Tag Archives: brahmins

SEVEN MIGRATIONS OF KASHMIRI PANDITS

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

Dulucha, a Tartar chief from Central Asia, invaded Kashmir with 60,000 strong horsemen. Suhadeva tried to induce him to retreat by paying him off a large sum of money. For this purpose he imposed heavy taxes even upon the Brahmans who had never before been taxed. But Dulucha refused to retreat and struck terror. He ravaged the Valley with fire and sword. Monstrous miseries were inflicted upon the people including the Brahmans. According to Baharistan – i -Shahi, “Dulucha and his soldiers killed everyone they could find . People who had fled to the hills and forests were pursued and captured. Men were killed, women and children were reduced to slavery and sold to the merchants of Khita (Turkistan), whom the invaders had brought with them. All the houses in the cities and the villages were burnt. The invaders ate as much of the corn and rice as they could . Whatever was left, they burnt and destroyed. In this way the whole of the Kashmir Valley was trampled under foot”. Suhadeva fled to Kishtwar, leaving the Kingdom to the cruel aggressors. Dulucha stayed here for eight months and took about 50,000 Brahmans with him as slaves. But all the troops and slaves perished while crossing the Devsar pass. It was a terrible experience for the legendary Kashmiri Pandits.

Dulucha went away from the Valley but left it haunted. The cursed people had lost all faith in their ruler- Suhadeva. Taking the advantage of the chaos and confusion, Rinchana- the refugee from Tibet, occupied the throne with the help of some chiefs . He killed his benefactor, Ramachandra, in the fort of Lar by treacherous means and married his daughter, Kota Rani.

Rinchana, a pseudo- Buddhist, wanted to get initiated into the Brahmanical fold to strengthen his political position. At that time, Shaivism was the most extensively practised religion in the Valley. So he called Sri Devaswami, the religious head of the Shaivas, to indoctrinate himself into the Hindu religion. Devaswami called a secret meeting of the prominent Pandits, who refused to accept Rinchana into Hinduism because of his low birth. Jonaraja says,” The King asked Devaswami to initiate him in the mantras of Shiva, but as he was Bhautta (Tibetian), Devaswami feared that the King was unworthy of such initiation and did not favour him”. This was a monstrous blunder on the part of Pandits, which turned the course of history. In fact, the Brahmans were not ready to share their privileges with an outsider. Thus deflected, Rinchana wanted to establish a uniform faith of warring sects and creeds in Kashmir with himself as its head. But Shahmir and Bulbul Shah manipulated his conversion to Islam. Ramachandra’s son, Ravanachandra, and many others also embraced Islam. A Muslim ruling class came into existence. In this way the Kashmiri Pandits were responsible for the destruction of their own ascendency and the ruin of their very existence. They are tremendously paying for it till today.

People of inferior origin and subordinate castes were attracted to Islam by gradual methods. This newly established Muslim class slowly consolidated its position and employed various methods to propagate the new faith. However, the Brahmans put a brave front and resisted the tide. After the death of Rinchana (AD 1326), Udyanadeva, the brother of Suhadeva, was installed on the throne of Kashmir and Shahmir was appointed as Commander-in-Chief.



Achala, a Turkish chief, invaded Kashmir during the reign of Udyanadeva, laying waste the territories he passed through. The king fled to Tibet. Kota Rani – the queen, faced the invader, procured his death and saved the kingdom. In this operation , Shahmir played the dominant role. Jonaraja says, “Strange that this believer in Allah became the saviour of the people. As a dried up river allows men to cross it and gives them shelter on its banks, even so this believer in Allah, calm and active, protected the terrified subjects.” Shahmir’s influence increased tremendously and he further strengthened his position by entering into matrimonial relations with the powerful nobles in Kashmir. A subversive struggle was born between the tolerant Hinduism and the militant Islam. Since the advent of Muslim rule in Kashmir [ AD 1339], the legendary Kashmiri Pandits have suffered SEVEN TRAGIC MIGRATIONS so far. The seventh and last one was in 1989-90. A brief description of all the seven migrations is given below:

