Tag Archives: KASHMIR BLOG

Regulation of Vitasta (Jhelum) by Suyya

Kalhana writes in ‘Rajatarangini’ about the illustrious visionary Suyya- The Engineer .He lived during the King Avantivarman’s Rule and was in fact whole heatedly supported by the king in his endeavor. Kalhana has given in detail about this great Engineering Operation, which was carried out in his reign(Avantivarman)for the drainage of the valley as well as for irrigation.
The topographically interesting details of these operations which are connected with the name of Avantivarman’s skillful Engineer Suyya. The systematic regulation of the course of the vitasta , down to the rock-bound gorge where it leaves the valley, largely reduced the extent of the water-locked tracts along the banks of the river and the damage to the crops caused by floods. The construction of the new beds for the river at points threatened by the inundation-breaches was among the measures designed to effect the same object.The change thus made in the confluence of the vitasta and its most important tributary , the Sindhu, can still be clearly traced, thanks to Kalhana’s accurate topographical Data. It shows alike the large scale and the systematic technical basis of Suyya’s regulation. The result of the latter was a great increase of land available for cultivation , and increased protection against disastrous floods which in Kashmir have ever been the main cause of famine.
According to the account of the chronicler, Suyya supplemented these measures by equally important improvements in the system of irrigation which indispensable for the cultivation of Rice, the staple produce of Kashmir. The facilities thus secured for cultivation produced a remarkable reduction in the orice of rice, the cost of a Khari being alleged to have fallen from 200 Dinnaras to 36 Dinnaras in consequence.

It is only natural that the story of this great change in the material condition of the country which so closely affected the welfare of its inhabitants should have exercised popular imagination , already at the time and still more thereafter.We accordingly find the account of Suyya’s origin and his initial proceedings embellished with details which are manifestly legendary. But though the anecdotes to which we are treated, can have no foundation in historical fact, yet they are just such as would readily be accepted by contemporary popular tradition. Suyya’s memory is preserved to this day by the town of Suyyapura, the present Sopore-which was founded by him at the point where the vitasta since his regulation leaves the basin of the volur lake.

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Scenes from the 3 Decades of Kashmiri Pandits

(3 Decades of Kps)

Year1989-90

Dulari-The Seventy year old Matriarch , was standing in the middle of her Garden. Not a leaf of Grass was left in her frost-bitten-lawn. It was the peak of winter. She gave a cursory look around and strolled slowly , occasionally touching some of the dried up plants . She stopped near the Rose shrub and began to inspect the marigold plant, she has sown last summer just adjacent to it.

‘The marigold plant has dried up completely , so has this The Rose Bush’, She thought gloomily.

‘These winters eat up everything. I really wish the summers come soon.’ She looked upwards to the Post –Noon- Sun . Even though it was a bright shimmering sunny day, Nevertheless, The Sun too seemed to shiver.

After inspecting her Garden, she goes inside. It is around 1 Pm and time for Lunch. She washes her hands and sits in her Extended Kitchen- That basically serves as a Dining area for her family. She calls her daughter-in-law Phoolaji.

‘Hayayi Phoolaji, Battae sharei’ (Phoolaji serve the lunch)

It was the end of the year 1989.The Terrorists had become Blatantly Brazen after the kidnapping of Rubaiyya Syed. The Muslim neighbors too in hushed tones could be heard talking about, soon-to-get ‘Azadi’ . The Blanket curfew in the valley had forced all the family members of Dulari to stay indoors. Her family as well as Kashmiri Pandits neighbors too talked about the prevailing political circumstances that was filled with uncertainty. Yet, No one had imagined that a majority of Kashmiri Pandits will have to flee Kashmir within a month!

The Macabre dance of Death unleashed by the AK-47 laden Terrorists on KP’s had started and were targeting minority Hindus with impunity,

And then came the night of 19 Jan 1990-That changed forever the history of Kashmiri Pandits! The Kp’s were fleeing Kashmir in hordes. Dulari was no exception. She too left Kashmir as did her neighbors and relatives.
Future looks uncertain in Kashmir.

Year-2000-01

Dulari is now surrounded by new neighbors of Pan-India ethnicity in Faridabad . All these years, she has managed to speak her own version of Hindi. She uses a lot of Gesticulations in her conversations with neighbours as Kashmiri words pops up now and then unintentionally from her Mouth.

Dulari along with her Family had shifted to Faridabad in late 1995. Her elder Son has bought a House in Faridabad. It is built on a 100 sq yard plot. The front as well as the back yard is cemented . She is Old but still hard working and has lost no love for Gardening. She has secured and fenced a small patch of land may be 100 sq feet bordering the front side of her house. She religiously looks after that small garden. She has also sown with love the famous ‘Haak’ (collard greens) of Kashmiris in that lawn.

It is the month of March. She is inspecting her kitchen garden. Not much is there. Just one gaze is enough to tell about the health of her green friends. She opens the make-Shift gate of her garden. She squats near the marigold Plant and touches the flower.
‘Dear, If we would have been in Kashmir, I would have surrounded you with many more flowers and attended you better’. She was silently conveying her feelings to the flower.

‘Soon the marigold will be gone and so will be Haakh’ . These Harsh summers don’t spare anything’. She whispered .

‘Alas ! Kashmir was so beautiful!’ she sighed.

She does not have the same vigor, She once had in Kashmir. She feels the heat of the March Sun and slowly walks inside .

‘Hayyeyi Phoolaji Batta shaer’ (serve the lunch) – She orders her.

