Monthly Archives: July 2009

K. Ps. Feel Let Down

By Prof. Gopi Kishen Muju…

Kashmiri Pandits had placed very high hopes upon the present National Conference led coalition Government in giving the community at least some representation in the State Cabinet, but unfortunately the community feels let down and disappointed on this account. One can remember many occasions like the one of Shiv Ratri Milan organized by Shri Vijay Bakaya at Sidhra (a simple function turned into a full fledged political meeting) wherein Dr. Farooq Abdullh warned K.Ps. not to let down or disown Mr. Bakaya by saying that “he is not our leader” as the community had done in case of some K.P leaders in the past. Dr, Abdullah claimed that he had now “given a leader to the community” and the community must give him due recognition.. He made [u1] a similar announcement over a function in the Abhinav Threatre, Jammu and even on some other occasions. What has happened to those commitments ? The community had been waiting for the day when Mr. Bakaya would be included in the expanded ministry. But alas! Hopes have been belied. Even if Mr. Bakaya is included now the move will have lost most of its grace, taste and shine. Very sad indeed ! The K.P .Community in general an Mr. Vijay Bakaya in particular have been let down. But Why.? If he was not to be included why to project his name. Obviously Bakaya had not asked for it ; he was offered or at least assured and promised. Does it indicate that the Party Presidenthas lost control over the party in government formation ?

The day Mr Bakaya joined N.C. a good section of K. Ps had placed hopes in him as their representative in the party and the government, though there were other K.P. members and workers in the party who too would like to be in the forefront regarding K.P.s problems. Also many other intellectuals, academicians and public spirited people had decided to join the party and give it due support taking it to be the only regional party with secular ideology Some were even in contact with the party leaders over the issue, though there was no positive response to their initiative from the party; but now after seeing what place a K.P. has in the present set up in the party and the government they are in a fix about their next move, and are forced to think afresh..

There was a time when the community had given stalwart M.P.s to the nation, Central Ministers at the Central Government level and Ministers in the State government ,diplomats and ambassadors, but now the community feels completely ignored and neglected. This should not have happened at least in the time of Dr. Farooq Abdullah. But what has happened has happened. Though it is said all is well that ends well and anything is expected in politics, but for a K.P.Community a place in the State Cabinet, a couple of seats in the legislature or suitable places in the Boards and Commissions can be claimed by it as a matter of right being a miniscule minority, a victim of militancy and original inhabitants of the land. Such positions cannot be given as of gratis or as a matter of grace but are to be claimed as a matter of right. But if this right is not delivered in time or in a right manner or is denied nothing can prove more disturbing, damaging, irrational , illogical and violation of fundamental rights. The community obviously has been made to face all the denials possible.

It is a fact that a K.P cannot get elected to any seat on his own; but all the same the community cannotbe made to live upon the mercy of others or to beg for its rights. So the community has to be provided some Constitutional Guarantees. A list of some of these Constitutional Guarantees for the Kashmiri Pandits ,Hindus and other regional minorities have been communicated to the State Government and the Central Government and the National Commission for Minorities as back as in December 1998 in a memorandum by the Kashmiri Hindu Minority Conference (Now renamed as Jammu and Kashmir Regional Minorities Conference).These demands have been duly recommended to the State and Central Governments by the National Commission for Minorities in January 1999. Unfortunately no action has been taken in the matter. Had the Government taken action upon the matter perhaps the community would not have to face the humiliating situation which it has been made to face today. It is still open for the government to take cognizance of these demands and act.

Some skeptics have raised a question as to what could a K. P.in the Ministry do for the community. Of course very little because he had to follow the policy of the government and the party. And very unfortunately both the Government ( Central as well as the State) and the political parties in the State have no place or policy for the K.Ps except to use and exploit them for their own ends. The community has been exploited at each and every level But it would have a psychological satisfaction, a commitment to secular constitution and real Kashniriat if a K.P. too would have been included in the State Ministry. He could at least present the issues of the community in the Cabinet, perhaps in a better and right way.

