening, I called on my friend Charanjeet. After a few rings, I heard his voice on the other side as he said, “Hello!” I quickly asked him , “Where are you Friend?”, He answered loudly, “ I am at the stream by my village .I have come here along with my family members, with the 8 bales of clothes, that I managed to get from my rubbled- house at Jawahar Nagar, a couple of days back. I will talk to you in the evening.” and he cut the Mobile.

He is one of the victims of the Floods, that submerged almost whole of Srinagar. Charanjeet singh hails from village Tral in Kashmir valley and was putting up at Jawahar Nagar on rent along with his wife and two Kids.

Before retiring for the bed; I could not forget what he had told me just a few days back. His experience of going through the worst floods of Kashmir is/was still engraved on his psyche. He was narrating his poignant ordeal. And I was all ears.

He bagan like this:

6th sep 2014(Sat), time 10.00a.m, Mehjoor Nagar.I had come to meet a relative of mine, as well as pay my obeisance at the Gurdwara. To my surprise, Half of the Gurdwara was under the flooded waters of river Doodhganga-that flows nearby. When I enquired about the reasons for such a large volume of water, a local shopkeeper told me, that the waters are coming from Kandgam.

Mehjoor Nagar was slowly and gradually sinking under the waters. I ran away towards my house in Jawahar Nagar for the safety. While I was rushing towards my house, a friend called me on my Mobile and informed that Padshahi bagh too is under the flood-waters.

Whole day, I was anxious and phoned several friends and relatives about their welfare as well as ,to know ,the latest status of the floods. By 7.00p.m, My relative from Mehjoor nagar, whom I had visited in the morning, came to my house for shelter as his house had come under the waters.

I was apprehensive that may be Jawahar Nagar will too get submerged.I discussed with my wife about the possibilities of leaving for “Zeethyar” as that place was at a higher level.My wife rejected my suggestion out rightly as she said, “How much water will come! May a foot or two! If we have to leave, we will leave tomorrow morning.”The logic behind the decision was acceptable as we had never heard that Jawahar Nagar has been flooded ever. Also, I have two young children, and it would have been cruel on our part to drag them with us in the late evening.

By 10.00 p.m, we all retired to our beds. I was awakened by shrilled voices in the middle of the night.I checked on my mobile. It was 12.30 a.m.I rushed towards the street. Many young men were running haphazardly in the night and were knocking at the doors of the houses in the neighborhood. I confronted one of the youngster and asked him, “what is the matter?”. In a gushed tone, he answered stentorianly, “We have been told that the flood-waters may come from the Hotel Hatrick. Be alert.” And he ran away, Screaming aloud, “jaggo, Hoshiyar(be alert)”.

I was worried. I awakened my family-members from the slumber and told them what transpired .At 1.30 a.m, I strolled towards the main road. A couple was running towards me .As they approached nearer,The man held my hand and said shockingly, “The waters have come in the town-square. There is a breach in the embankments of Jhelum. Run for your life. Alert others too.” Without wasting a second, I ran towards my double- storied-house. I knew the inevitable is going to happen now. I didn’t want to take any risk. Once upon reaching my house, I took some of our essential belongings with me and shifted along my family to the first floor.

By sunday, 6.00 a.m, waters had started entering the front yard of my house. The level remained the same till 8.00a.m. After that, the waters started to rise sharply. I shifted my family and some of the belongings to the top storey of the house.

At around 9.00a.m, one storey was completely submerged under water. The waters were coming from Rajbagh and Kursu Rajbagh. The waters were gushing and swallowing everything that came in its way. The rising waters forced me to shift to my neighbor-Abid’s house. He helped me to shift my family to his house. We entered his house through the windows .His house was a 3-storied one and mine was only 2 storied.

We were 13 people in all(4 ladies,5 gents and 4 children).Between 11.00 a.m and 12.00 noon,5 houses fell down in front of my eyes. In one of the crumbling houses, I could see at least 10 people falling down and getting Buried under the Debris. I could hear their screams but I could do nothing. Their voices were silenced forever by the might of nature. My wife and children screamed each time, they saw or heard, the houses collapsing all around us. Dr. Sushil Razdan’s house too crumbled down and at least 3 people went down with that house..

Some civil boats came and rescued their relatives. We cried and screamed for help. We were assured by them ,that they will come back for our rescue. But nobody came the whole day. As the day passed by, we could hear the sounds of the crumbling houses all around us. All the children and women were visibly terrified. The men, though were equally terrified, but they acted like bravados.

The noises, screams and sounds of falling houses finally stopped by Sunday night. We did not eat anything that Sunday. My children were hungry and thirsty. By Sunday night, the family of Dr.Tickoo-who live 20 feet away from the house where I was marooned along with my family-threw 4 chapptis towards us. I fed those rotis to my Children. The adults did not eat anything at all.

I could not sleep that night out of anxiety and fear.

On Monday morning, when others woke up, they were all visibly happy. Happy, because we had survived the night. As the day progressed, we could see some Army,NDRF and civil boats. Each time we saw a boat, we cried for Help. But It seemed as if we are nobody and nobody’s responsibility.

In the meanwhile, the family members of Dr. Tickoo sent 30-40 chapptis to us both in the morning and the evening. A rope was thrown from their house to ours. A polythene bag, filled with “rotis” , was slided across the rope, directed towards us.

Monday night too passed, though I did not wink even for a second that night, But I do remember looking up to the skies and saying these words, “God, I know Death is inevitable. But don’t kill us this way.” I was praying to God for our safety.

Tuesday morning, I was thinking that the house, where we are putting up, might also collapse. The fear of death was keeping us on our toes both physically and mentally. The frequency of boats had increased that day. I knew the boats are giving preference to the sick, old and children. I hit upon an idea .I started crying aloud as I screamed, “Help me, my daughter is sick. kindly help me.” . I had lied(God forgive me) that my elder daughter, aged 9 years is sick. But the trick worked .A civil boat came to my rescue. It was around 11.00a.m. I wanted to go with my daughter, arrange a boat and come back to the rescue of others. By my Neighbor Abid opined that he should go, as he has more connections than me, since he has lived in srinager throughout his life and I was sort of an outsider as I am from village tral.

Finally, I gave in to his pestering and logic and he went away in the Boat along with my elder daughter. He promised that he will come back by 3-4p.m. We waited and waited for his return till 10.00p.m. But he did not come.

I and my wife were apprehensive that something bad might have happened. It came to my mind that, may be, the boat has capsized. My wife was inconsolable and she fainted. It was a very tough situation for me. After lots of efforts, I revived the consciousness of my wife.

How could I sleep that night! I was aghast with fear and my helplessness. At around 12.30 a.m, the wife of Abid started screaming . She was yelling loudly , “This house is going to fall. Help me Allah!” It took some time for all of us to control and console her.

By 1.00 a.m, Finally Abid came with a Boat. And we all had a sigh of relief. I enquired about my Daughter. He told us that she is safe at her Maternal uncles’s place, who stays near the embankments of the River at Mehjoor nagar. The news was relieving for us too. The boat that Abid had brought along with him could house nearly 20 people. The boat was arranged from Rainawari. The Boatman told us that the Gurudwara at Chatti-Padshahi is safe and that we should go there for our safety. The Boat dropped us at lal-Mandi near the banks of Jhelum river.

We were told by a passerby to go to the Hotel of the politician Altaf Bukhari(PDP) across the river. we crossed over the foot-bridge(near SPS muesuem)and reached his hotel. It was jam-packed as 1500 people had already taken shelter there. Many of the people were visibly sick and needed medical attention. Childen were crying.Anyways, We slept there for some hours.

Next morning (Wed)8.00 a.m, we left that place and decided to take shelter at Zeethyar. We walked through the Bundh(embankment) and reached Jaan Bakery via Zero Bridge. We took the hilly path to reach Durganaag Mandir. Enroute, I met few acquaintances. They told me that many sikh families had taken shelter at Woodland House school and that Zeethyar is jam-packed with 3000 people. We decided to take shelter at Woodland House school as I knew some local families there.

While, we were walking towards the School, The scenes reminded me of the 1947 partition as I saw many people walking or wading with their belongings on their heads. Finally, I reached Woodland School. It too was overcrowded. Later that day, the traditional Kashmiri- “Tehar”. Was served to all. We stayed there for the Night.
woodland
Next Morning(thrusday), I set on foot for Mehjoor Nagar, to get my daughter Back. The gory scenes all around the route was horrifying and heart-wrenching. Somehow, I reached Kursu Rambagh. At least 3-4 thousand people were still stranded in that area. The river waters had cut the road connection between Kursu Rajbagh and Mehjoor Nagar. Some of the local volunteers had cut the poplar tress and made a temporary bridge between the two areas. I too crossed the newly-made poplar bridge to reach Mehjoor Nagar and soon I was at my relatives House. My relative told me that my Daughter was with her Aunt(Massi) at chanapura, and that she was healthy and safe. I was relieved. I decided to get my daughter Back once the water level recedes and returned back to the Woodland School.

I stayed that night and Friday night with a friend of mine, who has a house near Woodland School.

On Saturday morning, I and my family were given a lift by an army truck. We had to reach our village in Tral. The truck dropped us at Habbakhatun. From there we walked 3 kms and reached Panthachowk. 5-6 thousand people were waiting there or were stranded. We walked further until we got a lift from a Truck Driver from Jammu. We alighted from the Truck at Awantipura . I managed to get a taxi from Awantipura and reached my Home at Tral.

It was only after 4-5 days stay at Tral, I could manage to get back my Daughter from her Massi’s(Aunt’s) house.

I had gone to my House at Jawahar Nagar, day before yesterday. It is still filled with a lot of Mud and silt. Everything has been destroyed by the waters. Somehow, I could bundle some of the clothes for washing . The place is still far for any immediate inhabitation. But I will go back, clean up the mess and try to return to a normal life, as I used to live there, before the Deluge.

During those tough 6 days, I witnessed the fury of Nature. The “thud” and “splash” of the crumbling houses. Thrist. Hunger .Anger. The fear of losing near and dear ones, and above all, the power of Humanity. I am thankful to all those, who helped me and my family to Survive. And I thank God, who gave me the courage to start afresh with optimism and Empathy. I have learnt, Nothings matters except being Humane and Kind.

Kashmir Flood sep 2014-some images

Few Pictures were taken on 4-5th sep 2014(mentioned in those pics).Rest of the photos were taken on 13sep 2104.

zero bridge(4th sep)

zero bridge(4th sep)

Taken from the bridge near SPS Musuem on 4th sep.

Taken from the bridge near SPS Musuem on 4th sep.

hanuman mandir(sth sep)

hanuman mandir(sth sep)

IMG-20140915-WA0000 IMG-20140915-WA0002 IMG-20140915-WA0005

lal ded(13 th sep)

lal ded(13 th sep)

IMG-20140915-WA0008 IMG-20140915-WA0009 IMG-20140915-WA0010 IMG-20140915-WA0012 IMG-20140915-WA0013 IMG-20140915-WA0014 IMG-20140915-WA0015 IMG-20140915-WA0017 IMG-20140915-WA0018 IMG-20140915-WA0019 IMG-20140915-WA0022 IMG-20140915-WA0025

gangabal yatra 2014(kashmir)-some photos

_MG_5279 _MG_5422 _MG_5431 _MG_5433 _MG_5471 _MG_5515 _MG_5581 _MG_5584 _MG_5590 _MG_5646 IMG_5329 IMG_5345 IMG_5349 IMG_5370 IMG_5387 IMG_5390 IMG_5398 IMG_5403 IMG_5405 IMG_5442 IMG_5448 IMG_5468gang

Kausar Nag History and the controversy

The Protest headed by the separatists of Kashmir against Kausar nag yatra was not an impromptu agitation. It was rather deliberated upon astutely by the Separatists.And a leading Kashmir-based-English-newspaper was roped in . For example, This leading newspaper of Kashmir, few weeks back had published deliberately that instead of some 40 odd KP’s, 4000 Kashmiri hindus(more than 99% of hindus in Kashmir are Pandits) are going for the yatra. This was enough for the separatists to convey the majority population, that this yatra is a precursor for the return of KP’s into the valley.And thus an era of Hindu-Hegemony has started .( 4000 Hindus are/were going for the yatra, that too from the Reasi side of Jammu according to newspaper reports.)

30-40 odd Kashmiri Pandits(KP’s) wanted to undertake the Kausarnag yatra from Kulgam, as did their predecessors till 1989.But to their dismay, they were stopped by the local administration, even though they had taken the permission to undertake this yatra many days back. It is an irony that the DC of Kulgam backtracked from his original stand and feigned that he had not given any such order.


DC

The main and only reason for the cancellation of the yatra, was the appeasement policy of pak-sponsored-separatists and their cahoots. They alleged that KP’s never undertook this yatra and opined that the yatra will disturb the fragile ecology of the Mountain lake-Kausrnag. But strangely, they have turned a blind eye on other equally important ecological aspects of Kashmir.

The fact however has a different story to tell:

Fact is that 10,000 trees were cut and 30,000 wild lives destroyed to construct Mughal Road. Is that not destruction of ecology! Why didn’t the separatists raised their voice against that road! Or was it that, the road was connecting them to another Muslim dominated area, hence they remained silent! Why haven’t The so called Islamic zealots- turned- environmentalists ever raised their voice against the molestation of water bodies of Kashmir viz Dal Lake, Nagin Lake, Wullar Lake, Manasbal Lake and now extinct Anchaar lake.
What about the environmental hazards which other tourist places like Gulmarg, tangmarg and many other such tourist destinations have to face due to the influx of tourists both Indian and foreign. Has these bigot leaders guts to raise their voices against the influx of tourists to these places? The answer is a big No!!! Fact remains that tourism is the single largest segment which gives livelihood to lakhs of Kashmiris. Every year lakhs of Kashmiris pray to Almighty that more and more tourists should come to Kashmir. Tourists who come to Kashmir spend money like wastrels and don’t mind to loosen their wallets.

The tourists unlike the KP’s don’t call Kashmir their Homeland. But KP’s do. Since, many Kashmiri Muslims have illegally occupied the houses and properties of Kashmir, They fear that if KP’s will come back, they may have to handover those properties back to the Hindus. They are the ones who protest stridently against the coming of KP’s back into the valley. And they are the biggest supporters of the separatists.

B.T.W, Kausarnag is also known as Vishnupad or Kramasaras or kramasara.

The Separatists who are ignorant about the legend and History of Kashmir, particularly Kausarnag should read the write-up, by DR. R.K.Tamiri, that shows the significance of “Vishnupad”..

 

 Visnu Pad Legend:By Dr. R.K. Tamiri

It was in summer (July) of 1982 that I visited the enchanting high altitude lake of Konsarnag. A decade and a half later when I drifted into the field of folkloristics and history I ‘discovered’ that in my trek to this beautiful lake I had accomplished the pilgrimage to the historic Naubandhana Tirtha. Konsarnag, over 2 miles long  and located at an altitude of 12,000 ft, has been worshipped since times immemorial as Visnupad (foot of Visnu). In Nilmat Times it was called by its Sanskrit name Kramasaras or Kramsara (Kramafootstep, Saras lake). Since it is supposed to mark the footstep of Visnu, it is the main objective of the Naubandhana pilgrimage.

VisnuPad Legend: Konsarnag lake is one of the two places in Kashmir Valley that is associated with worship of ‘Visnupad’. The other shrine of ‘Visupad’ is located in the foothills of Pir Panjal at Fatehpur, in Dooru-Shahbad tehsil, not much away from Verinag (Nilkunda) Spring. Fatehpur shrine houses as per local folklore, footprints of Visnu on a stone. In the Vedic literature (Rigvedic verse I22.17) mentions three steps of Visnu. According to Sakapuni, Visnu placed his steps in a 3-fold manner, on the earth (as fire) in the atmosphere (as the lightening) and in the sky as the sun. Visnu is chiefly extolled for his three strides with which he traversed the world. The Mahabharata speaks of him as the presiding deity of motion. The Natyashastra of Bharata applies to him the epithet amitagata, one with unrestrained movement and the earth is often described as having been trodden by Visnu in the past. In the epic-purana period a few holy spots were supposed to bear the markings of the feet of Visnu, whose main attribute  is his power of striding. Scholar BM Baru explains Visnupada as an astronomical term, when the sun is on the rising point (Samarohana) and setting (Gayasiras). Stories about a hill bearing the footprints of Visnu were current in the days of Yaska. Visnusmriti mentions Visnupada alongwith Godavari, Gomati, Vipasa etc. besides Gaya. An important aspect of Gaya pilgrimage (where a person can perform his own sraddha), is visit to Visnupada temple (bearing foot-prints of Visnu). This temple existed in 4th Century AD, but the temple in its present condition belongs to Gupta period. However, Buchanan draws our attention to an inscription that says the temple was constructed by King Jayasimha (1128-49 AD) of Kashmir in honour of the footprints of deity Dattatreya (a form of Visnu). The epics refer to a Visnupada situated in the north. Mahabharat a carries as many as six references to it, three of which speak of it as a spot on the top of a northern hill. Historian Suvira Jaiswal says, “At present we cannot determine its exact location, it appears to have been in the north”. Popularity of worship of Visnupada in Kashmir is certainly due to sway of Buddhism in the region. Jaiswal argues,” the practice of dedicating the footprints of Visnu and of erecting shrines over them became popular certainly due to the Buddhist influence. It was later adopted by Vaisnavism in which Visnu’s foot was already much exalted. But it was not popular among Vaisnavas, as dearth of available evidence indicates”.

Dessication of Satisar Legend: Kashmir’s religious tradition locates on the peaks in the vicinity of Konsarnag lake the seat from which Visnu, Siva and Brahma fought the water demon Jalodbhave and dessicated Satisaras. The western most and the highest peak (15523 ft) is said to have been the site of Naubandhana tirtha. In the Kashmir version of the deluge Visnu in his Matsya (fish) avtara had bound to this peak the  Nau (ship into which Parvati/Sati had converted herself) to save the seeds of beings from destruction. Konsarnag lake lies at the foot of this peak and to the northwest of it.

