Tag Archives: kashmir blogs

Queen Didda of Kashmir

The Kashmir of the yore ; is draped in the tales of Kings and queens. Though many rulers came , ruled over Kashmir and then were erases by the Time, yet some of these rulers had an indelible imprints on the History of Kashmir. Traditionally it has been the fiefdom of the Kings, Yet, there had been brief instances, when the Queens of Kashmir ruled over the land of Kashmir.
IT was not easy for these Queens to rule with an Iron grip; But they somehow managed and found their own place in the History of Kashmir. One Such Lady, who rose against all the odds and decimated her enemies by following the proverb, ‘everything is fair in love and war’ is Queen Didda. She is an epitome of mystery, lust and an intense desire to Rule.
And till date she retains her position of numero uno as the Queen whose rule spanned for almost half a decade.
Diddaksema( Didda and Ksemagupta)
Queen Didda was married to King Ksemagupta(950-958 A.D) of Kashmir. She was the daughter of King Simharaja-The lord of Lohara and Grand Daughter of King Bhima-Sahi of Kabul. She had transfixed the King Ksemagupta, and had wholly engrossed his mind. The King had engraved the image of Didda on the coins and was thus also known as DIDDAKSEMA.It was a derogatory appellation used for Ksemagupta. The King was also married to ‘Candralekha’-The daughter of his Minister(Dvarapati) Phalguna. Didda had developed an animosity towards the minister. Didda had a son named ‘Abhimanyu’ with Ksemagupta.
In 958 A.D, King Ksemagupta died of the disease-‘luta’, that accompanied high fever. The king was known to have lived an epicurean life and Kalhana in his epic, ‘Rajatarangani’ had deprecated his Sybarite life.
Kshemagupta’s Child Son-Abhimanyu became King under the Guardianship of Queen Didda. And thus began the love-hate relationship of the infamous Queen with anyone, who came in between her and the urge to Rule.

Kalhana has portrayed her as an merciless and suspicious character, with many paramours, incapable of making her own decisions and who used to get influenced by others, Particularly those, who would feign to be her ally or confidants, and provoke her to sideline a rising benefactor , for their own personal gains. And almost always, she fell into the trap of the conspirators and removed the persons in question.
But in spite of everything, she survived, and ruled Kashmir directly or indirectly for almost 45 long years.

Rise and Fall of Phalguna
After the Death of her Husband, Phalguna had become the Prime Minister( Sarvadhikara) and thus exerted great influence. ‘Rakka’-The commander-in-chief (Kampanesa) had become resentful of the might of Phalguna and embittered Queen Didda about the apprehensions that the Prime Minister might usurp the Kingdom.
Phalguna’s son Kardamaraja had gone to take the bones of ‘Ksemagupta’ to the Ganges, The prime minister, who distrusted the palace and apprehended (evil) from his enemies, resolved to stop at ‘Parnotsa’(poonch) until his Son’s return. He left the city followed by numerous troops, and had arrived near ‘Kasthsvata’, and then to ‘Varahakshetra’ (Varamullah/Baramullah).
Didda at the instigation of ‘Rakka’ and others, took a quick resolve, and instead of polite requests sent staff bearers after Him. Phalguna was grieved by this dishonor and turned back and marched to Baramullah, attended by a large armed force.Didda and her ministers feared that he might attack them.But instead of attacking them, Phalguna laid his sword at the feet of ‘Varaha’ (Lord Vishnu).Kalhana writes that by this act of Phalguna, The ministers rejoiced as the boys when left by their teacher.
But Didda could not rejoice for a long time as new problem had come up.

 

Mahiman, Patala and rise of Yashodhra

When Kshemgupta’s Father, Parvargupta(Father-in-law of didda) was aiming at the crown, he had married two daughters to the ministers ‘Choja’ and ‘Bhubata’, who had taken (with him) the oath of sacred Libation (Kosapitin). The two sons, who were born from these, the renowed ‘Mahiman’ and ‘Patala’, grew up in the King’s palace as if they were his own sons, and had remained there up to that time. These two eager for the throne, entered a conspiracy with Himmaka( a Turk) and others who knew no restraint.
Mahim and Patala were turned out by the Queen Didda from the Royal Palace and thus they developed hatred for her and yearned to retaliate and oust the queen. She had sent office bearers in open hostility behind Mahiman, in order to have him banished. They followed him to his Father-in-law Saktisena’s house too. In spite of Saktisena’s request, they did not leave. Hence, Saktisema gave open shelter to Mahiman. Thus having found a refugee, he was joined by Himmanka, Mukula, Eramantaka, Udayagupta and Yashodra.
They formed a confederacy, sided with Mahiman and raised a rebellion. At that time of great danger, the faithful minister ‘Naravahana’ was the only one who, together with his relatives, did not abandon the side of Didda.The battalion of enemy with glittering weapons came into the vicinity of temple of Padmasvamin(in pampore), eager for battle.

Didda sent her Son to Suramatha( in Srinagar), and in distress sought various means for averting the disaster. She gave away plenty of Gold to Brahmins of Lalityadidtapuram(litpur) , and thus broke up the league of her enemies.The Brahmins took an oath of Libation (Pitakosa), declaring that if one were attacked, they would all resent it, and then brought about a reconciliation between Mahiman and the Queen.
To further weaken the power of her Enemy camp, she bestowed upon Yashodra and the rest the command of the Army(Kampana) and other( offices).After a few days she put Mahiman, out of the way by Witchcraft, and her Rule became undisputed in the land.
Yashodra’s rebellion and the rise of Naravahana
The new commander-in-chief Yashodra, out of spite, along with his relatives undertook an expedition against the ‘Sahi’ ruler ‘Thakkana’ and humbled him.Yashodra took a tribute from the King, who did homage, and watered afresh the creeper of fame with the water(sprinkled) at the inauguration ceremony (Abhisheka).
Rakka and some others, who had become resentful of the rise of Yashodra, who had access to the Queen, stirred up enemity in her against the commander-in-chief. They incited Didda by falsely reporting her that Yashodra was betraying her, and that he had taken money for keeping ‘Thakkana’ on his throne.She took their Slander for the very truth.
Swelled with pride over his victory, when Yashodra reached back to his residence, the Queen dispatched staff-bearers with the evident intention of banishing him.When ‘Himmaka’, ‘Eramantaka’ and others heard of this insult, they remembered what they had agreed upon under their oath by the sacred libation( Kosa) and raised a rebellion as before.
Didda’s troops became disaffected, but ‘Naravahana’ and those with him did not desert her side. And when ‘Subhadara’ and other enemies of her entered the city with fury, She sent her Son away to ‘Bhattarakamatha’( Bradmaer, Srinagar).Thereupon, fighting commenced between the troops of the two hostile groups, that had held positions extending near ‘Jayabhattarika’( a possible temple in precincts of Srinagar) to the vicinity of ‘Suramatha’( a building in Srinagar).
The Royal force panicked and started fleeing. At that time the Ekangas( probably the palace guards or a marital race) displayed their array at the main gate of the palace. They rallied the routed force, attacked the enemy’s troops, and turned to flight some of their opponents. ‘Rajakulabhatta’ too joined the fight and with his valor scattered the ememy’s army and humbled Himmaka-who was slain in the fight, and the rebellious Yasodhara was captured by the soldiers. Eramantaka was caught alive and ‘Udayagupta’ escaped somewhere.
As soon as Didda secured victory, she in wrath, punished Yashodra, Subhadhara and Mukula along with their relatives. Eramantaka was thrown in the waters of ‘Vitasta’(Jhelum) , with a large stone bound to his neck.
The Queen placed ‘Rakka’, and others, once again, in charge of the chief command of the army, and of the other state offices.
Naravahana, the best and the loyal of the ministers was coroneted with the title of ‘Rajanaka’. Their mutual respect for each other grew as the days passed by, and he became the most trusted aide of the Queen. Kalhana writes about their relationship in these words , “When he kept within his house, she was not happy without inquiring about his health, without requesting his advice, and without sending him things of her own.
Suicide of Naravahana
‘Sindhu’, the son of a litter-carrier, had become a favorite of Didda’s father-in-law Parvagupta, and in due course became the treasurer. He had obtained charge of the treasury from the Queen. Kalhana has depicted him as a wicked person, who poisoned the mind of Didda against his trusted-aide Naravahana. He told her that He took from her most of her royal power. At the time, when the conversation between the Queen and Sindhu was going on, the minister, by chance, out of fond devotion, requested her to his house for a meal.