It has been 10 years now since KPs were forced into exile. Future in Kashmir still holds uncertain for them. She and her family are amongst the Lucky ones, who didn’t had to live in the dirty, unhygienic tattered tents of the refugee Camps-where still many of the community members were languishing .

Year-2018-19

Phoolaji-Her Daughter-in-law has become the new Matriarch since Dularis Death 12 years back.They now live in an apartment in Mumbai. After the death of her Mother-in-law; Phoolaji too has developed some love for Gardening.

In the balcony of her Flat, she has sown some saplings of Marigold as well as ‘Tulasi’ (Basil). Whenever, she waters or de-weeds the plants, The face of Dulari flashes in front of her mind. By planting and looking after the potted-Plants, she gets a strange sense of satisfaction. It is as if the soul of Dulari is watching her and is bestowing her with blessings.

She is standing in her Balcony. The Black clouds are moving fast as if they are on a mission! Needless to say, The infamous monsoons of the Mumbai have already arrived . Now and then the sky is roaring and it seems , it is going to pour too. To save the plants from being flooded by the downpours; Phoolaji shifts the pots to that area of the balcony, where they will be safe and Dry.

As soon as she had shifted the pots to a safer Dry place, The rains start.

‘Madamji, please come inside. The lunch is ready.’ Her maid shouts from the Kitchen.

She walks slowly towards the Dining area of her Flat and sits on the dining chair. She is served food by her maid. Today her maid has made ‘Haakh’. She is about to eat, when the familiar thought crosses her mind, yet once again.

‘The taste of Haakh was divine at Kashmir ! It would have been much more fun and happiness, had we been living at Kashmir !

But, Alas! Mahadev(God) had different plans. The medley of thoughts and emotions was disturbing somewhere in her Heart and Mind.

Soon after, the aroma of the food diverted her mind and brought her to her present at Mumbai. She takes the morsel of rice mixed with Haakh .

She can not forget that It has been 29 years and The situation for KPs in the valley has not changed a bit yet. To forget about the past, she switches on the TV , browses the channels to watch her favourite serial. While browsing, her eye catches the fleeting headline in one of the News channels. She stops at that Channel. The focus of the news is Kashmir again. The newsreader announces about the clashes between the protestors and the security forces. She again changes the channel and finally stops at a “Bhakti” (Devotional) channel.

Phoolaji is carrying forward the legacy,Customs and rituals left behind by her Late Mother-in-law.She has immortalised ‘Dulari’ by keeping her Photograph at the same pedestal as that of Devis and Devtaas in their small in-house temple.In the mornings and sometimes in the evenings too , incense sticks or Dhoop is gyrated reverentially around her photo too; along with the idols and photos of all major Devis and Devtaas to invoke their blessings!

The Show of life Continues …..

Open letter to Mr. Rahul Gandhi -from a Dattatreya-koul

Dear Rahul Gandhi Ji,
Greetings!
My name is Sandeep Koul and my Gotra is Dattatreya. It was heartening to see that you openly confessed your Gotra at Pushkar as Koul-Dattatreya .I saw the byte of the Priest on T.V, wherein he declared emphatically that you and your ancestors are ‘Kashmiri Brahmins’.

It is widely speculated or rather believed that you had to publically announce your caste and Gotra in order to look correct politically. However, your confession also portrays the polity of today’s India. Being just ‘secular’ is not enough today. Being Indian-without being framed as a Hindu or Muslim is just impossible today. And being Hindu, without divulging your caste is equally impossible.

Being a seasoned politician, I don’t need to tell you why?

B. T. W, Every time I fill a form, I am being asked my Religion as well as the caste.

Religion as well as caste based politics is the norm of today. We have plethora of politicians who exist today because of Religion, caste, region or all of them.
Sh.Mulayam singh Yadav , Sh.Lalu Yadav, Chautala’s, Khushwaha’s , Mayawati, Abdullah’s, Mufti’s etc are the names who have thrived on caste or Religion -based-politics.

However

They have done a lot to mitigate the problems of that section-whom they represent. Also, a section of the followers, who identify with them because of the same caste and religion- have this impression that they belong to them and have faith in them.

When Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru died, I was told by my Late Grandmother that Kashmiri Pandit men and women lamented on his bereavement and in an impromptu procession , Kashmiri Pandit women were beating their chest in grief. Kashmiri Pandits also grieved the Death of Lt. Indira Gandhi. It was as if someone from their own family had departed. The tragic Death of late Rajiv Gandhi too was condoled by your own community of Kashmiri Pandits.

But , everything changed after that.

The Kashmiri Pandit community felt cheated by the congress leadership after 1990. If you will go through the social media sites, you will come across scores of posts by Kashmiri Pandits denouncing and castigating you, because Kashmiri Pandits feel that Your party left them, when they needed you the most!

Sometimes looking ‘politically correct ‘ backfires too. Your party’s tacit policy of neglecting KP’s is so obvious.Just because, your Own-community of Kashmiri Pandit did not form a substantial vote bank; does not mean that justice should not be given to them!

Since, you have publically proclaimed of being a ‘Kashmiri Brahmin’, (either because of compulsion or to look politically correct in today’s political scenario; ) I want to share just 3 facts with you and ask some questions being a fellow Kashmiri Pandit of ‘Dattatreya’ Gotra.

1.Majority of the Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee Kashmir because of being ‘Hindu’ as well as for loving their country-India by the Jihadi-Islamists. They were assassinated brutally and till today, their Murderers are roaming free .