Nilmat Story: As per the legend narrated by Nilmat Mahatmya, at the end of Manvantra (one of the 71 Caturyugas) all the movable/immovable creations of the earth were destroyed completely, sparing of course the mountains. The whole of Jambudvipa was effaced, the earth turned into a sea. After the destruction Lord Mahadeva stayed all around the world in the form of water. At that time, the Goddess Sati assumed the form of a boat. The future Manu, through magical power, placed all the seeds in that boat. Visnu in Matsya form dragged off that boat by means of his horn, fastened it to the top of a mountain and left for an unknown place. This mountain peak came to be called Naubandhana peak-holy and destroyer of all sins and fears. The goddess Sati in boat form becomes the earth and on that earth comes into being a lake of clear water, Satidesa, 6 Yojanas long and half of that in breadth, enjoyable, heart-enrapturing and the sporting place of the gods. Indra was sporting once on the bank of Konsarnag, accompanied and his wife Saci. Daitya Chief Sangrha, who was exceedingly difficult of being conquered came there while Indra was sporting. He was aroused by Saci and wanted to carry her away. This angered Indra. In the fight between Indra and Sangraha that lasted a year, the Daitya Chief was killed and Indra ascended to heaven. However, just before his death, Sangraha discharged his semen into the lake. A child was born in the waters out of the semen of the evil-minded Daitya Chief.As he was born in the water, the child came to be called Jalodbhava (demon-child). Due to compassion, the Nagas led by their chief Nila brought up that child in the waters. Having propitiated the God Pitamaha with penance, Jalodbhava obtained from him a triple boon, viz. immortality in the water, magical power and unparalled prowess. The Daitya chief devoured all the human beings who lived in various regions near the lake. The people fled away from Kashmir due to fear. At that time Kashyapa was on a pilgrimage of Kashmir to visit the holy spots. Nila went to meet Kashypa at a place called Kanakhala. On his visit to holy Visnupada, Nila pleaded before Kashypa,” Now that imprudent fellow (Jalodbhava) who obtained boons from Brahma of imperceptible birth, ignores me like anything and I am incapable of keeping him under control due to the boon of the lord of three worlds.” Kashypa accompanied by Nila, the Lord of Nagas reached the abode of Brahma and complain to Vasudeva, Isvara, Ananta about the activities of Jalodbhava. The God Pitamaha tells Nila, the sage of unparalleled valour, “we shall go to Naubandhan a to subdue him. Then the God Kesava (Visnu) will undoubtedly kill him”. Gods mounted their respective Vahans (vehicles), Hari on Tarksya, Hara along with his wife on bull, Brahma on Swan and the two Nagas on the cloud. They went after Jalodbhava. Kashypa went by his supernatural power. Indra heard that and, in the company of the hosts of gods, went to that place where Kesava had gone. Other smaller gods also came on their respective mounts to witness the fight. Having reached Nauban-dhana, Visnu adopted a firm position. As Jalodbhava heard the sound of the retinue of the gods, knowing himself to be imperishable in the water he did not come out. The pleased Madhusudana, having learnt that the water-demon would not come out, entered Naubhandna in the company of Gods. Rudra took position on Naubhandna peak, Hari on the southern peak, Brahma on the northern peak and the gods and the asuras following them. With gods having taken up the positions, God Janardana implored Ananta to kill the demon,” Breaking forth Himalaya today with the plough,make soon this lake devoid of water”. Ananta broke forth Himalaya with the plough.When the water of the lake was disappearnig, Jalodbhava practised magic to create darkness all around. Then the God Siva, holding the sun and the moon in his hands, brought the world to light.With the vanishing of darkness, Hari through yogic powers assumed another body and fought with the demon. There was a terrible fight between Visnu and the demon with trees and peaks of mountains.Hari cut of forcibly the head of the demon and Brahma felt pleased. Brahma, Visnu and Sambhu gave their own names to the peaks of which they had taken their positions. So the peaks came to be called Brahma, Visnu and Mahesvara. That which is Naubandhana peak is Sankara. The one on its right side is celebrated as Hari and the left one as Brahma. The Gods declared, “whoever shall see you after taking bath in the lake Kramasara shall see three of us on the mountain and will go to heaven.” As per tradition even the evil-doers are freed by seeing these peaks. Different places on the peaks are worshipped as hermitages erected by Brahma, Kashypa, Mahadeva, Ananta, the sun and the moon and Hari. Mahadeva’s hermitage is located on the spot where Visnu stood and obtained victory at that time. Hari’s hermitage is celebrated as Narsimha. After the slaying of the demon, the Sudarsana wheel, intoxicated with the blood of Jalodbhava, wandered in the deserted land and was caught by Sankara. The latter handed over the discuss to Jnarndana. The latter made his abode on the head of Jalodbhava. He erected a divine image, on which both Kesava and Siva-the destroyer of all sins-are represented. Kashyapa then declared land as habitable, holy and charming. He asked Nagas to live in the company of Pisachas. When Nila, the Naga Lord reminded sage Kasypa about war-like nature and evil-doings of Pisachas, Sage Kasypa explained to him the role of Nkumbha, the noble lord of Pischas appointed by Kubera to keep Pisachas in check. The Sage Kasyapa discussed with Nila the compromise, whereby Pischas would live for six months in the Valley. Nilmat assigns two explanations for the Valley being named as Kashmir. Kasyapa played an instrumental role in reclaiming Valley land, while Balarama took out the water through the plough-wielder. Kasypa is also called Prajapati. Both Prajapati as well as water are called Ka. Source of Vyeth (Vitasta, Jehlum, Hydspes): Veshau, the ancient Visoka, which later on turns into Vitasta, receives streams coming from the northern slope of the Pir Panjal range between Sedau and Banihal passes. Its traditional source is placed in the Kramasaras or Konsarnag. This is the third aspect of veneration for this lake. Visoka, means griefless (free from pain). Traveller GT Vigne crudely describes it as meaning as river of Visnu. Nilmat describes Visoka as Uma. Later, after worshipping Lakshmi to purify Kashmir Veshan was glorified as Visoka. The fine waterfall which is formed by the stream of Konsarnag, not far from the village of Sedau, is known as Ahrbal. In Nilmat times it was called Akhor bila, ‘the mouse-hole’. Aharbal is its present name. Abul Fazl, a minister at Emperor Akbar’s court,in his ‘The AINI Akbari’ describes Veshau as “the name of a stream which issues picturesquely from an orifice in a mountain and at the same place is a declivity down which the waters tumble from a height of 20 yards with a thundering roar”. Abul Fazl (16th century) and GT vigne (1834) have documented sanctity of Aharbal. Abul Fazl writes,” Hindu devotees throw themselves down from its summit and with utmost fortitude sacrifice their lives, in the belief that it is a means of securing their spiritual welfare”. GT Vigne says, “Arabul (Aharbal) is a place of peculiar sanctity with the Hindus and as such, is frequently visited by them, though perhaps less now than formerly, before the prosperity of the Valley was on the wane, and the precipice overhanging its flood has been upon several occasions the last resting place for the feet of the Hindu suicide.” Little is known about how Kramasaras lake came to be called Konsarnag. Since this lake is also the abode of the Naga Kaundinya, the place became famous by the name Kaundinyasara. There is strong probability that Kaun(dinya)sara over a period of time came to be called as Kons’rNag. GT vigne, however, attributes the change of nomenclature to Islamic influence. He says,” As…it is pronounced Kauser Nag it may be inferred that the Musalmans have, on account of its extent and height, given it the name of Kaunser, or Kautser, one of the rivers of paradise, whose waters, whiter than milk or more odoriferous than musk, roll into the fish-pool, a month’s journey in circumference, and by which the righteous are refreshed after passing the bridge of Al Sirat”. Interestingly, Vigne describes the lake as Kosah Nag. There is also a village named Konsarbal below  Nandimarg. The spring in this village is also called Konsarbal. Kashmiri Pandits and Gujar/Bakarwals hold the lake in great veneration. As per folklore of Kashmiris Pandits of village Avil, which forms one of the base camps for trek to Konsarnag, the lake Visnupad has its four toes (signifying 4 rivers) towards Punjab and heel towards Kashmir (one river). How such an important pilgrimage was abandoned by Kashmiri Pandits over the past few centuries remains unclear. Gujar/Bakarwals of Rajouri usually come with their flock of cattle in the last week of May, when the entire region is covered with a thick blanket of snow. They camp on the banks of the lake in stone shelters and usually slaughter a sheep. Its head is thrown into the lake and the roasted meats on stone plates is served to people. If the head sinks, only then they move ahead. There are three versions of Naubandhana Mahatmya (43, 85, 86, Stein Collection). As per Naubandhana Mahatmya, the pilgrimage used to take place on Bhadon Shuklapaksha Ekadashi. It asks the pilgrims to do Tarpan in the lake to get rid of sins. On the day of Dadshi one has to take bath at Sangam and conduct tarpan for Saints/Pityrs and offer gifts. Then pilgrims have darsana of peaks, which as per belief assure a place in heaven. Performing sraddha is considered quite good because as per mahatmya, God is present here. Journey: Naubhandana Tirtha is located in Kulgam tehsil. One can reach Konsarnag lake by either of the two routes-Avil or via Aharbal. Avil (old name, Awal) was in olden times ruled by a Kotraj (local chief), who controlled the territory from Damhal Hanjipora to Aharbal. Discovery of ancient pottery, pitchers, pestels etc in the area indicates that the region had human settlement from very early times. As per local lore, the flourishing town of Awal vanished following a devastating earthquake. An old Persian inscription on a grave reveals that Shah Behram ruled Awal during late medieval period. Prior to migration, the village had 25 Pandit families. Except for one family all are Rainas. The grandfather of Mansa Ram Raina, who hailed from Rainawari, had come to Avil during later half of Afghan rule. Sahaz Ram Raina, who lived in 19th century was a an ascetic of great merit. There is a small spring named Thaal Nagin in Avil’s Pandit mohalla. During old times, as per a legendary account, plates (Thalis) would come out of spring whenever any request was made. The water of Thalnagin is ice-cold in summer and warm in winter. Avil to Konsarnag: A gradual ascent through a forest for over an hour leads to Naribal, the last inhabited village, where Gujjars live. The village is also called Naribal Nagin due to the presence of a small spring. Water collected here is then resupplied to Avil village by PHE department. After climbing some distance one reaches AalascharMar. Pilgrims/Trekkers do not take rest here. It is said if a person stops here he won’t be able to go ahead then. People while passing through this place usually deposit a stick or a wooden piece for safe journey onwards. While descending down from Alachmar to the other side there are two tracks. The track on the right side leads to Chirun Bul. The elevated plain is called Astan Marg. The encounter between Sikhs and Pathans took place here in 1819. The Chirunbul meadow is one km. long. Kashmiri shepherds are seen here. After walking some distance, Chirunbul nullah  (Vigne’s Shurji-Murg river) is crossed on a seasonal log bridge. Gradual ascent for 3 kms through forests leads to Manzipal (Henna stone). There used to be a seasonal watermill and a shop, run by a Pandit family. There are two big memorial stones here-Danyagon (Paddy heap) and Makaigon (Maize heap). Locals as usual attribute these stones to Pandavs. There is also a small spring here named Pari Nagin, the fairy spring. Locals do not venture to visit this area in late evenings and claim that fairies descend to sing in late hours. It is an uphill journey for another two hours through the forest to reach an alpine sloppy meadow called Lahanpathri. Lot of Kashmiri shepherds are seen here in summer months. One can stay for the night at Lahanpathri and avail the hospitality of shepherds or return to Manzipal base camp. Indersar : Indersar lake is 2 kms  from Lahanpathri. God Indra who figures in Konsarnag mythology is associated with this lake. Unlike Ksirsar and Brahmsar, this lake finds no mention in Nilmat or Naubandhana mahatmya. Lake is circular in shape, about 1 km in circumference. Since the mountain peaks are little away, pilgrims can easily do circumambulation of the lake. Lake water is warm as sunlight falls regularly on this lake. How the water from Indersar escapes is not known. Apparently there is no outlet. From Indersar one has to come back to Lahanpathri and then gradually descend through a tree-less area. Chittinadi, coming from Ksirsar lake is crossed over a logbridge and at times one can simply wade through the gushing stream. After crossing Chittinadi, there is gradual ascent along the base of the peaks to Ksirsar. The distance is over 4 kms.

Ksirsar: Ksirsar is spread over thirty kanals. Though circular in shape, it has numerous podia-like elongations. The lake has a clear outlet for water. Its water is milky-white. Since the peaks are too close, no circumambulation of the lake is possible. It is said that there is a big memorial stone of cow. Water oozing out from the glaciers on the peaks falls on the cow and then comes out through teats into the lake. The lake has a clear outlet for its waters. Ksirsar finds mention in Nilmat and Naubhandana mahatmya. The latter describes Ksirsar as resembling a full-moon of Purnima, with its water looking like Ksir. It refers to Upmanu’s asrama here. As per Naubhandna Mahatmya, the lake was created by Sankara himself and one reaches Shivlok by taking bath in it. Nilmat says,” one attains heaven and saves one’s family by seeing the sacrificial place of Brahma there. By seeing there the beautiful Ksirsara, one is released from sins. By bathing on the dark 14th after reaching the source of the Samara (? Chittinadi), one is freed from all the sins and is honoured in the world of Rudra”. Naubhandana Mahtmaya says Upmanu’s asrama is situated in the forest around Ksirsar. Bath in Brahmsar lake, as per Naubhandna mahatmya, has the merit of getting access to Brahmlok. For Brahmsar lake base camp is Hakwas. It can be approached from Lahanpather, Manzipal or Chiryun Bal. The route to Hakwas from Lahanpather and Manzipal is through a dense forest called Hapatnar. It is 4 hours easy journey from Lahanpathri to Hakwas.Frmo Avil to Hakwas it is 17 kms. Hakwas is a big meadow, almost equalling lovely meadow of Kongwattan.  Above Hakwas is another meadow, known to the people of the area as Gokul Marg, the meadow of Lord Krishna. A nullah hakwas nullah’ flows around Hakwas.

Brahmsar: While going from Chiryunbal to Hakwas, a bridge is crossed near Hera (upper) Chiryun bal. Then one has to climb gradually a distance of 8 kms (3 hrs), at places over old snow, to reach Brahmsar Lake. Kashmiri shepherds have their camps here in summer. Peaks are quite close to the lake. with little sunshine falling on it. Lake is covered on three sides and its water looks black due to the shadow of the peaks falling on it. Ice-flakes are also seen floating on the lake. The lake has a fearful look. Since the peaks are too close, there is strong echo. People get a feel of hearing ‘heavenly’ sounds. These sounds are attributed to aboriginal prehistoric people-Nagas, Pisachas and Kinnaras. The water of the lake comes out through a regular outlet. Pilgrims desirous of taking bath do not venture to go into the lake. They take out water for bath from the lake at its outlet. Brahmsar lake is spread over 15 kanals. The path from Brahmsar to Konsarnag is via Ksirsar and Indersar and is quite tough. It takes two hours. Only shepherds and Bakarwals take this route. Brahmsar stream is the first to join Hakwas nullah. At this spot is a bridge. Then the latter is joined first by Ksirsar nullah and later Indersar stream near Hera Chiryunbal. Subsequently, the Kaundinya stream (Konsarnag stream) joins it at Sangam. After this, a small stream coming from Ramkansan (opposite to Kongwattan, joins it and it becomes Veshav (ancient Visoka). Near Ramkansan is a sandy meadow, Sekijan , where Galwans are seen camping. The place where Kaundinya stream is joined by other streams is called Dhaumysrama. As per Nilmat taking bath here is equal to performing Rajasuya, and Vajpeya, the merit of giving one thousand cows. Just below the sangam, as per Naubhandna mahatmya is a fearful spring called Gambhir spring, right in the middle of the stream. To propaliate it, ‘Prasad’ of stream water is prepared. Kaundinya stream is formed by the confluence of two streams, one coming from the lake (though no visible outlet is seen) and the second as per Naubhandana Mahtmaya, Kumaradara Mool Waters. It is a sacred stream and the merit of taking bath here is equal to performing Pundarika. Bath in Chittinadi of Ksirsar gives the merit (gift of) a hundred cows. Mandakini stream mentioned in Nilmat in the vicinity of Konsarnag Lake has not been identified. Veshav means devoid of pain or griefless. Nilmat (versa 1329) says, “A man becomes devoid of grief and possessed of wealth, by taking bath in the Visoka and obtains the holy mefit of (performing) Devasattra”. Aharbal to Konsarnag: It is 48 kms by road from Srinagar to Shopian and then another 13 kms to Aharbal. The latter is 28 kms  from Kulgam. Avil, Damhal Hanjipora, and Manzgam are better-known villages on Shopian-Aharbal route. As already described Avil forms base camp for trek to Brahmsar, Indersar and Ksirsar lakes. There is a well-known Ganesh asthapan, named Mahabal on right bank where Danavkandi Marg nullah joins Veshau. Kashmiri Pandits of the neighbouring villages used to take turmeric-laced rice on Navreh the new year day of Kashmiri Pandits. Archeological remains seen here point towards the antiquity of the place. At Ahrabal, the river Veshau falls some 25 ft over a precipice. Vigne who visited the place in December 1834 while on way to Konsarnag writes, “In spring the rush of the water is tremendous; but the beauty of the place is not owing to its volume or the height of its fall, which does not exceed 25 feet, but to its dark, deep and precipitous sides, the thick pine forest that surrounds it and the relief that is afforded by the snows of the Pir Panjal, that rise majestically behind it.” CMs school teacher Nand Lal Bakaya, who became a legend in his lifetime for extraordinary skills in adventourous trekking, writes about Aharbal fall: “(it) is a wonderful sight, especially in the morning or at noon when the rays of the sun breaking on the spray form rainbows. The fall is best seen from the right bank”. Ahrabal to Kongawatan: The path to Kongwatan passes through forests on the right bank of river Veshau. Guruatan is 1 km away from Aharbal Galwans are seen roaming around. A bridge has to be crossed at Guruwatan for onward journey. A track here leads to Hurapur, Sedau. On the right bank of Veshau is seen a huge stone, named Pandav dul. It looks as if a big pestel has been turned upside down. Its inner side is polished. After another 4 kms we reach Sangam, where Hakwas nullah alongwith streams from other lakes joins Kaundinya stream. At Sangam the left track leads to Kongwatan, while the right road goes to Ramakansan/Sekijan. A minihydroelectric station is coming up near Sangam at a place called Chori Kholu.  A wooden bridge has to be crossed at Sangam on way to Kongwatan. A leisurely walk for another 4 kms (1« hr) takes one to Kongwatan.

Kongwatan to Konsarnag :Kongwatan is one of the finest meadows surrounded by pines and firs. Mr Ghulam Nabi Gohar has immortalized this meadow, in his Kashmiri novel. There is a small Forest Rest House here. From Kongwatan we come to a place called Adangi while walking along the right bank of Veshau. A 4-km leisurely walk takes to Mahinag. There is a small spring here. It is believed that water of Konsarnag oozes out at Mahinag.  Mahinag spring, spread over half a kanal, is circular in outline and has no old masonary. There used to be an old forest hut here. It was damaged by heavy snowfall and does not exist any longer. A dangerous glacier bridge has to be crossed some distance away. After crossing the bouldered bed of a river one reaches Satpukhrin. Seven small nullahas are seen here. Then there is ascent of 1000 ft to reach the pass overlooking the Konsarnag lake. Similar height is to be descended down to reach the lake. The journey takes 5 to 6 hours. Across the lake is a beautiful pass, called by Bakarwals as Konsargali. In Vigne’s time it was known by the name of Futi Panjal or the Ridge of victory. On the left the pass leads to Rajouri and Budhal via Ropri pass, while the right track goes to Gool and Riasi via Nalla Shergadi. It is just 4 hurs trek to Gool from Konsarnag. This pass remains snow bound even as late as early August.

Vigne’s account:

Vigue visited Konsarnag in the beginning of December.Snow which had fallen a month before the usual time had disappeared under the rays of sun. About the exit of lake waters Vigne writes,”…on its left bank…its full strong torrent is suddenly seen gushing out from the foot of the last and lofty eminence that forms the dam on the western end of the lake, whose waters thus find an exit, not over but through the rocky barrier with which it is surrounded”. Locals believe Konsarnag to be the origin of Thanna and Rajawur river also. Height of the lake is 12,000 ft. When the water in lake is low (as in December) it does not exceed 3/4ths of a mile, while its breadth is 500 to 600 yards. The position of the lake is same as that of the Valley, north-west and south-east. The peaks which are on the eastern side care called the Koserin Kutur and are the highest in the Pir Panjal. The peaks are remarkably pointed, sides are bare and scarped. About the formation of the lake Valley, Vigne says,”…to all appearance the Valley of the lake has been formed by the forcible separation of the mountain-top. Judging from the angle at which they enter the lake, the bottom must originally have been about 200 feet in depth below the present level of water”. As per Vigne Bernier’s description of the great lake ejecting fine sands possibly refers to Konsarnag. Bernier says that icebergs are driven by the wind in the spring. When vigne visited it a thin sheet of ice had covered the lake in particular places. He says that the mountain-gusts may sometimes be rushing through the gully at the southern end of the lake, and sweep across its surface with terrific violence. Vigne also recounts the local lore about this mountain tarn. At the western end the trap-rock descends to the water in a succession of steps or benches. The three steps are claimed to be those of Raja, Vizier and his Sardars. About the veneration of local Hindus for this lake, vigne says that they occasionally pay a visit for the purpose of ablution. A local Pandit who accompanied him used to visit the lake annually for performing his ablutions. Vigne refers to an incident in which a young man was confronted by a demon/deyu while he was standing on a rock, a short distance from the rock. The demon was not allowing the young man to move. As the latter was encouraged to move, the demon “seized” and drowned him.

Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin’s visit: Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin, the benevolent monarch of Kashmir visited Konsarnag lake in 1463 AD. He was so fascinated by the lake that he constructed its replica ‘Zainasara’ within Pampore, so that every Kashmiri could have a feel of what great wonder was Konsarnag lake. Budshah (the Great King), as Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin was called by Kashmiris, visited the lake in the company of Srivara, the chronicler and Sinha bhatta and was accompanied by his two sons, Haji and Behram. In Budshah’s time Naubandhana pilgrimage was quite popular. Srivara has given graphic description of King’s visit. It took them three days to reach the lake. First he went to Vijayeswara (Bijbehara) and watched enthralling dramatic performance, to which neigthbouring chieftains too had been invited. From Vijayeswara the Sultan went on foot. Srivara recorded the visit of Budshah for posterity in these words: The Sultan possessing charming devotion on seeing the Konsarnag stamped with the image of the foot of Lord Visnu derived untold bliss by making an obeisance at the foot of Naubandhana mountain (verse 96). Having observed non-stop and plentiful streams coming down the mountain with a darkish hue of musk coloured flowers afforded immense pleasure to the tallest Sultan (likening it) to the body of Hari (Visnu) dressed as a Yogi (verse 98). The Sultan boarded a boat, lined by five boatmen and taking me (Srivara) and Sinha Bhatta, roamed in the deeps of the lake. I (Srivara) recited songs from Gita-Govinda to him and Sultan derived great aesthetic pleasure from it. While roaming in the lake, it began to snow. The Sultan made three rounds around the lake. Sultan after strolls in the lake tied his boat there true to old tradition. King kept remembering the ‘ever-young’ Konsarnag lake upto Kumara. (The author is well known researcher on Kashmir Culture and history. He has authorred painting and  theatre in Kashmir Suraj Tickoo’s Journey)

 

 

 

please check the video for details of Kausarnag/vishnupad

From Kalhans Rajatarangini, The Translator M.A.Stein, in the chapter-Ancient Geography of Kashmir-section-2(the pir panjal range) has written as follows about Kausarnag:

Proceeding westward from Banhal we come to a group of three snowy peaks reaching above 15000 feet.With their bold Pyramidal summits they form conspicuous objects in the panorama of the range as seen from the valley.Kashmir tradition locates on them the seats from which Vishnu, Siva and Brahman according to the legend already related, fought jalodbhava and desiccated the satisaras.The westernmost and the highest of these peaks(15523 feet) forms the famous NAUBANDHA Tirtha.According to the legend related in the Nilmata and other texts and connected with the Indian deluge story, Vishnu in his fish Avatara had bound to this peak the ship(nau) into which Durga had converted herself to save the seeds of the beings from destruction.At the foot of this peak and to the north-west of it, lies a mountain lake over two miles long, known now as kausarnag, the Kramasaras or Kramasara of the Nilmat and Mahatmayas.It is supposed to mark a footstep(krama) of Vishnu and is the proper object of Naubandhana pilgrimage..

Amarnath And The Unctuous Muslim

Time and again, the religious fanatics-who oppose the presence of Hindus in Kashmir-are ingeniously devising new ways to create ruckus and stall Amarnath Yatra on one pretext or the other. It is these fanatics and their supporters who give a religious colour to everything and incite hatred among the majority of the population. The Amarnath agitation of 2008 and 2010 were the results of such devious- conspiracy.

These fanatics and their supporters were responsible for the commotion at Baltal ,just a couple of days back, that resulted in communal conflagration literally and practically. Their sinister planning paid-off and the Yatra was suspended from Baltal-The hotspot where all this action took place-for a day or so.

The real reason, it seems is the control of Business both at Baltal as well as well as Domail. Many Langars(community kitchens, that serve free food to the yatris) are operated upon by the people, who live outside the valley. These volunteers come every year from different parts of the country to serve the devotees free of cost.

The locals (ponywalla, tentwallah etc.) earn at least 80% of their yearly income from this yatra, but still, Some local businessmen, with a certain anti-India ideology, envy them, as they think that can make ten times the money, that they usually earn during the yatra, if somehow the free-langars are not allowed to operate.

It has been a diabolical plan of Pakistani-backed-separatists since 1990 to stall the yatra . Often they give this yatra an anti-Islam colour and incite the majority to oppose this yatra both tacitly as well as blatantly, on the name of Islam. Every year the separatists claim that India is secretly building a township at Baltal and that they are following the policy of Israel. On the contrary, It is these very Pakistan-backed-separatists, who changed the demography of Kashmir by ousting the indigenous Kashmiri Hindus from Kashmir. Their bigotry and double standard is condemnable beyond words.

This dichotomous-sadistic-selective-self-portraying by the religious fanatics is both deplorable as well as sympathizing. Deplorable-because of their double standards and their role in selective projecting of Islam viz-a-viz different countries. Sympathizing-because on their part of acting like Philistines.

Did I say Philistine.( Or should I have said Palestine.)

These days ,Kashmiri Muslims are protesting against Israel too and are supporting Palestine, since majority of Palestine’s are Muslims. And thus they feel a sense of oneness with them. It is not that they always support their co-religionists. Their are few examples that has time and again exposed their moral- duplicity and selective portraying of being a Victim.
Here are few examples:

On Bangladesh
The Muslims of India, particularly Kashmiri Muslims never protested against Pakistan’s role in 1971 Bangladesh liberation war, when at least 2 million Bangladeshis were murdered by the Pakistani army and thousands of Bangla-women were raped(at least 80% of the victims were Muslims). They have maintained a conspicuous silence over the persecution and killings of Shia’s in Pakistan as well.

on Syria
The Muslim world has turned a blind eye towards Syria. Tens of thousands of Syrians are languishing in tents and are waiting to return to their roots with dignity. The jordanese and other Arab nationals are exploiting them to the hilt and have lecherous intentions towards their womenfolk. Why are the Muslims of India, Particularly Kashmiri Muslims(KM’s) silent over this issue!

On Darfur
What about Darfur? Shouldn’t the violence be condemned even though the atrocities are committed by the co-religionists. Isn’t it a shame that in Darfur(sudan), the apartheid has invoked the demons among the two different communities of the same religion. And that religion happens to be Islam.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_in_Darfur

On Iraq
The deafening silence over the cold-blooded murder of Shia’s is deplorable. But since the perpetrators happen to be from the sunni-community, Hence the Indian Muslims particularly K.M’s have turned a blind eye towards the atrocities of ISIS ,  and look at Iraq-issue  through their religious Bifocals. Not only the religious atrocities on shia’s hasn’t been criticized by the Muslims of India, They are in fact supporting the rise of Sunni-hegemony. The demonstrations in support of ISIS in Kashmir is a proof of such decadent mentality.

On china’s part
Though many a times, I have come across KM’s on facebook who openly support China(as it happens to be Pakistan’s biggest ally).Some of them(KM’s) prefer to accede to China over India, if given a chance. In India, Muslims have the full right to practice their religion and observe fasts(roza).But these self-styled-zealots have maintained a stoic silence , knowing well that Chinese government has ordered a ban on Roza(fasts).Any Uyghurs-the muslims of China-found observing Roza will be persecuted. Had it happened in India, the whole of Muslim community would have come on the streets to protest. But since China happens to be the biggest supporter of Pakistan, Hence they act as if Uyghurs don’t exist at all.

It is not surprising, the way , the Muslim-fundamentalists have been acting during the Amarnath Yatra since 1990. Though the demagogues backed by Pakistan have been showing a rosy picture of Caliphate(united Muslim world) to K.M’s, but they deliberately withhold the information from the Gullible public about the duplicity of the countries whom they adore like Pakistan or Saudi-Arabia. Pakistan has never ever condemned the atrocities of the uygur -Muslims by communist china. And should I have to remind the Muslims of India and Pakistan that they can only be the helots in Saudi Arabia, but never will they get the citizenship, however much, They may act or dress like the saudi’s.

What ever is happening between Palestine and Israel is sad and the acts of violence should be condemned. But it should not be selective as in the case of Palestine. The incidents in Iraq, Darfur, China, Afghanistan, Syria or Bangladesh should also be condemned. I have doubts that these unctuous- Pakistani-puppets will never shun Bigotry and double-standards. And they will find excuses to stall Amarnath yatra yet again, not only this year but, also, through the years to come….

When the trouble-makers of Kashmir remind the general public about the arbitrary-intentions of India to replicate the Israel model, They should have the guts to face their own conscience and tell the same public about reasons of the conspicuous-absence of Kashmiri pundits from the valley as well….

Re-settlement of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir

With- Narendra bhai Modi-becoming the Prime Minister of India, suddenly Kashmiri Pandit’s hopes to re-claim their Homeland has risen sharply. The optimism shown by the BJP’s leadership to rehabilitate KP’s in the valley with full honor and dignity, has opened a new chapter for the exiled community. The possible return to their land looks realistic for the first time. KP’s unanimously welcome this decision. After almost 25 years, suddenly the smell of their land has intensified their urge to go back to their roots. The tall Mountains of the valley, it seems are beckoning the KP’s to come back. The echoes of their vibrant past are still resonating in the womb of the valley. So are the memories of the gory incidents that made way for their forced-exodus.

Kashmiri Pandits did not left the valley because of better future viz-a-viz professional career or better Business opportunities, but out of the fear of Death that came in the form of the bullets from the guns of Terrorists. They left the valley to safeguard the honor and dignity of their women-folk. They left because the then Chief-Minister of J&k- Mr.Farooq Abdullah abdicated his duties and gave a free hand to the Pakistani-backed Militants. And most of the KP’s who left in early 1990 had never thought that they won’t be able to come back even after 24 years!

It has been a total failure on the part of congress(i), National conference and PDP to rehabilitate KP’s back to the land of their ancestors. Because KP’s don’t form a substantial vote-bank does not mean that the Kashmir-centric political parties keep on exploiting KP’s just to keep their vote bank happy.

It is an irony that in spite of a population of more than 4 lakh(estimate population of KP’s is between 4-7lakh) their vote-power can not assure even a single Legislative assembly seat. Such is the deliberate design of the assembly and lok sabha constituencies in J&K. The population of the Ladakh region is less than the population of KP’s but still one M.P(Member of parliament) seat is assured from that area.

Few days back , a news appeared in some newspapers that the GOI is mulling of settling KP’s in three townships (in Anantnag, Srinagar and baramullah). The intended tri-colonies will only trifurcate the community. The infamous 7 exoduses of Kashmir should be taken into consideration before any decision on the return and rehabilitation is considered. The leaders of the community should be heard. The leaders who have any affiliation to the valley-centric political parties should be ignored as they will only push the agenda of their respective parties. Even the leaders affiliated to congress(i) should be given a cold-shoulder as none of the kashmiri pundits support them, and a majority of the KP’s feel cheated by this party.

If the news of the return is true, then May I ask with all the humility that Why should KP’s be settled in 3 townships instead of a single concentrated township. The strength and confidence of KP’s will increase tremendously if they are re-settled in a single township, instead of three. Only those who oppose covertly  the return of KP’s into the valley are suggesting with the quixotic plans, and using flowery phrases like Kashmiriyat.

With the so-called-kashmiriyat becoming a cliché, a bedizen, KP no longer believe in this adjective/synonym for secularism. The demagogues of Kashmir know it too well that the actions of 1990 by terrorists and an eerie silence by the majority at that time, will not let KP’s return and live in the valley, as they once used to. Hence the trite Kashmiriyat is repeated by the politicians of Kashmir just to discourage the pundits to re-claim their lost lands and usurp their lands and properties. To counter this, Again, there is one solution. Rehabilitate all KP’s in one area.

Time has proved that the valley based political parties have used “Religion” as a tool to polarize the Kashmiri-Society. With Muslims forming the majority of the population, they will repeat the time-tested policy of marginalizing the pundits in every possible way. This invidious distinction between the two communities have been executed by the Political parties/Monarchs of Kashmir both tacitly as well as blatantly, depending upon the time since last 8-9 hundred years. The 7 exoduses of the kashmiri pundits are the result of such policies that were followed by the ruling class of Kashmir, as KP’s were bereft of any political power. Political empowerment of KP’s is the solution to arrest such happenings in future.

The last exodus(1990-till date) should hopefully be the last one for the KP’s. Just to be sure, that history of their exodus is not repeated, they need to be re-settled at one place and given political power as well. Let GOI too follow an old adage – “united we stand, divided we fall”. Let them make KP’s united forever in the land of their ancestors-Kashmir. Instead of dividing KP’s, Let GOI give our community a collective voice. And a secured future.

Kashmiri Pandits protest at Srinagar(04/06/2014)

 

 

Kashmiri Pandits protested at Srinagar after a gap of more than 24 years.The event was organised jointly by APMCC and KPSS. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

The Modi-fans…..

Prakash-The chaiwala from jhunjhunu-delivers tea at my office at sharp 10.30 a.m and 3.30 p.m. All the offices in our compound prefer to drink the tea made by Praksh. He is an ardent “Modi”-fan. Since last 2 months or so, he has been ostentatiously wearing a T-shirst, that has a photo of “Modi” and it reads “Ab ki Bar, Modi Sarkaar”. He has even changed the name of his shop to “Namo Tea stall”. Some days back I asked him, “doesn’t your open support to Modi, offend some of your customers, who support some other political parties?” His replied back zealously, “Hum to aise hi hain, jisko peena hoga wo peeyaga, jisko mera Modi-samarthak hona aacha nahi lagta, wo kahi aur piye.Deena wala to Bagwaan hai.(I am like this, if somebody is offended by my Modi-love, let him drink somewhere else. It is the God who is the universal giver.)”

Vikas-my friend from Varanasi told me over phone that Ajay rai-the congress candidate and Arvind Kejriwal-The AAP convener are actually fighting for the 2nd and 3rd position. He also emphasized that “Modi” will win by at least a margin of 2lakh votes. ”The crowds are absolutely loving Modiji, we(locals) have taken the Modi-elections very personally. The Benarasis are identifying themselves with Modiji. Modi’s win will be Varanasi’s win. It will be our win” said he in a confident tone.

His statement can be ascertained by the fact that colossal crowds, unheard before , followed “Modiji” everywhere in Varanasi. His opponents are left wonder-struck and they are gaping in surprise since “Modiji’s” first road-show on 24th April 14.His opponents have lost the elections mentally whilst the voting will be held after a few days on 12 May 14.

“The support given to Arvind Kejriwal by JD(U) and its ally CPI has once again exposed the communist support towards their co-ideologue AAP. The metamorphosis of Arvind Kejriwal from a known atheist to a Theist was just a tactics to garner Hindu-votes” said my friend vikas irritatingly. He further said, ”On Modi’s Yesterday(8/05/14) Road show, Kejriwal tweeted that , “No one needs any permission from the EC to perform rituals. Permission is required only for political activities. It seems Modi was aiming for electoral gains through aarti,”-what a joke!!! These words sound so funny, considering that Kejriwal is the official “Dramabaaz” of Indian politics. It is a well known fact that in the past, he even managed “self-attacks” and “self-slaps”, just to get Public sympathy.  said infuriated vikas.

I do call up my friends and acquaintances, in Varanasi since the day I heard that Modiji is contesting from Varanasi. The mood there is ebullientally “Modi-fied”. It seems that he will get more votes in Varanasi than in Vadodra. In vadodra the main opposition is congress and the main contestant fighting against Modi there is/was “Madhusudan Mistry”. However the results in both Varanasi and Vadodra will go in favour of Modi-for sure, irrespective of the fact that congress tried every trick in their sleeve to halt the Modi-juggernaut .

In Varanasi,The support given by the known inveterate criminal-Mukhtar Ansari-to Congress candidate is perfidious. It is more than foible on the part of congress to actually accept the support. This treacherous liaising speaks volumes about the decadent politics, congress has indulged into, just to stop “Modi. But the wishes of billions of Indians will make it sure that “Modiji” wins against all odds.

Prakash-our chaiwala-has announced that on 16th May, he will be offering free tea to everyone, as he is sure, like most of us that BJP will achieve an over-whelming victory over its rivals. In our office-compound, everyone has voted for “Modi”. So confident are my colleagues of “Modi’s” win, that they have already stocked crackers worth ten thousand rupees for the celebrations to be held on 16th may 2014. “This time we will celebrate Diwali on 16 may , that too in a broad daylight. we will express our joy with bursting crackers, and exchanging sweets.” said Sachin, my friend , who has a office in the same compound.

Though 16 may is a working day, but I am sure that most of the Indians will be glued to T.V. Everyone is anxiously waiting for that red letter day when the aspirations of billion Indias will come true. The day when “Narendra bhai Modi” will be officially declared, the prime minister of India. I have my fingers crossed….

A kashmiri-Pandits view on BJP,Congress, AAP and MODI

ON BJP AND CONGRESS

“Narendra Bhai Modi”, or simply “Modi”-as he is referred all over India- has captivated the attention of entire India, in a way that many of us had never seen before. And Kashmiri-Pandits are no exception. KP’s have been known to support “BJP”, since their forced exodus from the valley of Kashmir. KP’s unanimously (except some anomalous groups-who follow their own personal agenda) are of this view that it was “BJP” and its allies, that stood behind them, at that time when they were at the nadir of their existence as a community. Also most of the KP’s believe that the “Gandhi’s” ditched them. “AAP” does not even exist for the community of KP’s.

The KP community were the staunch supporters of the “Congress-I”. Prior to 1990, The “Jan-sangh” and other “Hindu-centric” political parties could not make much impact on the “KP” community as a whole, because KP’s considered “Nehru-Gandhi” family as their own, an extension of their families. When Sh. Jawahar lal Nehru” died, many KP men and women were seen mourning his death. En-Masse, many women came on the streets of Kashmir , many of them were seen beating their chests in grief and mourning loudly in Kashmiri, “Kothiy gav sone Jawahar-lal( where has our own jawahar lal gone!) amidst tears.

Indira Gandhi too was adored by the KP-Community. I know for sure that She was in touch with many Kashmiri pundits through letters, and was abreast with the actual-happenings of Kashmir. Her death too was condoled deeply by the community of Kashmiri-Pandits.

In 1990, Kashmiri Pandits soon realized after their exodus that the “congress party”, whom they had supported all along, was no-where to be seen. It was at that time , “BJP” and its allies came forward to the help of the beleaguered community. Reservations were given to the students of “KP” community in various professional collages across India. The voice , concern and views of the KP’s were put forward vociferously by the “BJP”.

Sh. Rajiv Gandhi’s death in May 1991 was too grieved upon by a large section of KP’s even though congress had remained merely a mute-spectator of their forced exodus. Even though it had been over a year, since they were uprooted from Kashmir and that a large section of KP’s were still living in Make-shift tents or they were given a temporary -refugee in deserted Govt. buildings. The congress party’s cold response to KP Community in early nineties accentuated the dirty vote-bank-politics of congress. But in spite of everything, they felt the loss of Sh. Rajiv Gandhi.

A large section of people of India perceive “Gandhis” as “Brahmins” or “Pandits”. Their lineage is traced to Moti lal Nehru and Jawahar lal Nehru-The known faces of Indian independence struggle and Kashmiri pundits by birth. All these years, the Nehru-Gandhi family have projected their KP connection but I am sorry to say that they have done little for the upliftment of the KP community- towards which they owe their allegiance.

The BJP, on the other hand did exactly the opposite. Even though, KP’s are not a vote-bank, still the services rendered to KP’s by BJP is commendable.

ON AAP

To begin with most of the KP’s (as was with most of the Indians), thought that Anna and his team are being supported by the BJP. To a large extent, it was true. The majority of the people(80%) present at their protests were from the RSS and the BJP.

The main bone of contention with AAP is that one of their ace leader- Prashant Bhushan, has in the past obnoxiously supported the redundant theory of Plebiscite of Kashmir. Knowing well, that the plebiscite is a gate-way for Pakistan to usurp Kashmir. Prashant Bhushan’s stand on Kashmir is more or less the same even today as no unequivocal statement on Kashmir and plebiscite has been presented by him, though he has given some feeble dilatory ambiguous remarks on plebiscite on Kashmir. AAP’s soft approach towards him has made it evident that they too tacitly support his theory.

AAP’s known support to Moaists is also questionable? In the recent elections they have given tickets to the known sympathizers of Moaists. It is a known fact that Moasists and Jihadis have been/are working hand in glove, and are getting all the funding from the enemies of India. And that their only aim is to de-stabilize India.The recent vitriolic remarks of Shazia Ilmi- wherein she is exhorting Muslims to be communal-is invidious as well as disgusting. The anti-corruption masquerade of the AAP has become too transparent for a common man not to see through their intentions . Their servile attitude towards the known jihadis and Moaists is awful. The Balkanization tactics of India by the AAP on the name of anti-corruption or secularism will not be allowed in India, come what May…

ON MODI

No doubt, Narendra Bhai Modi is the most beloved leader of the Kashmiri Pandits as of today. Kashmiri pandit community has pinned a lot of hopes on Modiji. KP’s were thrilled to see that not only the abrogation of article 370 was included in the BJP manifesto, but the return of KP’s into the valley with dignity and Honour was also mentioned. KP’s believe that the Narendra Bhai Modi’s coronation as the Prime Minister of India is inevitable and that he will prove to be a force to reckon with. KP’s believe that India as a Nation will emerge stronger under the prime Ministership of Modiji.