Sindhu warned Queen that if she goes to his house, he would imprison her and her attendants. The queen turned down his invitation and sent him a word that she had got her menses. The Minister too got the feelers that the Queen no longer trusts him, and thus suspicion grew between them and mutual respect ceased. She exasperated Naravahana on repeated occasions to such an extent, that tormented by his disgrace, he committed suicide.
Re-induction of Phalguna and death of Abhimanyu
After The Death of Rakka, She had apprehensions that the Sons of ‘Samgrama’-The Damara(feudal lord) might attack her . she needed a man with strong administrative capabilities and thus she recalled ‘Phalguna’ back. He had exhibited his prowess and martial capabilities in the past when he had conquered the ‘Rajapuru’(Rajauri).
Kalhana writes that her son-Abhimanyu, fell into consumption owing to the evil-deeds of Didda.He further writes that His(Abhimanyu) eyes resembled lotuses, was learned, cherished by the sons of the learned men and versed in the sastras; learning and youth rendered him brialliant.
His young son died on the third day of the bright half of karttika in the year 972. She was grieved at his Son’s untimely death. Out of contrition for her past actions and for the peace of her departed son, she constructed several religious monuments.
But, after one year, when her grief was allayed, she displayed her true character yet again.
Throning of her Grandsons Nandigupta,Tribhuvana, And Killing them by Witchcraft
When Didda’s Son Abhimanyu had died, she had installed her Grandson ‘Nandigupta’ at the throne in 972 A.D, while she retained the position of the Regent. In fact, it was she-who had the complete hold over the Kingdom. Kalhana writes that she killed him(Nandigupta) by a witchcraft in 973A.D.She then installed her other Grandson Tribhuvana at the Throne in 973AD.She killed him in the same fashion as Nandigupta in 975A.D.
Thereupon, she installed her last Grandson Bhimagupta at the throne in 975A.D.
Rise of Tunga and killing of her last Grandson Bhimagupta
‘Tunga’ was the son of ‘Bana’, whose native village was ‘Baddivasa’ in ‘Parnotsa’(Poonch). He had come as a herdsman of Buffaloes. After reaching Kashmir, together with his five brothers-‘Sungandhisiha’, ‘Prakata’, ‘Naga’, ‘Attayika’ ‘Sanmukha’, He had attained employment as a letter-carrier( Lekhaharaka).Once before the minister of foreign affairs he was seen by the Queen and won her heart.Kalhana writes that, she had the youth brought up secretly by a messenger, and took, as fate willed, an affection for him, though she had already many paramours.
Rakka’s Son-‘Devakalasa’ acted as a procurer and had access to the Queen.The other high ranking official such as ‘Kardamaraja’-Lord of the Gate and other officials too did the procuring.
The Child ‘Bhimagupta’, after living 4 or 5 years in the Palace, had become a little more developed in intellect, and recognized in his mind that the affairs of the Kingdom and his Grandmother’s ways of living were not right, and in need of reform, he became an object of suspicion to Didda.Kalhana attributes his (Bhimagupta) intellect to a noble family and further writes that ‘Abhimanyu’s’ wife had secretly substituted him as her own son.
On the advice of ‘Devakalasa’( son of Rakka), The Queen openly imprisoned him and was subjected to various tortures until he died in 980/81 AD. Thereupon , She ascended the throne and ruled Kashmir for another 23 years(980-1003).The Queen’s infatuation for ‘Tunga’ made him insolent and his impudence knew no bounds when he was appointed as the Prime Minister(Sarvadhikarin) and was raised above everybody.
Vigraharaja’s rebellion and Shieding Tunga
The former minister whom ‘Tunga’ and his brothers had ousted, were filled with dissatisfaction, and exerted themselves to raise a rebellion in the Kingdom. For this Endeavour, they approached Prince ‘Vigraharaja’-The Son of Didda’s Brother.He was strong and possessed formidable valour.He induced the Brahmans holding the chief Agraharas to enter upon a solemn fast( Prayopavesa), in order to cause disturbance in the Kingdom.
When the Brahmins had united, the whole of the people was in uproar too, and searched daily in different places for ‘Tunga’, wishing to kill him. Didda, fearing a revolt, hid Tunga for some days in an apartment with closed doors. By presents of Gold, she gained over ‘Sumanomantaka’ and other Brahmins, and then the fast ended. This weakened the grip of Vigraharaja , his power was broken and he went as he had come.
Tunga and his people having again secured the power, strengthened their position, put to death, in due course, ‘Kardamaraja’ and others who had raised the rebellion. When dissatisfied, they exiled ‘Sulakkana’-Rakka’s son, and other chief councilors, and brought them back again, when pleased. Vigraharaja, whose animosity was growing, again by secret emissaries caused the Brahmans to begin a solemn fast(Praya).
The Brahmins met again to hold a fast, but as they were willing to take bribes, ‘Tunga’, who had firmly established himself, got rid of them. ‘Sumanomantaka and the other Brahmins, who had taken the Gold of Didda, were all caught and put into prison by Tunga.
Tunga had exhibited his valour and skills, he had become the most trusted aide of the Queen.He showed his temerity and cleverness when he successfully subdued ‘Pritvipala’-The king of Rajapuri(Rajauri) and forced him to pay tributes.
Samgramaraja made the Prince
Didda without scruple raised the son of her Brother ‘Udayaraja’ called ‘Samgramaraja’ to the rank of Prince, after testing him as follows:
In order to test her Nephews, children all, who were assembled before her, she threw down before them a heap of apples (palevata). “How many of these fruits can each get hold of?” thus she spoke and caused thereby a scramble among the princess. She saw that the others had got but few fruits, but had received their knocks, while ‘Samgramaraja’ held plenty of fruits and was yet untouched.
When she asked him in surprise how he had secured that large number of fruits without getting a blow, he replied to her thus:
“I got the fruits by making those boys fight furiously with each other, while I kept apart, and thus I remained unhurt.” On hearing his reply, which showed his collected mind, she who was timid by a cautious course, and this could not be otherwise.
Queen Didda died in year 1003.The Hindu calendar of that day was Bhadrapada shukla Paksh Ashtami.Before her death, she made Samgramaraja and Tunga take an oath by sacred libation(Kosa) not to harm each other.
During the rule of Samgramaraja, Tunga was a force to reckon with and was seen as a threat by The king .He got him murdered by his own brother Naga.
Was Didda Lame?
There are three verses where Didda has been termed as lame.In Book 6 of Rajatarangini, she has been labeled as lame in the verses 226,276 and 308. Some scholars opine that the word ‘Lame’ here refers to her ‘ incapability’ and ‘lack of morality’.Some opine that may be the word ‘lame’ in reference to Didda is actually , ‘ physical’.

226. The lame (queen) whom no one had thought capable of stepping over a cow’s footprint got over the ocean-like host of ( her enemies), Just as Hanumat( got over ocean).
276.That foolish( queen) who was unable (to use) her feet (caranahina) became, through her want of moral principles ( srutibahyata), an object of reproach, being in character just like a stupid Brahmin {( Who, Being foolish and ignorant of the ritual (carana), becomes an object of reproach through his want of vedic knowledge(sruti)}
308.’Valja’, a porter women, who used to carry about on her back the lame queen at games which required running, caused the ‘Valgamatha’ to be erected.
Physical or allegorical aside, She was an intriguing forceful figure- who inspite of all ups and downs, praises and condemnations, overcame all and ruled Kashmir directly or indirectly for almost half an century.
And her indelible imprints on History of Kashmir shall remain forever..

REFERENCE:Kalhana’s Rajatarangini(A.stein)

Advertisements

some photos of Rainawari, Srinagar, Kashmir

IMG_5248 IMG_5252 IMG_5226 IMG_5227 IMG_5229 IMG_5230 IMG_5231 IMG_5232 IMG_5233 IMG_5234 IMG_5244 IMG_5239 IMG_5237 IMG_5247 IMG_5253 IMG_5254

The Shankaracharya Hill

‘O! Shankaracharya’,-the holy Hill

answer my prayers.

I tried to woke him up.

 

He opened his eyes

He looked intensely at me.

Like a  father

who has met his Son

after a long time.

 

 

‘You seem familiar, but wait!

Let me ask my Heart,

That has started beating again’

 

it looked as if he

Was  searching in the leaves of past

And matching my Heart-beats with the

Beats of his Heart.

he closed his eyes

And he became silent.

 

Atop the Hill

To wake him up

I pealed the Bell

And Screamed

‘O! Shankarcharya’

Why are you silent?

 

 

He opened his eyes again

and said

‘Nobody talks to me like you do

For them I am a huge

Mass of boulders

I am Lifeless for them

For you

I am your creator

I am your identity

I long for you

As much as you do for me

I live in your Heart

As much as you do in mine.

 

I am not silent

And you were

never away from me

In my silence

I was working within you

he said

 

I ask the sun in the morning

I ask the moon in the night

About my sons in the

Far away lands

I ask them to light your path

That leads to me

And I ask the cool breeze of the Night

To embrace you

And lead you to the Dream land

Where you find yourself in my lap

 

 

‘O! Child

I look silent

But in the silence

I become your motivation

I become your patience

I become your desire

I become your courage

And inspire to lead you

A step further

To regain what you have lost

And become determined like me

To achieve your Goal

And become me-The Shankaracharya Hill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Legend of Sarda, Shankaracharya and mysterious Sandalwood idol…

 

I had heard of the Mysterious  Sharda Temple at Village Sardi(P.O.K) many a times in the past. The word ‘Sarda’ itself is as mystical as is the Goddess Sarda. Kashmir in the past was a synonym to the Goddess. The ancient script of ‘Sarda’ that was once the vernacular of the Kashmiris ; or was widely spoken and written by the learned Scholars of Kashmir, clearly indicates that ‘ Sarda’ had a very deep impact on the lives of the Kashmiris and thus Kashmir.

Namaste Sarada Devi, Kashmira Mandala Vasini (Salutations to Goddess Sarada who resides in Kashmir’. This hymn unambiguously states that the Mystical Goddess was widely believed to live in Kashmir.

The Sarda temple was  just like any other venerated temple of KP’s for me and did not arose special attention, until I read the account of the pilgrimage of King Zain-ul-Abidin(AD 1420-70) to Sharda  possibly in the year 1422 A.D. I found the mention of the pilgrimage in Rajatarangini of Kalhan by  M.A.Stein, ” in the Chapter “The Shrine of Sharda”.

