Tag Archives: kashmiri pandit

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.

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“Let us kill them”-My recent visit to Kashmir

Since 2006, I have visited Kashmir number of times. When I first went to Kashmir after 16 years, I was impressed by the hospitality of the Kashmiri Muslims. I recall vividly, my first visit to Nehru Park in 2006.I was sporting a “Tilak” on my forehead. There was a man selling “ Makai wat”( Maize/ corn).He was saying,” 5 rupaiy ka Ek, 5 rupaiye ka ek”(one corn for 5 rupees).I too approached him, and said in Kashmiri,” Kya se lala, yutah drogh kyazi chuk kinaan?”(why are you selling it so costly?).His face suddenly beamed with glee, He said, “ Oh ! you are a Kashmiri Pandit!, you are my brother, For you it is just 3 Rupees”. I was really touched.

I again visited in 2007, 2008.In 2009, I stayed in a rented room at Rajbagh for 2 months. I was repeatedly getting a feeling that Kashmir will return to pre-1990.I even purchased a plot of land near Avantipura from a Sardarjee. I made new Kashmiri muslim friends in Kashmir. I even used to joke with them about their favorite separatist Politian or Pakistan. Many times I used derogatory words for their chosen leaders or for Pakistan. I even had a religious discussion with them. They did not mind at all on the choice of words that I used in these discussions.

But my recent visit belied my faith, I had developed in my previous visits, forcing me to believe once again that Kashmir is not safe. At least not for Hindus.

Just a week back,I drove to Kashmir with my Dogra friend-Amit and my Business partner Atul from Haryana. The forced exile to jammu has made me learn to speak Dogri and Punjabi fluently. During most of our journey, we spoke in Punjabi. We reached to Jawahar tunnel at around 5p.m.We were stopped by two policemen. The name plate on their uniform suggested that they were Muslims. They asked us to come out of the car. We obliged. They asked us our names. Their faces suddenly hardened upon hearing our names. “Show the documents of this car” said one policeman in an authoritative tone. I promptly did as he desired. All the documents were up-to-date. Then suddenly, the other policeman hurled philippics on Atul accusing us all of smuggling opium. We all protested. In the meanwhile, many local taxis passed-by and the Drivers of the taxis waved their hands to the two policemen saying loud, “Asalaam-walikaum”. The policemen waved back while they said “Salaam”. The two policemen checked our vehicle in detail. The footmats, carpet, Bonet, seats, Dashboard, everything was checked. The whole operation took at least an hour. We were allowed to go later on. We were all feeling humiliated by their invidious behavior. Atul said repeatedly that we were targeted because of being Hindus.

Somehow, we reached Srinagar. I took my friends to a lodge at Rajbagh. Atul always wanted to stay in a Houseboat and I had assured him that we will sure stay at Houseboat at least for a night after a couple of days. we were at Kashmir in connection with a business deal.

I could visibly feel a difference in the attitude of the local KM’s. They seem to have a visible resentment and hatred towards us, whenever they came to know about our names. The bonhomie, it seems has again got lost somewhere. I could again feel from the eyes of the KM’s, what I had felt in 1989-90.I was scared this time. And I was not wrong.

As, I had promised Atul,I took him to a Houseboat near Nehru Park, Dal-gate. We took a “Shikara”(boat) to reach the other side , where there are number of Houseboats. Atul started a conversation with the Manager/owner of the Houseboat. The Manager agreed for Rs 1200/night/room for all three of us. In order to re-confirm with me, Atul said in Punjabi ,” Is this rate OK” .I too answered in Punjabi, “yes”. As we were talking to the manager, a person came into the Houseboat and started speaking to the Manager in Kashmiri, “Are they tourists?”, the manager said,”yes”, “Are they Hindus ”asked he. The manager said, “yes, they are”. Suddenly he raised his tone and said loudly in Kashmiri to the Manager, “ Let us kill them all tonight”. The manager didn’t answer.

They didn’t knew that I too was a Kashmiri. My friends didn’t knew what had transpired. I calmly intercepted the two Kashmiri muslims, as I said in Punjabi,” We will go and fetch our luggage”. The manager nodded his head in agreement, While the other man used scurrilous language for our group in Kashmiri. I asked deliberately to the Manager,” What did he say?” The Manager said,” he is saying OK, Let them stay here”, I smiled at the Manager. He smiled back. I asked my friends to leave that place. When we reached the other side of the lake near the Road, I narrated them the whole episode. They were shocked and scared. We decided to return to our previous lodge at Rajbagh and leave the valley early morning.

