Monthly Archives: April 2009

SARASWAT BRAHMINS

SARASWAT BRAHMINS

SOUTH and North Kanara are the “native place” of the 1,500,000 Saraswats. A small, highly urbanised community, the Saraswats are today divided into three main groups: the Vaishnava Goud Saraswats, the Smarta Chitrapur Saraswats and the Shenvis. Although the Kanaras and the region around them are their most recent home, more than ninety per cent of the erstwhile Saraswat landowners have migrated to cities like Bombay, Banga­lore and Dharwar in search of education or employment.

Most of the community’s migrant members, who are today found living in cities as far apart as Calcutta and Trivandrum, have shown a unique penchant for merging with the local scene, adopting new customs and food habits and, quite often, mastering the language of their new home. Neither Maharashtrian nor completely Mysorean, their way of life and their culture draw upon the finest points of both regions and make them their own. Speaking Konkani, a language which has several dialects but no script of its own, the Saraswats are largely a vege­tarian community, whose coconut-based cuisine is famed for its variety.

The name Saraswat suggests the legendary origin of the community. They are Aryans, originally inhabiting the valley of the river Saraswati in Kashmir. The gotras of the Saraswats originate from the names of some of these settlers. Examples: Bharadwaja, Vatsa, Kaundinya and Kasyapa.

Nowhere has the Saraswat pioneer­ing spirit been more in evidence than in the field of co-operation. The first people in India – many say in Asia – to plan and execute a scheme for a co-operative housing project, the Saras­wats today have successfully formed every conceivable kind of co-operative activity. They have set up holiday homes, schools, housing projects, banks, libra­ries, religious shrines and social welfare or self-help units.

The winds of change that education has brought have blown away the cobwebs of social taboos and mean­ingless customs, resulting in a volun­tary acceptance of widow remarriages, equal status for women and the rejec­tion of unwholesome practices like the dowry. There has been, in addition, a keen awareness of family planning, the average Saraswat family not having more than three children.

An ever-increasing number of young Saraswats have married outside the community. There are innumerable examples of Saraswats marrying Jews, Christians, Muslims, Parsis, and for­eigners, as well as Hindus of different castes from different States.

Saraswat Names

Goud Saraswats (Vaishnavites): Kamath, Pai, Shenoy, Naik.

Shenvis (Smartas): Sanzgiri, Wagle, Dabhol-kar, Telang, Lad, Dalvi, Bhende, Naik, Kabadi, Rege, Mulgaonkar, Kasbekar, Mahale, Rajad-hyaksha, Rangnekar, Karade.

Chitrapur Saraswats (Sm-artas): Ondoor, Yerdoor, Murur, Nalkur, Aidoor, Aroor, Yellur (these names in Kannada literally mean “one village”, “two villages “ and so on till we come to seven villages – denoting perhaps that villages in Karnataka in the past were numerically arranged, the inhabitants of each being known after the numeral), Chandavarkar, Koppikar, Benegal, Padbidri, Padukone, Dhareshwar, Murdeshwar, Neeshwar, Pandit, Nadkarni, Kulkarni, Kalbag, Sirur.

We are thankful to Sh. Sanjay Godbole, who has great sense of History, for providing us this material, which appeared in the Illustrated weekly of India Annual, 1972). –Editor , Kashmir Sentinel

source: Kashmir Sentinel

FREE US FROM PAKISTAN:BALOCH LEADER TO INDIA,U.S.A

LAHORE, Apr 16 (Agencies): Baloch Republican Party chief Brahamdagh Bugti has urged India and the United States to help the Baloch people attain freedom from Pakistan.
Bugti said Baloch people were being suppressed by the Pakistan Government which wants to take control of natural resources of the region.
“We will welcome India’s help for the Baloch people. We do not recognise the Constitution of 1973. We only want freedom,” The Daily Times quoted Bugti, as saying.
He charged the Pakistan government of discriminatory behaviour, and particularly targeting Baloch people in the military offensive being carried out in the region.
“The Baloch people have always been considered as slaves. They had been forced to put up resistance against the usurpation of their rights,” Bugti added.
Baloch people have long been demanding their right and control over the large deposits of natural gas and other resources which lies under the province’s geographical territory. They believe they are being bluffed by their government as the region still lacks basic amenities despite being rich in natural resources.
“Isn’t it a wrong that the people of the very district from where gas is being explored have to use wood for fire while the facility of gas is available in every house in Punjab,” Bugti said.
source:kashmir times

3rd World Kashmiri Pandit Conference concludes

3rd World Kashmiri Pandit Conference concludes
Pandits want nothing short of Homeland