And, as is with the rest of Indians, for KP’s as well,” BJP is Modi” and “Modi is the BJP”…..”AB KI BAAR, MODI SARKAR”.

Kashmiri Pandit Gotras and their Surnames

 

Listed below are the Kashmiri Pandit Gotras(in Bold and underline) and their respective surnames:

1.       Dattatreya  

Koul, nagari ,jinsi, jalali, watal, sultan, ogra, aima, moza, daunat, tota, basih, kissu, mandhal, sangari, rafiz, balav, drabi, bamzai, sharga,2

2.Upma

Revu

3.Doha

Razdan

4.Kanth Daumya

Razdan, Wangni, muju,sher

5.Swamin mudgli

Zabeh, Razdan, Mushran, channa, kanth, Khazanchi, hast, valav, monga, devani, jattu, zotan, pout, shora, lala(razdan)

6.Swamin gautam

Gurutu, Razdan, Thaplu, naqeb, tehlachar,kak, labru, parman, zarmi, padura, langar, changru,khosa, kakapori, badam, raina, qazi, challu, pyala

7.Swamin gautam logaksh

Jokhu,razdan

8.Swamani Bhardawaj

Tikku, munshi, kahar, miskeen, ghadiyali, bazari, khan

9.Paldev vaas gargyey

Shivpuri, pandit, malla, pattu, mirkhor, kadalbujju, kokru, hangru, pandit(thuthu), Bhavnu, bakaya, khushu, Kitchu, Misri, Khar, Mam

10.Pat saas Kaushik

Ganju, Kuchru, Solu, Jattu, Ambardar, Kuli, Vaishnavi, Brabu, Musalman, Kapan, Wanchu, Miya, Jawansher, Jalla, Panju, Mattu, Fotedar

11.Devpat Samin

Upmanyu, Kaushik, Shivpuri

12.Devpat Upmanyu

Khosu, Mewa, Pandit

13.Bhav Kapishthal upmanyu

Wani, Khan

14.Samin Vaas Upmanyu

Dullu

15.Rajparashar

Razdan

16.Swamin vaaas upmanyu

Bhat, Wali

17.Swamin Upmanyu

Giggu

18.Kash Upmanyu

Bhat

19.Bhootvas upmanyu logaksh

Peshin, Zalpuri, Thakur

20.Rajbhoot Logaksh Deval

Bhan

21.Ratri Bhargava

Zithshu

22.Bhoot Logaksh Dhomya Gautam

Handu

23.Devsamin Gautam Kaushik Mudgalya Bhardawaj

Pandit, cukil

24.Swamin Mudhgaliya Parashar

Geeru

25.Swamin Vaas

Tufchi

26.Warivas

Sahni

27.Vashisth Gargeya

Pandita

28.Swamin Kaushik

Thakar, Watal

29.Swamin Bhargava

Bali, Batav

30.Swamin Kaushik Bhardawaj

Bhat, Kokru

31.Swamin shandelya

Pandit, Vaas

32.Swamin Vaas Atreya

Thussu, Ghazi, Waza

33.Swamin Gautam Atreya shalan Kotass

Raina

34.Swamin Gautam Atreya

Cholu

35.Swamin Kanth Kashyap

Labru

36.Swamin Gargeya

Machama

37.Swamin Gan Bhoshak

Paveh

38.Swamin Gautam Bhardawaj

Kamdha

39.Swamin Vaas Logaksh

Taav

40.Dharbhardawaj

Dhar trisal,Misri, jawansher, Kandhari, Thalchur, Othu, Turki, Waguzari, Bangi

41.Vashisht Bhardawaj

Bhat, Hakhu, Handoo

42.Dev Bhardawaj

Bhat, Mhad, Kallu

43.Sharman Bhardawaj

Bhat

44.Dev Baraj Kaushik

Deva

45.Shandilya Bhardawaj

Bhat

46.Nand Kaushik Bhardawaj

Bhat

47.Kaushik Bhardawaj

Bhat

48.Shandli

Kar

49.Chand Shandli

Sadhu

50.Varshandli

Jogi

51.Varvasak Shandli

Safaya

52.Vardev Shelan Kapi

Mota

53.Mitr Shandli

Sayd

54.Dev Shandli

Batphool

55.Raj Shandli

Vakh

56.Sam Shandli

Bhat

57.Swamin Rishi Kani Gargeya

Kaul, Kamzhat

58.Shelan Kautas

Telvan, Kaul, Mukku

59.Kauts Atreya

Bhat, Razdan

60.Rajdhatt Atreya Shalan Kautas

Bhat

61.Sharman Atreya

Gadhu

62.Bhav Atreya

Wariku

63.Swamin Warshikran

Katju, Kaw, Chouthai

64.Bhav Kapishithl

Kaw

65.Ratr Vishwamitr Agasth

Trakru, Mattu

66.Dhar Keshtal

Ladav, Bhat

67.Kanth Kashyap

Wasav, Razdan, Bhat

68.Mitr Kashyap

Bhat  Kheda

69.Dhatsharman Kanth Kashyap

Bradu, Raina

70.Dev Kashyap Mudhgalya Kashyap

Bradu

71.Dev Kashyap Mudhgalya Gautam

Aakhan

72.Swamin Bhargava Bhardawaj Aus Atri

Kallu

73.Dev Gargi

Bahan

74.Dev Vashisht

Akbhalu

75.Dev Kauts Atreya

Badgami

76.Dev Vishwamitr Varshigan

Wangoo

77.Dev Gautam

Bhat

78.Dev Kath Kashyap

Kar

79.Dev Logaksh

Pandit, Santapori

80.Dev Kaushik

Bhat

81.Arth Varishan Shandalya

Chaudhari

82.Kaushik

Bhat

83.Pat samin Kaushik dev ratr parvar

Pandit, Vayil

84.Vashisht

Bhat, Rangateng

85.Ratr Vishwamitr Agasth

Pandit

86.Kar Chand Shandliya

Chaudhari, Kar

87.Mitra Kaushik

Pandit

88.Sharmatakauts

Bhat, Sas

89.Dhatvas

Kahaar

90.Vashisht Swamin Mudhgalya

Bhandari

91.Ishwar Shandilya Kaushik

Rawal, Nakhasi

92.Dhat Dhat Shelan Kauts

Bhat, Sathu, Kasba, Malik, Kahkashu

93.Ratr Varshgan

Kotar

94.Parashar

Pachih

95.Aatr Bhargav

Happa

96.Bhoot Logaksh

Pandit

97. Raj Vashisht

Shanglu

98.Dhat Varshiman

Sanar

99.Rishi Kaushik

Kashkari

100.Rishi Kavigarg

Zaroo

101.Samvas Gargh

Bhat, Sam

102.Nand Kaushik

Bhat

103.Swamin Mudhgaliya

Madan

104.Swamin Haswasi

Khan, Katu

105.Bhav Kapishthal

Radu,Kalla, Sapan, Lattu, Kattu, Wantu, Chur, Chudhar,Geeru, Hakin, Wangnu,Shav

106.Bhav Kapishthal Upmanyu

Katharu

107.Swamin Vas Logaksh

Chathu

108.Dharbhardawaj

Zangam

109.Dev Bhardawaj

Tu

110.Bhoot Upmanya

Khi rabri, Braru, Saidha, uppal

111.Swamin Atreya

Shaal, Handu, jadwaali, sik, chak

112.Shandaliya

Shayir

113.Swaminvaas Gargi

Sum,Nand, Gadhwa, Datt, Halmat, Langoo

114.Swamin Ghosh Vas Upmanyu

Chaku

115.Sharman Kauts Atreya

Ragu, Nand, Gadhwa, Datt

116.Dev Parashar

Yachh

117.Kanth Daumya

Kaw, Bredh,

118.Dhar Varshiman

Safaya, Bakshi, Kuchru, Shali

119.Dhar Kapishthal Upmanyu

Meech

120.Mitra Swamin Kaushik Atreya

Pandit, Handu

121.Vasudev Palgargya

Patwari

122.Pat swamin Kaushik

Kanna, Kitru, Darbari,Wali, Ganhar,Saraf,

123.Rishikany Gargeya

Goja

124.DevBhardwaj

Mawa, Gadru

125.Vashisht Vishwamitr

Trakru

126.Swamin Gautam

Taimini

127.Upmanyu Kaushik

Sapru

128.Nand Gautam Kashyap

Bhat

129.Raz Kaushik

Bhat

130.Upmanyo Logakshi

Dhobi, Karihaloo

131.Ghosh Vachya Upmanyu

Pandita

132.Devdat Gautam Kaushik Bhardawaj

Pandit

133.Shalakayan

Pathwari

134.Ratn Kawach

Raina

135.Raj Parashar

Razdan

136.Karshandalya

Shishu

137.Devkashyap

Chatta

138.Ratr Vishwamitr Vasishth

Trakru

139.Dhar Shalkya

Dhar

140.Kaal

Maatu, Bhindru(mattu)

141.Devshandilya

Jaan, Teenglu

142.Swamin Vashisht

Kothedar

143.Dhar Kapishthal Manav

Bhootnath, Jyotshi

144.Vishnu Atreya

Bhan

145.Vishwa mitr Agasthya

Razdan

146.Samanth

Hakhu

 

source:Kashmiri vijeyeshwar Panchang

 

 

The three Malas(impurities/limitations) according to Kashmir Shaivism.

According to Kashmir Shaivism, there are 36 elements(from shiv tatva to prithvi tatva).By the pure will(icchca) of Shiva, The param shiva descends/ascends/emerges from the highest tattva i.e Chaitanya-(the supreme consciousness present in everything-be it living, dead, be it mind or matter, desires, actions, perceivable or unfathomable, be it a tiniest single cell or this whole of universe)-to the grossest element i.e prithvi(earth).In fact chaitanya cannot be expressed or written about.Yogis have stated that it is the state of being.

Chaitanya is an element synonym to shiva, whereas the next element i.e Ananda(Bliss)-is also known as Shakti. Shiva and Shakti are inseparable, hence Chaitanya and Ananda are also inseparable. The next three elements i.e sadashiva, ishwara and Shuddh vidya are synonyms to Iccha(will), Jnana(unlimited knowledge) and kriya(unlimited action).These five elements form shuddh tatvas(pure elements)
To this point, it is the undifferiated self of shiva. There is no maya element present there. From the shuddh tattvas to the six kanchukas(six coverings of maya), Swami lakshmanjoo has described another tattva(though technically not an element) as Mahamaya tattva or vijnankala.

The anavamala comes into effect in the sphere of the six kanchukas. Shiva due to his own will starts to experience the world of differentiation and becomes limited, owning to non-contemplation of his essential nature. Jnanshakti(the power of knowledge) gets polluted by the kanchukas or the coverings of maya and he becomes reduced to the limited knowledge. At last, it acquires utmost limitation in the formation of the psychic apparatus((antahkarana, i.e mann(mind), buddhi(intellect),ahamkar(ego), prakrati(nature) and purush(one that reacts to prakrati)) and the organs of sense(Bhuddindriya).This is mayayi mala(limitation brought about by maya) which brings about consciousness of difference among objects. This mayayi mala is the second impurity.

Kriya sakti(action) gets limited gradually in the sphere of difference when omnipotence is reduced to limited activity till at last by the formation of the organs of action, the empirical individual gets limited to the utmost extent. He thus performs good and bad deeds. This is the Karma mala or the limitation due to action.

source:books on Kashmir shaivism.

Are Kashmiri Politicians shielding the land-Grabbers?

-by sunil shangloo

When my Friend Raju told me that Kashmiri Pandits are not wanted in Kashmir, I was not surprised. He fled from Kashmir like lakhs of KP’s back in 1990.His Father and Uncles had bought good quality “Deodaar wood” and had stored it on the first floor of their house. They had planned to raise two more stories on their existing House. But when Raju visited his house after 17-18 years, not a twig was left from those deodar’s. Not a wooden door was left intact. And all the wooden-windows were missing.

The plunderers of the KP’s are known to the Government. Merely saying that –“it was a phase”-is simply not enough. The protruding nexus between the property-grabbers of KP’s and politicians (both separatists and Mainstream) is more than conspicuous. Yet, not a brow is raised. Instead, the Political system remains a mute spectator. And a Kashmiri pandit suffers.

My name is Sunil Shangloo. I live in Jammu/Ghaziabad.

From last seven years, I am in a dilemma. Unlike many other Kashmiri Pandits, I did not sell my land in Ganderbal or my house at Ali Kadal, Srinagar,Kashmir.But, in spite of having a house and land in Kashmir, I am bereft of both.

Some 7-8 years back, a broker from Ganderbal by the name “Noor mohammed sheikh”, Kashmir , came to our house in Jammu.A KP acquaintance of my Father had given him our reference. He inveigled my father like a true salesman and convinced him, that he can sell our agricultural land(63 kanal, 9 marla) at a good price. My father- a simple man-promptly believed him. Noor Mohammed even handed over one lakh rupees to my father as advance. He told my father that he needs the Xerox of the documents of the land and a signature on the photocopied documents. My father, in good faith, abided to his suggestion.

After a month or so, my father tried to contact him at his Kashmir Mobile/telephone number. Initially he used to receive my father’s call and behaved well. But after two months or so, he stopped taking the calls of my father completely. My father thought that maybe he was just another “Braggadocio.”And that he will come back for the money(1 lakh) given as advance.

After many months, one of my father’s Muslim friend from Ganderbal phoned . He spoke to my father for almost half an hour. After he hang-up the phone, my father, who was visibly-shaken and perspiring called upon my mother, who was in the Kitchen. “ what happened, you look disturbed, is everything O.K?”, My mother, who was holding a glass in her hand, asked him. “I just came to know that Noor Mohammed is a charlatan. Haji saab-my friend informed me that he has somehow forged the documents of the land and is claiming to be the lawful owner of the land.” My father said exasperatedly. In shock, the glass fell down from the hand of my mother and tears rolled down from her eyes.

I and my Father decided to visit Ganderbal and take stock of the situation. And one fine day we reached Srinagar after 17 years. We booked a hotel room in Srinager. Since, we have/had a house in down-town, “Alikadal”, we could not stop ourselves visiting our house-that is home to us even today.

Another shock was waiting for us.

The house, where my father, I and my sister were born was in a wretched state. Somehow, We entered inside. The house looked in a dilapidated condition. The walls were dirty. The wooden-windows were snatched away by an unknown plunderer/s. The tin-sheets of the ceiling were scrapped by probably an so-called-Azadi-lover. The left-over belongings were missing, probably embellishing someone’s home in our neighborhood. The alcove/s of the “Thakur-kuth”(pooja room), that once housed the images of our deities was/were broken. All idols and photos missing. And the stinking smell of the urine pinpointed towards the attitude of those, who probably will never want to see us back. And I was not wrong.

We had built two houses in our 1 kanal(620 sq. yards) compound .One house adjacent to the main street had six shops and six rooms. Another part of the house had total of eight rooms. We had rented-out 3 shops. But our absence had emboldened the muslim-tenants so much that they had illegally occupied the rest of three shops as well, without our information/consent.

I confronted our tenants-the shopkeepers. I asked them, “ don’t you think, you should have had informed us at least once, before breaking –into the vacant shops”? One of the Shopkeeper retorted back, “Azad ahmed mir has rented out these shops to us”. I and my father were puzzled. My father asked them in a humble tone,” Who is Azad ahmed Mir?”. One of the shopkeepers said caustically, “ He is/was a militant. He has told everyone here that he has purchased your property. He even showed us the documents .Go and find him. Don’t bother us again.”

We went to Alikadal police station to lodge a complaint. But instead of co-operating with us, they began eulogizing the culprit and used vituperative language against us making it evident that they were hand-in-glove with Azad ahmed mir. It was on the intervention of IG crime, an F.I.R was finally registered. We had to fight it legally in the court. The matter is still in the court and the property is now under the jurisdiction of the court.

Coming back to “our-Ganderbal –land”, We came to know that Noor Mohammed had forged the signatures of my father in order to take the possession of the land. Also, instead of I lakh rupees, he had shown that he paid my father 12 lakh rupees in advance. We registered a case against him as well. The papers presented by him as original were sent to the forensic lab, where it was established that he had indeed forged the papers in order to usurp our property. However, the case is still sub judice.

I am fighting two cases in J&K, just to prove that-I am the legal owner of my own property. Like me, Hundreds of KP’s are fighting in the courts to prove that they are the lawful owners. It should have had been the responsibility of the state govt. to help us, but their political aspirations are holding them back and they continue to condone the shenanigans of the plunderers and Property- Grabbers of the KP’s.

But, This time, I am determined. And I will get back my property.

photos of protest(19/01/14) by Kashmiri pandits

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Aftermath of 19 jan 1990-How and why I fled Kashmir

1990, jan 19, invoked the demons within the people of a large section of the majority community to commit the heinous acts blatantly. Kashmiri Pandits’s(KP’s) still dread that cold night of January. Most the KP’s felt that they will be attacked by the colossal Islamic-mobs meandering the lanes and sub-lanes of the valley with an anti-India mission that night. The cacophonous slogans by the mobs instilled a fear among the KP’s. And the bullets from the A.K 47’s of the militants that killed hundreds of KP’s made sure that the Hindus flee Kashmir.

19 Jan 1990 triggered the subsequent events that cleansed the KP’s as a community from the valley. While many quixotic flowery dreams of the KM’s were soon shattered, when the Army took over, the wounds left by that bestial night left a gangrene in the minds of KP’s as a community .It will be 24 years now, since KP’s left the frenzied valley of the 1990.Not a single KP had thought that their return to their motherland will take such a long time. The forced departure was gruesome but quick .However their return to the valley is still elusive. And with passing time, they are slowly but surely getting erased from the Tapestry of Kashmir.

My encounter with two friends Dalip Bhat and Sanjay Bhat, who left the valley in 1990; their experience, and what made them exit from Kashmir after that cold night of 19 Jan 1990!

Few days back ,I asked Dalip, “what does 19 jan 1990 mean to you?”He said, ”Nothing ! I don’t think of Kashmir anymore.” I asked surprisingly, “why is it so?”. He looked straight into my eyes and said, “Do you remember when you visited me while I was posted as a casual worker with Govt. department at Pulwama, Kashmir.” I said calmly, “Yes! But what has it to do with Kashmir!” He said , “I was working on ad-hoc basis with the Forest department .I was just 19 years old in 1989.But I was happy. My village in Murran, pulwama was everything to me. We had rice-fields and orchards. And cows. My family was self-sufficient. I or my family had never- ever thought of moving out of the valley . But then the militancy erupted and the militants backed by Pakistan started killing us. Everything changed after that”. He paused, as if thinking something. “In the midst of a spring night of 1990, I fled Kashmir along with mine and Sanjay’s family . Sanjay’s father was on the hit-list of militants. We were moving stealthily from karfal mohalla to fateh Kadal with our belongings. Karfal mohalla was more sensitive at that time.” He said. His mobile phone rang .He saw the number and excused himself to attend the call.

When Dileep came back after 5 minutes or so, I requested to him to continue. He thought for a while and said, “After many physical, mental and verbal abuses from the majority community, who were clearly on a mission to free Kashmir from the Indians-including us, We somehow managed to reach Jammu.” I interrupted him and asked him, “ Tell me something about your early experiences of Jammu?”.He yawned , stretched his body for a moment, smiled and said, “I lived in Misriwala camp for three years. I was running a grocery shop there. For another one and a half years, I became a trader. I was a sort of stockist of polythene bags. Then I went to Delhi and worked there for 2 years. I came back to Jammu after my mother fell ill in 1998. Thereafter, I opened a Hardware shop in lower Roop-Nagar and I am still in the same Business since then.” There was a sense of pride in what he was saying. “How is your Business now?” I asked him.

“It is good.I have nine shops in a row. Business is excellent. In spite of everything, I feel, I need some more space to stock things like sanitary ware, tiles etc.” “how do you got the idea of opening this shop?”, I asked him. He said, “when, I came here back in 1998, I sensed that lot of KP’s are constructing new houses. Hence, I too opened a shop. And as it proved, It was really a very good decision.” I quipped “But, you didn’t really answered my question, which I asked in the beginning i.e Jan 19 1990?”.