These incidents, I believe are a pre-cursor to the incidents that are going to follow. I sometimes used to think that KP’s shouldn’t have left the valley, even in 1990.But looking at the recent events that took place with me, Kashmiri pandits did the right thing. I don’t know why, but my Kashmiri Muslim friends have again got into the mould of 1990.The emerging trend is dangerous. Many more lives will be lost before the peace will dawn again in the valley which Sage Kashyap drained thousands of years back. I have my fingers crossed.
Narrated byRavinder Koul

Kashmir removed from UN list of disputes

November 15, 2010 09:42 IST

In a significant development, Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] has been removed from the UN list of unresolved disputes, giving a setback to Pakistan which has been asking the world body to intervene on the issue.

The omission of Jammu and Kashmir from a list of disputes under the observation of the UN Security Council was noticed by Pakistan whose envoy has lodged a protest.

“Jammu and Kashmir dispute was not mentioned in the context of unresolved long-running situations,” said Amjad Hussain B Sial, Pakistan’ acting envoy to the UN.

“We understand this was an inadvertent omission, as Jammu and Kashmir is one of the oldest disputes on agenda of the Security Council,” he added.

Sial was speaking at the UN General Assembly session, which was discussing the functioning and reform of the Security Council. It was organised by the UK that holds the presidency of the Security Council this month.

Pakistan has been asking the UN to intervene to help resolve the issue but India [ Images ] has always maintained that it has to be resolved bilaterally between the two countries.

Speaking earlier at the General Assembly, the UK envoy to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, said that “some long-running situations, including in the Middle East, Cyprus and Western Sahara remain unresolved, as do issues where the Council has become engaged in recent years, including Nepal and Guinea Bissau.””Huge challenges remain in Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he added.

Pakistan repeatedly raises Kashmir as an issue for the UN while India asserts that its is an internal matter. While expressing concern about the unrest, Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said that the UN will not intervene until requested by both parties.

“As far as this role of good offices is concerned, the United Nations normally takes that initiative when requested by both parties concerned,” Ban said in October.

“India and Pakistan, they are neighbouring countries, important nations in that region – peace and security would have important implications,” he added.

At the debate in the General Assembly, the UK also repeated its support to see India on as a permanent member of
the Security Council. “On the Council’s structure, we continue to support permanent membership for Brazil [ Images ], Germany [ Images ], India and Japan [ Images ], as well as permanent representation for Africa,” said Philip Parham, deputy envoy to UK.

“We look forward to working with many of these countries next year when they join the Security Council,” he said, referring to the entry of India and Germany on the Council next year as non-permanent members for a two year term.

While Japan will leave the Council in 2011, Brazil will serve out one more year. The UK representative also suggested “an intermediate model” of reform, which would create new seats with a longer mandate than the present two year term. Then, at the end of this period, a review would be done to see whether these seats should be turned into permanent ones.

Pakistan, which objects to India being on the Council, argued that the new council should include a few large states, a number of medium sized States and a majority of smaller States.

“We support the position of the Organization of Islamic Conference demanding adequate representation of Muslim Ummah in the Security Council,” said Sial.
Betwa Sharma at the United Nations
source:http://www.rediff.com/news/report/kashmir-removed-from-un-list-of-disputes/20101115.htm

my truth & 20 years of exile

Below are some lines which depict the general sentiments of KP community in exile for 20 years….

My wounded scars have not yet healed,
In exile, everyday,
my heart bleed…

I too have a voice, you need ears to listen
I too have emotions;
you need a heart to feel it…

I too am a human being, I too have a life,
With eyes open,
you can see my strife..

my politicians don’t want the truth to come out,
They don’t want me to stand by truth,
and shout..

they don’t like bitter truth’s taste,
for them,
my truth is just a waste..

20 years of exiled imprisonment & still Under locks,
my truth has been blocked,
my truth has been locked..

truth strangulated, justice denied,
oh! this is so unfair,
my choked truth is Gasping for air,but my India doesn’t care..

@Azaad Pandit

Once there was a Kashmiri pandit…..

Once upon a time , There lived a community in Kashmir, who were known as Kashmiri Pandits…

Imbibing their age old customs, They lived in the valley till the eighties..

As the angel of death Azrael hounded them in early nineties…


In the dead of night, they fled from the valley, lest they get killed, by the Islamic mob …

Killers killed old and young, their conscience deaf towards the cries of helpless and a child’s sob….


Their only sin was that they were Hindus and loved India and believed in peace and god’s grace…

While the jihadis celebrated the killings of pundits with impunity as they left their sinister trace….


