Author Archives: Sandeep

A Refugee from Kashmir

Temple converted into Dustbin!

A Shiva temple converted into a Mass Dustbin at Sathu barbar Shah, Srinagar, Kashmir.

Isn’t it Genocide of Religion and identity of Kashmiri Hindus!

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Kashmiri pandits-the forgotten people

This picture sums up the present condition and existence of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir.

One can find many abondoned houses of Kashmiri pandit’s (KP) in Kashmir. The rusted lock is a proof that the KP had never thought that it would take him so long to return.

28 years has already passed.
God knows, how many more years, the lock will have to wait….

Photo by subrot saraf

Dilapidated houses of Kashmiri pandits

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Resolving Kashmir crisis!

Resolving Kashmir crisis!

Ever since Kashmir acceeded to India in 1947, Pakistan has tried their best to snatch it from India. Their desire ,action or attempt to balkanise J&k is based on their belief that since Kashmir is Muslim majority; hence it should become a part of Pakistan.

My point is not to highlight the Hindu-Muslim angle of Kashmir; rather it is about the situations that led to the birth of new nations!

The contribution of Pakistanis in making the Pakistan was absolutely nothing.
Yes, Nothing at all.

Had it not been for the weak Great Britain of 1940’s; Pakistan would not have seen its day. Or for that matter-India.

Both India and Pakistan got their Independence accidentally. Of course the Indians were struggling since 1800’s to free themselves from East India company or the Britishers. But, it was the weak British, that subsequently paved in the way for the Independent India.

Because of the wars, particularly the first and second World War; The British Nation had become weak. It was no longer feasible or profitable for them to hold on to their Indian colony.

So, they had to let it go. And that is what they did.Their withdral led to the birth of India and Pakistan(west and East).

It is an historical fact that new Nations are born because of Wars and old nations are obliterated because of wars.

War-is one of the key factors.The other is the sentiments of the people of Area-for which a war is fought. Example is that of Bangladesh. The sentiments of the people as well as war between India and Pakistan gave birth to a country -Bangladesh.

Coming back to Kashmir, and analysing it from the point of History; somehow, it seems that the permanent solution to kashmir imbroglio too will get from a war. A war that will be fought amongst many nation -including India and Pakistan.

I suspect that the Indian think tank knows it too well. That is why since last 70 years, they are not actually taking any steps to permanently solve the problem.

The focus of the subsequent Govts. at state or at center, at best is to focus on smooth administration and sadly, Their focus has never been to resolve the problem .

The administration has given in to some of the unethical demands by the promoters and propogaters of Anti -India propaganda.

Under this propaganda, and the subsequent compulsion of Administration to yield in to the demands -just to show that everything is under control- They have not been able to rehabilitate the Kashmiri Hindus in Kashmir.

The Indian Govt-including Modi Govt. -will never rehabilitate the Kashmiri Hindus in Kashmir.Because their focus like their predecessors is not on the solution of Kashmir; but on Smooth Administration.
The same reason explains, why till date, India has not been able to get back P. O. K(Pakistan occupied Kashmir).

Apart from the war, that decides majorly on the outcome of the birth, accession or cesession of a Geographical area; the sentiments of the people of the area too play a major role.

The approach of Pakistan is to alienate the Kashmiri Muslims by fanning their Muslim identity and the sentiments associated with it, whereas, it looks like India is waiting for the outbreak of a major war.

Time is a crucial factor.
Pakistan-in the last few decades channelised their energy and focused on the sentiments of Kashmiri Muslims. It successfully Pakistanized a huge segment of Indian Kashmiri Muslims .

India on the other hand too did well tactically. They have manged to keep J&k with them under adverse conditions and it seems that they will not let it go-like Pakistanis did in case of Bangladesh.

In this tug of war,
the stronger will win….

Asifa Murder-the war of narratives

A young eight year innocent Girl-Asifa is raped and murdered brutally in Jan 2018 in predominantly-Hindu region of J&k. The incident is condemnable and the culprits should be hanged to Death- irrespective of their ethnicity or religion.