Question:-why are the murderers of the community-whom you belong to-roaming free? Why didn’t your Government formed an S.I.T to probe the killings and give justice to your own community!

2.The properties and temples of your own community-The Kashmiri Pandits-has been illegally encroached upon by a section of people, who are not from our community. The sad and the cumbersome part is that the onus goes on to the Kashmiri pundits to prove their claim on the encroached properties; which is very difficult in a hostile environment.Thanks again to the burgeoning of unchecked jihadi-Islamists coitere influence, that has made its way into the Government institutions too.

Question:-though, an attempt was made in NC-Congress regime to redress this grievance, However, why was the hostile environment against Kashmiri Pandits ignored? Why didn’t your Government made the process more easy and more friendly , so that justice without delay should have been delivered to your own beleaguered community!

3.A section of Kashmiri Pandits still live in penury and in unhygienic circumstances at places such as Jagati in Jammu.

Question:-why are your fellow community men living in such hostile conditions? What has your Government done for them?
Why didn’t you even once, visited your own community, when they were living in tattered tents with bruised hearts?

If your fellow contemporaries such as the Yadavs can deliver justice to their own communities, why cant you do the same?

Don’t you think, you too owe to that community-who has given you an identity of being a Kashmiri Brahman and has given you a Gotra- *Dattatreya*.

Think about it!

Regards
Sandeep Koul-Dattatreya.

(P. S:-It was not Sh.Jagmohan Malhotra who was responsible for our exodus. It may be a politically correct statement for you. But it is not true. )

Sancha Vidhya – A glorious gift of to Himachal Pradesh

In the times bygone, Kashmir excelled in many spheres of art, literature and culture, in which it achieved great heights. The cross cultural-religious strands that stretched between Kashmir and present day Himachal Pradesh successfully withstood the centuries old time-warp and refused to fade-away into oblivion. Apart from the natural brilliance of the landscapes, both the states share a deep rooted faith of the people in the time tested traditions, belief systems and ancient wisdom, which are enshrined in their holy scriptures. They form an integral part of our common heritage. The ancient Sancha scripture of Himachal Pradesh is an illustrious example of the same. It is a combination of Jyotish and Tantric knowledge. Even today, in the present scientific age, this ancient priceless knowledge is quite popular in Shimla, Sirmour and Solan areas of Himachal Pradesh. The ‘Sancha Granth’ is believed to have travelled to Himachal Pradesh from Kashmir hundreds of years back. The present day custodians of this ancient legacy, who are natives of Himachal Pradesh are believed to be the descendants of Kashmiri Panndits. The ‘Sancha’ treatise is a unique combination of ‘Mantra (sacred incantations), ‘Yantra’ (hallowed implements) and ‘Tantra’ (mystical hymns or invocations). The scripts of Sancha treatise are known by the names of ‘Bhatakshri’ or ‘Pabuchi’, which are Himachali variations of ‘Sharda’, the ancient script of Kashmir. In earlier times, the said script was also known as ‘Takri’.

In Himachal Pradesh, in addition to ‘Bhatakshri’ and ‘Pabuchi’, the ancient ‘Takri’ dialect has survived in many resembling forms like ‘Chambyali’, ‘Kalluvi’ Mandyali’ and ‘Sirmouri’ etc., which are the present day spoken dialects of Chamba, Kallu, Mandi and Sirmour areas of Himachal Pradesh. In earlier times, the scholarly and learned Himachali Brahmans were known as ‘Pabuch’ due to their demonstrative grip and hold over the ancient ‘Sancha’ knowledge. The ‘Sancha’ growth deals with a wide range of topics ranging from necromancy, black magic, witchcraft, occult effects and negative influences of evil spirits besides demonology. The ‘Sancha’ text offers solutions and remedies to the persons who are troubled by the negative influences of the above. In addition to it, all those persons, who are saddled by anxieties and worries arising out of afflictions by various ailments can find health assuring remedies by consulting ‘Sancha’ system. The ‘Sancha’ treatise also guarantees a triumph over one’s ‘hidden’ enemies by recitation of certain ‘mantras’ i.e. secret incantations.
Its help is also sought in adopting a religious recourse to the matters connected with almost all the Hindu Sanskars right from birth to death. In addition to it, ‘Sancha’ knowledge also aids in the recovery of stolen items by giving clues and hints about the identity of the thief, the time of the occurrence of the theft and number of persons involved in the act. An accurate and exact knowledge of the auspicious timing or ‘Hora’ is also possible by consulting ‘Sancha’ text. The word ‘Sancha’ owes it’s origin to the Sanskrit word ‘Sanch’ or ‘Sanchai’, which means a repository or a compilation. The Brahmans well-versed with the ‘Sancha’ knowledge are called ‘Pabuch’ or ‘Baat’. In addition to ‘Pabuchi’ or ‘Bhatakshri’ dialects, the ‘Sancha’ texts are also found in ‘Chandvani’, ‘Pandvani’ and ‘Butakhshri’ dialects. The script employed by the Brahmans of the ‘Panda’ sect is called ‘Pandvani’, while as the inscription used by the Brahmans of the ‘Bhat’ sect is known by the name of ‘Bhatakshri’. According to a legend, an ancient ruler of the erstwhile Sirmour Kingdom came under the spell of a curse by a female dancer. As a consequence, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Sirmour was completely submerged under water and the royalty became kingless. Depressed by the loss of entire royal clan and to ensure a new heir to the Sirmour throne, two ministers of the Kingdom namely Roymoan and Roy Gopal are said to have travelled all the way from Sirmour to Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir in the eleventh century A.D. The two Sirmour ministers are believed to have requested the then Kashmir King to send a Kashmiri Prince, who could take charge of the Sirmour Kingdom.