The demagogues incited the poor and Bourgeoisie to kill the minority for the sake of heaven….

And the Jihadis indoctrinated the rape and killing of infidels as religious duty and a sign of Brave men…


With deceit, can killing of unarmed neighbor be termed as pride and bravery, and a struggle for independency…..

Alas, Vicarious knowledge has never given anyone tranquility, peace and a berth in heaven, nor Ecstasy..


Ostracized & penniless, they had to leave their hearth and homes, During the height of Jihadic mobocracy….

Now, left with little faith have become disillusioned and disheartened with so called pseudo-democracy….


Now In kashmir, Gone are the times of Pandits, when there was goodness and a time of simple folks..

In the land of Amarnath, even shiva has failed to behold the Islamic crescent in his hair locks….


Are there still any good men left, who can stand by truth, justice and maintain their dignity and poise…

Have been looking for those stoic & brave men, who can shake the dead conscience by their stentorian  voice..

Once upon a time , There lived a community in Kashmir, who were known as Kashmiri Pandits…

azaad.pandit@gmail.com

IQBAL’S HINDU RELATIONS

I am beholden to P.V. Rawal of Jammu for sending me a photograph of Allama Iqbal’s Kashmiri Brahmin family taken in Sialkot in 1931. At this time Iqbal was in his mid-fifties. He had already risen to the top as the greatest Urdu poet, at par with Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib. Although he was proud of his Brahmin descent, he had nothing to say about his Hindu relations. In this picture, the elderly lady seated in the middle is his grandmother, Indirani Sapru, nicknamed Poshi, wife of Pandit Kanhaya Lal Sapru. The man standing on the left in a shawl is Iqbal’s cousin, Amarnath Sapru; note the close resemblance to the poet.

The family traces its origin to one Birbal. They lived in the village of Saprain (hence, the surname Sapru) on Shopian-Kulgam road. Then the family moved to Srinagar where Iqbal and most of his cousins were born. Birbal had five sons and a daughter. The third one, Kanhaya Lal, and his wife, Indirani, had three sons and five daughters. Kanhaya Lal was Iqbal’s grandfather. His son, Rattan Lal, converted to Islam and was given the name Nur Mohammad. He married a Muslim woman ? Imam Bibi. The Saprus disowned Rattan Lal and severed all connections with him. There are different versions of Rattan Lal’s conversion. The one given to me by Syeda Hameed, who has translated some of Iqbal’s poetry into English, maintains that Rattan Lal was the revenue collector of the Afghan governor of Kashmir. He was caught embezzling money. The governor offered him a choice: he should either convert to Islam or be hanged. Rattan Lal chose to stay alive. When the Afghan governor fled from Kashmir to escape its takeover by the Sikhs, Rattan Lal migrated to Sialkot. Imam Bibi was evidently a Sialkoti Punjabi. Iqbal was born in Sialkot on November 9, 1877. As often happens, the first generation of converts are more kattar than others. Iqbal thus grew up to be a devout Muslim. It is believed that once he called on his Hindu grandmother, then living in Amritsar. But there is no hard evidence of their meeting and of what passed between them; Iqbal did not write about it. Though he had many Hindu and Sikh friends and admirers, he felt that the future of Indian Muslims lay in having a separate state of their own. Iqbal was the principal ideologue of what later become Pakistan. Iqbal’s mother-tongue was Punjabi but he never wrote in it. He used only Persian and Urdu, as did many Urdu poets before him.

There are many aspects of Iqbal’s personal life which have not been fully researched by his biographers. We know he married two or three times and that his favourite son was Javed, who became a judge of the Lahore high court. Iqbal’s affair with Atia Faizi of Bombay when they met in London is well-known. There must have been some correspondence between them to show the kind of relationship they had. When in Heidelberg, he was taken up by his young German tutor, Emma Veganast. This secret was divulged by the mayor of Heidelberg in a speech in which he named a part of the bank of the river Neckar after him ? Iqbal Weg. The Pakistani ambassador to Germany had the mayor’s speech mentioning the girl’s name suppressed. Iqbal and Emma continued to write to each other till the end of his life. The correspondence should be available in archives in Lahore and Heidelberg. Lovers of Iqbal, among whom I count myself, deserve to be presented with a fuller picture of their idol. We have biographies of Rabindranath Tagore revealing all his love affairs but none of the Allama telling us of the kind of man he was.
written by:Khushwant Singh
source:The Telegraph,India

Amarnath Yatra(Kashmir)