One wonders how Mr. Bakaya. has taken this humiliation and belying of hopes. His name has been dragged into a sort of unwarranted controversy One feels shy in talking over the issue to him. Ch. Mohd Aslam felt disgruntled over his non-inclusion and went to the Congress High Command with his complaint. To whom will Bakaya complin ? and why? . He must not feel disappointed or disgruntled Rather he had never asked for a Cabinet berth ; he only expected one which was assured to him It is the community which feels sad and betrayed.

In light of this let down a humble suggestion would be that Bakaya must immediately resign from the Legislative Council to which too he got elected very sensitively in a keen contest, and to quote Dr. Abdullah “what would have been the scene at Shivratri Milan if, God forbid, Bakaya would have “pyomut” lost the (Council) election”. This suggestion would not be made to him, had his name not been mentioned by Dr. Farrooq Abdullah himself and had he not been declared and projected as a would be representative of the Community in the Government. Even if the promise is fulfilled now it has lost the grace and taste. Let Mr. Bakaya rise to the occasion and demonstrate his caliber. Individuality, self respect and strength of the character of a real Kashmiri Pandit and , as a protest, resign from the Legislative Council.(GKM)

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LAL DED HAS NO LINKAGE WITH ISLAMIC SUFFISM

LALLA HAS NO LINKAGE WITH ISLAMIC SUFFISM
Prof. M. L. Koul

R.N. Koul’s book on Lalla Ded has in no manner thrown any new light on the historical times that provided background setting for the emergence of a personality like Lalla who by and large shaped a response to the challenge posed by the forces of religious intolerance and obscurantism. A mere superficial reference to the religious and political turbulence, that ravaged the Happy Valley does not explain it. The learned author could have taken a cue from Sir Richard Temple, who, despite his distortions and misinterpretations, has surveyed the total political and religious scenario to ensure a thorough comprehension of the shaping processes of Lalla’s mind and thought. ‘Orthodex’ ‘Brahmanism’ and ‘aggressive Islam’ (due to some fanatics) fall into a pattern of cliches in absence of a relevant exposition objective in approach and premise. ‘A tradition or cult engendered by Hindu mystics and Muslim Sufis’ needs a thorough and dispassionate discussion which the author has given a short shrift.
There are evidences galore to establish that Kashmir enjoyed a tremendous reputation for being an abode of rishis (rishi vatika) harbouring a strong and coherent indigenous tradition of rishi-cult with its root systems embedded in the vedic age. In terms of history, Sufism in its essence was absolutely foreign to Kashmir. It was introduced in the religious ambience of Kashmir by the Muslim proselytizers. Most of them sought protection in Kashmir when they were under persecution in their native lands for their indulgence in politics and affairs mundane. A Sufi owing affiliation to the Kubrawe sect of sufism imposed twenty humiliating conditions on Hindus. The learned author does not seem to be sure which Sufi-cult he is alluding to. Does he refer to the same sufis that have authorized the chapter of inconoclasm and religious strife in Kashmir’ He is perhaps led-into the belief of the existence of a mis-labelled Sufi-cult in Kashmir by the native rishis, are perpetuators of the mainstream native tradition bequeathed to them by Lalla and her galaxy of cultural progenitors having no linkages with the Islamic Sufisim of Central Asian vintage.
In the sub-title of the book the learned author has perhaps more wittingly than unwittingly re-introduced an Islamised name for Lalla Ded. A similar campaign was spearheaded at the inaugural function of Lalla Ded Hospital, which was initially christened as Lalla Arifa Hospital by the powers that be. A person sitting in the audience challenged the far-fetched and unhistorical references to Lalla Ded. The function presided over by Sheikh Abdullah was literally disrupted by the vigorous intervention of an old man leaning against his scaff. The Sheikh dithered under a wave of protest by a number of genuine intellectuals including Pt Jaya Lal Koul and Pt PN Pusp (professors of classical vintage) and ordered formation of a committee to have a second look at the Lalla Arifa nomenclature. On the recommendations of the committee the Islamised nomenclature was dropped again to be picked up by the learned author for a new dress up a revival for wayward reasons, may, opportunist considerations.