It was rather interesting to note that Sarda temple at one stage in the long History of Kashmir attracted many devotees and Scholars. The area where the temple is situated, was not under the sovereignty of the Rulers of Kashmir in continuity, and intermittently, the area of Sardi was out of bound  for rather long stretches of time. This political constraint dissuaded the Kashmiri Hindus to visit this place as frequently as they used to,  when it was a part of the Kingdom of Kashmir. The rough terrain  and the inclement weather too ensured that the Temple maintained its Aura of mystery , solitude and Spirituality.

For some reasons, I was intrigued to know that  there was a wooden(sandalwood) image of Goddess Sarda at Shardapeeth(Kashmir) and that the original idol was taken away by the Shankarachraya.It crossed my mind that If the original idol was taken away by Shankaracharya,; was the wooden idol of Sarda at the time of Zain-ul-Abidin, a different one then!

Traditionally, and may be historically, if we look into the past, we can easily conclude that the KP’s worshipped the God/Goddess mostly in their natural state/form. For example, KP’s worship Goddess Sharika as a ‘Srichakra’, believed to be inscribed naturally on a Boulder, smeared in vermilion. Again at Raithan temple, Goddess Ragya is venerated in the form of a natural Boulder. A Stone slab is revered as Goddess Bala Devi in Balhoma. Mata Jwalaji in the form of  an uninterrupted, continuous flame is worshipped at Khrew. There is also a stone slab, that too is venerated by the devotees. At other places, the object of worship is either a natural spring or a lake. The exception is for the Stone Shiva-Linga, which is widely worshipped throughout the state.

But a Wooden Idol, and that too of Sandalwood ! seemed incongruous. Before coming to any conclusion, some historical facts documented in the form of Books of History and legends can not be ignored.

The legend of Sharda

According to Mahatmaya, The sage Sandilya, son of sage Matanga, was practicing great austerities, in order to obtain the sight of the Goddess Sarda, who is a shakti embodying three separate manifestations. Divine advice prompts him to proceed to the place-Syamala. There at GHOSA, i.e ‘Gus’, appears to him ‘Mahadevi’, and promises to show herself in her true form( Shakti) in the Sarda’ forest. The Goddess vanishes from his sight at Hayasirsasasrama, (Hayhom), situated about 4 miles to the N.N.E of Gus.

The Sage next proceeds to the Krisnganga, a spring now usually known as Krishnganga, in which he bathes. Thereupon,  half his body becomes golden, emblematic of his approach to complete liberation from darkness. The Naga is situated above the village of Drang also known as Son-Drang. It is this appellation which the Mahatmaya wishes to reproduce by calling the place of Sage’s miraculous transformation ‘Suvarnardhangaka’.

From thence, Sandilya ascends the mountain range to the north, on which he sees a dance of Goddesses in a forest called Rangavati (Rangvor), immediately below the pass by which the route leading from Drang towards the Kisanganga crosses the watershed. He then passes the Gostambhana forest, i.e, the Marg Gthamman and arrives at TEJAVANA, the residence of Gautama, on the bank of the Krisnganga. The Mahatmaya describes at some length, the sacred character of the latter place which is identical with Tehjan(Thagain), a small hamlet on the left bank of the Kisanganga. It then relates how the sage after crossing on the way a hill, on the east side of which he sees the God Ganesha, arrives in the Sardavana i.e, at the present Sardi. After a Hymn in praise of Sarda in her triple form of Sarda, Narada(sarswati) and vagdevi, an account is given how the goddess at that sacred spot revealed herself to the Sage and rewarded his long austerities by inviting him to her residence on Srisaila.

Pitrs also approach there to Sandilya and ask him to perform their Sraddhas. On his taking water from the Mahasindu for the purpose of the Tarpana rite, half of its water turns into honey and forms the stream hence known as Madhumati. Ever since baths and Shraddhas at the Samgama of the Sindhu and Madhumati assure to the pious complete remission of sins, etc.

The mention of this confluence leaves no doubt as to where the Mahatmaya places the site sacred to Sarada. By SINDHU can be meant only the Kisanganga which, as in Kalhana’s days, is still locally known merely as ‘Sind’ , the river. Madhumati  is the name which local tradition gives to this day to the stream that joins the Kisanganga at Sardi from the south.

The temple is believed to be one of the Shakti-peethas(out of 51).It is believed that the right hand of Shiva’s consort-SATI-had fallen here.

 

 

The Mystical wooden(Sandalwood) idol of Sharda

A.Stein has mentioned that the Sharda temple is found in “Jonararaja’ Chronicle. The passage containing it belongs to those additions of the text with which Professor Peterson edition(1896) had first acquainted them. It is mentioned that the tolerant King Zain-l-Abidin(Bada Shah), whose attitude towards his Brahman Subjects was well Known, is believed to have accompanied the regular pilgrimage, apparently in the year 1422 A.D, in order to witness the miraculous manifestations of the Goddess. From the description in the  verse 1057, it seems that these were ordinarily the appearance of Sweat on the face of the image of the Goddess, the shaking of the arm, and a sensation of the Heat on touching the feet.

After bathing and drinking at the Madhumati Stream, the King seated himself at the Sacred spot which was thronged by pilgrims and Temple priests. Owing to the baseness, he witnessed in these people, the King is said to have displayed anger and to have lost faith in the goddess. Having failed to see her manifest herself in a visible and material way, which Jonaraja plausibly explains by a reference to the Kaliyuga and the want of faith in the worshippers, he then endeavored to obtain her sight in a Dream. For this purpose,   the King went to sleep on the night of the 7th day of waxing moon in the month of Bhadrapada in the court of the temple. Sarada, however refused to vouchsafe any sign of her presence to the King in his sleep either. From due regard for the prince’s high personal qualities, the author is forced to ascribe this disappointment to the Wickedness of his servants and the conflux of Mlecchas. Having thus disappointed, the virtuous Zain-ul-abidin, the goddess is said to have, herself, crushed her image to pieces.

It is mentioned unambiguously,  that the idol self-destructed itself. However much later, Alberuni , too has written that a miracle-working image of Sarada, was yet in existence in the early part of the fifteen century, and that its destruction, rightly or wrongly, was connected with a pilgrimage which Zain-ul-abidin made to this site.

In the Sixteenth century, the temple of Sarda must have enjoyed yet considerable reputation in Kashmir itself. This is proved by “ABU-L-FAZL’s” notice of the site(Ain-Akb.,ii.p 365): “At two days distance from Hachamun is the river named padmati(Madhumati), which flows from the Dard(Dard) country. Gold is also found in this river. On its Banks, is a stone-temple called “Sarda”, dedicated to Durga and regarded with great veneration. On every eight tithi of the bright half of the month, it begins to shake and produce the most extraordinary effect.”

Here Haehamn stands plainly for Hayhom: Padmati is an evident clerical error for Madmati, i.e, Madhumati. From the statement which makes this River come from the Dard country, it appears that there is here some confusion between the Madhumati and the Kisanganga, which latter alone can be described as flowing from that region. It must, however, be noticed that a not very clear passage of the Sardamahatmaya,120, seems to ascribe to the Kisanganga also the second name Madhumati.

The notice of Gold being found in the river clearly applies to the Kisanganga, which drains a Mountain region known as auriferous to the present Day. The story told of the Sarada temple Shaking on the eight sudi of each month, is evidently a lingering reflex of the miracle ascribed to Sarda’s image in Jonaraja’s account.

The date indicated is that still observed for pilgrim’s visits to the Shrine, but when A.Stien visited the site in Sep 1892, The legend of the Shaking of limbs or sweat from the forehead of the idol of Sarda was unheard of. In fact, there was no idol of Sarada at all. Instead, a large rough slab on the ground which measures about 6 by 7 feet, with a thickness of about half a foot is worshipped as Goddess Sharda.This stone is believed to cover a KUNDA(spring-cavity), in which Sarada appeared to Sage Sandilya, and is the object of the Pilgrims’ special veneration. At the time of “Stein’s” visit to the temple, a red cloth canopy with plenty of tinsel surmounted the sacred spot. Conches, bells, and other implements of worship filled the remainder of the interior space.

Adi Shankaracharya’s visit to Sarda temple and Kashmir

Most of the Scholars believe that Adi Shankaracharya (A.D-788-820) visited Kashmir in the first quarter of ninth century A.D.

Adi Shankaracharya, a great philosopher is believed to have visited Kashmir in the first quarter of 9th Century (788-820 A.D) .According to writer of ‘Sankara Digvijaya’ — ‘Sankara visited Kashmir after giving a final blow to Buddhism in the rest of India”. PN Magzine,  a research scholar of repute, writes in ‘Shankaracharya Temple and Hill’ that Shankaracharya visited Kashmir with the intention of advancing Vedantic knowledge. That time Kashmiris were culturally and spiritually much advanced and believed strongly in the greatness of both Shiva and Shakti. Shankara did not, at that time, when he visited Kashmir, believe in Shakti cult . PN Magzine mentions that Shankaracharya with his party camped outside the city of Srinagar, without any boarding and lodging arrangements. Seeing the plight of visitors a virgin was sent to meet Shankara. She found the party uneasy and frustrated because of not being able to cook as no fire was made available to them. The first glimpse of Shakti was exhibited to Shankara by this girl, when Shankara expressed his inability to make a fire, in reply to girl’s question that you are so great, can not you make fire. The girl picked up two thin wooden sticks (samidhas) into her hand, recited some mantras and rubbed the sticks and fire was produced to the surprise of Shankara. PN Magzine further adds that later a Shastrarth (religious discourse) was arranged between Shankara and a Kashmiri woman. This discourse continued for 17 days. Shankaracharya yielded before the lady in discussion and accepted the predominance of Shakti cult (greatness of Devi).