What seems to be a case of crime has turned out to be a case of palpable political as well as religious division.A division that has its base on decades of mistrust, political subjugation and dichotomous chauvinism . The truth -it seems is gasping for justice in between the chasms of the asperasions of the people of Jammu region and its political and religious opposite-the Kashmir region.

The notion that the people of other region is here to eat my share of resources, jobs, business as well as identity is so deeply dipped in mistrust and suspicion ,that even a normal innocuous action ,raises many eyebrows and infers meaning according to the mass perspective of the region one belongs to.

And these perspective and opposite narratives are the result of decades old political hegemony that one region wields over the other.

Hence, the general masses of Hindu-Jammu are not wrong in their demand to submit the Asiya-case over to CBI.

This war of narratives has inferred different steps of Govt. with different meanings by the people of two regions, according to their political understanding; which may or may not be true.

But that hardly matters.

What is more important is the belief and the perspectives of the people of jammu-who feel that the accused Sanji Ram and his accomplices have been framed because of being a Hindu. And that is why they want an CBI enquiry into the whole incident.

On the other hand, the general belief of the Muslims of India is that the Girl was raped and murdered because she was a Muslim.

The communists especially from Kerala-who have been pushed to the brink of extinction after Tripura fallout, have left no stone unturned to further fan the sentiments of Muslim for their own political gains. The communists in their propaganda have deprecated the symbols of Hinduism blatantly .To get some more time to -what looks like a definite existential threat-they have moved a step further and have portrayed the incident as casteist and a case of classical Brahminism.
By the way, the main accused of Kathua is a Brahman.

The Hindus of J&K also see a political conspiracy in giving this case to Advocate Deepika Thusso Singh-who is fighting on behalf of the deceased Girl, as well as SSP Romesh Kumar Jalla -who headed the S. I. T and apprehended the accused. They feel that this step has been taken to break the bonhomie between the Kashmir Hindus and Dogras.

With so many conspiracy angles involved in this case; no doubt, it is not going to be easy for the Govt. to bring this case to its logical end. Whatever step they are taking, is being keenly watched by the people of two regions. And since, there is a deep mistrust between the two Regions,

I fear

Even the justice might want to delay itself.

Navreh-the new year of Kashmiri Hindus

As winter’s frost gives way to amiable spring,  J&K wakes up to greetings of Navreh Mubarak,  writes SUNIL RAINA RAJANAKA If you happen to be in Kashmir on the first day of the Chaitra month,  you will see Kashmiri Pandits greeting everyone with a warm,  hearty ‘Navreh Mubarak!’The day heralds the New Year as well as the spring season, with the frost giving way to pleasant weather. This year, Navreh will be celebrated on March 18.   In Bringesh Samhita — a compendium of the Mahatamayas of all prominent tirthas of Kashmir — there is a chapter on Navreh which mentions a dialogue between Shiva and Parvati, where the goddess is keen to understand the importance of time, cycle of evolution and dissolution.

Shiva tells her that on Navreh, Brahma initiated Creation with the first rays of the sun falling on the world.   To celebrate Navreh — beginning of kaal, time and of the world — Kashmiri Hindus worship Shiva, Parvati and their son Ganesha for merit and well-being,  wear new clothes, and take part and in cultural programmes.   The day begins with looking at Thal Barun, a thaal, plate filled with auspicious items for prosperity. The large plate contains items like paddy, walnuts, sweet roti, cooked rice,  curd, pen, book, coins, a piece of gold ornament, salt, seasonal flowers, a medicinal herb called vai and a mirror.

Also placed on the plate are the new almanac and a photo of Kreel-Pach, the family deity.    The thaal is prepared overnight,  covered with a piece of cloth and kept in the prayer room. The next day, well before daybreak, the oldest woman of the house, usually the grandmother or mother,  goes around the house waking up family members one by one, asking them to open their eyes and first look at the plate, before beginning their daily chores.   Known as Buth Vuchun, the ritual of looking at the plate is said to bring good luck,  good health, prosperity and wisdom.