He deliberated for a while and said, “ the memories of Jan 19-20 and the aftermath will ever remain engraved in the minds all those KP’s who were present in the valley. Never before had we witnessed anything wicked- like that of 1990 . Even in my village Murran, the majority community indirectly facilitated our exodus. They had told us categorically that, in case of any militant attack on us, they will side with the militants. Some people say, the mass-madness of the majority community in early 90 was an instantaneous impromptu reaction of the Muslims towards an oppressed rule. OK, I agree for a moment. But will they, who have occupied KP properties or sold illegally KP properties ever wish for their return? Aren’t those people getting patronage from all the political parties? And what is the Guarantee that 1990 will not be repeated if KP’s opt to return back? Majority community en-masse created an environment that forced us to flee. Will there be ever any mass rally that will call for the returns of the KP’s back to the valley?” He fired questions at me. I had no answers. “I have struggled a lot to reach, where I am today. That is why I don’t want to think about Kashmir.” He said with a sigh. His phone rang again, he looked at his Mobile, then at me, I sensed that it was an urgent call. “Attend your call.I will wait”, said I. He went outside the room again. I started thinking about my last encounter with Sanjay.

I knew Sanjay since we were children. Dileep was his relative. In early April 1990, Sanjay was persuaded by his mother to leave for Jammu. He was told by his mother to attend a wedding at Jammu. Underneath the persuasion of his mother was the concern of his safety . Kashmir was a cauldron in 1990. Hindus were branded as infidels or informers and then hunted dead by the militants with impunity. Like every other Kashmiri Hindu, Sanjay’s mother too wanted to keep away her children from the trouble. Sanjay went to the Jammu in the first week of April 1990 on the behest of his mother.

When I had met Sanjay 3-4 months back, I asked him about his ordeal.“I was in Jammu in early April 1990, to attend a wedding. Though Jammu was calm, I knew Kashmir was not. I used to wait eagerly for the news from any source. Be it newspapers in the morning or radio or T.V. in the evenings. The news was disappointing and disheartening. Everyday, I used to listen that a K.P was killed in one locality or other. And then one late evening I got a call from my mother. She told me that my father is on the hit list of the Militants for being a “Mukhbir”(informer).I boarded the Bus to Srinagar early next day morning to help my family,. I reached my home in karfaol mohalla by night. My father was visibly shaken by the threat. He had not ventured outside his home for a week, not even to buy his cigarette. Instead, my younger brother used to buy tobacco and father used an old Hubble-Bubble to smoke.” I was listening to him with attention. “The killing of Satish Tickoo was still fresh in our mind. After all, he was the son of our landlord. Hence, we had taken the threat with seriousness. we were living like frightened pigeons” He asserted.

“We wanted to leave Kashmir ASAP. Every other day, a Kashmiri pandit was gunned down mercilessly by the militants. KP’s were framed by the militants and no-one would dare to challenge their Jihadi-gag-order. My father was a School master. He was a simple and a non-political man. Yet he was framed. I knew dozens of KP’s who were framed as informers. In fact each and every KP family had a member that was framed for being an informer. What was the message they were trying to convey?” he asked me. He took a deep puff of cigarette, inhaled it, rounded his mouth and blew the smoke in rings. Instead of answering, I was just looking at him . And then he said in a choking voice, “the message was clear that they don’t want a KP there- simple”

“How did you fled from Kashmir?” I asked him. He said, “Immediately, after I reached back to Kashmir, I starting looking for a truck to carry us and our belongings to jammu. After a couple of days, with the help of my KP neighbors, I arranged a Truck. My sister and his family were staying in Fateh-Kadal those days. The night , when we were fleeing Kashmir, I, Daleep and his cousin carried our belongings on our backs and travelled on foot from karfal mohalla to Fateh-Kadal in the midst of night. The Muslim ladies who saw us leaving en-route with our belongings, hurled philippics at us. The invectives and their curses are still fresh in my mind. A couple of ladies, out of hatred for our community, even spitted on us from their first-floor-windows. But, we did not stop. There were five more KP families with us in the truck. we had a sigh of relief upon reaching Jammu”. His face was visibly angry as he was recalling the incident.

“Jan 1990 invokes fear, anarchy ,mobocracy, A.K 47’s, shrilled tones of the loudspeakers of the neighborhood mosques. cold-blooded murders of KP’s. Burning schools. Burning houses .Burning bridges. Burning tyres. Stoning of tin-rooftops of our houses in the middle of night. And an idiosyncratic resentment and hate towards my community” said infuriated Sanjay .I too had experienced the same. Every KP had experienced the same.

By now Dileep came back. After discussing some personal issues, I asked for his permission to leave. I stood up and moved towards the door. As I was leaving, he said, “ It was 28 April 1990, 2.00a.m in the morning, when I fled from Kashmir. I want to forget it all. But Somehow, I can’t”

I know for sure, not a single KP has forgotten Kashmir. The aftermath of the clear, cold night of 19 jan 1990 still haunts the community of KP’s. The slogans raised by a large section of Kashmiri Muslims like “Asa gach Pakistan, Batao ros te batnav saan”(we want Pakistan with KP women and without KP men) clearly reflected their state of mind, and the ghouls reigning their mind and conscience in the 90’s. The prolonged time away from their homeland has in fact made KP’s return to Kashmir difficult. If The aftermath of 1990 intensified the anti-India emotion among the Kashmiri Muslim youth, It also created an abyss between the valley of Kashmir and the Kashmiri Pandits, depriving them to return, to the land of their ancestors even after 24 years.

Year after Year, more and more people like Dalip opine that they will not return to Kashmir now, because for them, professionally, there is nothing they can do in Kashmir. Still, there are many who wish for their return everyday. But, I fear that nothing will change if the State Gov. and GOI doesn’t make a roadmap for the return of KP’s exactly the same way, as desired by the KP’s as a community.

But will they?

A day at jantar-Mantar delhi

I strolled through Jantar-Mantar on Saturday(11/1/14).There were many people protesting for different causes.I visited every stall.But what attracted me was the stall where a Pakistani-shia-muslim-refugees were protesting.

This Pakistani Muslim couple are seeking an Asylum in India.Zulfikar Shah and his wife Fatima Shah spoke to me about the condition of minorities in Pakistan including Christians and Hindus. “we protested for the Bhils. we supported them and openly castigated a maulvi who wanted to illegally occupy the land of a Bhil Lady.” said fatima to me.I asked her, “Who are Bhils?” She said quickly, “The Hindus are known as Bhils in Pakistan.”. Zulfikar told me that they came to Nepal and got themselves registered as “Refugees” in the U.N.

“We were poisoned by the people of ISI in Nepal.We came to India 10 months back.Pakistan’s embassy interfered with our medical-treatment.But, we are officially now refugees.” he emphasized. “In Sindh, we have/had syncretism.I am a believer of sufi philosophy.I believe in all the Religions including Buddhism and Hinduism. The hegemony of Punjabis is obnoxious in Pakistan.They are promoting Salafis as maulvis in the mosques of Sindh.They sponser state-terrorism and abet in the violence.They aim to destabilize Sindh and takeover our natural resources.”said Zulfikar irritatingly.

“The contribution of Sindh to Pakistan’s GDP is more than 70%.” said Fatima with a whiff of pride.Before leaving their place at Jantar-Mantar, Zulfikar zealously said, “Balochis are fed-up with the Punjabis, so are we. Balochistan is asking for their own country like Bangladesh.It(Balochistan) is a vast area, constituting 60% of the land mass of Pakistan.In Balochistan as well as in Sindh, there are state-sponsored-forced-disappearances and target killings.we are fed-up with it. Though, we are the second largest ethenic group in pakistan with 60 million people, But we are treated invidiously.The so called-fundamentalists are fit to be termed as demons-That are brainwashed to plunder and kill the indigenous Sindhis”.

Let Pakistan solve its own problems first and then Poke its nose in Kashmir affairs.

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tragedy and humour of being a KP

March 2003.It was a sunny bright day. My Enfield-Bullet bike was in a dire need of a proper service. I took my bike to the local mechanic-Akram in Ghaziabad. As he was inspecting my Bike, an Ambassador car halted in front of me. The glass windows of the car rolled down. I saw an elderly Sikh in an orange dress. He called on me , “ where is this Agarsen Chowk?”.I came closer to the car, gesticulated, and said, “ turn straight and then turn right from the first crossing.” “What is your name?” The turbaned old man asked me abruptly. “My name is sandeep Koul” said I. “Oh! You are a Kashmiri Pandit! Come in my car.” He said excitedly. I was irked by what he said. I hardly knew him and here he was, urging me to accompany him. It looked as if he read my face. He pulled the wallet from his coat, opened it, looked for something and finally picked a card which he handed over to me. “Here! Take my card. My name is B.L.Sharma- “prem”. I am a former MP from BJP.”I looked at the card in my hand. It was white and green in colour and had an emblem of four lions(as seen in Indian currency coins) at the top. The name written on it was indeed B.L.Sharma “prem”(Member of parliament).

I was exited now. For the first time, I was face-to-face speaking to an M.P. with alacrity, I sat besides him in his ambassador. “We have a rally today at Ghaziabad. It seems our local team of Ghaziabad and I are talking on different tracks. There is some miscommunication and we are not able to track each other. Though, they are somewhere nearby. You please talk to them, since you know this place”, he said to me. He dialed some number from his mobile and handed over the phone to me. The voice from the other side in a gushed tone said, “ Sharmaji, where are you?” I answered back, “I am sandeep. We are on NH-24, Near Rahul Vihar. The person on the other side said, “You wait there. we will reach there within 5 minutes.”

Sharmaji told me briefly about his life, his family and his mission. The 1947 partition. He told me that to protect the Hindus, he has embraced Sikhism. At that time, the chief-minister of J&K was Mr.Gulam nabi Azad. He also expressed his views on Him, Hindus of Jammu and as well as Kashmiri Pandits. Soon, his local team traced us.

The local-team were all motor-cyclists. There were at least 20 motor bikes. Each bike carrying two persons. Many of them had Swords in their hands, which they waved at us and at each other with enthusiasm .A person came close to the window of our car. He said to Sharmaji, “Please follow us. we are nearby to the venue of the program. Sharmaji nodded his head in approval and said, “Alright. By the way he is Sandeep koulji. He is an uprooted hindu from Kashmir”, as he pointed towards me. The person’s faced beamed with glee as he said, “ Sandeeji, welcome. you please attend our program.”I did not wanted to attend, as politics was not my cup of tea. But on the behest of Sharmaji, I agreed.

Soon, we reached “Agarsen-chowk”-our venue. Hundreds of supporters had already gathered there. As the crowd saw us, they raised their hands in the air and chanted loud, “Jai shri Ram”, “Bharat Mata ki jai”.I alighted from the car. Sharmaji too followed me. With folded hands(namaskar), he greeted the crowd. Many people rushed towards him and touched his feet in reverence. Many people mistook me for some leader and touched my feet too. Sharmaji was used to this treatment but I was not. I was blushing, feeling embarrassed. I tried to gently push away the crowd, touching my feet.

Sharmaji went up to the podium. I sat down on a chair. But the associates of Sharmaji insisted me to sit on the podium alongside Sharmaji. Before the actual program started, An announcer announced about the program. He spoke about many issues pertaining to Hindus. At last he said, “Today, a special guest has come with Sharmaji .A kashmiri pandit refugee from Kashmir.I request my colleagues to felicitate both of them.”A line of his associates garlanded Sharmaji and me. Though, I had started enjoying the attention, But, Clearly I was not prepared for this impromptu.

Soon, Many speakers spoke in length about the infiltration on the Hindu culture. Examples were cited from the history. Many tales of the 1947 genocide were told poignantly. The mass-exodus of Kashmiri pundits was also cited. “See, how pathetic, the lives of Kashmiri Pandits have become. You can ask our Kashmiri pandit brother here. ”a speaker said. And everybody spoke about Kashmiri Hindus .Each time, Kashmiri Hindus were spoken of, a finger was pointed towards me. Frankly speaking, I was feeling as if I am a culprit.

A member of the organizing team came up to me and said in a low-voice, “you too say something. It will have a very good impact on the listeners.” Their- pointing- fingers –at- me had already made me feel guilty. An object that is loathsome-yet important(this holds true even today). So, I humbly turned down his offer. I went up to Sharmaji and took his permission to leave. He told me to be in touch with him and gave me his mobile number.

I was in touch with him for some time. He even introduced me to some people. Out of those people, I am still in touch with few , even today. I somehow lost the number of Sharmaji some years back. But, whenever, I recall that incident, I end up with a Grin. And I am reminded that indeed, “Tragedy is the biggest comedy.”

The tenants and the landlords(exodus of KP’s)

Naveen-my friend had shifted to a new rented house at shakti nagar, jammu. His mother while making tea for us in the make-shift kitchen said one day to me in presence of Naveen, “see how, we are living here in this one room. Our cow-shed was four times the size of this room. May the curse of Gods befell on all those terrorists who pushed us to this state of wretchedness. May the pall of gloom befell upon them.”I had heard it before, from many of our elders. This reflected the state of helplessness of the whole community during the 90’s.The exodus of Kashmiri pundits though trampled their identity and pushed them to the brink of extinction , On the other side, the miseries and the compromise with their fate made them adept in the art of survival.

My friend Naveen shifted to Jammu in the last week of jan 1990.His family stayed with their relative for some days/weeks and later on they shifted to a migrant camp at talab tiloo. There were at least four families staying in one hall which was roughly 500 sq. feet. Each family had made some arrangements to guard their privacy. He and his neighbors had drawn boundaries ingeniously cost-effective. A rope was tied from one end to another of the hall both lengthwise and breadth wise. An Indian saree or a blanket or a bed-sheet was tied or folded over to those ropes, thus each family making an own private compartment. Each family had a tin-trunk. The trunk housed their meager belongings and clothes. This trunk was also used as a study table by the students such as my friend Naveen.

When Naveen’s father saved/arranged some money, he decided to take a rented room at Shakti nagar, Jammu. Naveen volunteered to find a room. After some days of search, he finally found a room that fitted their budget. His father was a Govt. School teacher back at Kashmir . Naveen’s family consisted of his parents, a younger brother and an elder sister whom they had married off just a year back in Kashmir. And then a day came, when they shifted to their new house or should I say that newly-rented-room. His friends including me helped him to shift to his new room. It did not take us long to unwind their belongings and keep them at their proper places as directed by his mother. His family insisted us all to have a lunch with them at their new house.

In Kashmir, Very few families used a fridge as a household appliance. It was a luxury item rather than a necessity. On the contrary, a fridge was an absolute must in jammu. Naveen’s mother used to heat-up the left-over dishes at least three or four times a day in order to keep the dishes hygienically edible. A fridge was out of their reach.

The new weather conditions were alien to most of the KP’s. By mid-april, temperature began to rise drastically .KP’s had no experience in dealing with the heat of that magnitude . By early May,To beat the heat, Naveen, his younger brother and their parents bathed at least thrice a day. This created a bad blood between them and their landlord Jagdish.

Jagdish was an Auto-Driver. He had somehow built a 2BHK house on roughly a 4 marla land(roughly 100 sq. yards), The washrooms(a bathroom and a latrine) were built separately outside the main building(but inside the main compound wall).His family consisted of his wife and two children. Though, he did not interact much with Naveen’s family, except, when he had to take the rent from them, But His frequent brawls with his wife almost every night had made Naveen and his family believe that he was a dipsomaniac rogue.

In a way, Jagdish was right. The 500 litre overhead water tank was too small to last the whole day keeping in view the usage of water by the two families especially Naveen’s. So one day, when jagdish threatened them to leave his house over the water-issue, Naveen’s family thought of an alternative.

After the incident, The next day, Naveen, his younger brother and their father headed towards the famous “Nehar”(the canal of Chenab with ice-cold water).That day they took a bath in the morning, at evening and at night in the same “nehar” with alacrity. Naveen was looking out for a rented room again, and I was helping him in his endeavor, as I lived close by at Talab-tiloo, just across the canal.

By early july, Naveen shortlisted another house, just 50 meters from the “Nehar”. The house owner, Mr.Gupta, was a Govt. employee. This time they rented one room but with a separate kitchen. The room was bigger than the previous one, and it had two water-tanks. One underground and one over-head tank. This time also I and a couple of my friends volunteered to help them in their shifting. Mr. Gupta’s son “Rinku” was as old as Naveen and hence he befriended Naveen and his younger brother quickly.

During the monsoons, with the rise of Humidity, skin rashes and infections were rampant. Almost all KP’s including me and the family of Naveen had no clue how to deal with it. Satish, the elder cousin of Naveen during that monsoon season one fine day said to us “Take a bath in the canal with a “lifebuoy” soap .All skin rashes will go away. I have tried it on myself and it worked like a charm”. We all tried it at once. In fact I too spread this secret advice with my friends. The effectiveness of that remedy is a matter of research to this day.

Naveen stayed in Mr. Gupta’s house for a year or so. It so happened that Mr. Gupta raised their rent by a couple of hundred rupees, which Naveen’s father thought was unfairly steep. when He protested, Mr. Gupta said to him,” I don’t have any enmity with you. In fact I have raised the rent of Mr.Bhat also. It is because you are living here from past one year, and you are a good man, I am only raising the rent by Rs200.Otherwise the room-set you are occupying is worth more.” In the evening their co-tenant Mr.Bhat confirmed Mr. Gupta’s statement as true, and was quick to say,” It is a cumbersome job to hunt for a house again, During my one and a half years stay in jammu as a migrant, this is my third house, I have become familiar to this area, It will be a mental and emotional challenge to settle at a new house in a new area”.Naveen was a witness to the dialogue between his father and their co-tenant. Before retiring for the bed, Mr. Bhat said to his father, “Give him what he wants, you never know , how your new landlord will be, in case you opt to shift.”After a lot of deliberation, Naveen’s father decided to stay put at the Gupta’s house.

I am not sure, whether this move made Naveen’s Dad to take up tuitions or was it pre-meditated before the “rent-rise incident”. Anyways, Tuitions helped the family monetarily to an extent. Naveen’s family purchased a fridge as well as a colour TV after some months. As it happened, Naveen and his family stayed cordially with the Gupta’s for 5 long years. Naveen once said to me years later, “Guptajee knows almost all of our relatives, In fact, sometimes he visits our relatives on his own without informing us”.

I don’t know what happened to Naveen and his family in between 1997 till 2012 as I lost touch with him. Somewhere in 2012, I got a call from Naveen. He told me that he is working in Mumbai.His younger brother is working as a Govt. employee in Jammu with department of agriculture. And that he has purchased a Flat in Mumbai and his brother has built a two and a half storied house in Mutthi,Jammu. After he hung up the phone, for strange reasons, some lingering thoughts took me back to 1990, when they were living in Talab-tiloo migrant camp hall of 500sq feet area, with three other families.And I must confess that The sarees, blankets and bed-sheets as their boundaries to safeguard their privacy will have an everlasting impression on my mind….

Sharda script-the old language of Kashmir

sharda-script
Sharda is an old, now, almost distinct language that was once, used by the intelligentsia of Kashmir.Today, only a handful of people are left who know this language.Listed in the photograph,are the alphabets of this old script.This script was shared by a Friend on facebook, hence I am not sure about the source/author.

Kashmir Minorities conversation

It just happened that a few days Back, I met my childhood friend Aashiq at cannaught place, New Delhi. Ashiq is the son of a “shia pir”(sort of Oracle) and lives in the Dal-Lake area of Kashmir. Even though, he came from a poor family, he has managed to do well for himself and is presently working as a Govt. employee in J&K. He was being accompanied by another friend of his “Harmeet”-a Kashmiri Sikh. We headed towards the coffee shop nearby.