According to PN Magzine, after accepting predominance of Shakti cult, Shankara wrote Saundarya Lahari, in praise of Shakti, at the top of the hill, known till then as Gopadari Hill. Pandit Gopi Krishan writer that Panchastavi–gamut of Shakti Shastra–a priceless gem — a peerless hymn of praise addressed to Kundalini. The work has been cited as source book by several eminent scholars, but the name of the author has remained undisclosed”. According to him the only other work in whole gamut of Shakti Shastra in the country, comparable to Panchastavi is Saundarya Lahari. PN Magzine says that Saundarya Lahari is acclaimed as master-piece in Sanskrit literature. After the visit of Adi Shankaracharya to Kashmir, he became staunch believer of Shakti-Shri Chakra – the symbol of Devi (Goddess) as mentioned in ‘Shankara Digvijay’ – Life history of Shankaracharya. Thus we know that even, a very knowledge philosopher, a Saint of greater order- Adi Shankaracharya – gained further depth in spiritualism and mysticism in Kashmir.Kashmiri Pandit – great ‘Mehman Nawaz’ – highly appreciative of knowledge (which has at time proved undoing for them), awarded a degree of the Sharda Peetha, the highest honour conferred on any dignitary of knowledge when Shankaracharya visited Sharda, a famous temple, Shrine of Goddess Saraswati and a famous university of learning.

 

It is believed that was  Adi shankaracharya entered the Sarda temple from its Sothern gate and had a debate with the Scholars of that Area/Temple. He emerged as a winner and was conferred to sit on Sarvanjnanapeetham or Sarvajna peetha(Throne of Wisdom).In his Honor, the southern gate of Sarda temple was closed for ever. The Śāradā image at  Shringeri Shardamba temple was once said to have been made of sandalwood, which is supposed to have been taken by the Shankaracharya from Sarda temple Kashmir.

Adi-Shankaracharya according to Sringeri Sharda peetham

Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada established the first of the four Amnaya Peethams at Sringeri more than twelve centuries ago to foster the sacred tradition of Sanatana Dharma.

Hallowed for all times by Sage Rishyashringa who stayed and performed Tapas here, Sringeri attracted the great Acharya with a remarkable sight.

Tradition has it that after the Acharya had dispersed all the non-Vedic creeds prevailing in the country, He was on the look-out for a convenient and holy place where he could establish an institution to spread the truths of Advaita Vedanta. When the Acharya came to Sringeri, he saw an unusual sight on the banks of the Tunga. A cobra was seen spreading out its hood over a frog in labour pains, to give it shadow from the scorching mid-day sun. Struck with the sanctity of the place, which could infuse love between natural adversaries, the Acharya chose this very location to establish His first Math.

The Madhaviya Shankara Digvijayam describes that the Acharya came across many virtuous people at Sringeri and taught them the doctrine of Advaita. He then invoked the Divinity of Knowledge, Goddess Sharada and consecrated an icon of the Goddess. Thus the Peetham He founded at Sringeri in South India for fostering the Vedas and the sacred tradition of Sanatana Dharma came to be known as the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham.

The Acharya appointed his prime disciple, Sri Sureshwaracharya as the first Acharya of the Peetham. Since then, the Peetham has been blessed with an unbroken Guru Parampara, a garland of spiritual masters and Jivanmuktas representing Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The succeeding Acharyas have led a life of such austere penance that it has led disciples to adore in them the radiance of Sri Adi Shankara Himself.

Sandalwood Idol of Sarda Mata at Sringeri

 

The ancient temple of Sri Sharada, the presiding deity of Sringeri has a glorious history that begins with the setting up of the Dakshinamnaya Peetham by Sri Shankara Bhagavatpada. Originally it was an unpretentious shrine with the Murti of Sharada made of sandalwood, installed over the Sri Chakra that Sri Adi Shankara carved on a rock. Subsequently Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha and Sri Vidyaranya had a temple built in the Kerala style, with timber and tiled roof. Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha substituted the sandalwood idol with the present golden idol.

However, it is not clear whether, the installed idol was the same Idol, that Adi Sankara had allegedly brought with him from Kashmir.

Geographical Availability of Sandalwood in Kashmir and Karnataka

The availability of Sandalwood is abundantly found in and around the district of Chikmaglur (Sringeri comes in this district) in Karnataka. While as, it is hardly found in and around Kashmir valley. But, before coming to any conclusion; it will be pertinent to discuss again, here, the Temple and Legend of Kapteshwar Temple of Kashmir Valley; where, a mysterious Sandalwood idol of Siva used to emerge from a pond.

The legend of Kapatesvara(From Rajatarangini)

The valley of the Arpath or Harsapatha, which opens to the east of Anantnag, is also known as Kuthar. The name is in all probability connected with that of the ancient Tirtha of KAPATESVARA, situated on the Southern side of the valley close to the village of Kother. The name of the latter is undoubtedly a derivative of Kapateshwara as the analogy of Jyether<Jyeshthesvara, Triphar<Tripuresvara, etc. clearly shows.

The place of pilgrimage is the sacred spring of PAPASUNDA(Sin removing), situated a short distance above Kother near Acchabal. In it Lord Shiva is believed to have shown himself in the disguise(Kapata) of pieces of wood floating on the water. The legend is related at length in the Nilmata, and the author of the Haracaritacintamani devotes to it a separate canto which has now become the Official Mahatmaya of the Tirtha.

According to Nilmata; Once many sages stood in great penance on the sacred bank of Drsadvati in Kurukshetra to have a sight of Rudra-the lord of the Gods. Impressed by their Devotion, Shiva told them in a Dream to go soon to Kasmira where there is a spacious and immaculate abode of the Naga. He told them that there he would be visible in Disguise. Having heard him in a dream they all reached the abode of the Naga. They could not see even a little water, for the water was all covered with pieces of wood. Moving the wooden logs with their hands, the best sages obtained Rudrahood with their bodies by merely taking bath.

However, one vasistha Brahman, named Graparasar neither took the bath nor touched the wooden logs. He went on prolonged fasting and made his body decay. Rudra then spoke to him in a dream and advised him to obtain Rudrahood quickly by taking bath and touching the wooden logs.  Gauraparasara persisted, ‘that you can be visible after the attainment of Rudrahood is a fact, ‘O father of the world! But my mind is not satisfied without the sight of the lord of the Gods. You have said that you would be visible in disguise in the abode( of the Naga).

The Brahman refuses to leave and continues fasting, Sankara replies:  I have already provided them, my manifestation in the form of the wooden log. Merely by seeing me, they attained Rudrahood, O twice-Born! Now, due to your penance which is greater, I give you the desired boon. Ask for what you desire and Obtain Rudrahood.

The Brahman demands that Mahesvara should manifest in the form of a wooden log, to all the human beings, as it did to the sages. Mahesvara agrees and remarks, ‘O best among the twice-born, all those people who will see(the god) standing in the form of wood, (will see the gods) not always but only occasionally. With a desire to do favor to them, my gana-the Nandi in the form of wooden log shall always be visible to the human beings. And having seen (him) they would attain Rudrahood with their bodies. As I shall appear before men, so I shall obtain the name, Kapatesvara.

Alberuni too had heard of the Kapateshvara tirtha and its legend. He writes ‘ a pond called Kudaishashr(Kapatesvar) to the left of the source of the vitasta, in the middle of the month of Vaisakha, Mahadeva appears annually.’

AB-L-FAZL, Ain-I Akb, ii, p.358, mentions “in the village of Kotihar, a deep spring surrounded by stone temples. When its water decreases, an image of Mahadeva in Sandalwood appears.”

The sacred spring rises in a large circular tank which is enclosed by an ancient stone-wall and steps leading into the water. According to Kalhana’s account this enclosure was constructed, about a century before his own time, at the expense of the well-known king Bhoja of Malava.The latter is said to have taken a vow always to wash his face in the water of the Papasundana spring.

Connection between Sarda temple and Kapteshwar temple

Though, the architecture of Sharda temple (POK) resembles to that of the Kashmiri architecture , which can still be found in the ruins of Naranaag or the the Sun temple of Martand, But for some reasons, Sir A.Stein thought that the ruins of Sarda resemble most to that of Kapateshwara temple.

Also, it is intriguing,   to note that the famous travelers and Historians of the past, like Alberuni and Ab-L-Fazl, both have written that there was the legend of the mysterious and venerated Idol of Sharda at the Temple (POK). Pertinently, both have mentioned that the wooden idol of Mahadeva would emerge from a pond at Kapatesvara, when its water receded.

This clearly indicates, that in Kashmir, there was use of Sandalwood for making Idols of Gods/Godesses; although it is not clear, how it came into existence for religious purposes and how it ended .But, as of today, The Redoubtable temples of Kashmirian architecture, be it Sarda, Martand, or Naranaag are at the brink of extinction and need immediate attention from the concerned authorities. The hoary legends, that once reverberated in the cradle of Kashmir valley, are reduced to dying  echoes .