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

1. Muslim ruler shall not allow fresh constructions of Hindu temples and shrines for image worship.

2. No repair shall be executed to the existing Hindu temples and shrines.

3. They shall not proffer Muslim names.

4. They shall not ride a harnessed horse.

5. They shall not move about with arms.

6. They shall not wear rings with diamonds.

7. They shall not deal in or eat bacon.

8. They shall not exhibit idolatrous images.

9. They shall not built houses in the neighbourhood of Muslims.

10. They shall not dispose of their dead in the neighbourhood of Muslim graveyards, nor weep or wail over their dead.

11. They shall not deal in or buy Muslim slaves.

12. No Muslim traveller shall be refused lodging in the Hindu temples and shrines where he shall be treated as a guest for three days by non-Muslims.

13. No non-Muslim shall act as a spy in the Muslim state.

14. No problem shall be created for those non-Muslims who, of their own will, show their readiness for Islam.

15. Non-Muslims shall honour Muslims and shall leave their assembly whenever the Muslims enter the premises.

16. The dress of non-Muslims shall be different from that of Muslims to distinguish themselves.

This naturally caused animosity among the Brahmans and resulted in frail rebellion during the reign of Shihab-ud-Din (AD 1354-1373). In order to break the upheaval among the Hindus and to make them prostrate, the Sultan turned his attention towards their temples. All the temples in Srinagar, including the one at Bijbehara, were wrecked to terrorize the poor Kashmiri Pandits. It seems that by this time, the sultans of Kashmir were perfectly islamized as a result of their contacts, interactions and intercourses with the sayyids. These sayyids came here as absconders in search of safe harbours, but manoeuvered the events for their own cause and fanatic iconoclastic zeal. The Hindus began to feel deserted and alienated in their own land. To consolidate their rule, sultans institutionalized the “policy of extermination” to eradicate all traces of Hinduism in any form. However, the Kashmiri Pandits stuck to their own religion and traditions, ignoring the atrocities, barbarism and cruelties of the privileged ruling class. But there were many from other castes who, either by conviction or in order to gain royal favour, embraced Islam. These new converts were looked down upon by the Kashmiri Pandits as traitorous and treacherous, with no loyalty for time-honored values. This gave rise to a new class rivalry. Suha Bhatt, who after embracing Islam took the name of Saif-ud-Din, became the leader of the fresh converts during the reign of Sikandar (AD 1389-1413).

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

According to W.R. Lawrence, the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir were given three choices-death, conversion or exile. “Many fled, many were converted and many were killed, and it is said that this thorough monarch (Sikandar) burnt seven maunds of sacred threads of the murdered Brahmans”. As for the statements of Hassan and Lawrence, six maunds of sacred threads of converts and seven maunds of murdered Pandits were burnt. The number of people, to whom these thirteen maunds of sacred threads belonged, might have been tremendously colossal. A mammoth number of the Saraswat Pandits also went into exile, causing the first disastrous mass exodus of the community.

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

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

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

4. Fourth Migration: The greatness of Akbar lies in his magnificent and fascinating policy of religious tolerance. Jahangir and Shah Jahan were not so tolerant. But their religious enthusiasm cannot be termed as fanatic. During this period, the Brahmans could perform their religious ceremonies after paying some tribute. But the whole scenario changed with the accession of Aurangzeb to the throne. With his bigoted fanatic and dogmatic approach, the Kashmiri Pandits were once again made vulnerable. Iftkar Khan, the Mughal governor of Kashmir during the reign of Aurangzeb, brutally tyrannized over the Brahmans to such an extent that they approached Guru Teg Bhahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru, at Anandpur in Punjab and solicited his personal intervention with the Emperor. This ultimately led to the Guru’s martyrdom and made Guru Gobid Singh to create the Khalsa to fight the oppressors . Muzaffer Khan, Nassar Khan and Ibrahim Khan were other governors of Aurangzeb who ferociously terrorized the Kashmiri Pandits. These celebrated scapegoats were once again forced to migrate from the land of their origin. It was the fourth disastrous mass exodus of the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans from Kashmir.