According to the oral legend, out of the two queens of the then Kashmiri King, one had an adopted son, while the second one named Sumitra was in a family way at that time. In pursuance of the then prevalent bestowal of alms custom, the King of Kashmir agreed to send his pregnant queen in the form of ‘Shaya Daan’ to the princely state of Sirmour. In furtherance of it and to facilitate the subsequent coronation of the Kashmiri Prince as a King of Sirmour, the queen Sumitra of Kashmir went to Sirmour. She was accompanied by a host of Rishis, saints, learned Brahmans, bards, artists and ministrels, in addition to numerous footmen and domestics. The accompanying Kashmiri Pandits are said to have carried with them their prized possession the ‘Sancha’ knowledge system. In the historical documents of Himachal, this notable event is recorded in the following lines “Loia Aana Mangtoo, Purohit Sath Loia Aana Raoy Baat Loia Aana Vikram Samvat Saat thi todi 1152 Mahina Magh.” It fully affirms and supports the historical fact that the carriers of the ‘Sancha’ treatise or knowledge to Himachal Pradesh were none other than the Kashmiri Pandits. Corresponding to the above Vikram Samvat, the exact year of the said event can be said to be 1095 AD.

The Kashmiri origin of the ‘Sancha’ treatise is further collaborated by the fact that even today before consulting the ‘Sancha’ text, Himachali Brahmans pay obeisance to Kashmir in the following lines, “Vidhya Suri Kashmiri Lagan dekh Shodan Vichar”. The Sancha Granth has detailed information about astrology, planetary placements, interpretation of Zodiac and planetary movements. Based on the intricate knowledge of ‘Sancha Granth’, the ‘Pabuchi’ scholars prepare a local variation of almanac (Jantri) called ‘Chri’. The three important components of ‘Chri’ are ‘Var’ i.e. day of the week or an occasion, ‘Tithi’ i.e. a lunar day or date and the planetary movements and their positions. The ‘Chiri’ is based on the solar planetary system, which regards Baisakhi as the first day of the New Year. To get solutions, answers and remedies for the different paradoxes that rock the day to day life, the ‘Sancha’ text is always consulted for the required help. Resembling a gambling dice, the ‘pasha’ or ‘pasa’ is employed in deciphering the required information from the ‘Sancha’ text. The ‘pasha’ or ‘pasa’ has an inscription of four numerical digits marked as 0,00,000 and 0000, which have the corresponding numerical strength of 1,2,3 and 4 respectively. These numerical digits are marked on the individual pages separately. Each numerical digit with an individual value of sixteen ‘Horas’ make a sum total of sixty four ‘Horas’, with one ‘Hora’ being equal to one twenty fourth part of a day.

The ‘Pashas’ or ‘Pasa’ are specially prepared only on auspicious days and involve elaborate religious rituals. The different ‘Horas’ that are in-vogue in the ‘Sancha Granth’ are known as ‘Kaalgaymi Hora’, ‘Bhoot Prashan Hora’, ‘Lagan Ki Hora’ and ‘Tithi Ki Hora’ etc. The square shaped ‘pasha’ or ‘pasa’ is usually made up of an elephant tooth, being 1½ to 2 inches in length and with the width of a finger. According to a belief in Sirmour area, the ‘Yantra’ and ‘Lagans’ made from the soil brought from the village Chanan, give better results while consulting ‘Sancha’ text. The Brahmans engaged in the ‘Sancha’ profession take every care to maintain the knowledge secrecy and imparting of it’s knowledge is confined only within the family.

The Kashmiri origin of the ‘Sancha’ text has also been acknowledged by Sh. Sudershan Vashisht, who is a well known author and researcher of Himachal Pradesh and has done note-worthy research work in this direction. The ancient and precious Sancha texts are also found in tehsil Chopal, tehsil Shilayi and Chakrota area of Uttar Pradesh.Pandit Om Prakash and Pandit Devi Ram, the native Brahmans of the village Khadanka in Sirmour are experts in Sancha knowledge and it’s system. Another Brahman named Pandit Shivanand, a resident of the village Janloag in Sirmour has also thorough knowledge of ‘Sancha’ texts. He makes accurate predictions based on it’s knowledge. Pt. Mohan Lal, a native of the village Dehar in Sirmour is a well-known name due to his thorough and intimate Sancha knowledge. The present day experts of Sancha Vidhya acknowledge their Kashmiri origin and lineage.
Undoubtedly, ‘Sancha’ is an ancient and sacred knowledge of Kashmiri origin, which is an integral part of our historical cultural heritage. It is a glorious reminder of our rich past and the proud contribution of Kashmiri Pandits, who have left an indelible mark on the pages of history.

(By Upendar Ambardar)

QABALI ATTACK EYEWITNESS VERSION….

🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁
QABALI ATTACK
EYEWITNESS VERSION….

An Eyewitness Account of the 1947 raid by Tribals from Pakistan-by T.N.Bhan

My name is Triloki Nath Bhan and I was 18 years old young boy living in Sehyar, test Srinagar when Pakistani Army along with Kabailies from North West Frontier Province, launched a series of surprise attacks across Jammu and Kashmir on October 24, 1947. As is well known the Pakistani invaders quickly overwhelmed the the forces of Maharaja Hari Singh. Most of the Muslim units of J& K Army comprising of Mirpuri deserted and joined the invaders after killing their Hindu and Sikh Officers. Muzzafarabd fell within a few hours of the attack and the invaders proceeded towards Baramula, Sopore and Srinagar. At the Uri bridge Brigadier Rajinder Singh lost his life putting up a valiant fight .He held the invaders for two days which gave time to the Maharajah to flee the valley. and the Indian Army to intervene. 