We talked about our childhood and that fun. We talked about our boat rides.swimming. Our hiking expeditions and Zabarwan. Our discussions veered towards the present situation in Kashmir viz-a-viz the socio-economic life of the minorities of Kashmir. Harjeet said, “Sikhs of kashmiri were mostly well-off. We are a peaceful community just as pundits and are generally seen as innocuous and gentle humans.”He added, “With the advent of so-called-jihad, we are tacitly subjugated by the majority sunni community. Many of the sikh girls had been lured by the Sunnis on the pretext of love and marriage. And their religion changed after wedding.” Harjeet paused for a moment and said, ”Many of our youths are side-tracked in govt. jobs in spite of good education and capabilities. We know we are being treated as second-hand citizens. we are ready for the impending doom for being a minority of Kashmir. Most of us have brought houses and lands outside Kashmir. We know, our fate can be that of Kashmiri Pandits- who were forced to flee.”

Shahid was quietly listening. I asked him about his opinion on the plight of Shias in Kashmir. He said, “Whatever is happening in Pakistan is bound to be repeated in Kashmir.” His statement reminded of his cousin Shabbir. It was in late-eighties when a sectarian clash broke between shias and sunnis. Shabbir was one such victim of Sunni hegemony. That fateful day, he was at the wrong place at wrong time. Somebody in the crowd had pointed finger towards him and shouted, “He is a Khudd(a derogatory word used for shia-muslims in Kashmir).” He was stripped of his clothes by the crowd that constituted the majority community of sunnis. He was forced to run stark-naked towards his home in the Dal-Lake area. While he was being humiliated, many people in the crowd were cheering and galvanizing the mob to do more such shameful acts.

“We do not support Pakistan. The support to Azadi is because of our compulsion. Even though shia militant-groups were formed by our community, but they hardly participated. It was a gesture to show that we support them. We did not wanted to be conspicuous by not supporting them. Even though we did not really supported them.”said Shahid as he further added, “You can ask any Kashmiri Pandit, who are living in shia-dominated areas in Kashmir. They are the safest in our areas.” I knew it already, Many Kashmiri pundits stay put in their villages that were shia-dominated even when militancy was at its peak.

Harjeet intercepted Jokingly, “ Sunnis consider them as untouchables and untrustworthy”. Shahid nodded his head in approval and said, “we are ready to fight with them with our fists or with bullets.” With a whiff of anger. He said further, “we will fight back” with a determined tone. “when a sunni is killed by armed forced for whatever reason, they come on streets to protest. And if a shia is killed, not a brow is raised.” said shahid.

I was getting late as I had an appointment. But before that, I asked them about Kashmiri Pandits. Harjeet said , “Had you stayed back in Kashmir, you would have faced more ignominy and collateral damage in terms of life and the honour of KP ladies.” Shahid also approved as he said, “The general feeling is that you will never come back again”. He gesticulated as he said, “ And they will make sure that you don’t come back again.”

I took their permission and left them alone in the cafeteria. The last lines of Shahid were reverberating in my mind, “And they will make sure that you don’t come back again”. But I have pinned hope against hope that I will return someday, sometime. But I will return for sure….

Saving my Rakhi Brother-2nd and last part

Soon after Ashok and his family left for Jammu, many more Kashmiri Pandits followed their footsteps. By the Mid-spring most of my KP neighbors had left for an alien land. “Raina’s” and “Dhar’s” had gone, so had “Saproo’s” , “Tickoo’s” and “Bhat’s”.My family and the “saraf’s” were the only KP family left in our neighborhood. Most of the time I and my family members were confined indoors because of the activities of the militants and also because Army was patrolling our area almost 24*7. The peal of the neighborhood temple Bell too was silent.

Hamida was still visiting me, though not that frequently. Her wits were still alive, but I could feel something amiss in her normal behavior. One fine day, I asked her , “Hamida, from last few days, I am feeling as if you are not your usual self. Is everything O.k?” She nodded her head in disapproval and said, “Nothing! I am just fine.”, and looked straight in my eyes. Then something happened. She held my hand and pulled me up from the Sofa. “come to the next room, I want to tell you something” she said. Ever since she had told me about the incidence of Ashok; I took every word of her seriously. And then she whispered, “Everything is not fine Didda, things are becoming worse and I doubt It will get only worst. Shabbir, my brother, has advised me not to meet you or any other KP for that matter.” I asked, “But why?”. “Read between the lines, Didda. You are my dear friend and I don’t want anybody to harm you or your family. I think you too should move out of the valley for the time being” said she in a pensive mood. And she left immediately after that. I never saw her after that.

I had to get curd from the “Ismail goor”(Ismail-the milkman).His shop was hardly 100 meters away from my house. I was thinking about my last interaction with Hamida. It was around noon. Ismail’s son Khalid was rolling down the shutters of his shop. I said to him, “ Don’t roll down the shutters, first give me half a Kg of curd.”He said in a rude tone, “Didda, go back to your home quickly.”And looked at me. His looks were threatening. I almost ran back to my house.I was angry at Khalid. My late father had taught him to read and write. He had given him free tuitions and helped him to secure a Govt. Job. He was like a family member to us all. During all these years he had never ever misbehaved with me.

As, I was thinking about the incidence, I heard a loud deafening explosion outside. I ran out to see what happened! I could only see dust and smoke at a distance .My younger brother Ramesh was running from the opposite direction. He held my hand firmly and almost dragged me back to our house. Without my asking, he said, “A bomb exploded just near “Ismail Goor’s” Shop. I was bewildered and scared.

By the evening, everything was normal. I still hadn’t bought curd. I was someone, who would not eat a meal without curd. I went again to the shop of Ismail. The shutters were still down. I decided to go to Ismail’s house and get the curd. His house was just 50 meters away from my house and I had gone there “N” number of times. He had a cowshed at the ground floor of his house and I directly went inside the shed. I shouted “Khalid, Ismailsaab, are you there?”. Khalid quickly came from nowhere. Anger was written all over his face. He pushed me back as he said, “ you mad girl ! what are you doing here. Get out of here.” Even during this commotion, I clearly saw at least 6 strange faces, ducked in between the bovines. It looked as if they were in a hiding. I came back disappointed. During night, I could not sleep for a long time. I was thinking about Hamida, Khalid and the bomb blast.

It was a moonlit night. And Sleep was still miles away. I opened the window of my room .My room was on the first floor and the windows opened towards the compound. The compound was flanked on two sides by our neighbor’s houses . There was an eight foot high by two feet wide wall securing our compound just opposite my room. The roof of compound wall was covered with slanting tin sheets, so that the snow will not accumulate on the top and will fall down smoothly. A cool breeze was blowing outside. The moon looked stunning. I was about to close the window when an image appeared behind the compound wall. I was scared. I hid myself, but I was still peeping outside the window. He was standing on the wall. I could see him clearly. He was a tall guy about 6 feet. He looked more like an Afgani than a Kashmiri. He was talking to someone on the other side of the wall, whom I could not see. I could hear him clearly . He was speaking Afgani or pushto or any other language but Kashmiri. I was scared to death and was sure that they had come to kidnap me.

Suddenly, someone started stoning my house as well as the compound wall. The sound was piercing the silence of the night and was enough to jolt the whole neighborhood and wake them up from their deep sleep. The stoning also alerted the army men outside the street. I could hear the trample of the boots of the armymen. The intruder too got confused and jumped back to the street. I had a sigh of relief.

Next morning, as I was passing by the shop of “Ismail Goor”, I spotted Khalid sitting in his shop. I was angry at him and tried to ignore him. “Didda, come here”, he said. Though I wanted to avoid him, but I still went up to him. He spoke to me in a cautious low voice. “I have been trying to caution you and your family. I cautioned you before the bomb explosion. I wanted you to go out of the cow-shed yesterday as they(militants) were hiding there and could have harmed you. And It was I Didda who stoned your house yesterday to raise an alarm against those Afganis. I am sorry, I could not inform you earlier as I too fear for my and my family’s life. I beg you to leave this place as soon as possible, for your safety and honor. Now leave this place and act as if nothing has happened. You too are under the surveillance of Militants.”I composed my calm, bought my last curd in Kashmir and went back to my house.

I narrated everything to my Brothers and my mother. We all decided to leave ASAP and come back once the things settle. A taxi was arranged by my Brothers. We only took some clothes and some important papers with us. By 7.00p.m we were at Jammu. We went to our Uncle’s place in Talab tiloo, jammu.

23 years have passed by. The return is still elusive. Who would have thought that KP’s as a community will be scattered emotionally and physically all over the Globe. Who would have thought, the alien land will become so familiar that our own motherland Kashmir will look like an stranger to us. But It has happened.

somebody has rightly said “Truth is stranger than fiction”….

Narrated by-Mrs. Seema Kaul(Didda)

Saving my Rakhi Brother(1990)

1990, when jihadi hooliganism was at its peak, My childhood friend and next-door neighbor, Hamida, came to my home late evening. She looked happy and cheerful as always. There was only one discussion that people were interested in, during those turbulent times-Militancy and Militants. Hamida was no exception. She was in privy of the sources/ militants that were carrying the execution orders of the Hindu minorities on the behest of their Pakistani masters sitting across the border. She was in fact proud of her association with the Militants.

“I want to share something with you!” she said to me eagerly. “OK, Tell me”, I said casually.”No, not here, let us go upstairs or into the next room. It is very confidential”. Now, my curiosity was aroused. I said “OK, Let us go upstairs”. We both went upstairs to “Kainee”(parapet/ top most floor of the house). She was bubbling with energy as she said,” Tomorrow morning, It is the turn of Ashok. He will be shot dead by the militants tomorrow. Don’t tell this to anybody ever. I am sharing this with you as you are my friend”. My heart sank, but I composed myself quickly and said, “Let them kill him. He deserves it.” She said, “ Wow! I love militants. Let the pundits who are leaving every day for jammu leave, but you stay here. Don’t you worry. Nothing will ever happen to you or your family.” I smiled back at her.” Militants are only killing Indian agents and informers” she said. I nodded my head.

I wanted to tell her, “No! militants are killing Kashmiri Pandits for no reason. I wanted to tell her that militants are killing for the sake of jihad. For fame. For money. For power. For self-importance. For their desires and lust”. But, I could not muster courage. I wanted to tell her that it is the anti-Hindu sentiment that is being fanned by the maulvis of the Mosques by using Islamic terminologies to galvanize the common Muslims, and kill the hindus with impunity and without compunction. I wanted to tell her,” No, There is no bravery and holiness in killing hapless, unarmed innocent Pandits”. But I remained quite. After all, I too wanted to live.

Hamida would not leave me alone that evening for a moment, Though I wanted her to go back, so that I could run into Ashok’s house and inform him about his assassination plans by militants. Ashok was a neighbor and a friend of my brother. He was like my elder brother and I used to tie a “Rakhi” to him every year. Even the thought of getting him killed was suffocating me. But that day Hamida was in no hurry to go back to her home. I wanted to get rid of her so desperately that day. But It looked as if she had other plans. She was chattering incessantly and I was nodding my head in approval cursorily, I was in fact thinking hard, to somehow convey the insidious killing plot of militants to Ashok.

Finally, I came up with a plan. I said to her, “ Hamida, I just realized that I had to call up my relatives in Jammu.” She asked, “ which ones? “. I said, “My maternal uncle. They too fled for Jammu few days back.” “Oh! I see. OK, by the time you will call your uncle, I will buy curd from Ismail Goor”. Ismail Goor, The milkman’s shop was located just opposite to Ashok’s house. I could not go to his house in front of Hamida as that could raise suspicion. My mind was over-working, but I still said,” OK, Let us go”.

During those days, Telephone was a status-symbol and not everybody had the privilege of having a Phone at home. Ashok was a Govt. employee working with the telecom department and was thus in possession of a telephone connection. Adjacent to the Ashok’s house were “Dhar’s” and next to “Dhars” were “Raina’s”. “Raina’s” too had a telephone connection at their home.

We reached too quickly at “Ismail Goor’s” shop.I said to Hamida, “ I will go to Rainas and make a call. You wait for me here.” She said,” alright”. I went towards “Raina’s” house. Before stepping into their house, I turned back. Hamida was staring at me from the milkman’s shop. I quickly went inside the compound of the “Raina’s” and scaled the wall to reach into the compound of “Dhar’s”. I scaled the wall flanking Dhar’s and Ashok’s house and jumped with a “thud” into the compound of Ashok. My knees were aching because of the impact of the jump. But I had no time for small physical pains. The back door of Ashok’s house was ajar.I went inside. Ashok was sitting right there in his Drawing-room. I hugged him and tears rolled down from my cheeks. He was perplexed.”What happened Didda?”he jerked me. I said, “ Leave this place as soon as possible. Militants are planning to kill you.”I told him briefly about my encounter with Hamida and her confidential report. By that time, his wife and brother Satish also came. His wife Dolly too began to cry upon knowing the incident. Ashok and Satish consoled us both and they both thanked me for the information. “I need to go back quickly as Hamida is waiting for me and can suspect something fishy if I take too long.”I said to them. Both Ashok and Satish helped me to scale the compound wall and Very soon I landed in “Dhar’s” compound and finally into the compound of the “Raina’s”. As, I opened the main compound door, that opened into the main street, I was shocked to see Hamida standing in front of the door.”Why did you take so long?” said she. “Line was coming busy. I had to try 50 times, before I could connect to my Uncle.”I said. “Oh! I see” she said casually and quickly added, “I have bought video movie cassettes from Shabbir, We will watch them at your home, since you have a VCP”. I said with a sigh of relief, “ OK. Fine.”That night, we watched couple of movies. She stayed overnight at my home.

Next morning, she went back to her home. I thought, let me check whether Ashok had left or not. As, I was about to leave, Hamida came back. she was panting. I gave her a puzzled look. She said incoherently, “ Ashok has fled”. I said “What! I couldn’t get you”. She put her hand on her chest and said slowly and clearly,” Ashok too has left like other pundits “. I said ,” Oh! I see”. She said, “Lucky guy! The militants fired at the locks also suspecting him to be hiding inside. But they found all his family had fled. Not even their neighbors knew, when they fled,”. I gave her a lugubrious look. I was happy inside and thanked God for saving the life of Ashok-My Rakhi Brother.
narrated by-Mrs. Seema kaul

Kashmiri Pandits: VICTIMS of TERROR ‘n HATE CRIME

CRIME against HUMANITY: For the attention of pretended world bodies, contaminated human rights organisations, pseudo-secularists, self-styled leaders, so-called policy makers, tainted political parties and slack bureaucracy…..!

Kashmir can claim the distinction of being the only region of India which possesses an uninterrupted series of written records of its history. The earlier known kings of the Valley are Gonanda I and Damodara I. According to Kalhana, Gonanda I was the contemporary of Kauravas and Pandavas (later Vedic period). Hasan Khuihami claims to have traced the thirty-five kings, which were missing in Kalhana’s chronicle. Of the early kings who ruled over Kashmir at the beginning of Christian era, Ashoka followed Buddhism; while his son, Jaloka, reverted to the worship of Lord Shiva. The Buddhists, however, regained their strength under the patronage of the Turushka kings-Hushka, Jushka and Kanishka.

History of the Kashmiri Pandits is the history of Kashmir since unknown millennia. They are associated with its very existence – society, culture, civilization, customs, traditions, myths and realities. A period of comparative historical validity in the region began with the establishment of the Karkuta rule in AD 627. During the regime of Lohara dynasty, Kashmir came into direct 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 a locality called “Malichmar” near Alikadal (Srinagar) 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 temple treasures and got the idols of gold and silver melted to tide over his financial crisis. Before him two other kings, Jalauka and Kalasa, employed the same approach of plundering the temples 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 once again consolidated their position. But Ramadeva (AD 1252-1273) humiliated those Brahmans who had helped him in his coronation. 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 concealed their identity and cried “ Na Batoham” (I am not a Hindu).

To counter the supremacy of the Brahmans, the rulers of Kashmir encouraged the influx of Muslims into the Valley. During the reign of Suhadeva (AD 1301-1320) many Muslim adventurers came to Kashmir. The chief among them was a Muslim missionary- Bulbul Shah. Two others were Shahmir from Swat and Rinchana from Tibet. Shahmir came in AD 1313 along with his numerous relations. Suhadeva granted him a jagir in a village near Baramulla. Ramachandra, the Prime Minister, employed Rinchana and granted him jagir in a village in the Lar Valley. These two adventurers were instrumental in the establishment of the Muslim rule in Kashmir. Another adventurer who received Suhadeva’s patronage was Lankar Chak.

Dulucha, a Tartar chief from Central Asia, invaded Kashmir with 60,000 strong horsemen. Suhadeva tried to induce him to retreat by paying him off a large sum of money. For this purpose he imposed heavy taxes even upon the Brahmans who had never before been taxed. But Dulucha refused to retreat and struck terror. He ravaged the Valley with fire and sword. Terrible miseries were inflicted upon the people including the Brahmans. According to Baharistan – i -Shahi, “Dulucha and his soldiers killed everyone they could find . People who had fled to the hills and forests were pursued and captured. Men were killed, women and children were reduced to slavery and sold to the merchants of Khita (Turkistan), whom the invaders had brought with them. All the houses in the cities and the villages were burnt. The invaders ate as much of the corn and rice as they could . Whatever was left, they burnt and destroyed. In this way the whole of the Kashmir Valley was trampled under foot”. Suhadeva fled to Kishtwar, leaving the Kingdom to the cruel aggressors. Dulucha stayed here for eight months and took about 50,000 Brahmans with him as slaves. But all the troops and slaves perished while crossing the Devsar Pass. It was a terrible experience for the legendary Kashmiri Pandits. The cruel invader went away from the Valley but left it haunted. The cursed people had lost all faith in their ruler- Suhadeva. Taking the advantage of the chaos and confusion, Rinchana- the refugee from Tibet, occupied the throne with the help of some chiefs . He killed his benefactor, Ramachandra, in the fort of Lar by treacherous means and married his daughter, Kota Rani.

Rinchana, a Buddhist, wanted to get initiated into the Brahmanical fold to strengthen his political position. At that time, Shaivism was the most extensively practised religion in the Valley. So he called Sri Devaswami, the religious head of the Shaivas, to indoctrinate himself into the Hindu religion. Devaswami called a meeting of the prominent Pandits, who refused to accept Rinchana into Hinduism because of his low birth. Jonaraja says,” The King asked Devaswami to initiate him in the mantras of Shiva, but as he was Bhautta (Tibetian), Devaswami feared that the King was unworthy of such initiation and did not favour him”. This was a tremendous blunder on the part of Pandits, which turned the course of history. In fact, the Brahmans were not ready to share their privileges with an outsider. Thus deflected, Rinchana wanted to establish a uniform faith of warring sects and creeds in Kashmir with himself as its head. But Shahmir and Bulbul Shah managed his conversion to Islam. Ramachandra’s son, Ravanachandra, and many others also embraced Islam. A Muslim ruling class came into existence. In this way the Kashmiri Pandits were responsible for the destruction of their own ascendency and the ruin of their very existence. They are tremendously paying for it even now. People of inferior origin and subordinate castes were attracted to Islam by gradual methods. This newly established Muslim class slowly consolidated its position and employed various methods to propagate the new faith. However, the Brahmans put a brave front and resisted the tide. After the death of Rinchana (AD 1326), Udyanadeva, the brother of Suhadeva, was installed on the throne of Kashmir and Shahmir was appointed as Commander-in-Chief.

Achala, a Turkish Chief, invaded Kashmir during the reign of Udyanadeva, laying waste the territories he passed through. The king fled to Tibet. Kota Rani – the queen, faced the invader, procured his death and saved the kingdom. In this operation , Shahmir played the dominant role. Jonaraja says, “Strange that this Believer in Allah became the saviour of the people. As a dried up river allows men to cross it and gives them shelter on its banks, even so this believer in Allah, calm and active, protected the terrified subjects.” Shahmir’s influence increased tremendously and he further strengthened his position by entering into matrimonial relations with the powerful nobles in Kashmir. A subversive struggle was born between the tolerant Hinduism and the militant Islam.