However, some of the sacred Hymns like- ‘Kashmir Purvasini, Vidhya Dieyinam Shawetambuj Viharinam, Chaturbuj Dharini… Shattantriveena Vadini… Mokshadayini, Papanashneemam … Vitasta Rupenam … Himachidit Girishshobinam … Kalashamrit Dharayae. Translated this means;Residing in Kashmir from ancient times..giver of knowledge.. seated on a white bird {Swan}..having four arms, carries hundred stringed veena.. giver of moksha and forgiver of sins.. just like with grace of Vitasta {Jhelum River}.. gracing a snow clad mountain..carrying a pot with holy nectar-    will remain immortal. And with it, will live- ‘the legend of Sarda ‘ forever.

And so will the mystery…

 

( by:Sandeep Raj koul)

 

 

 

 

 

sharda1 sharda2

(Photo courtesy: Rukhsana Khan)

 

 

References:

the shrine of Sharda-note B-I 37-Kalhana’s Rajatarangini(M.A.Stein)

tirtha of Kapatesvara,p-467,Kalhana’s Rajtarangini-ii volme(M.A.Stein)

http://www.ikashmir.net/saints/shankracharyavisittokashmir.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharada_Peeth

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandalwood

http://www.sringeri.net/history

http://www.sringeri.net/history/sri-adi-shankaracharya/biography/abridged-madhaviya-shankara-digvijayam/part-5

http://panunkashmir.org/kashmirsentinel/maya1999/4.5.html

http://koausa.org/temples/sharda3.html

 

The Mystic Chakra of Sharika Mata (Tripuasundari) at Hari Parbhat

srichakra-292x300

“Hari Parbhat” also known as “Sharika peeth” is one of the most holiest sacred Place for the Hindus of Kashmir. Legend says that at this Place, Goddess Sharika killed the demon “Jalodbhava”. The Goddess in the form of “Haer”(Myna) at the behest of her devotees dropped a Pebble from above on Jalodbhava. The pebble became larger and larger. When it Hit the Demon, the pebble had grown to the size of a Hill.The Demon was crushed under the Hill. The Hill that dropped on the Demon came to be known as “Hari Parbaht”. The Mother Goddess resides there by the name of “Sharika” or “Tripursundari”. The eighteen-armed Goddess is considered as the presiding deity of the Srinagar city. She resides here in the form of syambu “Sri-Chakra”, also known as “Maha yantra”.This mystic Chakra is self-engraved on the Holy Shila( a vertical rock smeared in sindoor).Since the Divine Mother resides in the form of a “Chakra”, hence, she is also locally known as “Chakeshwari” and the place/temple as “Chakrieshwar”.

The significance of Sri-Chakra , is written on a Board in the premises of the temple. I am merely reproducing it verbatim.

IMG_8611
The sacred “Sri Chakra”, commonly known by the Hindus as “Sri Yantra” is composed of circles and the lotus petals, contains nine independent trikonas(Triangles), mystically drawn within the other. The four Triangles that point upwards represent “Shiva” and the other five pointing downwards represent “Shakti”.The Shiva Triangles are called “Sri Kanthas” or Shiva element, and the Shakti triangles are known as “Shiva-yuvatis” or Shakti element. All these are quite independent of the central Bindu and are formed by the Mulaprakrati of Shiva Bindu.
The intersecting triangles represent the play of creation, protection and absorption of the whole universe by the pure divine force known as “Sudha Shakti”.The central point in the Chakra is Bindu which symbolizes the union of “Shiva with Shakti” or “Kameshwar with Kameshwari”.
“Sri Yantra” is, in fact, the most magnificent composition of nine independent trikonas, charged with the supreme occult significance. The Trikonas in their upward and downward positions intersect one another and form themselves into forty three big and small triangles. All these triangles are enclosed in the first inner circle on which is drawn one Lotus with eight petals called “Ashta Dal”, which represents the mystical lotus of creation. The another circle following this with sixteen petalled lotus, drawn on it is called “Shada-shadal”. This Lotus is significant of sixteen kalas or phases of the moon. The whole set of triangles and the Lotus petals are further enclosed in triple concentric circles or three-fold girdles called “Trimekhla”, The whole diagram, forming the mystical chakra, fixed in a square, with triple parallel lines, having four openings or gates on its four cardinal points make up the Devi’s mansion. In the center of the whole composition lies the Bindu(point) which, in fact is the mysterious matrix of the Maha-Yantra. The description of this “Yantra” is given in sloka 11 of “Sundaryalahri”, reproduced just below the Yantra itself.
IMG_8621
The “Yantra” is adopted for the worship of the mighty “Shakti-Lalita Devi” and is considered to be the most popular symbol that the Icon or image of “Srividhya” i.e “Tripursundari” herself.
The mystery of “Sri Yantra” is quite remarkable. Its secret doctrine is largely acknowledged even by the renowned foreign authors and scholars. While acknowledging the mystical performance of these mysterious Yantras and Mandals, a foreign Scholar “Shree Guiseppe Tuccti” has stated In his book, “The theory and practice of Mandals” that the best example of Hinduist Mandal is the one called “Sri Chakra” or the wheel of “Sri” i.e the mystic wheel of “Shakti” or divine power, which is the motive force of the universe and by virtue of which God manifests and displays himself in things which are all of necessity the effect of Shakti itself. Since without “Shakti”, God can do nothing. One can well imagine and understand the might of this “Shakti”, which the God himself has acknowledged as stated in “Sundarya-Lahiri” that only conjoined with thee Oh! “Shakti” have I the power to be the absolute lord otherwise I would not be able to move. Such is the mighty “Shakti-Lalita-Devi”, the ruling Deity of this celebrated “Maha Yantra”.
The “Yantra” can be described in two ways.It may be started from any of the four gates of outer Chakra and worked inwards towards the central Bindu or in the reverse order, It may be started from the Bindu and worked outwards towards the gates. The former process is called “Layakrama”(involution) and the latter “Srashtikrama”(Evolution). Here it is described in the latter way.
Starting from the central point (Bindhu) and ending with the for gates the whole complex is divided into nine Chakras or wheels called Yantras which according to “Tantraja Tantra” are:-
1.Central Red Bindu, described as ……………………………………………………………………………………………Sarvanandmaya.
2. Central White Triangle, described as…………………………………………………………………………………….Sarvasidhipradha.
3.Eight red Triangles, described as ……………………………………………………………………………………………Sarvaroghara.
4.Ten Blue Triangles, described as…………………………………………………………………………………………….Sarvarakshakar.
5.Ten Red Triangles, described as……………………………………………………………………………………………..Sarvarthasadhak.
6.Fourteen blue triangles, described as ……………………………………………………………………………………Sarvasaubnagyadayak.
7.Eight Red Lotus petals, described as……………………………………………………………………………………….Sarvasamksobhan.
8.Sixteen blue lotus petals, described as …………………………………………………………………………………..Sarvaparipuraka.
9.Surrounding Yellow ground between the outer most circle and four gates……………………………Trilokyamohan.

Explaining the complex of these yantras the sacred, “Tripuramahimstrotam” says that the same “Mulavaidyaksars” as having contributed towards the unfolding of this “Sri Yantra” are responsible for the evolution of this universe as well, when it says that:-
(a) From the “Lakar”, which, according to “Laya-Krama” represents the first outer chakra i.e the yellow surrounded ground, This “Pararupa” earth on which we live has been born and on which there are Mountains, Forests, Grooves, fifty peetas(Seats), all places of pilgrimages, all Ganges, all “Khetrasthanas”, this chakra is known as “Trilokyamohan”, that is the Enchanter of the Universe.
(b) From “Sakar”, representing the second chakra of sixteen blue petalled lotus, it took the form of the Moon, Stars, Planets, Zodiac(Rashi Chakra).This Yantra is described as “Sarvasanksobhan”.
(c) In “Ikar”, which is represented by the fourteen blue triangles, It is “Turyamaya” or the creator of the universe. This yantra being fourth in the order is described as “Sarvasaulhagvadayak” i.e all auspicious.
(d) In “Ekar”, which obtains the fifth place in the order and it is represented by Ten Red Triangles the “Vishavi Shakti” manifests herself as one engaged in “Vaishvaplan” (preservation of the universe). This Yantra is described as “Sarvarthasadak” or fulfiller of all desires.
(e) In “Rakar”, which is represented by ten blue triangles and is the sixth yantra in the order, the all luminous and the most flaming aspect of the deity is revealed.This Yantra is described as “Sarvarakshakar”-That is all protecting deity.
(f) In “Kakar”, the shakti is radiated as “Kamda” or granter of all desires, “Kamrupni” or changer of form at will and “Avaya” or eternal. This Yantra, represented by eight red Triangles and occupying the seventh position in the order, is described as “Sarvaroghara” or curer of all diseases.
(g) The eighth Yantra which is represented by the crescent shaped central white triangles is known as “Vishvayoni” or the Womb of the Universe signifying the Karnam or the cause.Here Shakti is identified in “Shunyarpa” (Zero or void form) of the Bindhu Rupa Shiva. This Yantra is described as “ Sarvasidhiprada” or giver of all Siddhis.
(h) The ninth and the last Yantra, represented by the central Bindu, is described as “Sarvanandmaya” i.e all pervading and all blissful flaming Shiva or “Shivajyotimaya”.