The Pakistani invaders entered Baramula on October 26, 1947 and proceeded to indulge in Rape, murder, loot and arson, especially targeting Sikhs and Kashmiri Pandit community. By the morning of October 27th some raiders had reached the outskirts of Srinagar. Hari Singh’s exit had totally broken the morale of the government and security establishment. Police stations were empty. anything could happen at any time. Sheikh Abdullah and his National Conference organized a voluntary force of young men known as Salamati Fauj in the city with specific direction to maintain communal harmony at all costs. This worked, Halka Committees became the police station. I remember I also joined this force to patrol the streets to ensure nobody disturbed the communal harmony. Most of the Hindu leadership had left the valley for Jammu. As the Kashmiri Pandits trickled in from the countryside we began to hear the tales of atrocities, plunder, rape and murder of innocent Hindus and Sikhs by the Pakistani invaders.

Although Kashmir’s Pandits were leaderless as even our RSS leaders such as Bal Raj Madhok had left the city we the grassroot RSS Swyamsewaks began to organise ourselves to defend and protect Pandit honor. I belonged to Putli Dharamshalla Shakha. We decided to go out of Srinagar to visit other cities and villages and see for ourselves the condition of our Kashmiri Pandits brothers and sisters so that help could be arranged for the needy. I was accompanied by other Swyamsewaks such as Maharaj Krishan Mirza, Amar Nath Ganju, Manohar Nath Bhagati, Lakshmi Narain Kaul, Bhaska nath ganjoo, Durga Nath Dhar, Trilokinath Dhar, Prithvinath Dhar, Naranjan Kaul, Brijnath Moza and others. These volunteers hailed from Sehyar, Rehbaba Sahib and Rishipeer. We began our journey on 30th October 1947. Starting on foot in the early morning we first touched Shalteing about four miles down the road from Chhatabal Custom Post. Here we went inside the enclosed Chinar Grove and found two dead bodies of the Kabali-invaders who had been strafed by the Indian Air Force aircraft. Onward we reached Pooshbugg a village near Pattan where kabalies had executed 14 Kashmiri Pandits as they were performing fire veneration “Hawan”. The fire was still smoldering. Luckily all fourteen had already been cremated by the Pandits of the neighboring villages who had escaped the onslaught of these savages. All Pandit houses were looted. We tried to enter the town of Pattan but we were not allowed to enter. We could only guess the gruesome condition of Pandits in the town.

After Pattan we continued our journey to Sangarhama-detour to Sopore.There is a thick willow grove on the right side of the main road. A Muslim boy told us that we should go and see what had happened there. Visiting the Grove was most horrendous and traumatizing experience as we saw pieces of Indian currency notes and human skeletons scattered in the area. The boy told us that Sikh adults had killed their women and children here to ensure they did not fall in the hands of these heartless and treacherous Paksitani’s. Dazed we turned and left toward Sopore. We had walked about 200 yards we found a Kacha road to the left leading us to a Seer (Hindu Shrine). There we found a Mullah was teaching Quran to two Pandit women who were dressed in a Burka. As the Mullah saw us he took to his heels as we began chanting “Har Har Mahadev”, the women retracted and threw their Burkas. The shrine in Seer was reduced to heap of rubble and two Muslim men were pulling out the nails from the burnt wooden planks. The worse was still to come. We saw couple of KP’s men and women coming towards us all in tears, and crying. They told us that the local Muslims had invited two Pakistani Kabailies from Baramula and all our brethren had been asked to assemble in the ground near a mosque where a calf was slaughtered in their presence. Pieces of raw beef were forced down their throat and abuses were heaped. Their houses were looted-clean sweep, even the doors and window frames were pulled out. We spent the night with them, the bedding was the hay of rice. Of course we recited the bhajans the whole night. On the dawn of next day we began our journey towards Sopore. In this town not much damage was done. The leader of Kashmir pandits was Jat Kak Zutshi father of Jeevan Zutshi of California. Mr. Zutshi had worked with Muslim elders in the city to protect the KP’s. Unfortunately Jat Kak had become a target of the Kabaleys and he hid under the hay in the house of a Muslim friend on the condition that he convert to Islam. Jat Kak Zutshi’s family was my neighbor in Jamalatoo in Srinagar. 

The next day we proceeded to Bomai Village which is a couple of miles from Sopore on way to Handwara. Here the first assassination of a Batta had taken place a few days before the Pakistani invasion. The Martyre was Pandit Sarwanand Kaul an honest and diligent Intelligence Officer in the State Government. He was kidnapped and butchered a couple of kilometers from his house. We comforted the family. Buomay Battas were safe. No damage , except they were terribly shaken and fearful. We had lunch with them and assured them that the whole of Indian nation was with them.

On Reaching Handwara we witnessed six kucha earthen mounds burying six Kashmir Pandits belonging to one family. It was a mass suicide committed the family. Then we witnessed the same thing as we had seen earlier in Seer. Houses had been looted, KP residents were helter skelter seeking shelter to save their lives. We stayed in Handwara for the night sleeping on the bran (kuchh). In the morning we started to dig the bodies but the Commander of the area prevented us and said that Army would do it. It was a very tense night for us as firing from both sides was still going on. Taking the kuchha route to Baramula via Langet we continued our journey.