In AD 1339, after defeating Kota Rani by a foul strategem and procuring her death, Shahmir ascended the throne of Kashmir under the name of Sultan Shamas-ud-Din (The Light of the Religion – Islam). He got khutaba read and the coins struck to his name. Islam became the court religion. Shahmir became the legitimate author and architect of Muslim rule in Kashmir. With the establishment of the new regime Muslim missionaries, preachers, sayyids and saints penetrated into the Valley. Sayyid Jalal-ud-Din, Sayyid Taj-ud-Din, Sayyid Hussain Simnani, Sayyid Masud and Sayyid Yusuf came to Kashmir to avoid the intended massacre by Timur. Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani (Shah Hamadan) entered Kashmir with 700 sayyids; and, his son, Mir Muhammad Hamadani, with 300 more. They endured in the Valley under royal protection and disseminated the message of Islam. Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani (AD 1314-AD 1385) wrote in “ Zakhirat’ul Maluk ” :

1. Muslim ruler shall not allow fresh constructions of Hindu temples and shrines for image worship.
2. No repair shall be executed to the existing Hindu temples and shrines.
3. They shall not proffer Muslim names.
4. They shall not ride a harnessed horse.
5. They shall not move about with arms.
6. They shall not wear rings with diamonds.
7. They shall not deal in or eat bacon.
8. They shall not exhibit idolatrous images.
9. They shall not built houses in the neighbourhood of Muslims.
10. They shall not dispose of their dead in the neighbourhood of Muslim graveyards, nor weep or wail over their dead.
11. They shall not deal in or buy Muslim slaves.
12. No Muslim traveller shall be refused lodging in the Hindu temples and shrines where he shall be treated as a guest for three days by non-Muslims.
13. No non-Muslim shall act as a spy in the Muslim state.
14. No problem shall be created for those non-Muslims who, of their own will, show their readiness for Islam.
15. Non-Muslims shall honour Muslims and shall leave their assembly whenever the Muslims enter the premises.
16. The dress of non-Muslims shall be different from that of Muslims to distinguish themselves.
This naturally caused animosity among the Brahmans and resulted in frail rebellion during the reign of Shihab-ud-Din (AD 1354-1373). In order to break the upheaval among the Hindus and to make them prostrate, the Sultan turned his attention towards their temples. All the temples in Srinagar, including the one at Bijbehara, were wrecked to terrorize the poor Kashmiri Pandits. It seems that by this time, the sultans of Kashmir were perfectly islamized as a result of their contacts, interactions and intercourses with the sayyids. These sayyids came here as absconders in search of safe harbours, but manoeuvered the events for their own cause and fanatic iconoclastic zeal. The Hindus began to feel deserted and alienated in their own land. To consolidate their rule, sultans institutionalized the “policy of extermination” to eradicate all traces of Hinduism in any form. However, the Kashmiri Pandits stuck to their own religion and traditions, ignoring the atrocities, barbarism and cruelties of the privileged ruling class. But there were many from other castes who, either by conviction or in order to gain royal favour, embraced Islam. These new converts were looked down upon by the Kashmiri Pandits as traitorous and treacherous, with no loyalty for time-honored values. This gave rise to a new class rivalry. Suha Bhatt, who after embracing Islam took the name of Saif-ud-Din, became the leader of the fresh converts during the reign of Sikandar (AD 1389-1413).

Sikandar- the Butshikan, was bigoted with fanatic religious zeal to spread Islam in the entire Valley. This fanaticism was stimulated by Mir Muhammad Hamadani. Suha Bhatt – the convert, was appointed Prime Minister by Sikandar and both hatched a deadly conspiracy to prosecute the Hindus and enforce upon the Nizam-i-Mustaffa. Jonaraja says, “ The Sultan forgot his kingly duties and took delight day and night in breaking images … He broke images of Martanda, Vishaya, Ishana, Chakrabrit and Tripureshvara …… There was no city, no town, no village, no wood where Turushka left the temples of the gods unbroken.” According to Hassan (History of Kashmir), “ This country possessed from the times of Hindu rajas many temples which were like the wonders of the world. Their workmanship was so fine and delicate that one found himself bewildered at their sight. Sikandar, goaded by feelings of bigotry, destroyed them and levelled them with the earth and with the material built many mosques and khanqahs. In the first instance he turned his attention towards the great Martand temple built by Ramdev (the temple was rebuilt by King Lalitaditya, AD 724-760) on Mattan Kareva. For one year he tried to demolish it, but failed. At last in sheer dismay, he dug out stones from its base and having stored enough wood in their place, set fire to it. The gold gilt paintings on its walls were totally destroyed and the walls surrounding its premises were demolished. Its ruins even now strike wonder in men’s minds. At Bijbehara, three hundred temples including the famous Vijiveshwara temple, which was partly damaged by Shihab-ud-Din, were destroyed. With the material of Vijiveshwara temple, a mosque was built and on its site a khanqah, which is even now known as Vijiveshwara Khanqah.” The stones and bricks which once configurated a marvelous and splendid temple or monastery, now hold up mosques. Hassan further adds, “ Sikandar meted out greatest oppression to the Hindus. It was notified in the Valley that if a Hindu does not become a Muslim, he must leave the country or be killed. As a result some of the Hindus fled away, some accepted Islam and many Brahmans consented to be killed and gave their lives. It is said that Sikandar collected, by these methods, six maunds of sacred thread form Hindu converts and burnt them. Mir Muhammad Hamadani, who was a witness of all this vicious brutality, barbarism and vandalism, at last advised him to desist from the slaughter of Brahmans and told him to impose jazia (religious tax) instead of death upon them. All the Hindu books of learning were collected and thrown into Dal Lake and were buried beneath stones and earth.” Sikandar issued orders that no man should wear the tilak mark on his forehead and no woman be allowed to perform sati. He also insisted on breaking and melting of all the gold and silver idols of gods and coin the metal into money. An attempt was made to destroy the caste of the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans by force and those who resisted were subject to heavy fines. Farishta says, “ Many of the Brahmans, rather than abandon their religion or their county, poisoned themselves; some emigrated from their native homes, while a few escaped the evil of banishment by becoming Muhammedans”. To strictly enforce the Nizam-i-Mustaffa, Sikandar established the office of Shaikh-ul-Islam.

According to W.R. Lawrence, the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir were given three choices-death, conversion or exile. “Many fled, many were converted and many were killed, and it is said that this thorough monarch (Sikandar) burnt seven maunds of sacred threads of the murdered Brahmans”. As for the statements of Hassan and Lawrence, six maunds of sacred threads of converts and seven maunds of murdered Pandits were burnt. The number of people, to whom these thirteen maunds of sacred threads belonged, might have been tremendously colossal. A mammoth number of the Saraswat Pandits also went into exile, causing the first disastrous mass exodus of the community. When Suha Bhatt- the convert, came to know that many Brahmans were leaving Kashmir, he tried to check their exodus and ordered the frontier guards not to allow any one to cross the borders. The unfortunate Pandits caught while crossing the border were awarded severe punishments. Even the converts were required to pay jazia as they were suspected of secretly clinging to their old religion.

Not only Sikandar- the Butshikan, but Suha Bhatta – the convert, also was responsible for this barbarous, murderous and cruel approach towards the mythical Kashmiri Pandits. Jonaraja says, “ Suha Bhatta- the convert, after demolishing the temples felt the satisfaction, and with the help of sayyids, ulema and newly converts tried to destroy the caste of the people… the illustrious Brahmans declared that they would die rather than lose their caste and religion, and Suha Bhatta – the convert, subjected them to a heavy fine, jazia, because they held to their caste and religion.” There is no parallel of this religious persecution in the history of mankind.

Ali Shah – the tyrant (AD 1413-1430), son of Sikandar- the Butshikan, during his short rule of six years, carried on his father’s 24-year tyrant reign with homicides, conversions, tyranny and enforced jazia. Suha Bhatta – the convert, who retained the prime ministership continued his earlier crimes and atrocities against the Kashmiri Pandits. Jonaraja gives a graphic account of the plight of the illustrious Kashmiri Pandits in the draconian reign of Ali Shah. He says,” Suha Bhatta- the convert, passed the limit by levying fine, jazia, on the twice – born. This evil-minded man forbade ceremonies and processions on the new moon. He became envious that the Brahmans who had become fearless would keep up their caste by going over to foreign countries, he therefore ordered posting of squads on the roads, not to allow passage to any one without a passport. Then as the fisherman torments fish, so this low born man tormented the twice-born in this country. The legendary Brahmans burnt themselves in the flaming fire through fear of conversion. Some Brahmans killed themselves by taking poison, some by the rope and others by drowning themselves. Others again by falling from a precipice. The country was contaminated by hatred and the king’s favourites could not prevent one in a thousand from committing suicide …. A multitude of celebrated Brahmans, who prided in their caste, fled from the country through bye-roads as the main roads were closed. Even as men depart from this world, so did the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir flee to foreign countries. The difficult countries through which they passed, the scanty food, painful illness and the torments of hell during life time removed from the minds of the Kashmiri Pandits the fears of hell. Oppressed by various calamities such as encounter with the enemy, fear of snakes, fierce heat and scanty food; many Brahmans perished on the way and thus obtained salvation.” This was the second miserable mass exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits. Jonaraja calls it “ Chandh-Dandh” – violent, cruel, brutal and horrible punishment, for the abandoned and vulnerable Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir. History repeated itself again in AD 1989-1990.

The brutal religious persecution of the Kashmiri Pandits has been borne testimony to by almost all the Muslim historians. Hassan, Fauq and Nizam – ud – Din have condemned these excesses in unscathing terms. It was the reign of terror and homicide. The majority of the Hindus were converted forcibly and a large number of them left the Valley. Yet many more were passing their days in the most deplorable conditions only on payment of jazia. The allowance of the Brahman academicians was stopped to destroy the ancient learning, literature, education, art and culture. These enlightened intellectuals had to move from door to door for food, like dogs. One can’t imagine a higher level of mental torture!

The Brahmans, even after paying jazia, could not openly declare themselves as Hindus nor could they apply tilak on their foreheads. Neither could they pray in their temples or perform any religious ceremony. Even then they did not forget their past and rich tradition. As the custodians of their extraordinary cultural heritage, they wrote the illuminating treatises on the stupendous Kashmir Shaivism, colossal literature, splendid art, marvelous music, grammar and medicine.

Sultan Zainul Abidin – the Budshah (Great Monarch), ruled Kashmir from AD 1420 to 1460. The son of Sultan Sikandar – the Butshikan, and the brother of Sultan Ali Shah- the tyrant, Zainul Abidin followed the policy of tolerance, endurance, patience, sympathy and broad mindedness. He recalled the Kashmiri Pandits who had left the Valley during the rule of Sikandar and Ali Shah. Jazia was abolished and the Brahmans were given their earlier positions in administration. Demolished temples were rebuilt and new ones constructed. Two temples were built by Zainul Abidin at Ishbar, Srinagar. The Sultan also participated in the Hindu festivals. A large number of houses were built for the widows of the Brahmans who had suffered during the reign of terror. Zainul Abidin stopped the killing of cows, restricted the eating of beef and catching of fish in the sacred springs of the Hindus. Even the personal law as laid down in the Shastras was adopted for the Hindus. The legenday Kashmiri Pandits were resurrected and resuscitated. Ferguson observes that indeed history has very few examples where the policy of a father was so completely reversed by the son. Even the Mughal monarch, Akbar – the great , capitalized on the religious policy of Zainul Abidin. But the conservative and dogmatic Muslims reacted very sharply to this policy of toleration and mutual coexistence . According to Mulla Bahauddin, “ The Sultan reimported practices of infidels which had once become extinct”.

But the honey-moon of the Kashmiri Pandits proved very brief. During the reign of Haider Shah (AD 1470-1472) – the prodigal son of the great Zainul Abidin, Kashmiri Pandits once again suffered tremendously. Under the evil influence of Purni- the Hindu barber, Haider Shah adopted various corrupt and cruel practices against the Saraswat Brahmans. The repression was so terrible that the tolerant Pandits lost their cool. Hassan says, “ the patience of the Pandits having reached the breaking point, they rose in a body and set fire to some mosques which were built with the material of the Hindu temples once demolished by Sikandar. The rising was quelled by the sword; many more Pandits were drowned in rivers; and, loot and plunder was practiced with unbridled licence.” Srivara also illustrates the cruel and inhuman treatment given to the mythical Kashmiri Saraswat Brahmans, “… many Pandits struggled and threw themselves in river Vitasta to be drowned there. The arms and noses of many people were cut off, even of those Brahmans who were king’s servants.” Ravage and arson of the sacred places continued during the indifferent rule of Hassan Khan (AD 1476-1487), when the real authority was with the gang of three persons- Shams Chak, Shringhar Raina and Musa Raina. The pressure exerted on the illustrious Kashmiri Pandits was so barbarous that, in order to save themselves from merciless brutality, some of them gave up their caste and screamed – “ I am not a Bhatta……… I am not a Bhatta” ( I am not a Hindu). They went in strict seclusion to avoid any argument or controversy.

Mir Shams-ud-Din Iraqi, who visited the Saffron Valley twice in AD 1477 and 1496, was the founder of Nurbakhshiya Order (Shia sect) in Kashmir. His mission was the vigorous propagation of his faith. So, not contented with peaceful preachings, violent methods were employed. In this adventure , Iraqi was helped by the most dreaded tyrant- Malik Musa Raina, a convertee, whose original name was Soma Chandra. Not only the poor vulnerable Brahmans, but the Sunni Muslims were also violently converted to Shia sect by murderous techniques. This dogmatic fanaticism even crippled the Sunni ruler of Kashmir, Fateh Shah (AD 1510-1517). A khanqah was built at Zadibal (Srinagar) by Iraqi, which became the nucleus of Shia concentration.

Kashmiri Pandits suffered ferociously under the instructions of Shams-ud-Din Iraqi and Musa Raina. About 24,000 of them were forcibly converted to Shia sect of Islam. Iraqi had even issued orders that everyday about 1500 to 2000 Brahmans be brought to his doorsteps, remove their sacred threads, administer Kalima to them, circumcise them and make them eat beef. These decrees were ferociously and brutally carried out. The Hindu religious scriptures from 7th century AD onwards and about 18 magnificent temples were destroyed, property confiscated and ladies abused. Thousands of Brahmans killed themselves to evade this horrific barbarism and thousands migrated to other places, resulting in their third tragic mass exodus from the Valley. Those who stayed behind were not only forced to pay jazia, but their noses and ears were chopped off. To escape the tremendous pain and agony, they cried. “I am not a Hindu.” After Kashmir , the next destination of Iraqi for war against so-called infidelity was Kargil. It is now a Shia –dominated area and there are frequent sectarian clashes between them and the Buddhists.

In AD 1519, about ten thousand Kashmiri Pandits died during pilgrimage to Harmukh Ganga, where they had gone to immerse the ashes of those eight hundred Hindus who had been massacred during Ashura a year before. Poet-historian Suka says about this cataclysm, “ Ganga was oppressed with hunger, as it was after a long time that she had devoured bones; she surely devoured the men also who carried the bones.” It was after a gap of many years that the people were allowed to go on a pilgrimage to Harmukh lake, which ended in the most devastating tragedy.

Qazi Chak, the founder of Chak rule in Kashmir (AD 1553-1586), carried on ferocious religious policy and made conversion of many Hindus to Shia sect of Islam. According to Suka, one thousand cows were used to be killed everyday without any opposition under the orders of the Chak rulers, who were Shias, just to injure the religious sentiments of the Kashmiri Pandits. These celebrated and highly educated Aryan Saraswat Brahmans were made the objects of laughter and reproach. They were publically taunted, abused and humiliated. The last Chak ruler, Yaqub Chak, had a bigoted zeal for the propagation of Shia sect and planned mass conversion of the Hindus. However, he could not administer his criminal designs because of the Mughal annexation.

Akbar was tremendously influenced by the amazing moral supremacy of the Kashmiri Pandits. Abul Fazl records in Ain-i-Akbari, “ the most respectable class in this country (Kashmir) is that of the Pandits, who, notwithstanding their need for freedom from the bonds of tradition and custom, are the true worshippers of God. They do not loosen their tongue of calumny against those not of their faith, nor beg, nor importune. They employ themselves in planting fruit trees and are generally a source of inspiration for others”. The great Mughal Emperor abolished jazia and other unjust taxes imposed upon the Hindus. He also evinced great interest in the rehabilitation of the Pandits. Suka says, “ The Emperor announced that he would without delay reward those who would respect the Brahmans in Kashmir and that he would instantly pull down the houses of those who would demand the annual tribute from them.” The greatness of Akbar lies in his magnificent and fascinating policy of religious tolerance. Jahangir and Shah Jahan were not so tolerant. But their religious enthusiasm cannot be termed as fanatic. During this period, the Brahmans could perform their religious ceremonies after paying some tribute. But the whole scenario changed with the accession of Aurangzeb to the throne. With his bigoted fanatic and dogmatic approach, the Kashmiri Pandits were once again made vulnerable. Iftkar Khan, the Mughal governor of Kashmir during the reign of Aurangzeb, brutally tyrannized over the Brahmans to such an extent that they approached Guru Teg Bhahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru, at Anandpur in Punjab and solicited his personal intervention with the Emperor. This ultimately led to the Guru’s martyrdom and made Guru Gobid Singh to create the Khalsa to fight the oppressors . Muzaffer Khan, Nassar Khan and Ibrahim Khan were other governors of Aurangzeb who ferociously terrorized the Kashmiri Pandits. These celebrated scapegoats were once again forced to migrate from the land of their origin. It was the fourth disastrous mass exodus of the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans from Kashmir.

During the rule of later Mughals, Kashmir witnessed the outbreak of the worst kind of religious intolerance. In AD 1720, Mullah Abdul Nabi, also called Muhat Khan, a non-resident Kashmiri Muslim, was appointed as Shaikhul Islam . In order to assert his religious authority, he asked the Deputy Governor, Mir Ahmed Khan , to start a campaign of persecution of the Kafirs (infidels) – as the Kashmiri Pandits were called. In order to satisfy his satanic ego, the Mulla issued six commandments:

No Hindu should ride a horse, nor should a Hindu wear a shoe;
That they should not wear Jama (Mughal costume);
That they should move bare arms;
That they should not visit any garden;
That they should not have tilak mark on their foreheads;
That their children should not receive any education.

But Ahmed Khan refused to execute the mischievous decree. The Mullah then excited his followers against the Kashmiri Pandits. He established his seat in a mosque, assumed the duties of the administrator under the title of Dindar Khan and let loose the reign of terror. The Hindus were wickedly tormented, their houses burnt and property looted. Hundreds of Brahmans were killed, prostrated, maimed and humiliated. They began to run away in large numbers and hide themselves in mountainous terrain. This was the fifth dreadful mass exodus of the legendary Kashmiri Pandits from their mystic motherland. Those who remained behind lived in the most horrific and terrible conditions generated by the Mullah and his gang. But soon he was assassinated by his rivals and his son, Sharif-ud-Din, become the new Shaikhul-Islam. The son improved upon the brutal methods of his father and inflicted most barbaric, cruel and inhuman tortures upon the vulnerable Brahmans. The plight of the Kashmiri Pandits during this period became tremendously miserable and tragic.

The Afghan rule in Kashmir (AD 1753-1819) was a period of cruelty, homicide and anarchy. W.R. Lawrence calls it the “reign of brutal tyranny.” The barbarous Afghans employed every wild, inhuman, primitive, ferocious, cruel and brutal method to suppress the Kashmiri Brahmans. A pitcher filled with ordure was placed on the head of a Pandit and stones were pelt on it, till it broke and the unfortunate Brahman become wet with filth. Their brutality and atrocity crossed the extreme limits when Hindus were tied up in grass sacks, two and two, and drowned in the Dal Lake. The victimized Hindu were forced to flee the country or were killed or converted to Islam. There was sixth horrible mass exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits, to far away places like Delhi, Allahabad, etc. Many covered the long distances on foot.

Hindu parents destroyed the beauty of their daughters by shaving their heads or cutting their noses and ears to save them from degradation. Any Muslim could jump on the back of a Pandit and take a ride. Mir Hazar – an Afghan governor, used leather bags instead of grass sacks for the drowning of Brahmans. Turbans and shoes were forbidden for them. The Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir were also forced to grow beards and tilak was interdicted. The Afghans are now only remembered for their barbarity, brutality, ferocity, tyranny and cruelty. They thought no more of cutting of heads than of plucking a flower.

The Shahmirs, Chaks, Mughals and homicidal Afghans tore the fabric of society in Kashmir and left deep scars on it. When the Afghan oppression became intolerable, the Pandits turned with hope to the rising power of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. But they were suspected. The Afghan governor, Azim Khan, confiscated their jagirs and imposed jazia on them. Eminent Pandits were brutally killed, humiliated and their authority was snatched. Nur Shah Diwani – a cruel Muslim official who was in charge of revenue collection, hatched a conspiracy in league with Azim Khan to eliminate the distinguished Kashmiri Brahmans. But this evil manoeuvre was exposed and a galaxy of Pandits saved. Pandit Sahajram, the Diwan, played a prominent role in the rescue operation.