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

1. No Hindu should ride a horse, nor should a Hindu wear a shoe;

2. That they should not wear Jama (Mughal costume);

3. That they should move bare arms;

4. That they should not visit any garden;

5. That they should not have tilak mark on their foreheads;

6. That their children should not receive any education.

But Ahmed Khan refused to execute the mischievous decree. The Mullah then excited his followers against the Kashmiri Pandits. He established his seat in a mosque, assumed the duties of the administrator under the title of Dindar Khan and let loose the reign of terror. The Hindus were wickedly tormented, their houses burnt and property looted. Hundreds of Brahmans were killed, prostrated, maimed and humiliated. They began to run away in large numbers and hide themselves in mountainous terrain. This was the fifth dreadful mass exodus of the legendary Kashmiri Pandits from their mystic motherland. Those who remained behind lived in the most horrific and terrible conditions generated by the Mullah and his gang.

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

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

7. Seventh Migration: With the formation of Jammu and Kashmir State; and, establishment of the Dogra rule in 1846, Kashmiri Pandits were imperceptibly elbowed to the background. Administrators and officials were deputed from Jammu region. Though they enjoyed comprehensive religious freedom and social emancipation, political rights of the Kashmiri Brahmans were confined. On certain occasions, they even became victims of intrigue and suspicions. The vicious communal forces also turned their wrath against them. During the communal disturbances of July 1931, shops and houses belonging to the Kashmiri Brahmans were not only looted but also burnt. Three innocent Hindus lost their lives. This communalism in the state politics aggravated and magnified with the passage of time . It was fed for years with vicious communal propaganda and brainwashing.

After independence and accession of Jammu & Kashmir state to India, Kashmiri Pandits were pushed back to the barbarous Afghan era. They were given the sugarcoated dozes of poisonous toxics. Article 370 of Indian constitution just reduced them to cipher and liquidated their population. Under the pretext of economic reforms, their jagirs were confiscated and distributed among the Muslim peasants. The administration of Shaikh Abdullah adopted malicious and pernicious approach towards the Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir. They were taunted on one excuse or the other. Hindu temples were desecrated, looted and plundered. Minor girls of the community were forced to embrace Islam and marry the Muslim youth.

Shaikh Abdullah tried to create “ Shaikhdom” for his dynastic rule in Kashmir. But his dreams were shattered when he was arrested in 1953 for anti-national activities. In 1958, he was released but detained again after three months under the Kashmir conspiracy case. However, the case was withdrawn in 1964 because of political reasons. But he was arrested again in May 1965 for his subversive activities and released in January 1968. Again, in January 1971, a ban was imposed forbidding him to enter the Jammu Kashmir state. This restriction was lifted in 1972.

During 1953-1974 Shaikh Abdullah characterized India as an imperialist power endeavouring to subjugate the people of Kashmir. He asserted that the accession of Kashmir with India was his greatest blunder for which history will never forgive him. He also demanded the right of self determination for the people of Muslim – dominated Kashmir, but ignored the Hindu- dominated Jammu and Buddhist- dominated Ladakh regions. The sophist Shaikh advocated plebiscite and unconditional withdrawal of Indian army from the Saffron Valley. He also campaigned against the import of food grains from India and asked people to eat potatoes grown in Kashmir. For such arguments, Shaikh Abdullah was nick named as “Aaloo Bab” — Feeder of Potatoes. He made emotional solicitations that after death his body should not be buried in the subjugated Valley, but immersed into the sacred waters of Arabian sea. However, today his magnificent tomb stands on the banks of beautiful Dal Lake in Srinagar and is guarded by the Indian security personnel. By such gratuitous and conflicting statement, his secular credentials evaporated into thin air. The prospect of disloyalty and sedition began to haunt the Saffron Valley. Kashmiriyat switched over to political vandalism and bigoted fundamentalism. Shaikh Abdullah desperately held Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, a Kashmiri Pandit, responsible for the shattering of his malevolent dreams in 1953. The mortified Shaikh ambiguously decided to retaliate against the whole Pandit community in Kashmir. In vindictiveness, he instigated his associated that while making a choice between a Kashmiri Pandit and dreaded cobra, kill the Pandit first. A vicious campaign of terror was launched against the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir. They were refused entry to government jobs and institutions of higher learning. Besides hurling strong statement against the Government of India and Kashmiri Pandits, the Shaikh derided that the whole lot of Indian army cannot save the Hindus in Kashmir against the malevolence of Muslims. Farooq Abdullah also employed the same approach towards the crumbled Pandits when his brother-in-law, Gulshah, seized the chief ministership in 1984.The reactionary leaders- Afzal Beg, Maulvi Farooq, Mohi-ud-Din Kara and Maulana Masoodi; ignored the very existence of Kashmiri Pandits during their political adventurism. The Kashmiri Pandits were made to pay for every move on the political chessboard in Kashmir because they represented the pseudo-secularism, incognito- socialism and flowering- democracy of India. They were scolded and emotionally hurt in the Afghan fashion.