At Langet we found two dead bodies who were cremated by us. Langet had special significance for me as it is close to Trihagram where my maternal uncle Mr. Zindalal Raina of Rainawari residing near Hari Singh High School was assassinated in 1931 when Sheikh Abdullah as a Muslim Communalist had aroused the Hindu-Muslim strife in the valley.

We reached Baramula in the evening and came across a young Kashmiri Pandit who was a lecturer of English in the Govt. College there. He offered us to stay overnight which we did. His house was also looted as mentioned earlier. He told us how his beautiful wife and other young KP ladies had been locked in a house and gang raped by the Muslim invaders. Next day he showed us the house from which these women had jumped to death from the fourth story. During the talk he told us that one respectable couple in the town was dragged through the streets. We saw every KP house was looted-clean sweep even the doors and windows were removed. Streets were deserted Batta houses were like skeletons and the inhabitants had either gone into hiding or were killed. Many had committed suicide by jumping into the Jhelum river. Crossing the bridge to the other side where market and Govt. offices were housed, we were shown a spot in the middle of the bridge from where young Hindu-Pandit, Sikh and Khatri ladies plunged to their death by drowning into the river. Those who did not have a chance to kill themselves were herded into Tehsil compound and gang raped. All Hindu shops were looted in totality. We finally went to the Christian School and found that even the Nuns were not spared. Many had been raped before being murdered.

Out of respect we went to the spot where Maqbool Sherwani was hanged for misdirecting the invaders. At that point the Army Commander advised us to retrun to Srinagar as Baramula was still not safe for Hindus and Sikhs. It was clear that 30,000 Hindus men and women ( Pandit, Sikh and Kahtri) had either lost their lives or were taken as sex slaves by the Pakistani invaders.

Returning to Srinagar was a traumatic experience as if living hell was waiting for us. All of us were arrested and imprisoned in the Halqa Committee, denied food and beaten mercilessly for several days. By the skin of our teeth we managed our freedom with the condition that we would be under surveillance and roll called twice a day. It was clear to us that one way or the other these National Conference Halqa Committee Goons were going to get rid of us. We tried our best to find a way to get out of Srinagar. My quest to find someone who could get us out led me to Mr. Kashi Nath Fotedar who was an important Officer in the Indian Army in Badami Bagh. He was of immense help to many older Kashmir’s Pandits and children who he sent out in Army trucks. Another great Batta was Flt. Luit J. N. Dhar from Vicharnagh who was the only Kashmiri speaking Pilot at that time whom Nehru had deputed him to Srinagar. He too rendered great service to the community by flying out beleaguered KP’s in Airforce planes. I need to introduce Pandit Kashi Nath Fotedar first as he is the industrious father of Hira Fotedar and is the father of my wife Dulari Bhan as well. Mr. J. N. Dhar is the maternal uncle of Hira and paternal uncle of Vijay Dhar of Union City California.

My escape from Srinagar was possible only on April 6, 1948. I along with Manohar Bagati, Lakshmi Narain Kaul and Amar Nath Ganjoo walked all the way to Ptahankot on foot for 22 days. I finally settled at Saharanpur UP where I lived for 54 years.

Now I would like to pay my homage to all the KP Martyrs in 1931, 1947 and 1990. My compliments to those who by didn’t of their courage, resilience and focus rebuilt their lives from scratch without Government aid under very difficult circumstances. I wish to thank many old Kashmiri Pandits who offered all four of us help in Kanpur and helped us settle down. My companions Bagati, Kaul and Ganjoo sahib eventually returned to Srinagar where Mr. Amar Nath Ganjoo became an important RSS functionary. My thanks to Mr. B. K. Kaul ICS Iron and Steel Controller, Mr. H. N. Sapru Dy Director of Industries UP and S.n. Shivpuri , GM Cement Corporation. I am sure these great men have left us but I did want to recognise their help to many KP refugees in 1947.

Dear friends I am a proud Swayamsewak, and will be a Swyamsewak till my death.

Reagrds

Triloki Nath Bhan

Memphis Tennesee USA

Pitra Paksh -Remembering Ancestors

Every year a fortnight in the Hindu calendar month of Ashwin is observed in the fond memory of our ancestors. This period is referred as Shraddha or Pitra Paksha. The Shraddha – is derived from Shraddha which means faith. Hence the faith in one’s ancestors’ makes the mortals observe some customary rituals year on year with reverence and faith in their memories when the ancestors are no more alive.

The story goes that The King Karna the famous warrior of Mahabharata was granted heaven after the war. Karna was famous for his charity throughout his life and earned a sobriquet of Dhan Veer – The one who gives away everything in charity. So much so that during the war of Kurushetra he gave away his protective shield when Lord Indra disguised as seeker asked for the same. However, in heaven Karna was offered precious Gems, Gold and other items instead of food and water. Puzzled by this treatment Karna asked the gods about this. On this Lord Indra told him that he had been giving only gold and gems as a charity but had never given food and water to the poor or deserving people hence he was given same treatment in heaven. Karna requested gods to give him a chance to correct his anomalies and the same was granted to him and he was asked to go back to earth for some days to feed poor so as to get rid of the problem. Hence, this period of the year is observed in giving food, water and clothing to poor and also performing rituals associated with it.

The ritual of shradha is done as it is believed that ceremony shall enable forefathers to ascend higher plane of existence. Besides relieving the ancestors from traps of unfulfilled wishes. We owe our existence from our ancestors and forefathers. Therefore, this is the time when we can remember them and repay our debt.