Each item on the plate has its own significance. While paddy symbolises wealth and expansion, cooked rice stands for progression in life and physical and mental growth.   Curd stands for completeness, constancy and cohesiveness. The sweet roti represents engagement and amalgamation into one’s socio-cultural surroundings.   The walnuts indicate the human and universal mind; the conjoined kernels represent the four purusharthas, goals of existence — dharma,  discharge of duty;  artha,  acquirement of wealth; kama, gratification of desire, and moksha, liberation.

The coin stands for material strength and the gold ornament is the symbol of purity. While the medicinal herb indicates good health,  flowers represent optimism, fragrance and sympathy in life. The pen is for wisdom and self-illumination and salt for positive energy. The almanac represents the influence of time in our life and the need to respect time and lead a disciplined life. Kreel Pach,  the family goddess stands for trust in Her grace.   The mirror, due to its attribute of reflection, stands for multiplication of auspiciousness.

Later in the day, rice from the plate is used to prepare the traditional yellow rice taher. Sumptuous dishes are prepared for visiting family and friends.    People also visit Hari Parbat in Srinagar to pay obeisance to Goddess Chakreshwari by reciting hymns and praying for a prosperous year ahead. It is believed that on this day,  the Sapt Rishis congregate at this place to offer prayers to the Universal Goddess, thus starting the Saptrishi era. After the ritual visit to the temple, people usually head off to enjoy the almond blossoms in the gardens at the foothill.

The outing is incomplete without savouring the traditional nadir monje pakoras and kahwa,  and wishing everyone ‘Navreh Mubarak’!

 

By Sunil Raina

Dhyaneshwar yatra as I remember

Dhyaneshwar Mahadev as I remember..

I have been to Dhyaneshwar Mahadev once in 1987-88.I had gone there with my Father, Brother, Grandmother and a very close friend-Sunil.We took a bus from Srinagar to Bandipura, from there, we traveled to the base of the Mountain, where the Holy shrine is situated.

I don,t remember all the names of the places that came enroute. But, Whatever I remember had an indelible imprint on my mind.

As I ascended from the base, I could see beautiful vistas all around me. The narrow trek that lead us towards the cave passed through the tall trees as well as through thick forest of Deodars .It was already dark, when we had started our Hike. The ascending trek pleteaued near a Hutment of Gurjars. It was a sight to behold. The full Moon, it seemed had covered everything around us in the golden Hue. There was a pleasant nip in the air.

I had with me a camera by the name ‘Hot Shot’. It was a compact camera and was in vogue 3 decades back. Enroute, I shot many pictures with it including that of the Full Moon.

That year some Muslim volunteers too had come to assist and support the Hindu Devotees.
All the devotees had gathered at a house(or Ashram/Dharamsala) which was very close to the cave. Devotees were waiting for their turn to have a Darshan of lord Shiva. Some group/s of Devotees were singing Bhajans. I was too tired to join them, I sat down at the corner of the room and pretended to listen to them. Slowly but steadily, from the sitting position, I stretched my legs straight, and after a while, I further recumbented myself as I could no longer resist sleep.

After few hours, my Grandmother, shook me by my shoulder and woked me up. It was time to enter the cave.

The Muslim volunteers were carrying a torch(lesh in Kashmiri/Mashal in hindi), and lighting the path for their Hindu contemporaries. The Hindu-Muslim bonhomie looked real at that time.

Finally, our turn too came.