IMG_8627
The wheel of the universe( Sansar Chakra) is thus equated with the “Mulavidya” and identified with the “Sri Chakra”.The letter established in Lakar,Sakar, Hakar, Ikar, Ekar, Rakar, and Kakar and associated with various Yantras described above, are its “Beejaksharas”(seeds) and the protecting deities, which are symbolic tattwas, are the Shivas themselves.
The central Bindu has three fold aspects. It is called “Bindu Triya”.The upper part of this focal point, represents the face of Devi and the two below it, her breasts. This is the symbolism of worship in which such anthropomorphic forms are employed by the worshippers who clearly see such images as they are carved or conceived in their minds during their worship. More abstractedly the three Bindus are compared to the Sun, Moon and the fire representing the names given to the aspects of “Para Bindu”.
While commenting upon the Yantra worship, Sir John Woodroff, (Arthur Avalon) another learned Scholar and noted Author says, “that the more experienced and correct view is that the mind is shakti, which is a particular manifestation of it. By continual and repeated practice in that Chakra after Chakra everything becomes divinized” and again hesitates that “Practice of the ritual transforms the mind itself and what is at first seen merely as an external Yantra with lines, curves and petals, becomes a pure mental state in the Sadhka himself. He too is a “Sri Yantra” and realizes himself as such.. The body of the Sadhaka is thus identified with “Sri Yantra” and its nine apertures (Naudwar) correspond to the nine chakras in the Yantra. The Human body, is as such considered like an Island of nine gems which are described to be:- Ajas, Sukra, Majja, Meda, Asti, Mamsa, Roma, Tvak and Rudhir. “The object of the worship of these chakras, as such is the realization of the one Abedabhavana of the Knower who is the one’s own self-(Swatma) or the worshipper, the knowledge and the object of the Knowledge i.e the “Sri Chakra” itself. In fact worship of sri yantra is the unification of these three-The knower of the Knowledge and the object of the knowledge.”
“This celebrated yantra”, says Sir John woodruff further, represents the human body, the whole universe and the man for what is in the former is in the latter and vice-versa as also the Shiva Shakti Swarupa or Atma. It is thus the symbol of Devi as she is in her own form (Swarupa) and as she is in the form of the universe (Vishwatma).

photo05 photo14
According to the TANTRAJA TANTRA, there are 960 yantras which are assigned to ADYA, NITYA AND LALITA, the three Goddesses, who are known as “Tripurasundari”. Conjoined in one.
Different fruits are gained by worshipping different Yantras. Of the 960 Yantras the principal one’s are:- Sri yantra, Puja Kamal Chakra, Amritghat, Siddhavajra, Kesthavajra, Wajralinga, Merulinga, Yoni, Vajravajrak, Maha Vajra and Vajra.
Yantras are purely linear diagrams. They are drawn provisionally or permanently. When it is desired to be drawn permanently, It is inscribed on a stone or on copper or Bronze Plates that are often seen in Hindu temples, Shrines and other places of worship. Righteously, the Yantra deserves a place in every Hindu Home if one desires to be happy, prosperous and free from ailments.

photo16

Propaganda against Re-settlement of KP’s

Since last 25 years, it has been projected by almost all political parties, whether J&k-based or National level, like INC and BJP, that they want to re-settle KP’s back in the land of their ancestors .But never ever, has any political party acted as audaciously, as did the Modi-led NDA govt .The Home Minister of India Sh. Rajnath singh had asked Omar Abdullah in the first week of Sep 2014 to identify the land for the re-settlement of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir. But the unfortunate floods procrastinated the Plans of GOI.

Now again, just a couple of days back, The home minister of India-Mr. Rajnath singh asked the Chief Minister-Mufti mohammed syed to identify the land for the “composite re-settlement of Kashmiri Pandits”. And it looked as if the C.M nodded his head in agreement. But as expected, he U-turned on the issue of giving land for the settlement of KP’s thus showing his true colour of being a true Islamic-sikluar.

And thus started the Grand- Drama of the Pak-backed-separatists.

Yasin Malik-the leader of the JKLF faction objected to the GOI’s plan of re-settling the KP’s into the valley. He and his coterie are of this view that KP’s should be settled in their original homes with their original Muslim Neighbors. They want KP’s to live as they lived prior to 1989-90.

But, Is it possible for pundits to settle at those places,that they left out of fear in 1990!

An real life anecdote when I visited Kashmir after 24 shows totally different picture of the locality and the people that lived with us pre-1990.

I went to Rainawari, in Srinagar, Kashmir last year .I landed in Kashmir valley on 31st Aug 2014. Immediately, I opted to go to my abandoned-Home in Rainawari. The place looked so different. “Kraylar” looked so different. The lanes and sub-lanes looked Chocked because of illegal encroachment.

When, I reached Bagh jogilankar, I was surprised to find out that even the police-station, that was once situated at the entrance of the Bridge has been shifted to “Silai-center”, opposite Hari singh school.

I tried very hard to identify my old acquaintances. Though I could identify the shops, but the shopkeepers were different. I tried to look into the eyes of the shopkeepers hoping to revive something of the past. But I got blank looks from them. The strange looks made me uncomfortable and unwanted. The appalling condition of the by-lanes was beyond words. The people of the locality have illegally captured the already-narrow-bylanes.

At last, I could identify someone. It was “Magga”. He was the barber. He had trimmed my hair N times , right from the time when I was a Kid, till I grew up to an adolescent. I accosted him and introduced myself. He too looked blankly at me. He could not identify me, as he had seen me when I was a Kid. I told him about my family, my father, Grandfather, My Uncles. With each name, his eyes sparkled in joy. And then he gave me a tight Hug. A few men gathered around us. They started asking me questions about the welfare of my family, my relatives and my Hindu-neighbors. I tried to answer them to the best of my information.

I chatted with them for about 10 minutes. Then I told them that for strange reasons, all the people in Rainawari look different to me. I told them that they looked strangers to me. They listened to me patiently. An acquaintance of “Magga-Barber”, informed me that only 40 indigenous Households/ families are living in that area and rest of the families have shifted to other places in Kashmir. As, I was departing, I could hear his shout, “Even we-the leftover families sometimes feels living among aliens. KP’s did the right thing by migrating to other places.”

The same story has been repeated in many of the localities that were once dominated by the pundits. The original Muslim residents have shifted to other places. Most of the Muslims from the downtown have shifted to posh localities like Rajbagh, Barzullah, etc.

The trite rant of the separatists like Yasin Malik and Syed ali shah Geelani, on the return of Kashmiri Pandits does not hold any water. They too are aware of the fact that during last 25 years, many KM’s have shifted to the posh localities and many amongst them have bought the houses of KP’s- who had to sell their properties in distress.

If they want to re-settle KP’s into their original localities, they will have to re-settle back all the Muslims too- who were the neighbors of KP’s. But that is not possible and that will not be of any help to KP’s .As a matter of fact, The Muslim neighbors of KP’s were totally helpless in protecting their Hindu neighbors in 1990’s. Instead of protecting them, many KM neighbors corroborated with the terrorists and gave vital information about those KP’s, who were on the hit list of Terrorists, thus resulting in Death of many KP’s.

Over the years the mainstream political parties have practiced soft-secessionism. They have over the years poisoned the minds of the majority-Muslims. Separatists as well as the valley-based mainstream political parties have tacitly projected the forced-exodus of KP’s as their victory. Victory of Islam and Hegemony of Muslims. They might be saying hundreds of lies to the Government of India, but the reality is that they are constantly conveying to their vote-bank that KP’s will never be allowed to come back.

The resistance shown by Yasin Malik against the proposed “composite-resettlement” has been portrayed as “inclusive-townships” for KP’s. It has been alleged that GOI is planning to make colonies like Israel did in Palestine. The resistance towards the return of KP’s have been portrayed akin to the resistance of Palestine’s towards the Israel-settlements.

And top of that, the mainstream political parties too have shown the same resistance as did Yasin Malik and company. It is an astutely-planned-propaganda against the return of Kashmiri Pandits. All the valley based-political-parties have excluded deliberately the word “Composite” and are instead using the word “Inclusive”.

The deliberate blatant trampling of the fundamental right of KP’s will once again go unnoticed. Once again the possible return of KP’s will be thwarted. Once again the false propaganda of the Anti-Nationals will echo in the valley. Once again justice will be denied to the KP’s.

And once again,
the goddess of Justice will remain Blindfolded…

Kashmir flood 2015…some images

Police stand amidst the rubble after a hillside collapsed onto a house at Laden An ailing woman is carried on a wooden plank to a safer place from her partially submerged house after incessant rains in Srinagar cc dd n A man throws his belongings towards another to be moved to a safer place at a flooded neighbourhood after incessant rains in Srinagarsource:news agencies/Internet

HINDUS and BJP IN J&K

 

Politics has always been a game of opportunists and manipulators. It will remain so in the future too. Jammu and Kashmir too has seen its share of so-called-leaders. Mainstream leaders, who are in fact softer version of Demagogues. These leaders have always thrived on the hate-they incite on the name of Religion. The exodus of Kashmiri pundits from the valley is a classical example of the divisive politics that is rife in Kashmir.

Congress(I)-that once dominated the Indian Politics had always projected themselves as the messiah’s of Kashmiri Hindus prior to 1990.They projected themselves as the core-seculars, but remained as mere spectators when Kashmiri Hindus were forced to flee their homes. They never raised their voice in support of the KP’s, though they owe their existenance to a KP-Jawahar lal Nehru. They never remained true to their ideologies and practiced opportunist-politics instead of the Secular politics.

A core congress(i)-man, and a freedom-fighter, some years back ,when confronted by a group of non-political KP’s-who blamed congress for the Kashmir imbroglio, received a shock of their lives, when instead of answering them with logical answer, he retorted back and said, “ I can kill the whole KP community for the sake of India”. His answer not only reflected his rotten-thinking, but exposed the congress(i) attitude towards KP community. In fact it reflected the congress’s attitude towards anyone who dare to raise their opinion against them.