Shradha is the only way when ancestors receive our oblations and hence get pleased. This results in peace to them and happiness in their families.
The detailed rituals of Shradha are performed by priests who follow the manual as per the scriptures and litany of ceremonies. The elder of the family keeps the fast in memory of deceased besides offering each Pind in the name of the ancestors who are no more alive.

The message of Pitru paksh as envisaged by our Rishis are :- ​

Remembering – Pitru Paksh also enables us to think that this life is transitory and one day we too would pass. Therefore, it is the time to remember our forefathers and simultaneously be good to elders in our family.
Sharing – It also cultivates a habit of giving away things like food and clothes in charity among poor destitute thus inculcating the spirit of sharing.
Good Deeds – The Shradha also makes us remember the good deeds of our ancestor’s which act as a catalyst in us to follow the footsteps and carry on the legacy of goodness shown by them.
Family Lineage – This fortnight also makes us remember all the ancestors who were in the family thus, passing their existential journey among our progeny so that they can remember the family tree and linages.
Focus on Spiritual – The rituals wean us away from the grind of day to day material world and forces us to think on the matters more spiritual than mundane in nature thus, forcing us to think about our existence and role in families, societies and nation of which we are an integral part and parcel.

According to Neelmat Puran the important places for performing Shradha are at Lake Gangabal in Kangan besides at places like Shadipur which is the confluence of river Vitista (Jhelum) and Sindhu, Martand (Mattan) in Anantnag, Kapalmochan in Shopian and shores of Vitista. Performing sharda at these given places elevates the soul journey of dead to higher planes besides granting peace and spiritual merits to the families. In Jammu the places of performing Shradha are Uttarbani in Kathua and Ghats of Chandrabhaga at Akhnoor.

The other important places across India where such detailed rituals are performed since time immemorial are at Haridwar in Uttrakhand, Varanasi & Allahabad in U.P., Gaya in Bihar, Pushker in Rajasthan, Nashik in Maharashtra, Gokarna in Karnataka, Rameshwaram in T.N.

Therefore, lets resolve in this pitra paksha that we shall share our happiness, food, clothing with those who are neglected, poor, destitute and orphans so that we embrace them a part of our society and also take a pledge that we make the life our elders in family more comfortable which they deserve and which we owe to them as their progeny.

By-Sunil Raina Rajanaka

Asifa Murder-the war of narratives

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

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

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

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

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

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

But that hardly matters.

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

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

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

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

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

I fear

Even the justice might want to delay itself.

Dhyaneshwar yatra as I remember

Dhyaneshwar Mahadev as I remember..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, our turn too came.

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

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

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

Matrikachakra – Kashmir Shaivism. 

In kashmir Shaivism, the sanskrit/Hindi Vowels represent Shiv, and the consonants represent the Shakti. Shiv is allegorically termed as light and Shakti as its luminosity. Shiv is static, Shakti is dynamic.

Param shiv, like the Brahman (of Advaith)  can not be defined, though the creativity, both non dual and dual of paramshiv can be expressed by the 36 elements or tattvas.
The first tattva or element according to Kashmir Shaivism is Shiv – an synonym for Chaitanya or Consciousness. All the activity goes on in this first element.

The sixteen vowels of KS are represented by the first Tattva-shiv.

Everything is Shiv-shakti. Even our language. When shiv(vowels) and Shakti(consonants) meet, a word is formed and when many words combine, a language is formed. The language is the expression of thoughts. The mind is nothing without these thoughts and they act as a support for mind. At the same time, it makes the mind to forget its  non-dual nature  and engages it in the world of duality. Thus, This language binds a pashu (empirical being) or liberates him/her. Every word is thus a manta for the Yogi.

The first alphabet अ represents Chaitanya. आ represents Anand or Bliss. A desire arises in Shiva to experience its nature-Ananda in duality as well. For that Shiva has to create Duality,  as to begin with there is nothing except shiv. This desire is represented by the next two alphabets इ  ई. The first one represents Iecha and the second one Ishan. As soon as the desire arises, the knowledge of duality too arises instantly in the heart(consciousness)  of Shiva. They are represented by the next two Vowels उ ऊ. They are known as unmesha and unnata.

At this point, an apprehension arises in Shiva, that what if Shiva forgets its real nature, once he manifests as duality(universe). Fearing that it might forget its real nature I. e Consciousness – bliss, he rests back in its nature that is अ आ( Consciousness-bliss). Retracting from knowledge to first stage(consciousness bliss) gives rise to the next 4 vowels

ऋ(r)  ॠ(r)  लृ(lr)  lrii(could not find the sanskrit alphabet on my phone). These are the four stages of void.

After retracting to the initial stage of अ आ, it strikes Shiva that it can not forget it’s real nature and Shiva comes out from the apprehension and carries forward from where it has stopped.
अ आ mixes with the Iecha इ ई thus giving rise to the next two vowels ए ऐ. Again अ आ now mixes with Gyan उ ऊ, and gives rise to the next two vowels ओ औ. These four vowels ए ऐ ओ औ represent the four stages of kriya or action of Shiva. ए ऐ ओ औ represent the least vivid, somewhat vivid, vivid and the most vivid action of Shiva.

The next vowel अं represent that though desire, knowledge and knowhow has risen in the heart(consciousness) of Shiva, yet it is still at the level of non-duality (represented by point). The next vowel is represented by two dots : The upper dot represents shiv and the lower dot represents shakti. In fact, it also signifies that at this level, it is the shiva that becomes the shakti.