King C Bharati

Jammu, April 12: The two-day 3rd World Kashmiri Pandit Conference (WKPC) today concluded with a spate of resolutions for the future strategy of the community and stressed that the community would settle for nothing short of their own Homeland within Kashmir Valley with a Union Territory status.
The unanimity among the speakers was focused on the demand of Homeland while many other suggestions came to fore for the future course of action to fight the apathy of the central and state government towards the community which has been facing extinction in their 19th year of forced exile.
The concluding day was devoted mainly to women and youth of the community to discuss the challenges faced by these sections in exile and set agenda for the future with speakers debating on the topics: KP Women: Challenges in exile and KP Youth in Exile: Challenges galore.
While women were seen more aggressive today with a speaker asking the community not to stick to two child norm because of dwindling KP population while youth stressed for more pragmatic and modern approach to save the culture and the future of the young generation.
The twin sessions were fully surcharged with many speakers spitting fire reminding the audience that KPs were still a force to reckon with and infusing new energy to the restless Pandits who find themselves at the cross roads of the future.
The short documentaries depicting the plight of KPs in exile and their massacres in Valley brought tears to the audience while the delegation of Sikhs from Batote and Anandpur Sahib called for aggressive approach to fight the discrimination.
Ashok Khajuria, state president of the BJP while assuring whole hearted support of Jammuites to KPs thanked them for their wholehearted support during Amarnath agitation and asked them to fight all kinds’ discrimination unitedly.
Khajuria while extending full support to Homeland assured to take-up KPs problems in Assembly.
He said that Hindus would have to wake up as in India secularism means anything anti-Hindu which has to be fought out valiantly by all the Hindus together.
It was Dr Shailja Bhardwaj who set the stage on fire with her fiery speech recharging the entire Zorawar complex prompting S Mehar Singh from Anadpur Sahib to come on stage to present a Shawl to her.
S Mehar Singh thundered on stage asking KPs to produce such fiery daughters if they want to exist in this kind of discriminatory atmosphere.
S Mehar Singh also presented a Saropa to Dr Agnishekhar on the occasion as a symbol of support to the community.
Earlier Dr Phoola Kaul termed Jawahar Lal Nehru as a blot on the face of community blaming him for the entire mess that the community was facing now.
She hoped that some day some KP would rise like a Phoenix to washout that blot and set this community free from the clutches of official apathy.
The women speakers lamented that the only Hindu school for KP women: Lal Ded Girls School was destroyed by the terrorists to finish every symbol KPs in Valley.
They said that KPs must keep in mind that they will return to their native land reminding them that if Jews could go back to Israel after 2000 years why KPs can’t keep their hopes alive to reclaim their land.
The women who spoke on the occasion include Dr Shailja Bhardwaj, Dr Khema Koul, Dr Phoola Koul, Ms Bharti Bakshi, Ms Priya Raina and Dr Susheela Katroo.
Later during the youth session Sidarth Zarabi, senior editor (news) Network 18 asked the community to work out a common minimum programme instead of wasting time on unity moves.
Zarabi said that community would have to be pragmatic and unity was not possible which was evident from the way our national politics was going on adding it was the time of coalitions and KPs too must form a coalition where issues would be important rather than the individuals.
Others who spoke during the youth session include Rahul Koul, Reshim Hangloo etc.
Panun Kashmir also presented Kuldeep Wattal Memorial awards to prominent KPs which include Krishan Ji Langoo, Kuldeep Saprui, Ravi Bhan, Naina Sapru, Lovely Wangoo etc.
In a significant development the separate homeland demand was also endorsed by a cross section of different organizations and individuals including Kashmiri Samiti Delhi, All India Brhamrishi Maha Sangh, All India Saraswat Brahman Association and Roots in Kashmir, a Delhi headquartered global organization of Kashmiri Pandit youth.
In a show of solidarity with the basic demand of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits many intellectuals from Jammu including Dr. Jitender. Singh, Mr. Ram Sahay,’ Mr. B.S. Salathia, and Mr. Ashok Gupta of Shiv Sena have already expressed their full support to the homeland demand of Kashmiri Pandits during the first day of the conference.
Among the prominent speakers who spoke in favour of separate homeland demand of the displaced Pandits included Ashwani Chrangu and Sunil Shakdar a prominent Kashmiri Pandit leader and former president of Kashmiri Samiti, Delhi.
The Kashmiri Pandit speakers expressed their great appreciation for the accommodation and support provided to them by the people of Jammu. They expressed their full support and solidarity with the people of Jammu in their fight for removing the regional discrimination and Kashmir centric policies of the government.
Among the demands put forth by the conference were the creation of separate homeland for Kashmiri Pandits, state subject certificates for all seven lakh Kashmiri Pandits world wide, inclusion of all eligible displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the electoral rolls of the state, constitution of a Jammu based tribunal to speedily resolve the cases of illegal occupation of Pandit properties in the Valley, equal treatment to the refuges from POK and West Pakistan.
Spates of resolutions were passed during the different sessions of the conference as a document to form, the future course of action by the community.
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Saraswat Brahmins to re-claim Kashmir