Then came BJP.

BJP, along with Shiv-sena and RSS supported KP’s initially in 1990.The contribution of Shiv sens was/is immense. They along with BJP gave reservations to the KP students in Maharashtra. The reservation quota was expanded to other states too in the course of time. BJP-RSS were instrumental in establishing some of the prominent KP organizations that raised the concerns of the KP community as a whole. BJP-RSS were instrumental in raising the demand of Homeland for KP’s through its affiliate organizations.

Surprisingly, today both RSS-BJP seems averse to the concept of Homeland-they once supported. They in fact have made a complete U-turn to some of their demands. It is surprising to see how they backtracked from the abrogation of article 370.Their promise of a Hindu-CM for J&K was also surreptitiously put under the carpet. Not one demand features in their CMP; that can be termed as a step of Core-Nationalists.
Instead, They have acted as an anti-Nationalist party.

Giving a ministerial-Berth to Sajjad lone is beyond the belief of any Nationalist. Just a few months back, sajjad ganie lone-The son of separatist leader Abdul ganie lone and son-in-law of former chief of terrorist organization ,JKLF Amanullah Khan- was spitting venom against India. His father-in-law is accredited with the murders of at least 70% of all the Kashmiri Hindus killed in Kashmir during late eighties and earlier nineties. His elder brother is still a senior separatist leader. How Nationalist of BJP to make him a minister!!!

Releasing a pro-pak-separatist, Masrat alam was another blunder. In 2010, 120 innocent children and youths were killed because of him. He incited the mob against the police and armed forces. The mob was incited on the name of religion and on the name of Amarnath Yatra. It was alleged that India is making a colony in Baltal(at the base of Amarnath). What did BJP do? Except projecting their helplessness! How nationalist of BJP!

Forming a govt. with PDP is a compulsion for BJP. It is a known fact that because of the lust for power, 7 BJP MLA’s of the previous govt(2008-2013) had connived with the ruling party NC. To keep the flock of 25 BJP MLA’s together, this time,they had to form a government. The dilemma is that their partner in coalition is PDP. Though it is a mainstream political party; but it is known to be more communal than NC. Although both of these valley-centric-political parties follow the policy of soft-separatism and pro-Pakistan polity.

I remember vividly, How BJP would raise the slogans like, “Jaha huwe baldan Mukherjee, wo Kashmir Humara hai”(The place where Mukherjee was martyred is ours) and “Jis mitti ko khoon se seencha, wo Kashmir hamara hai” (Kashmir-that was irrigated by our Blood, is our’s).And then I think of the present stance of BJP Govt. in J&K and nod my head in disbelief.

That is why, they could not fulfill even their two basic points, that was in their election manifesto, when BJP was known as Jan-sangh. These two points are always in their election manifesto even after 30 years. The points are:
1.Construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya.
2.Uniform civil code.
It will be only naïve to think that they will abrogate article 370 or rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir. They too are just another political party who can do anything to divide and rule. Another opportunist. Another Manipulator…..

Hairath(Shivratri)

Once Jabbar Khan, the Afgan Governor , continuing the Islamic-proselytism and hegemony,  banned the Kashmiri-Pandits from celebrating “Shiv-ratri” on the usual day(normally feb-March). KP’s believed that Rain and Snow will definitely accompany “Hearath” .To break their faith in the myth accompanying “Hearath”, He ordered that  Shivratri should be celebrated instead in June-july. Distressly, KP’s were forced to abide the tyrannical-dictum. To the surprise of everyone, though, that year, the Shivratri was observed in June-july, It snowed in the valley of Kashmir that day, and the belief of KP’s in their religion strengthened and increased manifold.

During the last 25 years-in exile, My memories of celebrating the “Hearath” or “Shivratri”(in Kashmir) have faded to an extent. But the feeling of the “Heart” in Kashmir is still fresh. The smell of the burning “Kantgun”,  the havan, cold water-soaked-walnuts. The happy faces of my family. “Hearath Kharach”. “Haare”(shells).The shrilled voices of the exciting-children of our neighborhood. The weather. Rain and snow. The fervor. ….

Shivratri normally begins from the lunar calendar of Falgun Krishan paksh-Dwadishi/Triodishi(12 or 13th day of descending moon) and  culminate on falgun-paksh-Amavasya(new-moon).

In Kashmir, My Grandfather would be pre-occupied whole day on Haerath. First with the preparations of the pooja, and then with the actual pooja. It would take him anything between 4-7 hours to go through the intricacies and religious-hymns of the festival .During the pooja, of and on, he would look down towards his right and read the shlokas from the Pooja-Book. And if anybody , accidentally, interrupted him , while he was amidst  chanting the sacred mantras, He would get agitated and would shout loudly, “ Keep quiet, Don’t you see I am chanting the Mantras.” After the pooja was over, his face would reflect a sense of  accomplishment.

Mother and Grandmother would be busy whole day, mostly in the kitchen, during the festival of “Hearath”, that would last for 3 consecutive days. On religious occasions such as “Hairath”, I recall them smearing the floors with the mixture of special-clay(gurut maicz) and cow-dung.( This is still a regular-practice in the rural-India.).There used to be a unit of 2-3  earthen-Chulhas(Stoves) in our old house. These dry-wood-fuelled Stoves would only be used on special occasions and festivals. And Shivratri definitely topped the chart of religious festivals of Kashmiri-Pandits. In new house, However, there was no “Chula”, but the floor of the room where the “stahpana” and ritual had to be performed was smeared.

Children would wait impatiently for Salaam(13th or 14th day of Falgun-Krishan Paksh). “Hearath-Kharach”-Money to be spent away-was given by the elders to the young.(This is still widely practiced).The celebrations would culminate on the Amavasya(New-moon).

Over the years, I have seen 24 “hearath’s” outside the valley. Since, I didn’t had my own house after being forced-exiled in my own country, I have changed as many as 5 houses and as many different locations. But, my elders always made it sure, as is in our traditional ritual, to leave Shiva and his consort alone in the room, where  we do staphana(invoke and arrange the Shiv-parivar in a particular manner), even when my whole family of eight was living in a small quarter of 2 rooms.

I am a link between the past and the future. I feel blessed to have seen and lived with my elders, not only in Kashmir but elsewhere also. The elders have mystically carried on the Kashmir, in their own-self. The aura of “Kashmir-ness” is visibly written over them. So are their stories of Kashmir and the unique tradition of “Hearath”.

In Kashmir, our compound comprised of two independent houses with at least 40 members. It used to abuzz with the activity and energy of not only my whole family, but our neighbors too. The “Prasaad”-in the form of walnuts was distributed amongst the in-laws of my Aunts as well as neighbors. The Muslim shopkeepers and Children would often pester us to give them our days old water-soaked-walnuts.

However, Today, most of us are scattered all over the Globe. The prasaad of walnuts are still handed over to the in-laws of our Daughters and Aunts, in case they live in the same city.Otherwise, Walnuts are couriered to the family members in  various parts of India and Globe. Almost all Pandit-neighbors of Kashmir are forgotten and seldom are walnuts sent over to them. Nonetheless, they form a part of  sweet memory of the “Shiv-ratri” that was once celebrated with zeal in the valley.

Today, I am celebrating 25th “Hairath” outside Kashmir, like most of KP’s. Preparations have already started since yesterday .Kalash, Kand, flowers, wood for havan etc is ready and the pooja will start today at around 6.00 p.m and will last till 10 or 10.30 p.m.

But for strange reasons; I am thinking about how it might have looked in Kashmir today. If I would have been in Kashmir; though still cold, the windows would have  been opened today and the fresh cold-air would rush-in and titillate  the chocked walls of the first floor. Sometimes the occasional sunshine would tease the freshly-drenched soil and its  sparkle on the quagmire would look like the shining-jewels. The passing clouds over my house would block the sunshine for a while and the wind would then merrily swing it away over the mountains…..

I do not know, how many more “Haeraths” will a KP  have to spend outside Kashmir. History is a witness to the seven exoduses of Kashmiri Pandits. It is also a witness that the “KP’s” did come back although their numbers dwindled with each exodus. I pray to Shiva, today, on “Hairath”, and ask for his “Anugrah”(Blessings) to the entire KP community..

A Muslim friend just whatsapped me that it is raining today in the plains of Kashmir and snowing in upper reaches of Kashmir. The legend of Hairath lives on.

Happy Hairath to all…

 

The Ordeal-Tale of a Kashmir flood Survivor

Last evening, I called on my friend Charanjeet. After a few rings, I heard his voice on the other side as he said, “Hello!” I quickly asked him , “Where are you Friend?”, He answered loudly, “ I am at the stream by my village .I have come here along with my family members, with the 8 bales of clothes, that I managed to get from my rubbled- house at Jawahar Nagar, a couple of days back. I will talk to you in the evening.” and he cut the Mobile.

He is one of the victims of the Floods, that submerged almost whole of Srinagar. Charanjeet singh hails from village Tral in Kashmir valley and was putting up at Jawahar Nagar on rent along with his wife and two Kids.

Before retiring for the bed; I could not forget what he had told me just a few days back. His experience of going through the worst floods of Kashmir is/was still engraved on his psyche. He was narrating his poignant ordeal. And I was all ears.