But then the whole political scenario in Kashmir took a dramatic turn in 1974, when Indira-Shaikh accord was signed by virtue of which the Shaikh became the Chief Minister of the State after the lapse of 22 years. Ignoring the great expectations he had created among the people in Kashmir and his vigorous campaign for plebiscite, the sophist Shaikh began to speak the language of Indian nationalism, democracy, socialism and secularism. The slogans of plebiscite, self-determination and independent Kashmir melted away. But the Hate- India virus, infused by him into the blood of the Muslim youth in Kashmir, was exploited by other corrupt self-styled politicians for their own interests from time to time. A vacuum was created because the people were betrayed disillusioned, politically raped and left in wilderness by their own leaders.

The programmes and policies of Bakshi, Sadiq, Qasim, Farooq and Gulshah were also damaging for the Kashmiri Pandits. They were continuously haunted by antagonistic, hostile and rebellious elements. Mufti Syed is even believed to be responsible for the anti-Hindu communal riots of 1986, when cows were slaughtered and temples destroyed in Anantnag district. From 1947-1986 about four lac Kashmiri Pandits silently migrated from Kashmir. Hypocritical atrocities and criminal ignorances of political leaders were responsible for these development. Pakistan, to avenge the defeat of Bangladesh, blatantly sponsored the violence and terrorism in the Valley, resulting in the turmoil of 1989-90. The then governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Jagmohan, wrote a detailed letter to the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi , on April 21,1990, endorsing the alarming signals. But cowardly Indian leadership was still unconcerned.

“Aay Zalimu, Aay Kafiroo,

Kashmir Hamara Choudh Dou”

“Bharat Kay Aiwanu Ko

Aag Lagado, Aag Lagado”

The final assault on the Kashmiri Pandits started with these slogans. Barbarous terrorists from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Sudan and even Saudi Arabia penetrated into the Saffron Valley. Brutal, wild and barbarous techniques were employed to hound and kill the Aryan Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir. Even the helpless ladies were not spared. Sarla Bhat, a nurse in Soura Medical Institute, was abducted on 19th April, 1990, by JKLF militants who repeatedly gang-raped her and eventually killed her on 25th April. Girja Tikoo, a teacher from Bandipur, was kidnapped, raped and eventually shred to pieces by a saw mill on 4th June, 1990. Bimla Braroo from the Nai Sarak, Srinagar, who along with her daughter, Archana, was raped in the presence of her husband, Sohanlal, before all the three were killed on 31st March, 1992. There are dozens of such brutal instances. Even wicked Afghans will be feeling sorry in their graves for the sanatic holocaust of the legendary Kashmiri Pandits.