Amarnath yatra
Amarnath is yet another name of lord Shiva. I had the pleasure of going to Amarnath twice. You can go to Amarnathji via The beautiful town of pehalgoan(pehalgam).This route will take you around 2-3 days to reach Amarnathji depending on your pace. This particular route have some of the best vistas one can see and enjoy. The typical route is pehalgam-16kms-Chandanwari- 12kms-Pissu top&sheshnagh-(12kms)-Mahagunus top&
Panchtarni -6kms-Holy cave.(total 46 kms from pehalgam)
There is a shorter route also available which has its base at Baltal. Nowadays it is mandatory to get yourself registered which you can do from Delhi, Jammu And Srinagar.From Jammu one can go directly to pehalgam.This beautiful town is situated at
The height of 7200 feet above sea level. Pehalgam is a part of lidder valley and one can easily get lost in the natural beauty
of this area. This town is surrounded by thick deodar tress and the smell of these trees is blissfully intoxicating. The beautiful lidder river flows right through the town.Chandanwari
is around 16 kms from pehalgam and is situated at around
9500feet above sea level. One can walk through the distance or even drive up to chandanwari. Actual ascend starts from Chandanwari and the stretch between chandanwari to pissu top is indeed very steep and thus makes it really
difficult for the pilgrims.Pissu top is situated at the height of around 11500feet above sea level.From pissu top till amaranth cave one can hardly find trees. From pissu top till sheshnag(12000feet) It is relatively easy walk.Sheshnag lake is one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. It’s crystal clear
blue waters are very soothing to eyes. According to Rajtarangni, there is another lake just above shashnag which is known as zamturnag(son-in-law of Sheshnag).The route from sheshnag to panctarni(12500feet) is easily the most difficult stretch
as one has to pass through Mahagunus top. Mahagunus means the great snake in kashmiri.This is the highest point of this yatra
and the height at Mahagunus top is 14800 feet above sea level. One finds exhausted at this height due to lack of oxygen.
The name of this top has been changed by India army to Mahaganesh top as they were not aware of the local history & culture and they could not understand kashmiri.From Mahagunus top till panctarni, the route is descending .Panchtarni is the last stop before amarnath cave.From panchtarni there is again ascend, but not as steep as pissu top or Mahagunus top. One has to pass through a glacier which is approximately half kilometer long, before one reaches the holy cave(13500 feet). Before having the darshan, one has to take a bath in Amravati river which flows right in front of the cave.Inside holy cave, there is a natural Ice linga of lord Shiva. According to local kashmiri legend which we have heard from our elders, It was here in this holy cave, lord shiva had narrated the story of secret of creation which makes one amar(immortal).Legend also says that there was a pair of pigeons(unlike some news channels which claimed that there were eggs of pigeons who heard the story?) who overheard this story and hence they also became”amar”. One more thing which I would like to share with you is that there has been occasions in the past when shiva linga was not formed(last year also same thing happened and again due to lack of local Kashmir history regarding this yatra the present governor Mr. Sinha had ordered an artificial linga which created controversy.Mr sinha is an able man & has done a lot for development of SASB-Sri amaranth shrine board ).One can go back through pehalgam or through a shorter route from baltal, which was earlier 14kms and now this distance is reduced to 12kms.From baltal one can go to srinagar.One should carry woolens for this yatra as the weather is really unpredictable. have a great journey……….

Muslims silent as Pandits fled: Omar Abdullah

This is what Omar Abdullah said recently:

SRINAGAR: National Conference president Omar Abdullah has accused Muslims of being mute spectators at the time of exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 1990s.

“It’s so easy to say that we will lay down our lives to bring Kashmiri Pandits back to the Valley and I appreciate the sentiment as I am sure the Kashmiri Pandits reading it will. Pity that sentiment was missing when our mosques were being used to drive these people out,” Omar said in his blog on the official website of his party.

“None of us was willing to stand up and be counted when it mattered. None of us grabbed the mikes (microphones) in the mosques and said ‘this is wrong and the Kashmiri Pandits had every right to continue living in the Valley,” he said.

“Our educated, well-to-do relatives and neighbours were spewing venom 24 hours a day and we were mute spectators either mute in agreement or mute in abject fear but mute none the less.

“And talking about mosques — what a great symbol of mass uprising they proved to be. While I can’t claim to have lived through it I have enough friends who did and they tell me about the early 90’s where attendance was taken in mosques to force people to pray,” Omar wrote.

Questioning the spontaneity of processions taken out in 1990, Omar said people were forced out of their homes to participate in “mass uprisings” against “Indian occupation” and the same enforcement committees went from door to door.

source:times of India