He bagan like this:

6th sep 2014(Sat), time 10.00a.m, Mehjoor Nagar.I had come to meet a relative of mine, as well as pay my obeisance at the Gurdwara. To my surprise, Half of the Gurdwara was under the flooded waters of river Doodhganga-that flows nearby. When I enquired about the reasons for such a large volume of water, a local shopkeeper told me, that the waters are coming from Kandgam.

Mehjoor Nagar was slowly and gradually sinking under the waters. I ran away towards my house in Jawahar Nagar for the safety. While I was rushing towards my house, a friend called me on my Mobile and informed that Padshahi bagh too is under the flood-waters.

Whole day, I was anxious and phoned several friends and relatives about their welfare as well as ,to know ,the latest status of the floods. By 7.00p.m, My relative from Mehjoor nagar, whom I had visited in the morning, came to my house for shelter as his house had come under the waters.

I was apprehensive that may be Jawahar Nagar will too get submerged.I discussed with my wife about the possibilities of leaving for “Zeethyar” as that place was at a higher level.My wife rejected my suggestion out rightly as she said, “How much water will come! May a foot or two! If we have to leave, we will leave tomorrow morning.”The logic behind the decision was acceptable as we had never heard that Jawahar Nagar has been flooded ever. Also, I have two young children, and it would have been cruel on our part to drag them with us in the late evening.

By 10.00 p.m, we all retired to our beds. I was awakened by shrilled voices in the middle of the night.I checked on my mobile. It was 12.30 a.m.I rushed towards the street. Many young men were running haphazardly in the night and were knocking at the doors of the houses in the neighborhood. I confronted one of the youngster and asked him, “what is the matter?”. In a gushed tone, he answered stentorianly, “We have been told that the flood-waters may come from the Hotel Hatrick. Be alert.” And he ran away, Screaming aloud, “jaggo, Hoshiyar(be alert)”.

I was worried. I awakened my family-members from the slumber and told them what transpired .At 1.30 a.m, I strolled towards the main road. A couple was running towards me .As they approached nearer,The man held my hand and said shockingly, “The waters have come in the town-square. There is a breach in the embankments of Jhelum. Run for your life. Alert others too.” Without wasting a second, I ran towards my double- storied-house. I knew the inevitable is going to happen now. I didn’t want to take any risk. Once upon reaching my house, I took some of our essential belongings with me and shifted along my family to the first floor.

By sunday, 6.00 a.m, waters had started entering the front yard of my house. The level remained the same till 8.00a.m. After that, the waters started to rise sharply. I shifted my family and some of the belongings to the top storey of the house.

At around 9.00a.m, one storey was completely submerged under water. The waters were coming from Rajbagh and Kursu Rajbagh. The waters were gushing and swallowing everything that came in its way. The rising waters forced me to shift to my neighbor-Abid’s house. He helped me to shift my family to his house. We entered his house through the windows .His house was a 3-storied one and mine was only 2 storied.

We were 13 people in all(4 ladies,5 gents and 4 children).Between 11.00 a.m and 12.00 noon,5 houses fell down in front of my eyes. In one of the crumbling houses, I could see at least 10 people falling down and getting Buried under the Debris. I could hear their screams but I could do nothing. Their voices were silenced forever by the might of nature. My wife and children screamed each time, they saw or heard, the houses collapsing all around us. Dr. Sushil Razdan’s house too crumbled down and at least 3 people went down with that house..

Some civil boats came and rescued their relatives. We cried and screamed for help. We were assured by them ,that they will come back for our rescue. But nobody came the whole day. As the day passed by, we could hear the sounds of the crumbling houses all around us. All the children and women were visibly terrified. The men, though were equally terrified, but they acted like bravados.

The noises, screams and sounds of falling houses finally stopped by Sunday night. We did not eat anything that Sunday. My children were hungry and thirsty. By Sunday night, the family of Dr.Tickoo-who live 20 feet away from the house where I was marooned along with my family-threw 4 chapptis towards us. I fed those rotis to my Children. The adults did not eat anything at all.

I could not sleep that night out of anxiety and fear.

On Monday morning, when others woke up, they were all visibly happy. Happy, because we had survived the night. As the day progressed, we could see some Army,NDRF and civil boats. Each time we saw a boat, we cried for Help. But It seemed as if we are nobody and nobody’s responsibility.

In the meanwhile, the family members of Dr. Tickoo sent 30-40 chapptis to us both in the morning and the evening. A rope was thrown from their house to ours. A polythene bag, filled with “rotis” , was slided across the rope, directed towards us.

Monday night too passed, though I did not wink even for a second that night, But I do remember looking up to the skies and saying these words, “God, I know Death is inevitable. But don’t kill us this way.” I was praying to God for our safety.

Tuesday morning, I was thinking that the house, where we are putting up, might also collapse. The fear of death was keeping us on our toes both physically and mentally. The frequency of boats had increased that day. I knew the boats are giving preference to the sick, old and children. I hit upon an idea .I started crying aloud as I screamed, “Help me, my daughter is sick. kindly help me.” . I had lied(God forgive me) that my elder daughter, aged 9 years is sick. But the trick worked .A civil boat came to my rescue. It was around 11.00a.m. I wanted to go with my daughter, arrange a boat and come back to the rescue of others. By my Neighbor Abid opined that he should go, as he has more connections than me, since he has lived in srinager throughout his life and I was sort of an outsider as I am from village tral.

Finally, I gave in to his pestering and logic and he went away in the Boat along with my elder daughter. He promised that he will come back by 3-4p.m. We waited and waited for his return till 10.00p.m. But he did not come.

I and my wife were apprehensive that something bad might have happened. It came to my mind that, may be, the boat has capsized. My wife was inconsolable and she fainted. It was a very tough situation for me. After lots of efforts, I revived the consciousness of my wife.

How could I sleep that night! I was aghast with fear and my helplessness. At around 12.30 a.m, the wife of Abid started screaming . She was yelling loudly , “This house is going to fall. Help me Allah!” It took some time for all of us to control and console her.

By 1.00 a.m, Finally Abid came with a Boat. And we all had a sigh of relief. I enquired about my Daughter. He told us that she is safe at her Maternal uncles’s place, who stays near the embankments of the River at Mehjoor nagar. The news was relieving for us too. The boat that Abid had brought along with him could house nearly 20 people. The boat was arranged from Rainawari. The Boatman told us that the Gurudwara at Chatti-Padshahi is safe and that we should go there for our safety. The Boat dropped us at lal-Mandi near the banks of Jhelum river.

We were told by a passerby to go to the Hotel of the politician Altaf Bukhari(PDP) across the river. we crossed over the foot-bridge(near SPS muesuem)and reached his hotel. It was jam-packed as 1500 people had already taken shelter there. Many of the people were visibly sick and needed medical attention. Childen were crying.Anyways, We slept there for some hours.

Next morning (Wed)8.00 a.m, we left that place and decided to take shelter at Zeethyar. We walked through the Bundh(embankment) and reached Jaan Bakery via Zero Bridge. We took the hilly path to reach Durganaag Mandir. Enroute, I met few acquaintances. They told me that many sikh families had taken shelter at Woodland House school and that Zeethyar is jam-packed with 3000 people. We decided to take shelter at Woodland House school as I knew some local families there.

While, we were walking towards the School, The scenes reminded me of the 1947 partition as I saw many people walking or wading with their belongings on their heads. Finally, I reached Woodland School. It too was overcrowded. Later that day, the traditional Kashmiri- “Tehar”. Was served to all. We stayed there for the Night.
woodland
Next Morning(thrusday), I set on foot for Mehjoor Nagar, to get my daughter Back. The gory scenes all around the route was horrifying and heart-wrenching. Somehow, I reached Kursu Rambagh. At least 3-4 thousand people were still stranded in that area. The river waters had cut the road connection between Kursu Rajbagh and Mehjoor Nagar. Some of the local volunteers had cut the poplar tress and made a temporary bridge between the two areas. I too crossed the newly-made poplar bridge to reach Mehjoor Nagar and soon I was at my relatives House. My relative told me that my Daughter was with her Aunt(Massi) at chanapura, and that she was healthy and safe. I was relieved. I decided to get my daughter Back once the water level recedes and returned back to the Woodland School.

I stayed that night and Friday night with a friend of mine, who has a house near Woodland School.

On Saturday morning, I and my family were given a lift by an army truck. We had to reach our village in Tral. The truck dropped us at Habbakhatun. From there we walked 3 kms and reached Panthachowk. 5-6 thousand people were waiting there or were stranded. We walked further until we got a lift from a Truck Driver from Jammu. We alighted from the Truck at Awantipura . I managed to get a taxi from Awantipura and reached my Home at Tral.

It was only after 4-5 days stay at Tral, I could manage to get back my Daughter from her Massi’s(Aunt’s) house.

I had gone to my House at Jawahar Nagar, day before yesterday. It is still filled with a lot of Mud and silt. Everything has been destroyed by the waters. Somehow, I could bundle some of the clothes for washing . The place is still far for any immediate inhabitation. But I will go back, clean up the mess and try to return to a normal life, as I used to live there, before the Deluge.

During those tough 6 days, I witnessed the fury of Nature. The “thud” and “splash” of the crumbling houses. Thrist. Hunger .Anger. The fear of losing near and dear ones, and above all, the power of Humanity. I am thankful to all those, who helped me and my family to Survive. And I thank God, who gave me the courage to start afresh with optimism and Empathy. I have learnt, Nothings matters except being Humane and Kind.