The barbarous murder of hundreds of innocent Brahmans of Kashmir caused their seventh and final agonizing mass exodus from the Valley. This was the final knock down of ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kashmiri Pandits. The mass massacres at Sangrampora (1997), Udhampore (1997), Prankot (1998), Wandhama (1998) and Nadimarg (2003) were the follow up cleansing operations. Pandits in Kashmir dwindled from 10% in 1947 to fewer than 5% in 1989 and to less than 1% today. The pretended world bodies, contaminated human rights organizations, pseudo-secularists, self-styled leaders, so-called policy makers, tainted political parties and slack bureaucracy have failed to express serious concern at this great human tragedy.

DANSE MACABRE is still going on.

[For detailed study: HINDUS AND HINDUISM IN KASHMIR – A SAGA OF DEATH, CONVERSION & EXILE; Crisis in History: DEATH OF A CIVILIZATION; ABANDONED: Legendary Kashmiri Pandits; A HISTORY OF KASHMIRI PANDIT GENOCIDE; A History of the Kashmiri Pandit Race; SATANIC HOLOCAUST OF KASHMIRI PANDITS; and, Kashmiri Pandits: A FORBIDDEN COMMUNITY – Dr Satish Ganjoo]

The writer of this article is Dr. Satish Ganjoo

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

Kashmiri Pandits and saraswat Brahims

by P.N.K. Bamzai
Koshur Samachar

The Valley of Kashmir is known among the Kashmiri Pandits or Saraswat Brahmins of Kashmir as Saradapeeth or the Abode of the Goddess of Learning and Fine Arts. During their five thousand years of history, they have made colossal contribution to world civilization in the field of Religion, Philosophy, Sanskrit literature, medicine, history, aesthetics, etc. As models of non-violence, they have never handled lethal weapons or spoken harsh words. Devoted to the study of Vedas and other Sastras in all their aspects, the essence of these studies has been coursing in their blood-stream from generation to generation. In peaceful or turbulent times they were protected under their spiritual umbrella by a large number of highly advanced saints and sages who flourished in the Valley from time to time.

No wonder they preferred death to change in their religion and withstood stoically the ruthless masters for five hundred years of Muslim rule. And when pushed back to the wall, they migrated to places of safety in the hot plains of India.

This process has been repeated in 1990 but on a vaster scale. Threatened with annihilation by Islamic Fundamentalists and gun-toting terrorists, the hapless Brahmins migrated en masse to Jammu and other places in the hot plains of the rest of India, leaving behind their hearths and homes, movable and immovable properties, their jobs and business, even the education of their children. The treatment they received from the State and Central Governments is perhaps the most bitter instance of this nature in the world. As refugees in their own country, their governments treated them with disdain. Instead of giving them comfort and solace, their attitude towards them was callous and inhuman.

How and wherefrom did the Kashmiri Pandits or Vedic Aryans enter and settle in the Valley is an interesting episode in the early movement of people from place to place.

The main theory about the Aryan settlement in Kashmir as advanced by Dr. Grierson was that they formed a part of the stream of Indo-Aryans from Central Asia, but did not share the migration to India via the Kabul River Valley to settle in the Punjab. They broke away from the mainstream while crossing the Hindukush and entering the Valley via Dardistan settled there.

But after deep research for the last 15 years the writer has come to the conclusion that Dr. Grierson’s Theory was erroneous. Actually they came to the Valley from the Punjab centuries after the first settlement of Aryans there.

Briefly speaking, the earliest stream of Aryans who entered India, found the banks of the River Saraswati in the Punjab fertile and conducive to easy cultivation, and settled there.

Described in the Rig Veda as “the mother of rivers”, scholars have debated for centuries whether Saraswati is a myth or has been a reality at some distant point of time.

Fortunately a team of archaeologists, geologists, geographers and historians led by the famous archeologist Dr. V.S. Wakankar, began their quest of the river in 1985. Armed with high-tech facilities like landsat and multi-spectoral scanner (MSS), the team began the quest from the believed source of the river at Adi Badri in the Shivalik Hills in Ambala They sieved through the whole area notably 150 prominent sites along the route in the Thar Desert ending at Somnath in Gujarat.

At the end of it all they had solid evidence to prove the existence of a highly developed culture on the banks of a mighty river which they say was Saraswati.