Azim Khan had appointed Sukhram Safaya, Mirza Pandit and Birbal Dhar as revenue collectors. Birbal Dhar could not collect the required amount due to failure of crops. The atrocious Afghan governor browbeated Pandit Birbal to make the payment of one lac rupees. Rowdy and boisterous soldiers were send to threaten him and other Pandits. Sensing the Afghan tsunami, distinguished Kashmiri Pandits called a backstairs meeting in which it was resolved to invite Ranjit Singh for the conquest of Kashmir and salvation of the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans. Accordingly Birbal Dhar and his minor son, Raja Kak Dhar, secretly left for Lahore with a petition signed by the prominent Kashmiri Pandits through which an invitation was extended to Ranjit Singh to take over the Valley. When Azim Khan came to know about these developments, he sent his soldiers to nab Birbal Dhar and teach him a lesson. But when these bandits met with no success, the cruel governor turned his guns towards the wife and daughter-in-law of Birbal Dhar . Both the ladies had taken shelter in the house of a trustworthy Muslim, Qadus Gojwari. Azim Khan asked Pandit Basa Kak to hunt down the innocent ladies. Basa Kak knew about the retreat of ladies but did not disclose it even after monstrous tortures and oppressive penalties. At last his abdomen was ripped open in the most barbarous manner and the dead body discredited – the most unfortunate and brutal crime against humanity in the civilized world. The poor ladies were also captured . Birbal Dhar’s wife committed suicide by swallowing a piece of diamond. The younger lady was violently converted to Islam and handed over to an Afghan noble, who carried her to Kabul.

Nervous to the marrow of his bones and crazy with rage, Azim Khan tormented all those Kashmiri Brahmans whom he suspected to be in league with Birbal Dhar. Prominent Pandits were detained in a concentration camp at Nishat Garden and ferociously tortured. But on learning about the Sikh advances towards Kashmir, he lost all nerve and solicited instruction from Pandit Sahajram Dhar. The illustrious Pandit advised him to sent off his ladies folk to Kabul. It was the only way to save them from the ignominious treatment. Sahajram himself escorted the ladies to Kabul and saved them from disastrous shame. Azim Khan himself ran away from the Valley, leaving the administration into the hands of his brother, Jabbar Khan. However, atrocious Afghans were crushed and the Sikhs annexed Kashmir. Some extremist Sikhs, including Phul Singh, endeavoured to knock down the mosque of Shah Hamadan. But celebrated Birbal Dhar, at a considerable risk to his own life, made them desist from this action. According to GMD Sufi, “ It is to the lasting credit of Birbal Dhar that when a deputation of Muslims headed by Sayyid Hasan Shah Qadiri Khanyari approached him to dissuade the Sikhs from the destruction of the Khanqah, he moved in the matter, used his influence and saved this historical structure from vandalism.” It reveals the true personality and character of a distinguished Kashmiri Pandit.

During the Sikh rule in Kashmir, AD 1819-1846, the celebrated Pandits reclaimed their past glory and magnificence. They claimed back the prominent places of trust and honour. Cow slaughter was banned, temples renovated and the earlier wrongs rectified. The legendary Kashmiri Pandits received a healing touch after centuries of barbarity, ferocity and tyranny. But by the time the Sikhs conquered Kashmir in AD 1819, about nine-tenths of the population had been converted to Islam. Out of the 10% Hindu population, a large number had migrated to the Punjab and other provinces. The Pandits in general belonged to the middle class while the upper and lower classes were dominated by the Muslims.

The Valley of Kashmir had been ceded by the Sikhs to the British in lieu of indemnity imposed on the Lahore Durbar. The British made it over to Maharaja Gulab Singh on March 16, 1846, for a sum of seventy-five lacs of rupees. In this way, the territory and people of Kashmir were virtually sold to Gulab Singh by the British. Thus began the Dogra rule in Kashmir. The present Jammu & Kashmir State was born.The creation of the Jammu and Kashmir State in 1846, through the Treaty of Amritsar, was a master-stroke of British diplomacy in Asia. No doubt, Kashmir never became a past of the British Indian domain, but the British allowed only minimum operational freedom to the Dogra rulers. In fact, the British created a buffer state of Jammu and Kashmir under the title of a “Sovereign State”, to keep Russia at a distance from British India and to counter the Czarist “menance” in Central Asia.In the middle of the 19th century, the growing menace of Russian expansion in Central Asia posed a direct threat to the security of British domain in India. So there was need to create a buffer between the two rivals in Asia. Kashmir, like Afghanistan, served the purpose. Installation of a British Commissioner in Ladakh in 1847-48 was a prelude to the forceful perpetuation of British imperialist policy in Kashmir. The British managed their Kashmir policy with extraordinary caution and subtle diplomacy.History of Kashmir in the second half of the 19th century should be studied in the backdrop of Anglo-Russian rivalry in Central Asia. Any move on the Central Asian chessboard had its direct impact on Kashmir. The policies of the British in Kashmir were designed to fit in the scheme of their “frontier policy” in Central Asia.In 1885, the first British Resident was appointed in Kashmir. With this statrted the active British intervention in Jammu and Kashmir State. Creation of Gilgit Agency, subjugation of Chitral, establishment of a Council and finally partial deposition of Maharaja Partap Singh in 1889 was the completion of British imperialist strange-hold over Kashmir. This was managed by the British through their successive Residents in Kashmir.

With the formation of Jammu and Kashmir State; and, establishment of the Dogra rule, Kashmiri Pandits were imperceptibly elbowed to the background. Administrators and officials were deputed from Jammu region. Though they enjoyed comprehensive.

This article has been written by Dr Satish Ganjoo

peace and Humanity-A Kp’s view…

 

Humanity and violence  though antonyms, are at the extreme sides of the pendulum called History. The pendulum swings from violence to Humanity and back from Humanity and violence.

Before commencing further, I would like you to go back into History of Kashmir, when King Sikander Butshikan (1389-1413) was ruling over Kashmir. He broke almost all the Hindu-temples that existed at that time. According to W.R. Lawrence, the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir were given three choices-death, conversion or exile. “Many fled, many were converted and many were killed, and it is said that this thorough monarch (Sikandar) burnt seven maunds of sacred threads of the murdered Brahmans”. As for the statements of Hassan and Lawrence, six maunds of sacred threads of converts and seven maunds of murdered Pandits were burnt. The number of people, to whom these thirteen maunds of sacred threads belonged, might have been tremendously colossal. A mammoth number of the Saraswat Pandits also went into exile, causing the first disastrous mass exodus of the community.

His Son King Zain-ul-abidin, reversed the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.He restored all the rights of Kashmiri Pandits, rebuilt many desecrated and broken temples and gave full freedom of religion to the Pandits. That is why, even today, he is referred as ‘BadaShah”-The great  generous King.

The former was an example of violence and the latter an example of Humanity.

In modern times, I am reminded today, how in 1990, my community of 5lakh Hindu minorities were forced to flee their hearth and homes in the dead of night. Hundreds of Hindu-temples were broken or desecrated . Many properties of the Hindus are still occupied illegally by the miscreants.

 

The mass agitation and the organized violence of 1990 was not impromptu. It was rather the effect of decades of hatred sown meticulously by the so-called-mainstream political parties of Kashmir. It will be pertinent to mention here the role of plebiscite front- the brainchild of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. Under the guise of Plebiscite, communal hatred was sown in the minds of the Kashmiris. An impression was given to the majority Muslim population, that they are being discriminated upon, because of being Muslims. The remedy that was suggested by the activists of this front was rather diabolical in nature. Hindu-subjugation was projected as the justice and hegemony of the majority-Muslims. During the two decades of existence of Plebiscite Front, communal hatred was successfully planted in the minds and in the polity of J&K.

1990 was the culmination of the hatred, mistrust and communal abyss. And violence was rather used as an expression of religiosity and freedom of expression.

The role of Pakistan in fomenting violence in Kashmir can not be condoned. In fact, they are the sponsors of the violence in J&K. They have overtly and covertly tried in 1947, 1965 and 1999 to capture Kashmir rather unsuccessfully. But, they have successfully projected their image as a savior of Muslims-at least among the Kashmiri Muslims. Since 1990, they have engaged India in a  low intensity warfare  by creating Terrorists and molding the minds of terrorists on the name of ‘Jihad’.

 

It becomes extremely dangerous, when violence against any community is being justified, particularly on the name of Religion. Mass-Rejoicement over the killings on the name of religion is  extremely sickening,  But, that is what happened with the Kashmiri Hindu minorities in 1990.

The local Mosques-that are supposed to give religious sermons-acted as mouthpieces of the perpetrators, who evoked hatred against the minority Hindus of Kashmir. The loudspeakers resounded with threats against Kps and Hindus. It acted as a tool to instill fear among the Hindus, At the same time, it also made it evident that they have complete control over the administration.

The local Government headed by Faroq Abdullah had totally collapsed. There was chaos all around. Democracy was replaced by mobocracy. And Kashmiri-Hindus were killed in the most grotesque and inhuman ways.

In 1990,Tej Krishan Razdan, came back from Punjab to his native village in Budgam District, as he had heard from the TV, and read in the Newspapers about the deteriorating situation in the Kashmir valley. The Target-Killing of Kashmiri Pandits had started. He wanted to make sure that his family is safe and was thinking of shifting his family to a safer place. Little did he knew , what was in store for Him.

On 12th Feb. 1990,in Budgam, He was accosted by one of his Muslim friends. He persuaded Tej Krishan, to accompany him to Srinagar and both boarded the Matador from Budgam to Srinagar. When the Matador reached Gaw-Kadal, Suddenly, his Friend, pulled out a Revolver and Shot him several Times in the chest. He was dragged to the Local Masjid and his Dead Body was put on display there. It was only in the evening, with Police intervention, his body could be secured.

He was killed mercilessly. He was labeled as an informer. So were hundreds of KP’s. It had become a normal practice to kill any KP and then label him as an informer. Before Killing an KP , the militant in many cases would subject the Body to dismemberment, and incidents , like gouging out of eyes, Multiple Fractures, Skinning of KP Victims took place. The inhuman way of Killing was a part of the Planned Strategy, that was carried out by the Militants backed by Pakistan. The message was clear to the KP’s that,

“Don’t you dare to stay here “.

Apart from the target individual killings of the Pandits; to keep away KP’s from coming back into the valley, the Pakistani Backed Militants also carried out Massacres’ of Kashmiri Pandits from Time to Time. On 21 Mar. 1997, in Sangrampra, 7 KP’s were led away in the dark and shot dead. On 25 jan. 1998, in Wandhama, 23 KP’s were massacred and the local Temple damaged. On 23 March 2003, at Nadimarg, 24 KP’s were massacred.

Not only that, to dissuade the KP’s from coming back, and instill a fear psychosis, the Militants confronted KP’s in Jammu region too.3 KP’s were Killed in Garhat Gool village, Ramban by the Militants impersonated as Army men. They identified and separated 5 KP’s amongst the passengers that were travelling in the Bus. There were Muslims as well as Hindu Dogras too travelling in the same Bus, but they were not touched at all by the Militants. The 5 KP’s were ordered to alight from the Bus. Sensing danger, 2 KP’s escaped from the clutches of their captors as one jumped down into the ravine and the other one ran up towards the Hill. The rest of the3 KP’s were Shot Dead. There was a 6th KP in the Bus, who escaped Death , as he did not revealed his real identity. Instead, he had introduced himself as a Muslim and was thus saved.

The message was again Loud and Clear to KP’s-“Don’t you dare to return, back to the valley”.

Having said so, It will again be pertinent to mention here that, for the normal human beings- who for the most of the time remain as just pure, simple ‘Human beings’, the above incidents will melt down their hearts. But, for the strategists and jingoist politicians of Pakistan and their kashmiri corroborators, It was all a part of well-planned strategy.

Pakistan is using Kashmir as a shield to its existential threat as a Nation. It has somehow galvanized its public on the name of Kashmir, by using phrases likes, “We the Muslims”, “Jihad” etc. It has unctuously projected itself as a messiah of Kashmiris. The fact however remains that, Pakistan has illegally donated part of J&K, i.e the Aksai-Chin to China-its partner in crime.

China, on the other hand is exploiting the natural resources of Baluchistan, and are using the sea  surrounding the Pakistan to further their regional hegemony and project itself as a superpower.

We know this fact that Pakistan is at the brink of inevitable balkanization. We all know, how the rights of Baluchis or Baluchistanis have been blatantly trampled upon by the Pakistan, irrespective of their common faith. We must remember that erstwhile East Pakistan too was a Muslim-Majority area, But they opted to be a separate Nation . This makes it clear that Religion alone can not be a binding factor. The local indigenous culture too is important.

But in case of Kashmiri Hindus-who shared the common culture with the majority community; Religious fanaticism  weighed down the centuries old Kashmiriyat-The kashmiri word for communal harmony.

The seeds of hatred sown by the selfish polity of Kashmiri politicians , Pakistan and its Kashmiri corroborators  have grown up to become the trees laden with the fruits of violence. And this violence has taken thousands of lives over the last 28 years. This violence has uprooted a whole community. And this violence has prevented the Kashmiri Hindu community to come back to Kashmir.

Before sheikh Mohammed Abdullah made the Plebiscite front, he had made another political Party – The National Conference-which still exists. It was Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and his National conference who came to the rescue of Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs in 1947, when Pakistan had attacked Kashmir and were selectively killing only Hindus and Sikhs. The comrades of National conference laid down their lives to protect the lives of  Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs.

It is rather strange, that when most of India and Pakistan was burning in religious-Violence, Kashmir remained untouched and the Hindu-minorities of Kashmir felt safe there. However, the peace was blown into pieces by the violence unleashed by the Pakistani terrorists and everything changed.

Terrorism and violence are synonyms and they both are destructive for the mankind. To protect the mankind, the evil of terrorism must be completely rooted out. Any group or Nation, that is manufacturing terrorists must be dealt with Iron Hands.

Pakistan, we all know expertise in manufacturing terrorists. In fact, that is their only expertise. The world must unite together to fight this evil. We should not wait for another 9/11 attack, or London Bombings, or Mumbai attack, or for that matter, another Taliban or another Kashmir. These all are directly connected to Pakistan.

For the best interest of the world, Baluchistan and Sindh area should be taken away from the present Pakistan and announced as separate countries.

For the Kashmiri Hindus, The elusive symbol of peace-The Dove is still caged somewhere and so is the Humanity. It has been almost 27 years now, since Kp’s were ousted by the Violence unleashed on the name of Jihad. There is still a hope, that peace will prevail once again in the valley.

 

Time has come when the World must come together and wipe out the terrorism completely from the face of Earth, so that,  the pendulum will sway again towards the Humanity,  the peace prevail and the Doves free once again..

 

 

 

 

The I-I (philosophy)

In Yog vashist, an allegorical anecdote is repeated ‘N’ times…
A witness witnesses a crow sitting on a coconut tree.As soon as the crow flew , a coconut fell down on the earth.The witness wrongfully co-relates that because the crow flew from the tree; a coconut fell down.
In reality, if the crow hadn’t flew, the coconut would have still dropped down.

It has been mentioned that it is the wrongful identification with this body(or mind) that is the root cause of all ignorance.

Sage vashist reveals to Rama that the greatest virtue is the renunciation of mind-the ephemeral ‘l’.

This ‘I’ is the reflection of the real unversal ‘I’-the Shiva. Shiva is the supreme ‘I’, the consciousness of the consciousness. The transitory ‘I’, that is according to KS-the contracted form the universal ‘I’- embodies itself or limits itself or creates an feeling of a separate ‘I'(duality or maya)

Out of play, the shiva(consciousness)(experient)who has the nature of Ananda(bliss)-wants to experience ‘Ananda’ in knowledge(pramana) as well as object of knowledge(prameya).But to have these both attributes, there should be time, space and ‘I’.

The supreme ‘I’ because of ‘Bliss’ creates maya, and the only one I.e ‘I’-the shiva-gets contracted , the attributes of universal ‘I’ gets contracted too once it comes In contact(or enters) Maya.

According to KS..following contractions happen to the universal ‘I’- who is originally full of
Chaitanya(consciousness)
Anand(bliss)
Iecha(will)
Gyan(knowledge)
Kriya(action)…

Chaitanya gets contracted and becomes Kala(कला)-limited creativity
Vidya(limited knowledge)
*Raga(attachment)*
Kaal(time)
And Niyati(…this is space)

Because ‘I’ the Shiva(consciousness of consciouness) is the universal first person, it always remains the first person, ‘I'(though limited, once it comes In maya) and the knowledge and object of knowledge remains the 2nd/3rd person. Because ‘I’ loose the unlimited creativity(because of contraction and becomes Kala) , the unlimited knowledge associated with it too gets contracted(vidya)….Then arises Raga(attachment)…..the ‘I’ is in the process of attaching itself to the objects of all the duality or differentiated consciousness. It becomes this whole universe full of sentient(in the form of knowledge and object of knowledge) and insentient beings(in the form of knowledge of insentient)….The universal ‘I’ becomes the ‘I’ of you and me and all beings.

Kaal and niyati…in other words denote the time and space. Space is internal too i.e ChidAkash…it denotes the space inside our mind, where thoughts and feelings rise and fall…

A child remains in the stage of non-duality(and bliss) , till he/she ignorantly superimpose their consciousness on their bodies and entrap themselves as , ‘I am this body ( in time and space)

If we meditate on the transitory ‘I’, and try to find out the source ‘ME’, we realise that we or ‘ME’ is a witness to all the physical and mental activities.We can negate anything and everything that we are witness of, because that is the 2nd/3rd person and the witness (of witness) always remains the first person.

If we delibrate further, we can go up to the void, out of which the mind and its thinking faculity arise. It is not possible to go beyond that void, through the means of mind -which is a synonym of duality.

Vedantis say when we are not aware of ourselves, mind comes into effect instantly; and when we concentrate on mind, it ceases to exist and we remain just as an awareness.But to maintain that awareness is difficult.

‘I’ of supreme consciousness  is non dual in nature so is the transitory (dual) consciousness as long as we maintain/center our awareness on it.

It too is pure awareness as long as we maintain that one-pointednesss. And it becomes truly dual ‘I’ when that awareness is broken, and that ‘I’ becomes the source of all duality…

However….it like shiva-The universal first person always remain the first person.

Abhinavgupta has mentioned Shiva as the ever present ‘NOW’, Shakti as ‘Future’ and past as ‘Pashu’ or ephemeral being.He also mentions that future and past have their origin in ‘NOW’-which is ever present.

This ‘NOW’ is again the synonym of ‘I’ or awareness.

In our lives too, everything is centered around ‘I’. Thinking of past or future is possible only because of ‘NOW’-the ‘I’.without this ‘I’ nothing exists not even ‘NOTHING’ or ‘VOID’.

The ephemeral being as written above denotes himself as ‘I’ and almost everyone belives or has experienced that ‘HE’ has never really changed, though his body has grown old. Somehow the witness(I) of the changes never change.

Subconsciously and linguistically, we have firm faith that the witness(I) is eternal.if someone dies, we say , May he go to heaven’ or VBAJ. What does that mean!

Who will go to heaven or Vaikunth? For example, if I imagine of my death, I immediately picture myself in Heaven/Hell or Vaikunth. Who is it that I am imagining myself to be! I will have no physical body but that does not deter me.Isn’t it that the ‘I’ that I imagine to go to heaven is the witness-whom I know by ‘I’.

It is for that ‘I’ we perform ‘Shraddh’ or other religious practices as we (all human race) have firm belief that the witness will remain, though somewhere else.

The ‘I’ is the first thought that arises when we wake up in the morning and it remains the last when we fall sleep.The dreams too are centered around the ‘I’ and so is the deep sleep.

Shiva- the ‘I’ is sarv-vyapak(ever pervading). He is the awareness of awareness.Revealing and concealing his own self is his play.

But nonetheless , he remains in us as the ever present witness whom we call ‘I’ .

 

(based on the philosophies of Vedant and Kashmir shaivism)