Lack of thorough grounding in the basics of Kashmir Shaiva monism (paradvya) is the Achile’s heel of the whole work which in fact has impaired the critical evaluation and treatment of the pithy vakhs of Lalla. It is a misnomer to call Trika Shastra as Kashmir Shaivism. Trika is a strand of Kashmir Shaiva monism and understandably a part cannot represent the entire thought model. It is equally relevant to point out that Kashmir Shaivism is not an apt name for the system which has pristine non-dualism as its cardinal principle. The deceptive no-menclature gained currency with the publication of JC Chatterje’s first doctoral thesis on the subject. ‘The theory and practice of Kashmir Shaivism’ in which Lalla was initiated by her preceptor, Siddha Shri Kanth, was neither dualist nor dual-cum-non-dualist, but essentially monist in assumptions. Sir Richard Temple has expressed an amazing grasp of the over-riding spirit of Lalla when he chracterised her as ‘Shaiva Yogini’. Had the learned author heeded his appraisal, he would not have digressed to recount all forms of yoga that have little relevance in Kashmir Shaiva monist thought. Patanjali Yoga stresses the regression of human senses and other natural proclivities. But the monist thought recognised their positive role in the processes of higher ascension through their sublimation and satiation. The yogic terms have been absorbed in the system but stand ruminated with new nuances of meaning and semantics. The word ‘Bindu’ originally known as ‘Vindu’ denotes unidifferentiated condition of infinite luminous consciousness supreme. ‘The mystic moon and the mystic sun’ carry three shades of meanings in sync with Shaiva Yoga methodologies of Shambava, Shakta and Anava. In Shambava methodology the mystic moon and the sun are representative combination of supreme luminosity (Prakash) and I-consciousness (Vimarsa). In Shakta methodology they imply Jnana and Kriya and in Anava methodology they denote prana and apana. The mystic sun also symbolises an inflamable energy that burns out meshes of duality. The mystic moon also refers to ‘apana breath’ deemed as cool and invigorating and the mystic sun alludes to ‘prana breath’ which is suffused with warmth. Sahasrasar is the repertoire of infinite consciousness in the being supreme. ‘Hamsa’ is derivable to ‘ham’ and ‘sah’, the former indicates the divine will of the Lord and the latter divine knowledge. In Swacchand Tantra ‘Hamsah’ is explained in the sense of ‘I am That’ symbolising’ undifferentiated and indivisible being. ‘Sushumna’ is known by other variants like brahma-nadi, madhya nadi or madhya-dham. Buit as per Shaiva-yoga in tersm transcendental it is known as all pervading Samvit-Shakti penetrating the sentient and insentient objects.In the classic work of Ishwarpratybijjna utpaldev has explicitly explained five forms of prana-shakti as prana, apana, saman, udana, and vyana (Ishwarpratybijjna, 3,2,19).
A systematic study of Lalla’s Vakhs as is deftly made by BN Parimu in his book ‘Ascent of self ‘ establishes that she had undergone all relevant processes of becoming to mature into the state of divine consciousness which in Shaivite parlance is known as ‘Shiva Samavesh’. When initiated she had to work out the practices recognised under Anava methodology like japa, vrata, niyam, dhyam, dharna for yoking the sensesinatured tendencies for entry into the Shakta grade for higher elevation. An initiate is certainly helped is under proper guidance he practises all the formulae which the learned author has huddled under, Hindu, ritealistic system’. After a seeker attains higher phases of consciousness, such methodologies become redundant and are of nouse. In sivastatravali, utpaldev has put:-
Na yoga nor tapo Nacharkrama koapi preniyate!
Amaye Shivamarge asmin bhakti eka prashyaste !!
Lalla was a witness to the turbulent times. She was honing up her thought and working out its actualisation by harnessing her body potentialities and inherent urges. She through her vakh “Shiva chuy thali thali rozan, mozan Heund ta musalman..” castigated the proselytisers not to differentiate between Hindus and Muslims and called upon them to take to the path of Trika (trial of para, parapara and apara) which would lead them to self-recognition (pratybijjna). As an initiated follower of Shiva monism she had learnt to rise above the distinctions of caste and religion and disseminated the message to proselytisors who advocated and practised conversions as cure to imaginary ills out of xenophobic considerations.