Apart from this evidence, the existence of a mighty river, matching the Vedic description of Saraswati, has been scientifically proved. The multi-spectoral scanner (MSS), a widely used and relied upon equipment in archaeology, indicates various channels of the river in the region.

According to MSS observations of various channels, Sutluj was the main tributary of Ghaggar (the present name for Saraswati, now in Pakistan). But tectonic movements forced Sutluj to flow in different direction (at right angle to its original channel), thus leaving Ghaggar dry.

A study of the landsat imagery of Ghaggar (Saraswati) reveals that the river had a constant width of six to eight kilometres from Shatrana in the Punjab to Marot in Pakistan.

The waters of the river spread prosperity all around and the settlers passed centuries there in peace, building well-planned towns and cities to live in. The Aryan society was by and by stratified into classes according to the kind of their work and profession or varna. But as ill-luck would have it, the life-giving river changed its course several times and ultimately dried up. Known as Saraswat Brahmins, Kshatryas and Vaisas, they left the Punjab in search of equally good if not better land in the rest of the sub-continent. An enterprising batch went back to the mountains in the north to reside in the Kashmir Valley of whose beauty and salubrious climate they had heard from their forefathers who used to go there during summer. They sought the protection of Nila, the Lord of the Nagas and begged his permission to settle in the Valley permanently as his subjects.

Nila listened to their tale of woe sympathetically, but promised the requested permission on condition that they conformed to the social usages and customs of the Nagas. The Saraswats agreed to these conditions when the Naga chief permitted them to reside permanently in the Valley.

Aryan Entry Into The Valley

At what point of time this important immigration into the Valley of Saraswat Aryans (comprising Brahmans, Kshatryas, Vaisas and Sudras) took place is not possible to say. However, the beginning of the Saptarishi or Laukika Era seems to be the time when the Sarswat Aryans entered into and settled in the Valley, after getting permission from Nila, the lord of the Naga tribe who were already settled there. The beginning of this era nearly coincides with Mahabharata war. The date of the coronation of King Yudhishtra is given as Kaliyug Samvat 653. Kalhana too begins the Rajatarangini from this time as is evident from the description of the installation by Lord Krishna of Queen Yasomati on the throne of Kashmir as the guardian of her son King Gonanda II.

The Saptarishi or Laukika era is still in current use among the Brahmin population of Kashmir. Buhler was the first to prove from the extant tradition of Kashmiri Brahmins and other evidence that the commencement of the Laukika Era is placed on Caitra Sudi 1, of Kali Samvat 25 (expired) or the year 3076-75 B.C. Since his discovery correct accounts of the Laukika reckoning are to be found in all handbooks of Indian chronology.

That the Kashmiri Brahmins have held on to and followed this calendar tenaciously for the last 5066 years is a strong point in favour of assuming their entry in the Kashmir Valley round about the beginning of this era.

The various exigencies of time and division of labour gradually differentiated the priestly Brahmins from other castes. And when the Saraswat Aryans entered the Valley, the Brahmins were in a dominating position and laid down rules and regulations for the other castes to follow in accordance with the agreement with Nagas. From that time begins the emergence of the Kashmiri Pandits or the Saraswat Brahmins of Kashmir as a distinct community in the all-embracing comity of people called Hindus.

Profoundly learned, it was only the Kashmiri Pandits who were capable of expounding the Vedas, the Vedanganas, the Itihasas, the Puranas and the Mimamsa. They were well-versed in various orthodox and heterodox philosophic systems. Jurists, astrologers, mathematicians, poets and philosophers were from this community. Even the less educated among them did fairly well, for they could act as Kathavacaks or reciters of sacred stories and performers of various domestic rites. Sanskrit was their mother tongue and both men and women spoke it fluently.

Society took good care of the Brahmins, for they received land gifts and money. There is mention of many grants or agraharas in literature and epigraphs. Villages were transferred to the Brahmins with pastures for cows, with lands, water and trees, fruit bearing or otherwise.