JAMMU, Apr 8: The two- day long third World Conference of Kashmiri Pandits to be held at Jammu on April 11 and 12 will forcefully focus on the separate homeland demand for over seven lakh exiled Pandits in Valley with Union Territory status.

This was stated by PK convenor, Agnishekhar during an informal chat with mediapersons here today. He said besides the homeland the other issues confronting the community and people of Jammu and Ladakh regions who too have been subjected to constant discrimination over the years will also be raised.

He said one session will be devoted to Jammu region to focus on the issues facing the people here. To establish their claim on Kashmir the representatives of 55 lakh Sarswat Brahmins who trace their origin in Kashmir will also participate in the conference, he added.

Besides the representatives from India the guests from US and other countries are also participating in the conference to have thread bare discussions on KPs problems. Besides the terrorists, Islamic fundamentalists some forces within the administration were responsible for mass exodus of KPs. These all agencies worked under a well knit policy, he added.

He declared that portraits on three KP icons who had played a glorious role in stopping the mass migration including Shriya Bhat of 15th century , Kripa Ram 17 th and Birbal Dhar 19th century will be released. These portraits have been made by Gokal Dembi a renowned artist. Besides Holocaust Dhun made by Kuldeep Saproo will also be played during the conference.

He said a cassette on Kashmiri rhyms and rituals dedicated by KP Sabha Pune will also be released. The cassette is the brain child of Krishan Langoo, he added. In addition to this J K Koul Bezan and Asha Zaru’s opera cry of Satisar and a film on the Amarnath land agitation martyrs will also be released, he added.

Meanwhile Dr Utpal Koul a founder member of Homeland Movement of Panun Kashmir has assured his full support to the World Conference.

source:Daily excelsior

Pak ‘epicentre of terrorism’, says PM Dr. Manmohan singh

LONDON : Calling Pakistan the “epicentre of terrorism”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the world community “has to come to grips with this harsh reality” and slammed Islamabad for failing to take “effective action” to curb the menace.

Ahead of his maiden meeting with US President Barack Obama tomorrow, Singh said the world has a responsibility that Pakistan lives up to the promise that it will not allow its territory to be used to promote acts of terrorism directed against India.

He said not taking any action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks is a “living proof” that Pakistan is not taking effective action to control terrorrism.

“That is living proof that despite many promises made by Pakistan since 2004 to my predecessor and to me that Pakistan will not be allowed to be used to undertake acts of terror against India, in practice no effective action has been taken to control terror,” Singh told ‘Financial Times’ in an interview, ahead of his visit here to attend the G-20 summit.

“We all know the epicentre of terrorism in the world today is Pakistan. The world community has to come to grips with this harsh reality,” said the Prime Minister, who arrived here yesterday.

He said the 26/11 attacks were planned and acted upon in Pakistani territory is now admitted by everybody, including the intelligence agencies of developed countries.

Asked why Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group blamed for the Mumbai attacks, has been able to bounce back so quickly, Singh said: “It is because the promises that the Government of Pakistan have made to control terrorism and all its instrumentalities, they are either not able to control them or they are not willing to control them.”

The Prime Minister said India and US would like both Afghanistan and Pakistan to be free from the hold of terrorist elements.

Asked how did he assess the chances of success for Obama’s just-released AfPak strategy, he said: “I have not studied the Obama plan. We are victims of terrorism and we hope that whatever the world community plans to do they will pay adequate attention that terrorism ceases to be a problem in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan.”

Singh said it has been India’s experience in the past that there are elements in the armed forces of Pakistan, some segments of the ISI involved in perpetrating acts of terror, particularly the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul.

“We have been told that the ISI in Pakistan has a different mindset. I hope that is right,” he said.

Asked why Pakistan has not been able to tackle terrorism, Singh said: “I’m not an expert on how Pakistan is being run. But the proof of pudding is in the eating. That the attacks on Mumbai were planned and acted upon in Pakistani territory is now admitted by everybody. source:(PTI)