I remember, the entrance of the cave was around 6 and a half feet in height;and maybe 5 feet in width. My bare feet had become wet from the frigid brook that comes from inside the cave. The brook starts from-what was known as Shraan kuth of parvati(the palace, from where mother Parvati takes a bath).There is a tunnel that starts from the mouth of the cave that is also the sanctom sanctorum and ends at the entrance of Dhyaneshwar. The shape of the tunnel is tapered(shape of hollow cone), with the wider section at the entrance of the cave. The roof of the cave is rough, with rock icicles hanging at places. I was up-right when I entered the cave; but as I moved further inside the tunnel, it became dark- pitch black dark. A volunteer with a torch was somehow managing to show us the path inside the tunnel. Since, the shape of the tunnel is tapered, first I had to bend my shoulders, then I had to bend my back and eventually I was crawling. The ice-cold water of the brook was getting hard to bear. At the ingress of the cave, It was like an adventure for me; but as I proceeded further, the hanging icicle-type-ceiling and the ice-cold brook, on which I was crawling forced me to chant the name of “Shiva”.I was Chanting aloud,”om namah shivaya”.
It is a very long dark tunnel, may be 100 or 200 mts long; and opens inside another natural cave known as Dhyaneswar. The area is modest inside the cave. It must be 8-9 feet in height,6 feet wide and may be 6 feet in length. . At a time,not more than 10 people can stand inside the cave. There is a natural partition inside the cave.The front part belongs to lord shiva and the rear natural raised part is the place of Parvati. The brook starts from the raised rear part.There is Ganesha and Kartik(not sure) also inside the cave.

One thing is guaranteed-an Atheist will become a believer after visiting this Holy cave. It is a Place, that should be visited at least once.

The only regret pertaining to the Dhyaneshwar pilgrimage is that I could not develop the reel of the camera. When we left for Jammu in Jan 1990, because of terrorism, The camera was left behind with so many other things.

kashmir photos

Random photos

A view of jammu-srinagar Highway. 

An artistic impression of Abhinav gupta 

Aham(I) – Kashmir shaivism

Aham (Kashmir Shaivism)
Aham, a concept of Kashmir Shaivism, is defined as the supreme heart (hṛdayam),transcendent Self, supreme I awareness  or infinite consciousness.The space of Ahamis where khecarī mudrā (free movement in the space of the heart) is realised. Khecarī mudrāis considered the supreme state of spiritual evolution.
Substrate of creation
When Śiva wants to create, the first step is said to be the creation of an interior space (the space of his heart) – a matrix of energiesthat will be the substrate of the new world. This place is called Aham which means “I” in Sanskrit. Thus the absolute first creates the divine person, Aham, and from this divine person will appear the manifestation itself.
Aham is identical to mātṛkā (the wheel of phonematic energies), essential nature of all categories from Pṛithvī tattva (earth) to Sadāśiva tattva,.Aham is the final resting place, dwelling place, abode of all beings, receptacle of the world.
Ultimate mantra
Another definition of Aham is that of primordial mantra, transcendental mantra,the so-called heart-bīja (mantra of the heart) – force and power of consciousness. As the supreme mantra, Aham is closely related to matravīrya (the potency of mantra).Thus the realization of Aham confers power over any mantra.
United form of Shiva and Shakti
In Aham, the supreme (para) aspect of Śakti is realized. Aham is the Śakti of Śiva or in other words, the expansion of Śiva.Another way of describing Aham is as the union of Śiva and Śakti, the emittive (visarga) aspect of the Supreme (anuttara).
Etymology
Aham is formed of A+HA+M, a triad of Śhiva(A), Śakti (HA) and bindu (M). M is the final point, union of Śiva and Śakti, where they dissolve into Paramaśiva. The triangle of A+HA+M is the essence of the Trika system. A+HA+M form the sṛṣṭi bīja (seed of emission), a mantra that is identical to the energy of expansion and creation.
Aham can also be defined as: A = abedha(non-differentiation), HA = bheda(differentiation) and M = bhedābheda(differentiation cum non-differentiation).
Maha, the mirror image of Aham
On the other hand, MAHA, mirror image of AHAM,is formed of MA+HA+A, and represents the saṃhara bīja (seed of reabsorption) – the mantra that is identical to the process of spiritual evolution, or in other words reabsorption of the manifestation back into the absolute. In MAHA, Śakti (HA) enters bindu (M) (the limited being) and reunites it with the Supreme (A).

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