A class that helped in the preservation of Dharma and contributed much to cultural progress, naturally enjoyed some privileges in a society dominated by it. Smritis and the Puranas speak of the Brahmins as being exempt from taxation and capital punishment. The ancient Dharmasastras lay down that a Brahmin should not be given any corporal punishment. Many other Smritis speak of exile as the maximum punishment for a Brahmin.

Education

The Saraswat Brahmins of Kashmir were models of simplicity, purity, truthfulness, ascetic tendency and compassion. All these traits of the highest human culture were built-up by Rishis and Maharishis who, in their secluded Ashrams performed austere penances and at the same time taught a large number of students who stayed in the Ashrams and led a life befitting Brahmin Brahmacharin. Thus the Guru-Shishya Parampara was established. The children of a house-holder lived with Acharyas (teachers) in the latter’s home. There they used to serve their teacher by gathering fuel for homa and offered morning and evening prayers. The recitation of the Vedic hymns with their proper accents, preceded by the syllable OM took place at day-break. Early morning was the time set apart for studies.

Consequently, Upanayan Sanskara, which literally means taking the child to the Guru, was the most important in one’s life. The Brahman, the Khatriya and Vaisa boys were initiated when they were 8, 11 and 12 years respectively. This initiation of a boy into the three R’s took place on an auspicious day in a festive atmosphere. Gods were propitiated, feasts arranged and presents offered to the teacher before entrusting the student to his care. A very disciplined life was laid down by the medieval digests for students receiving Brahmanical education. By the time the boy attained the age of sixteen years, he was expected to be the master of all sciences and arts.

The educational course naturally differed according to the needs of the student. A Brahmin learnt the four Vedas, the six Angas, the various scripts, Mimamsa, Smritis, Puranas, Karmakanda, Jyotish, Ganita, Music, Sciences, etc.

The education of a student did not end here. They took inspiration from the Rishis and Paramrishis who in their ashrams and seats of learning propagated gems of philosophy, art, literature and history. Apart from imparting education to hundreds of Kashmiri students, they instructed numerous scholars from distant lands, who braving long and arduous journey came to Kashmir to drink deep from the well of knowledge at the feet of the masters. No wonder that from remote ages Kashmir became the seat of learning, and earned for itself the appropriate name of Saradapeeth or the seat of Sarada, the Goddess of Learning and Fine Arts.

Apart from performing rites and rituals as prescribed by the Sastras, the Brahmin householder worshipped the Hindu Triad, namely Siva, Vishnu and Brahma and their Consorts – Parvati or Uma who has a variety of other names such as Kali, Durga, Mahadevi (the Consort of Siva); Sri or Lakshmi (the Consort of Vishnu) and Vagheswari or Saraswati (the Consort of Brahma)

In later times a special sect who were devotees and worshippers of Sakti – the manifestation of power and energy of Siva – came into prominence and were known as Saktas. Their rites and rituals and the mode of their performance differed basically from the mainstream of the Kashmiri Pandits.

The snow-capped mountain peaks around the Valley evoked the image of Siva with Ganga coming out of His locks and gushing down in streams to the plains below, spreading life all around. Hence, Kashmir has, from time immemorial, been known as the Land of Siva (Sivapuri). The worship of Siva and the study of Saivism is, therefore, a predominant theme in the religious and philosophic practices of the Kashmiri Brahmins. Though the Trikka philosophy popularly known as Kashmir Saivism took shape in the 8th Century A.D., Sivasana or Sivagama, that is Saivism as such, is far older than this date. Indeed we can trace its beginning in the Vedic Revelations.

The origin of the earliest works on Saivism in Kashmir is lost in antiquity. It is said that originally there were sixty-four systems of philosophy covering every aspect of thought and life, but they all gradually disappeared and the world was plunged into spiritual darkness. Then Siva, goes the legend, moved by pity for the ignorance and sufferings of mankind, appeared on the Kailasa mountain in the form of Srikantha. He commanded the sage Durvasa to spread true knowledge among men. Durvasa created three sons by the power of his mind and to one of these, Tryambaka, he imparted the knowledge of monistic philosophy.