From this point on, everything becomes shakti. It has been termed that the projection of shiv on shakti happens inversely,  that is, the first element appears as the last and the last tattva which is prithvi(Earth) appears as first. In other words, it implies that the subtler elements appear last and the grossest first. Thus the projection appears first as the
Panch Mahabhutas(five gross elements) represented by कvarg, then

Panch tanmatras represented by चvarg.

Panch karmindreyas(organs of action) represented by टvarg.

Panch gyanindreyas by तvarg

Antahkarn(5 internal organs) by  पvarg

5 kanchukas+maya(sheaths) by य र ल व

And

5 shuddh tattvas(pure elements) by श ष स ह.

The first vowel- which is Shiv is अ, and the last consonant is ह. When they combine with each other, they become अंह or Aham-that means  ‘I’  or ‘I am’. Whenever we say anything that has ‘I’, or wherever we refer to the first person, it is Shiv(and shakti) , to whom we are referring. Shiv is always the first person and thus we all are ‘Shiv’. Thus  ‘Aham’  is also a mantra which is meant for the contemplation for the sadhakas of Kashmir Shaivism as not only all the 36 elements are present in this mantra, but its philosophy as well.

The first vowel अ (Siva tattva) when joins with the last consonant ह(shakti tattva) , Aham अंह is formed. The expression of shiv-shakti tattva is This Aham or I (I am).

The third tattva Sadashiva denoted by स in Matrikachakra has an expression asअहं ईदम or I am this or thisness. The classification of first person with respect to thisness(universe or objectivity) is clear.

The fourth tattva is Isvara  represented by ष in Matrikachakra. This stage is represented by ईदम अहं or Idam Aham meaning  I am this or thisness. Idam or thisness has become the first person here and Aham has been relegated to inferior stage. The stage of objectivity is clearer to another degree.
The fifth tattva is Shuddh vidya represented by श in Matrikachakra and its expression is अहं ईदम ईदम अहं. Meaning I am this/thisness and this I am. The sense of duality is much more clearer than the previous stages.

From Aham at Shiv-shakti to Aham Idam Idam Aham at Shuddh vidya in the decreasing order of the subtleness or the process of subjectivity to objectivity has been displayed lucidly in the philosophy as well as epistemology of Kashmir Shaivism.

The attributes  of Shiva which is

Chaitanya (Consciousness)

Anand(bliss)

Iecha(will)

Gyan(knowledge) and

Kriya(action)

apply in this order in the 36 elements(but inversely)

The 36 elements in their order and as denoted by Alphabets according to Matrikachakra is given below.
1.Panch Maahaabutaas-five Gross elements
1.Prithvi(Earth) क  (Kriya)

2.Jaala(water) ख (Gyan)

3.Tejas/agni(fire)  ग (Iecha)

4.Vaayu(air)    घ  (Anand)

5.Akasha(ether)  ङ  (Chaitanya)
2.Panch Tanmatras-Five Subtle elements

1.Gandha(smell)च (Kriya)

2.Rasa(taste)छ (Gyan)

3.Roop(form)ज (Iecha)

4.sparsha(touch)झ (Anand)

5.Shabda(sound)ञ (Chaitanya)
3.Panch Karmendriyas-(five organs of action)

1.upastha(creation/reproduction)ट (Kriya)

2.paayu(excretion)ठ (Gyan)

3.paada(foot)ड (Iecha)

4.pani(hand)ढ (Anand)

5.vaak(speech)ण (Chaitanya)
4.Panch jnanendriyas-(five organs of cognition)

1.Ghraana-(nose, organ of smelling)च (Kriya)

2.Rasaana-(Tongue, organ of taste)छ, (Gyan)

3.Chakshu-(eye, organ of seeing)ज (Iecha)

4.Tvak-(Skin, Organ of touching)झ (Anand)

5.Srotra-(ear, organ of hearing)न  (Chaitanya)
5.Antahkarnas-(3+2 internal organs)

1.Manas-(mind)प Kriya

2.Buddhi-(intellect)फ Gyan

3.Ahamkara-(ego connected with objectivity )ब  Iecha

4.Prakriti-(nature/three Gunas i.e satvic,rajsic and tamsic)भ Anand

5.Purusha-(ego connected with subjectivity-reacts to prakriti)म Chaitanya
6.Sat Kancukas-(six coverings)

1.niyati-(limitation of place)य (Kriya)

2.Kaala-(limitation of time)र (Gyan)

3.raga-(limitation of attachment)ल (Iecha)

4.vidya-(limitation of knowledge)र (Anand)

5.Kala-(creativity)ल (Chaitanya)

6.maya-(illusion of individuality)व (Consciousness gets contracted in case when  subject becomes object and vice versa I. E object dissolves in subject)
7.Suddha tatvas-(pure elements)

1.Suddha vidya-(iness in iness—–thisness in thisness)श Kriya

2.isvara-(thisness in iness)ष Gyan

3.sadasiva-(iness in thisness)स Iecha

4.shakti-(iness)ह Anand

5.Shiva-(iness-being)-(अ आ इ ई उ ऊ ऋ ऋृ लृ lii ए ऐ ओ औ अं अः)

To continue..

Reference – Kashmir Shaivism books(mostly translated by Swami lakshmanjoo)

Genealogical Tables of Kasmir Dynasties according to Kalhan

20161128_1109592 20161128_1108242 20161128_1108072 20161128_1107532 20161128_1107042 20161128_1106542 20161128_1106402

Source-Rajatarangini by M.A.Stein