Category Archives: JAMMU & KASHMIR

Beauty of Kashmir

 

On the way to Aprawat.Pic taken from the Cable car.
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A view of Tangmarg…

 

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Gulmarg..
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Vishnu-The protector

Sri Vishnu is an aspect of supreme consciousness who dwells within animate and inanimate beings of creation and controls our inner recesses of our being by constant source of motivation, judgement and perception. Vishnu literally means “the one who encompasses the world” who controls processes of creation and as an interdweller or Antaryaami and yet is unaccomplished by myriad souls and thus is referred as Para Vasudeva.
Among various names extensively used for Vishnu are Narayana, Hari, Govinda, Madhava, Vasudeva, Janardana, Rama, Krishna, Srinivasa, Narsimha etc.
Vishnu is also referred as Peetambara and his common form famous among devotees is the one where Lord is standing in equipoise and is called as “Samabhangi”. In this form Lords color is of rain bearing clouds which signifies all pervasiveness and having four hands. The upper hand holds conch which symbolizes that he is the eternal communicator and thus his word is the source of creation, discus reveals that Lord annihilates the worlds, whereas lower left hand hold mace implying that he always upholds rule of law and suitably punishes those who create havoc whereas his lower right hand is in Varada Mudra which is shown as holding lotus that bestows boons. He sports garland of attractive flowers strewn with wild flowers and Tulasi. Vishnu has a mark on his chest which is called as “Srivatsa” and is representation of Lakshmi as both of them cannot be separated hence this mark. He is donning a necklace of rare gems called as “Kaustabha” and his head has a towering diadem studded with precious gems.
Vishnu is commonly famous through his Dashaavtaras most venerated among them being Rama, Krishna, Buddha. Subsequently there is a complete school of Vaishnavism who consider Lord as Para Brahama with multitude of other gods and deities as attributes of Vishnu. The Lord has various avtars such as poorna avtars, ansha avtars , avesha avtars , leela avtars and jnana avtars which are acts of Lord to communicate with the worldly beings and impart meaningful lessons to humans. All these forms have different attributes, weapons, appearance’s which extended from time to time.
Vaishnavism is the important cult of followers of Lord and are widely spread in Indian Sub continent. It is important to mention that all the Agamas pertaining to Vishnavism were written in Kashmiri at a place called as Predhuman Peetha which is now known as Hari Parvat. The litanies’ written are Panchratra Agamas totaling around 200 in numbers. All the rituals of Vaishnavism are as per these agamas.
According to Vishnu Puran, Vaikuntha is the abode of Vishnu and is most sacrosanct place which is final refuge to the liberated souls. In Vaikuntha Lord is said to be residing on multi headed serpent also known as Adi Sesha. All other chief deities are in full attendance singing hymns and eulogizing lord through their prayers. The Lord is represented with six qualities of Wisdom (jnana), Sovereignty (Aishwarya), energy (Shakti), strength (Bala), valour (veerya) and luster (Tejas).
The Tulsi plant worship is an important ritualistic aspect of Vaishnavism and is offered to Vishnu besides recitation of Vishnu Saahsranaam. Vishnu is said to reside in a pot where tulsi is grown and is offered daily to Lord.
The important places of veneration in Jammu and Kashmir are Naubandhana Teertha also known as Vishnu Pad or Kaunser Nag in Pulwama, Kashmir besides Varahamulha now known as Baramula associated with varaha avtar of Lord and Anant Nag associated with Sesha nag who is also known as Anant nag.
The Vishnu has been the most venerated God among the rulers and hence various temples were dedicated to Him especially by Lalitaditya and Avantivarman. The official patronage for building of Vishnu temples was given during the reign of Avantiverman of Lohara dynasty and a famous temple of Avantiswamin was built near Avantipora.
Later Sikh rulers and most importantly by Dogra rulers the temples dedicated to different forms of Vishnu were built and murthis consecrated in them. The notable among them which stands tall on architectural grandeur are Ragunath temple of Jammu and Srinagar.
All the iconographic orientations of Vishnu in these temples are ornate, aesthetically beautiful and highly impressive.

 

By-Sunil Raina Rajanak
(The author is a founder member Himalayan Heritage Foundation.)

Sun temple of Mattan

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Genealogical Tables of Kasmir Dynasties according to Kalhan

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Source-Rajatarangini by M.A.Stein

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)

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……

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)