So Brahmanism diluted with the animistic faith of the indigenous Nagas and influenced by the Saivite faith, formed the religion of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley from their settlement there till the appearance of Emperor Asoka in the middle of 300 B .C. along with a contingent of 5000 Bikshus whom he settled in the Valley to study and propagate Buddhism.

Amarnath land row,nationalism and kashmiri pandits

This is a copy of letter sent by Mr.Gurunath prakash to panun kashmir youth front:

Namaskar,
“Viparetha kale, Viparetha buddhi” . Mahabharatam war was started for a mere piece of land. History repeats…..

The issue of “Land for Amarnath Yatra’s Yatris” has been used by Muslim separatist forces as a referendum for a separate Kashmir. All the Kashmiri Political parties in turn who represent the people of Kashmir have made a statement that they are on the verge of attaining their own Country or they have one.

PDP, NC, Congress and ISI have been smart but the smartest is Omar Abdullah, who has used the words Kashmir and Jammu for Muslims and Hindus. That has a lot of significance.

If land is allotted, it will hurt the Kashmiri pride and Kashmiriat! Where is Omar from? From the Womb of an English Nurse! Where did the Kashmiriat go then? Most of the Hurriayat leaders(they must be eliminated) have American or European wifes interestingly! Wonder, if one has to separate from their husbands or divorce or be a Widow like Indira, Sonia and Mahabooba to be in power!!

Is Land to Amarnathji a big deal? Oh! Yeah, its a big deal. So, says most Kashmiri leaders.

Commies have no reaction. Regional Parties are non committal and are worried about their votes . People who made it a huge cry on Raj Thackeray are silent on this very important issue.

BJP is making feeble noises and all the “peace time torch bearers of Hindu and Peace ” are silent. Whatever protests one has seen in Jammu, by the Hindus are spontaneous, its all local leadership. It is sad that Hindu movement has become leadership less and has no Central command.

Can you beat it, we are funding all those Kashmiri leaders to bash us(Hindus) at will? Their tourism money is from Hindu pockets? Where does all the money from Amarnath Yatra go?

On an average, Rs 45,000 INR is doled out to each family in Kashmiri Muslim from the Center. Now, what do the Kashmiri Pundits gets???? Nothing, in fact they are looted, forced into prostitution, gang raped, left to beg , as one KP has put it, “Wish I was born as a dog”!! All that they got was tears, heart attacks and loads of humiliation. Why this indifference?? At the time of partition, all the Hindus mostly Punjabis were welcome , land grants, business grants, home grants etc were doled out!!( at that time, there was humanity, Nationalism ). But for KP , there is nothing even after close to 20 years. They are simply put up in different places, marrying or live-in with every and sundry to make two ends meet!! Girls were kidnapped from Camps and were never seen again! Their sin, they are born Hindus and the Hindu leadership is spineless, Gutless and is too self centered around themselves and people of their own ilk.

Infact, almost all the KP’s born after 1989 have a problem in voting. Where will all the votes go?? Where will all the 450, 000 votes go?? Where will all the Kashmiri Hindu votes go??

All the Kashmiri Hindus got is NOTHING. Nothing from Congress, Nothing from BJP and now, their land is permanently taken away from them for free!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, THIS IS HISTORY IN MAKING! I used to wonder how come everyone looted India, how come Babur’s men build a Mosque on our Ram lala’s Mandir? IT WAS LIKE THIS!!!

How come 15 % of Hindus in Pakistan and 30% in Bangladesh vanish, it is LIKE THIS!!!

How come Andhra Pradesh is rapidly becoming Christian? it is LIKE THIS! ALL OF US ARE WITNESSING HISTORY IN MAKING.

Don’t blame the people, its the leaders. We simply do not have leaders of caliber, who can impress the common Hindu to take up the issues. A leader who can win the trust of Hindus.

I smell similar circumstances as in 1857! Revolt from the Common man is imminent.

And, I will not be a mute or a mere spectator.

Gurunath Prakash