In his curious explanation of the Vakh ‘temple is built of stone as the stone he worships’ the learned author establishes her as a ‘trend-setter’ as he has decried the ‘false pantheon of Hindu’s and ‘their blind faith’ in finding God by ‘singing hymns to the stone lingam’. As Lalla was thoroughly grounded in the fundamental precepts and tenets of Shaiva monism planked on tantric assumptions, she could not subscribe to external forms of worship signifying duality notwithstanding their efficacy at initatory stages. ‘Shaiva Bakhti’ rejects daulism and focuses on Shiva pervading the worshipper, the worshipped and instruments of worship as the focal point of worship. Tantras have not accepted any form of external and ritual worship and as Kashmir Shaiva monism has tantric asumptions as its substatum, Lalla as an initiated practitioner of it could not but reject it in ultimate analysis. She has in no way rejected or decried the pantheon of Buddhist and Hindu Gods who as per her thought considered them as various manifestations of Citi (supreme consciousness). Before coming to a far-fetched conclusions, the author should have considered the following vakh:-
Shiva of Keshava or Jina
or Brahma, the lotus born Lord
May be remove from me
the sickness of the world!
It may be He or He or He
(For He is one though variously called)
J.L. Koul’s rendering.
That Lalla danced naked as put in an emotion-packed vakh and moved about naked as per a legend has evoked various responses from scholars who have written upon Lalla’s life and her poetical outpourings. Shanker Pandit, a scholar and practitioner, suggested to replace the word ‘nangaya’ (naked) by the word ‘nonguy’, said to be a flower growing wild on mountain slopes. The learned author, Koul, finds a lot of incompatibility in Lalla ‘moving about naked’ and ‘her incarnation as the ‘Muse of knowledge’ and more prcisely ‘as the Muse of poesy’. In his attempt at reconciliation he attributes it to her ‘miraculous powers’.
The fact about Lalla remains that she was initiated by her preceptor, a perfect soul, through the laconic metaphor of ‘turn your gaze within’ which like an alchemy metamorphosed her whole being. She became one with the Shiva consciousness in a manner of absolute synthesis. As freedom (swatnatrya) is an inherent attribute, call it nature, of absolute consciousness, Lalla in the same condition of consciousness cognised her self and true cognition lies in the realisation that pure undifferentiated consciousness is infinite freedom itself. It is the same stateof infinite freedom that is symbolised by Lalla singing that she danced naked in joyecstactic.
What is said above is corroborated by the statement about Shambhava, Upaya in Malinivijaya Tantra. That is said to be Shambhava-Samavesha which happens to one whohas attained freedom from all ideation by an awakening imparted by the guru (preceptor) or by an intense awakening of one’s own.
There are other inaccuracies and mis-statements littering over the book. Kashmir Shaiva monism does not consider ‘flesh’ i.e. human body as ‘dross’. It has given the body an utmost importance as it serves as a vehicle for purposes spiritual. Five bhutas have been stated as five senses. ‘Moha’ is translated as illusory pleasures. It should have been translated as delusory pleasurers as Kashmir monism does not subscribe tothe thesis of world as an illusion or chimmera. World as per its tenets is a manifestatino of Shiva. It,therefore, cannot be termed as illusory. Delusory implies all that which is taken for self, but falls withinthe ambit of ‘not’self’. Desires and other natural urges are not to be crushed to powerdish non-existence’ nor are these to be ‘burnt’. Kashmir Shiava monism advocates the sublimation and gratification of senses and desires which paves the wa to the final state of self-cognition.
The book is a good reading especially in the portions where inner theme of the Vaakhs has been elucidated. Such an attempt pioneers a new trend in the exposition of Lalla Book: Kashmir’s Hermat Poetess Lalla Ded Alias Lalla Arifa by R.N. Koul Pages 101, Price 150.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel