Tag Archives: KP

The Night-A story of a Kashmiri Hindu.

It was jan 1998. Veenaji was in the Kitchen. Her Husband Roshanlal was reading the newspaper in the living/Drawing room of their cramped two-room Govt. Quarters at Tope Sherkhanian. She could hear the flipping  sound, when her Husband turned the leaf of the Newspaper. She was thinking about her children, who were perusing   ‘B.E’ in Pune. A knock at the Door was heard clearly in the backdrop of the silence of the Quarter. Roshanlal stood up and opened the Door. A man was standing outside.

“Namaskar Roshanlalji. I am Irfaan. Your neighbor from Banamohallah”. Veenaji too had heard the’ knock’, she came out from the Kitchen out of curiosity. Her Husband, greeted Irfaan. “Come inside. Why are you standing there!  “. Pointing towards Veenaji, Roshanlal asked Veenaji, “Did you recognize him?” The face looked familiar, But She could not recognize him. Irfaan, it seemed understood the confusion of Veenaji. “I am the Son of Khatijah. Remember my Mother! “.  Veenaji’s face lit with happiness.“Yes. I remember her. How is she?” asked Veenaji. “ She died last year because of Heart Failure.” Said Irfaan with regret. She was saddened to hear what he said. “I am so sorry. Please have a seat. I will make tea for both of you.” She went back to the Kitchen.

Irfaan had come to Roshanlal to persuade him to sell his share of  ancestral house. Veenaji was listening to them, while she started making  tea . The memories of her last visit to Kashmir were still vivid. She recalled how she along with her Husband Roshan Lal and their two  Children , a Son-Sachin and Daughter- Meenakshi had moved to Jammu .Her Husband was working in the Govt.Secretariat. They used to live in the Govt. Quarters Tope Sherkhanian. They had moved to jammu in Dec-1989.

J&K has two capitals, i.e, summer capital-Srinagar and winter capital-Jammu. Every year,In winters, the employees of the Govt. Secretariat would move to Jammu for 6 months ; and move back to Srinagar in summers for rest of the 6 months. This custom was/is in vogue since the times of Dogra Rulers . This was/is termed as “Durbaar Move”.

veenaji lit the Gas Stove. She put some milk, sugar and water in an utensil and placed it on the stove.  She looked through the Kitchen Window, although she was not looking at anything, But her past.

The memories of the past started flashing in front of her eyes.

Veenaji and her family loved the winters of Jammu. It would be sunny and warm in Jammu, compared to the cold and gloomy weather of the Srinagar winters. But that year,in 1989-90, It was different. In spite of the warm and sunny weather, she would occasionally feel the shivers. Not because of the weather, but because , on T.V and Radio, she would listen to the news . The merciless killing of the Kashmiri Pandits had started.

And then came the horrendous macabre night of 19 jan 1990.And everything changed after that.

In the last week of Jan 1990, that late night, Her elder Brother Makhan lal along with his family landed at their residence in Jammu. He had come by a taxi. His old mother –Amaji, wife-Lalitaji and two sons Rakesh and Sunil too had come.

As soon as they arrived at their residence, Lalitaji hugged tightly Veenaji and started crying. “it is only by God’s grace that we have reached here safely.” She complained amidst sobs . Amaji tried to console her as she said, “Lalitaji, don’t be a weakling. Be bold. You have yet to face the hardships of life. Be always grateful to God.”

They stayed with Veenaji for some days with this hope that the violence unleashed by the terrorists will be abated soon. But  the destiny of Kashmir had its own plans. After a month, They realized that it might take a long time before they would return back to Kashmir. It was decided by the two families that, they would enroll their children in Jammu for studies , as it was safe.

Since Veenaji and her Family didn’t knew that the situation would deteriorate so much in Kashmir; hence when they had moved to Jammu on the eve of annual “Darbaar move”, they had not taken any documents such as the Mark sheets and other educational documents related to the education of their children. Without these papers, it would be very difficult to get the admissions in the Schools and Colleges. Also, She wanted to get  the documents related to banks such as FD, Saving a/c etc.

Somewhere in  March 1990, She decided to go back to her residence at “Bana Mohallah” , Habbakadal, Kashmir.It was decided that Her sister-in-law lalitaji too would accompany her. In fact Lalitaji had volunteered herself to accompany her. The Males of the House were barred to go to Kashmir as they were more prone to be Shot by the Militants.

They flew to Srinagar and  landed at the Airport by 3-4 P.m. It took them almost 4 hrs. to reach their house at Bana Mohallah. The lanes and by-lanes were muddy as it had rained the previous night. Some Muslim neighbors , who saw them entering their Mohallah, murmured something. By their Gaze , it looked  as if they didn’t wanted them to be there. As they were about to enter their House, Khatijah-the neighbor and friend of Veenaji , came from nowhere and greeted her with a Broad smile. “How are you veenaji. I missed you. Now since Durbaar move will be over shortly,   you be staying  in Kashmir till November!” she exclaimed.  Veenaji  warmly asserted “No, I will stay here for a few days and rejoin my family. We will come back in Mid-April.” She half-lied.  Veenaji knew that she will leave Kashmir tomorrow for Jammu and may not come back next month.

“Then stay put for the night at my house. The curfew will be imposed very soon and you will not get Rice and any other food-item after 15 mintes ”  Pleaded Khatijah.  “ I have brought some rice and Dried-vegetables with me. Thanks .” Veenaji  kindly declined. But Khatijah kept her conversation going and it took another 20-25 minutes before Veenaji and her Sister-in-law entered their house.

Veenaji’s Husband  Roshanlal lived in their ancestral house along with his three Brothers and 3 cousins. Their house was Big and hoary with a courtyard. Though, the house had 25 rooms, But it housed 7 nuclear families. Roshanlal, his 3 Brothers and 3 Cousins(Brothers) though were living in one house, But the wives of all the 7 brothers had decided to cook separately , in separate Kitchens, for their Families(consisting of Husband and Children).All the 7 Brothers had partitioned the 25 rooms in almost equal proportion. Apart from a Kitchen, Veenaji and her Husband had inherited 2 big rooms.

On a normal day, prior to 1990, their house was abuzz with activity. In the morning and in the evenings, many a times, one would hear the synchronous hissing sound from the steaming pressure-cooker, coming from 2 or more Kitchens of the House at the same time. The floating aroma of Knol Khol(Hak) or lamb-meat would titillate the Olfactory of the whole neighborhood. In the afternoon, the shrilled voices of the Children playing in the courtyard was common .In spite of 7 separate kitchens, Veenaji and her 6 co- sister-in-law would often share their delicacies with each other.

But the House was different this time.

As soon as Veenaji entered her House, she was welcomed by the eerie silence. It was frightening. All her 6 co-sister-in-law and their families too had moved to Jammu. The last family that had moved from this house to jammu was almost 15 days back.As she climbed-up the stairs of her house, a strange fear crept  into her heart. It was almost 8.00 P.M by now and the darkness had covered almost everything.

She and Lalitajee were feeling the Hunger pangs. Into the utensil, Veenaji took a handful of rice from the polythene  bag , she had brought with her from jammu. Soon, she realized that she has forgotten to get a matchbox or lighter to light up the cooking gas stove. “I will go downstairs to Ashaji’s kitchen and get the lighter .” she informed Lalitaji. “Do you have the keys of that Kitchen?” asked Lalitaji. “No, she never locks her Kitchen.” Replied Veenaji. “It is so scary here, I too will accompany you.” Said Lalitajee.

The Kitchen-door was indeed unlocked. As soon as Veenajee, switched-on the light, her face became pale out of fear. Shockingly, she exclaimed “Oh! My God. Someone is cooking here!”  . “Hey Bhagwan ! what will we do now?” asked Lalitajee nervously. She was Gaping and beating her chest. Veenaji  knew that her sister-in-law is weak-hearted and might behave strangely or may even faint.

She assessed the situation quickly. There was a matchbox lying on the ground. Many burnt match sticks were scattered over the floor of the Kitchen. From The cooked rice in the utensils, it looked as if ,just a few hours back, someone had cooked it. She did not waste much time in investigating. She opened the cupboard that was at the right corner of the Kitchen. She swept her fingers over the things in the cupboard and soon took a lighter , a torch and a candle from the cupboard. And switched off the main light of the Kitchen and closed the door.

“Follow me quickly”, she whispered . Lalitajee did not protest and followed the instructions. “As we know, someone is using the Kitchen of Ashajee, It might be a militant or a group of Militants. We cannot afford to switch-on the lights and invite any unwanted trouble. Understand Lalitaji?” she looked at her sister-in-law. Lalitaji was very scared, but she acted Bravado and said , “Yes, I do. You are right. But can we make the dinner for us?” she asked. “No. We cannot, since, the aroma of the Rice might give them a clue, that someone is inside the house.” she explained to Lalitaji. “Anyways, I don’t feel hungry now”, lied Lalitaji.They ran up towards the room.

Veenaji  pulled an iron-Chest, that was placed at the corner of the room . She opened the lid and switched-on the Torch. suddenly, Lalitaji could see A bundle of papers, some folders containing some documents, a photo album, and some books. Veenaji took only a couple of  Folders from the Box, closed the lid and placed it to the original position. Lifting the two folders in her hands, she said to Lalitaji, “This is for what we came here and took all the trouble”. She kept the two folders in the bag, that she had brought with her from Jammu.

They were sitting besides a window, so that they could have a direct and unobstructed view of the main Door, leading towards the courtyard. As it was still quite cold, they had draped themselves in the blankets. The main wooden Door of their House was Huge. A big rectangular latch, may be one feet long and 5 inches wide was connected to a wooden Knob  .The latch moved up or down angularly, if the Knob was rotated. The latch faced towards the courtyard and the Knob towards the by-lane. It would make a lot of noise, if someone would open or close the Latch of the Door. Lalitaji was constantly praying to Mother Goddess for their protection. They had even made a plan, in case a militant or a group of Militants enter their house.” In case any intruder comes here, we will slip beneath the Bed. Understand!” explained Veenaji to her Sister-In-Law. Lalitaji had nodded her head in approval.

Just past the midnight, It began to pour heavily. The staccato of the rain hitting the tin-roofs of the Houses was rather unwanted and irritatingly. The odd street lamp positioned on the pole went off too.  It was pitch dark outside. Because of the pitch darkness and noise, they thought, they have lost the chance of detecting  any intruder. Lalitaji was chanting the Hymns of Goddess Indrakshi rather loudly to invoke the blessings. But the sound  of heavy rains superseded her frequency of voice modulation .It stopped raining after a couple of Hours.

Both of them were feeling very sleepy. Pretending to be vigilant at this odd hour of the night, they were looking at  the main Wooden Door. They were drowsing. Their heads would inadvertently hit the wooden window pane and they would concentrate briefly their attention on the wooden door again. Then, they would drowse yet again. They did not talk to each other for couple of Hours.

And then Dogs began to Bark. They woke up.

 

A pack of Dogs were barking on a Shadowy figure. The figure, it seemed was waving something to keep away the Dogs. Soon, another figure appeared, it was smaller in the size than the one who was waving something. The smaller figure grabbed the Loose clothing, most probably the ’ pheran’ of the larger figure . It looked as if, the smaller figure was trying to stop the larger figure. And then, their conversation became louder.

“Leave me Aapa, I have to follow the orders”, fulminated the  belligerent larger figure . The other voice, that of a female in a protesting tone said, “No. I will not let you do it. I will talk to them tomorrow. I will tell them to leave”.

Veenaji’s heart sank. She recognized the voice of the female. It was unmistakably that of Khatijah. Her neighbor. Many thoughts crossed her mind. “Is somebody coming here to kill me. Am I going to live for another day or not! Will I be able to see my Children and Husband again.” She was weighed down by the weltschmerz. Tears began to roll down from the corner of her eyes .Fortunately for her, Lalitaji’s attention was focused towards the two shadowy figures and was unaware of the upheaval of emotions going on in her sister-in-laws’s mind.

The lone street light began to glow suddenly. They could clearly see the two figures. It was indeed Khatijah. Veenaji recognized the other figure too. It was Ajaz-The youngest Son of Khatijah. And, he was carrying a Gun. Khatijah had held the collar of her Son’s Pheran. Ajaz was approaching towards the main wooden door of Veenaji’s House. Khatijah was getting literally dragged, but she didn’t let loose her Grip on the collar.

Khatijah’s tone was changing constantly. From dominant to Pleading, she was trying her best to stop her son from opening the Door. But Ajaz was equally adamant. He dragged her to the Gate and rotated the Knob of the wooden Door. There was a creepy , unpleasant loud sound of opening of the wooden latch. Ajaz Kicked the door open.

“Oh my God! He is coming to Kill us.” Screamed lalitaji. She threw the Blanket and ran Hysterically from one end of the room to other end. “ Control yourself  lalitaji. Instead of getting nervous, think of a plan.”, she comforted lalitaji . She too came out from the warmth of Blanket and held lalitaji’s Shoulders with both of her Hands. “ Let us see and listen to what they are arguing about”. Lalitaji followed her without protest.

Ajaz opened the wooden door. Khatijah’s Grip loosened from the collar. But she grabbed the left leg of her Son. Ajaz kept her dragging. Her pheran was smeared in Mud. “ I will kill myself, if you do not listen to me”. She was crying. Ajaz stopped. He lifted up his Mother and began to clean the dirt from the pheran of his mother. She was still crying Helplessly. Something happened. Ajaz hugged her mother and said, “OK, As you wish. Let us go back”, in a comforting tone. Khatijah kissed the forehead of his Son. They both went back and closed the big wooden door. The dogs started barking again.

Veenaji and Lalitaji had a sigh of relief. They kept on looking at the wooden door until the Dawn. With the first azaan of the mosque, they left the house. Veenaji opened the wooden latch of the Door. She looked back at her House. Little did she realized that she was looking at her hose for the last time.

Within no time, they were at Habba Kadal. The security guards stopped them and asked, “Where are you going?”. Lalitaji’s face lit up. “We are Kashmiri Pandits. We are going to RTC. From there, we will board a Bus for Jammu”. The security Guards let them go. They were intersected and stopped by the Security guards at many places. Upon hearing that they are KP’s, they were let off immediately. It took them more than an Hour and a half to reach RTC by foot.

There were Buses and Taxis waiting for the passengers to take them to Jammu. A sardarji approached them. “Where will you go sister? Jammu! Come sister, in my taxi. Let me take you”. Both Veenaji and Lalitaji were exhausted both physically and mentally. They decided to go by Sardarji’s taxi.

They reached Tope Sherkhanian, Jammu by 4.00 p.m. Lalitaji  narrated the whole incident to everyone present there melodramatically. Veenaji had not interfered lalitaji. She wanted her to vent off her feelings.

Veenaji’s Brother’s family had stayed with them for more than four months, before they moved to a rented accommodation at Subash Nagar.

The tea was boiling in the utensil. Some portion of the boiling tea fell on  the Flame of the cooking gas stove. The burning smell of the tea, drew back Veenaji from her Past. She closed the knob of the gas and  cleaned the Stove with a cloth and washed her hands with a soap. After pouring the tea in the cups, she put the cups in the tray and came out of the small kitchen to the living room.She placed the Tray on the top of the Central table.Irfaan and  Roshanlal  took one cup each from the tray.

Irfaan and Roshanlal were engrossed in a conversation and were oblivious to veenaji’s presence. She was wringing her hands impatiently. “How is your Brother Ajaz?”, She interrupted Irfaan, with a tone of anger. Irfaan looked at her, Put the cup down,  and with a deep sigh, he  said with regret, “He died in an encounter with the security Guards 4 years back .He had become a militant. My mother pleaded with him to give up arms .But he did not listen”. And then he looked the other side. “I am so sorry.” Said Roshanlal apologetically. Veenaji did not tried to comfort him. “You carry on. I have some work in the Kitchen. Excuse me.”She said casually as she did not wanted to be a part of the conversation. She stood up and went again to the Kitchen.

She pretended to dish-wash. But for some reasons, once again, the Flashes of the Horrendous night kept coming to her mind…

 

 

 

 

 

3 reasons for the Radicalization of Kashmir(1947-90)..

3 reasons about the Radicalization of Kashmir(1947-90)..

In 1990,Tej Krishan Razdan, came back from Punjab to his native village in Budgam District, as he had heard in the TV, and read in the Newspapers about the deteriorating situation in the Kashmir valley. The Target-Killing of Kashmiri Pandits had started. He wanted to make sure that his family is safe and was thinking of shifting his family to a safer place. Little did he knew , What was in store for Him.

On 12th Feb. 1990,in Budgam, He was accosted by one of his Muslim friends. He persuaded Tej Krishan, to accompany him to Srinagar and both boarded the Matador from Budgam to Srinagar. When the Matador reached Gaw-Kadal, Suddenly, his Friend, pulled out a Revolver and Shot him several Times in the chest. He was dragged to the Local Masjid and his Dead Body was put on display there. It was only in the evening, with Police intervention, his body could be secured.

He was killed mercilessly. So were hundreds of KP’s. Before Killing a KP , the militant in many cases would subject the Body to dismemberment, and incidents , like gouging out of eyes, Multiple Fractures, Skinning of KP Victims took place. The inhuman way of Killing was a part of their Planned Strategy, That was carried out by the Militants backed by Pakistan. The message was clear to the KP’s that, “Don’t you dare to stay here “.

Apart from the target individual killings of the Pandits; to keep away KP’s from coming back into the valley, the Pakistani Backed Militants also carried out Massacres’ of Kashmiri Pandits from Time to Time. On 21 Mar. 1997, in Sangrampra, 7 KP’s were led away in the dark and shot dead. On 25 jan. 1998, in Wandhama, 23 KP’s were massacred and the local Temple damaged. On 23 March 2003, at Nadimarg, 24 KP’s were massacred.

Not only that, to dissuade the KP’s and instill a fear psychosis, the Militants confronted KP’s in Jammu region too.3 KP’s were Killed in Garhat Gool village, Ramban by the Militants impersonated as Army men. They identified and separated 5 KP’s amongst the passengers that were travelling in the Bus. There were Muslims as well as Hindu Dogras too travelling in the same Bus, but they were not touched by the Militants. The 5 KP-men were ordered to alight from the Bus. Sensing danger, 2 KP’s escaped from the clutches of their captors as one jumped down into the ravine and the other one ran up towards the Hill. The rest of the3 KP’s were Shot Dead. There was a 6th KP in the Bus, who escaped Death , as he did not revealed his real identity. Instead, he had introduced himself as a Muslim and was thus saved.

The message was again Loud and Clear to KP’s-“Don’t you dare to return, back to the valley”.

All these actions were not abrupt. In fact, if we look from 1947 onwards, the complete-Radicalization of the valley took many years and was carried out in at least 3 stages, before its culmination in 1990.

Plebscite Front(1955)
Sheikh Abdullah’s Bonhomie with Jawahar Lal Nehru was well Known. He formed “All Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conference” in Oct.1932.The name itself suggested that the party ,he formed,was Muslim-centric. In 1939, He changed the name of “Muslim conference” to “All Jammu & Kashmir National Conference” and affiliated it to “All India state people’s conference”. At that time Pt.Jawahar Lal Nehru was the president of that conference. It is evident that Sheikh Abdullah was persuaded by Pt Nehru in one way or other to shun the Muslim conference, make a new party that looks secular, and affiliate the party to his conference.

After Maharaja Hari Singh signed the “Treaty of accession” with India, with the support of PT.Nehru, Sheikh was elected as the 2nd Prime Minister of J&K in March 1948. He remained as the Prime Minister of J&K till 1953, when he failed to prove his majority in the House. In fact all his Cabinet pledged their support to Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed-who went on to become the third Prime minister of J&K.PT. Nehru too was instrumental in abdicating the Shiekh. By, this time, the cracks had appeared in the Friendship of Pt.Nehru and Sheikh.

Pt. Nehru was informed by the Indian intelligence agencies about the ploy hatched by the Pakistani Intelligence agencies, CIA and Sheikh Abdullah and their information was substantiated by the Proof and Documents. From the Proof, It became clear that Sheikh was working against the Nation. For this Sedition, He was incarcerated by Bakshi Gh. Mohd.

The Plebiscite front was formed by Mohammed Afzal Beg -a trusted aide of Sheikh Abdllah- on 9th Aug 1955.He became its titular Head and Sheikh Abdullah was made the Patron of the Front. .From 1955 till 1974, The Plebiscite front acted as the main opposition. To Garner support, the members of this group exploited the religious sentiments of the Muslim Majority of the valley. Plebiscite front issued its own version of decree; and urged the people of Kashmir not to vote for the Congress or NC. Pertinently, National Conference was merged into the congress from 1965 till 1975.
At various gatherings, they would invoke the verses from the Holy “Quran” and incite the religious sentiments amongst the people. They intertwined politics and Islam for as long as “Plebiscite front” existed. They sowed the seeds of Hatred between the Hindus and Muslims of Kashmir.

The objective of the Plebiscite front was to carry out a referendum and through the referendum come to the conclusion whether:
1.Kashmir should accede into Pakistan
2.Remain with India
3.Become Independent Nation.

But after the “Indira-Sheikh” accord in 1974, Strangely , or rather comically, the Titular Head of the Front, Mohammed Afzal Beg, proclaimed that the purpose of the Plebiscite front was to cement Kashmir into India forever. Following the agreement with the Union government, Sheikh Abdullah merged the Plebiscite Front into a renewed National Conference in 1975, which won the democratic elections and affirmed Abdullah as the new Chief Minister of J&K.

However, During their existence of almost 20 years, the seeds of communalism had sprouted in the Hearts of the Kashmiri Muslim and remained so even today.

Unsuccesful Operation Gibraltor(1965):
Ever since, J&K acceded into the Dominion of India, Pakistan had tried its best to snatch away Kashmir by any Means. They had kept a close watch on India .When in 1962, the war broke out between India and China; the vulnerability of India got exposed in front of the World. It became evident that the Militarily equipments are Out Dated and their Air-Force is below standard. At least, this is what Pakistan thought. They were confident that the weapons that India possessed at that time are no match to their’s.

The episode of 1963, when the Holy relic of Prophet Mohamed was stolen, had flared up the religious emotions of the Kashmiri Muslims, and the episode had developed an intense feeling of Islam in KM’s. Pakistan was of the view that because of this incident, KM’s will side with them, if they happen to attack India and enter into Kashmir.

In 1965, They got another shot in the arm, when in an armed confrontation with India at Rann of Kutch, they had some gain .All these factors, made them believe that they not only ready to take India Heads on, But defeat India and annex Kashmir. However, they did not wanted to indulge into a full-fledged war with India.
Under the Operation Gibraltar; Pakistan had planned to capture all the high passes of Jammu Kashmir, and send their troops in Disguise into J&K, incite the Public against India and give the whole episode the color of Local uprising against the state. Their initial Plans succeeded to some extent. But their Theory, that the locals with side with them, was far away from the reality.
Pakistan pushed 40,000 Army personal of Azad Kashmir Battalion impersonated as Locals(Pakistan claims less than 1000) into J&K, But they were identified by the locals of Kashmir as intruders and non-locals. It was the Locals-who gave information to the Indian Army about the intrusion-and the Army took the corrective actions immediately. The fiasco of “Operation Gibralter” resulted in the war of 1965 between India and Pakistan.

Operation Topac(1988):
In April 1988, the President of Pakistan Gen. Zia-Ul-Hak, called a meeting in the President’s residential office. The meeting was attended by selected corps commanders, Top ISI Officials, an Afgan Mujahid Leader, and two Kashmir Liberation Front Leaders.The main contents from Presidents address were leaked through a mole from a third world country, and became available to India’s Research and Analysis wing (RAW) agents somewhere in sept-Oct 1988.The contents were as follows:

“Gentlemen, I have spoken on this subject at length before, therefore, I will leave out the details. As you know due to our pre-occupation in Afghanistan, in the service of Islam, I have not been able to put these plans before you earlier. Let there be no mistake, however, that our aim remains quite clear and firm-the liberation of the Kashmir Valley-our Muslim Kashmiri brothers cannot be allowed to stay with India for any length of time, now. In the past we had opted for hamhanded military options and therefore, failed. So, as I have mentioned before, we will now keep our military option for the last moment as a coup de grace, if and when necessary. Our Kashmiri brethren in the valley, though with us in their hearts and minds, are simple-minded folk and do not easily take to the type of warfare to which, say, a Punjabi or an Afghan takes to naturally, against foreign domination. The Kashmiris however have a few qualities which we can exploit. First, his shrewdness and intelligence; second, his power to persevere under pressure; and the third, if I may so say, he is a master of political intrigue. If we provide him means through which he can best utilize these qualities – he will deliver the goods. Sheer brute force is in any case not needed in every type of warfare, especially so in the situation obtaining in the Kashmir Valley, as I have explained earlier.

Here we must adopt those methods of combat which the Kashmiri mind can grasp and cope with-in other words, a coordinated use of moral and physical means, other than military operations, which will destroy the will of the enemy, damage his political capacity and expose him to the world as an oppressor. This aim, Gentlemen, shall be achieved in the initial phases.

In the first phase, which may, if necessary, last a couple of years we will assist our Kashmiri brethren in getting hold of the power apparatus of the State by political subversion and intrigue. I would like to mention here that as no Government can survive in Occupied Kashmir unless it has the tacit approval of Delhi, it would be unrealistic to believe that the MUF or any such organization can seize power through democratic or other means. In view of this,’ power must “apparently” remain with those whom New Delhi favours. We must therefore ensure that certain “favoured politicians” from the ruling elite be selected who would corporate with us in subverting all effective organs of the State. In brief, our plan for Kashmir, which will be codenamed as “Op Topac” will be as follows:

PHASE-1(TOPAC)
A low-level insurgency against the regime, so that it is under siege, but does not collapse as we would not yet want central rule imposed by Delhi.
We plant our chosen men in all the key positions; they will subvert the police forces, financial institutions, the communication network and other important organizations.
We whip up anti-Indian feelings amongst ” the students and peasants, preferably on some religious issues, so that we can enlist their active support for rioting and anti-Government demonstrations.
Organize and train subversive elements’ and armed groups with capabilities, initially, to deal with paramilitary forces located in the valley.
Adopt and develop means to cut off lines of communication between Jammu & Kashmir and within Kashmir and Ladakh by stealth, without recourse to force. The road over Zojila upto Kargil and the road over Khardungla should receive our special attention.
In collaboration with Sikh extremists, create chaos and terror in Jammu to divert attention from the valley at a critical juncture and discredit the regime even in the Hindu mind.
Establish virtual control in those parts of the Kashmir Valley where the Indian Army is not located or deployed. The Southern Kashmir Valley may be one such region.

PHASE-2(TOPAC)
Exert maximum pressure on the Siachen. Kargil and Rajauri-Punch sectors to force the Indian Army to deploy reserve formations outside the main Kashmir Valley.
Attack and destroy base depots and HQ located at Srinagar, Pattan, Kupwara. Baramulla. Bandipur and Chowkiwala by covert action at a given time.
Some Afghan Mujahideen, by then settled in Azad Kashmir, will then infiltrate in selected pockets with a view to extending areas of our influence. This aspect will require detailed and ingenious planning. The fiasco of Op Gibraltar (1965) holds many lessons for us here.
Finally a Special Force under selected retired officers belonging to Azad Kashmir, with the hard core consisting of Afghans, will be ready to attack and destroy airfields, radio stations, block Banihal Tunnel and Kargil-Leh Highway.
At a certain stage of the operations Punjab and adjacent areas of Jammu & Kashmir will be put under maximum pressure internally by our offensive posture.

PHASE-3(TOPAC)
Detailed plans for the liberation of Kashmir Valley and establishment of an independent Islamic State in the third phase will follow.

We do not have much time. Maximum pressure must be exerted before the general elections in India and before Indian Army reserves which are still bogged down in Sri Lanka become available. By the Grace of God, we have managed to accumulate large stocks of modern arms and ammunition from US consignments intended for Afghan Mujahideen. This will help our Kashmiri brethren achieve their goals. Even if we create a kind of “Azad Kashmir” in some remote parts of Occupied Kashmir as a beginning, the next step may not be as difficult as it appears today. On the other hand, it should also be noted that a part of the Indian Army, particularly the Infantry, will be well trained by now for such a situation due to their experience in the North-Eastern Region and more recently in Sri Lanka. But the situation in Kashmir will be somewhat different; more like the “Infetada” of Palestinians in towns, and on the pattern of the Mujahideen in the countryside to attack hard targets. A. period of chaos in the State is essential in the circumstances.

And what of our Chinese friends? They can do no more than ensure that Indian forces deployed against them are not moved. out; but this may be required only at the last or the third stage of our operations. Of course, if we are in serious trouble, the Chinese and our other powerful friends shall come to our rescue one way or the other. They will ensure if we do not
win-at least we don’t lose.

.”Finally, I wish to caution you once more that it will be disastrous to believe that we can take on India in a straight contest. We must, therefore, be careful and maintain a low military profile so that the Indians do not find an excuse to pre-empt us, by attacking at a time and at a point of their own choosing, at least before Phase 1 and 2 of the Operation are over. We must pause and assess the course of operations after each phase, as our strategy and plans may require drastic changes in certain circumstances. I need not emphasize any further that a deliberate and objective assessment of the situation must be ensured at each stage, otherwise a stalemate will follow with no good for Pakistan.

Conclusion
The seeds sown by the “Plebiscite Front”, and watered by its communal politics, and manure by Pakistan with “Operation Topac” gradually began bearing fruits for Pakistan. 1990 Jan is a testimony to the fact, that how the whole administration collapsed , and how the Mobocracy was rampant .The Fiasco of Operation Gibraltar prompted Pakistan to think differently.Rather than attacking India directly, they started a psychological war based on Islam and pushed forward their own version of islamization, that obliterated the Rishi-Sufi culture and burgeoned the salafi-wahabi culture in Kashmir. All the above factors made Kashmir the Hot-bed of Radicalization……

Refrences;
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gibraltar
2. http://www.indiandefencereview.com/spotlights/op-topac-the-kashmir-imbroglio-i/3/
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plebiscite_Front
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jammu_%26_Kashmir_National_Conference
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_Wandhama_massacre
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Nadimarg_massacre
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_Sangrampora_massacre
8. http://www.rediff.com/news/jun/16kash.htm

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…

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…

 

gangabal yatra 2014(kashmir)-some photos

_MG_5279 _MG_5422 _MG_5431 _MG_5433 _MG_5471 _MG_5515 _MG_5581 _MG_5584 _MG_5590 _MG_5646 IMG_5329 IMG_5345 IMG_5349 IMG_5370 IMG_5387 IMG_5390 IMG_5398 IMG_5403 IMG_5405 IMG_5442 IMG_5448 IMG_5468gang

Re-settlement of Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir

With- Narendra bhai Modi-becoming the Prime Minister of India, suddenly Kashmiri Pandit’s hopes to re-claim their Homeland has risen sharply. The optimism shown by the BJP’s leadership to rehabilitate KP’s in the valley with full honor and dignity, has opened a new chapter for the exiled community. The possible return to their land looks realistic for the first time. KP’s unanimously welcome this decision. After almost 25 years, suddenly the smell of their land has intensified their urge to go back to their roots. The tall Mountains of the valley, it seems are beckoning the KP’s to come back. The echoes of their vibrant past are still resonating in the womb of the valley. So are the memories of the gory incidents that made way for their forced-exodus.

Kashmiri Pandits did not left the valley because of better future viz-a-viz professional career or better Business opportunities, but out of the fear of Death that came in the form of the bullets from the guns of Terrorists. They left the valley to safeguard the honor and dignity of their women-folk. They left because the then Chief-Minister of J&k- Mr.Farooq Abdullah abdicated his duties and gave a free hand to the Pakistani-backed Militants. And most of the KP’s who left in early 1990 had never thought that they won’t be able to come back even after 24 years!

It has been a total failure on the part of congress(i), National conference and PDP to rehabilitate KP’s back to the land of their ancestors. Because KP’s don’t form a substantial vote-bank does not mean that the Kashmir-centric political parties keep on exploiting KP’s just to keep their vote bank happy.

It is an irony that in spite of a population of more than 4 lakh(estimate population of KP’s is between 4-7lakh) their vote-power can not assure even a single Legislative assembly seat. Such is the deliberate design of the assembly and lok sabha constituencies in J&K. The population of the Ladakh region is less than the population of KP’s but still one M.P(Member of parliament) seat is assured from that area.

Few days back , a news appeared in some newspapers that the GOI is mulling of settling KP’s in three townships (in Anantnag, Srinagar and baramullah). The intended tri-colonies will only trifurcate the community. The infamous 7 exoduses of Kashmir should be taken into consideration before any decision on the return and rehabilitation is considered. The leaders of the community should be heard. The leaders who have any affiliation to the valley-centric political parties should be ignored as they will only push the agenda of their respective parties. Even the leaders affiliated to congress(i) should be given a cold-shoulder as none of the kashmiri pundits support them, and a majority of the KP’s feel cheated by this party.

If the news of the return is true, then May I ask with all the humility that Why should KP’s be settled in 3 townships instead of a single concentrated township. The strength and confidence of KP’s will increase tremendously if they are re-settled in a single township, instead of three. Only those who oppose covertly  the return of KP’s into the valley are suggesting with the quixotic plans, and using flowery phrases like Kashmiriyat.

With the so-called-kashmiriyat becoming a cliché, a bedizen, KP no longer believe in this adjective/synonym for secularism. The demagogues of Kashmir know it too well that the actions of 1990 by terrorists and an eerie silence by the majority at that time, will not let KP’s return and live in the valley, as they once used to. Hence the trite Kashmiriyat is repeated by the politicians of Kashmir just to discourage the pundits to re-claim their lost lands and usurp their lands and properties. To counter this, Again, there is one solution. Rehabilitate all KP’s in one area.

Time has proved that the valley based political parties have used “Religion” as a tool to polarize the Kashmiri-Society. With Muslims forming the majority of the population, they will repeat the time-tested policy of marginalizing the pundits in every possible way. This invidious distinction between the two communities have been executed by the Political parties/Monarchs of Kashmir both tacitly as well as blatantly, depending upon the time since last 8-9 hundred years. The 7 exoduses of the kashmiri pundits are the result of such policies that were followed by the ruling class of Kashmir, as KP’s were bereft of any political power. Political empowerment of KP’s is the solution to arrest such happenings in future.

The last exodus(1990-till date) should hopefully be the last one for the KP’s. Just to be sure, that history of their exodus is not repeated, they need to be re-settled at one place and given political power as well. Let GOI too follow an old adage – “united we stand, divided we fall”. Let them make KP’s united forever in the land of their ancestors-Kashmir. Instead of dividing KP’s, Let GOI give our community a collective voice. And a secured future.

The tenants and the landlords(exodus of KP’s)

Naveen-my friend had shifted to a new rented house at shakti nagar, jammu. His mother while making tea for us in the make-shift kitchen said one day to me in presence of Naveen, “see how, we are living here in this one room. Our cow-shed was four times the size of this room. May the curse of Gods befell on all those terrorists who pushed us to this state of wretchedness. May the pall of gloom befell upon them.”I had heard it before, from many of our elders. This reflected the state of helplessness of the whole community during the 90’s.The exodus of Kashmiri pundits though trampled their identity and pushed them to the brink of extinction , On the other side, the miseries and the compromise with their fate made them adept in the art of survival.

My friend Naveen shifted to Jammu in the last week of jan 1990.His family stayed with their relative for some days/weeks and later on they shifted to a migrant camp at talab tiloo. There were at least four families staying in one hall which was roughly 500 sq. feet. Each family had made some arrangements to guard their privacy. He and his neighbors had drawn boundaries ingeniously cost-effective. A rope was tied from one end to another of the hall both lengthwise and breadth wise. An Indian saree or a blanket or a bed-sheet was tied or folded over to those ropes, thus each family making an own private compartment. Each family had a tin-trunk. The trunk housed their meager belongings and clothes. This trunk was also used as a study table by the students such as my friend Naveen.

When Naveen’s father saved/arranged some money, he decided to take a rented room at Shakti nagar, Jammu. Naveen volunteered to find a room. After some days of search, he finally found a room that fitted their budget. His father was a Govt. School teacher back at Kashmir . Naveen’s family consisted of his parents, a younger brother and an elder sister whom they had married off just a year back in Kashmir. And then a day came, when they shifted to their new house or should I say that newly-rented-room. His friends including me helped him to shift to his new room. It did not take us long to unwind their belongings and keep them at their proper places as directed by his mother. His family insisted us all to have a lunch with them at their new house.

In Kashmir, Very few families used a fridge as a household appliance. It was a luxury item rather than a necessity. On the contrary, a fridge was an absolute must in jammu. Naveen’s mother used to heat-up the left-over dishes at least three or four times a day in order to keep the dishes hygienically edible. A fridge was out of their reach.

The new weather conditions were alien to most of the KP’s. By mid-april, temperature began to rise drastically .KP’s had no experience in dealing with the heat of that magnitude . By early May,To beat the heat, Naveen, his younger brother and their parents bathed at least thrice a day. This created a bad blood between them and their landlord Jagdish.

Jagdish was an Auto-Driver. He had somehow built a 2BHK house on roughly a 4 marla land(roughly 100 sq. yards), The washrooms(a bathroom and a latrine) were built separately outside the main building(but inside the main compound wall).His family consisted of his wife and two children. Though, he did not interact much with Naveen’s family, except, when he had to take the rent from them, But His frequent brawls with his wife almost every night had made Naveen and his family believe that he was a dipsomaniac rogue.

In a way, Jagdish was right. The 500 litre overhead water tank was too small to last the whole day keeping in view the usage of water by the two families especially Naveen’s. So one day, when jagdish threatened them to leave his house over the water-issue, Naveen’s family thought of an alternative.

After the incident, The next day, Naveen, his younger brother and their father headed towards the famous “Nehar”(the canal of Chenab with ice-cold water).That day they took a bath in the morning, at evening and at night in the same “nehar” with alacrity. Naveen was looking out for a rented room again, and I was helping him in his endeavor, as I lived close by at Talab-tiloo, just across the canal.

By early july, Naveen shortlisted another house, just 50 meters from the “Nehar”. The house owner, Mr.Gupta, was a Govt. employee. This time they rented one room but with a separate kitchen. The room was bigger than the previous one, and it had two water-tanks. One underground and one over-head tank. This time also I and a couple of my friends volunteered to help them in their shifting. Mr. Gupta’s son “Rinku” was as old as Naveen and hence he befriended Naveen and his younger brother quickly.

During the monsoons, with the rise of Humidity, skin rashes and infections were rampant. Almost all KP’s including me and the family of Naveen had no clue how to deal with it. Satish, the elder cousin of Naveen during that monsoon season one fine day said to us “Take a bath in the canal with a “lifebuoy” soap .All skin rashes will go away. I have tried it on myself and it worked like a charm”. We all tried it at once. In fact I too spread this secret advice with my friends. The effectiveness of that remedy is a matter of research to this day.

Naveen stayed in Mr. Gupta’s house for a year or so. It so happened that Mr. Gupta raised their rent by a couple of hundred rupees, which Naveen’s father thought was unfairly steep. when He protested, Mr. Gupta said to him,” I don’t have any enmity with you. In fact I have raised the rent of Mr.Bhat also. It is because you are living here from past one year, and you are a good man, I am only raising the rent by Rs200.Otherwise the room-set you are occupying is worth more.” In the evening their co-tenant Mr.Bhat confirmed Mr. Gupta’s statement as true, and was quick to say,” It is a cumbersome job to hunt for a house again, During my one and a half years stay in jammu as a migrant, this is my third house, I have become familiar to this area, It will be a mental and emotional challenge to settle at a new house in a new area”.Naveen was a witness to the dialogue between his father and their co-tenant. Before retiring for the bed, Mr. Bhat said to his father, “Give him what he wants, you never know , how your new landlord will be, in case you opt to shift.”After a lot of deliberation, Naveen’s father decided to stay put at the Gupta’s house.

I am not sure, whether this move made Naveen’s Dad to take up tuitions or was it pre-meditated before the “rent-rise incident”. Anyways, Tuitions helped the family monetarily to an extent. Naveen’s family purchased a fridge as well as a colour TV after some months. As it happened, Naveen and his family stayed cordially with the Gupta’s for 5 long years. Naveen once said to me years later, “Guptajee knows almost all of our relatives, In fact, sometimes he visits our relatives on his own without informing us”.

I don’t know what happened to Naveen and his family in between 1997 till 2012 as I lost touch with him. Somewhere in 2012, I got a call from Naveen. He told me that he is working in Mumbai.His younger brother is working as a Govt. employee in Jammu with department of agriculture. And that he has purchased a Flat in Mumbai and his brother has built a two and a half storied house in Mutthi,Jammu. After he hung up the phone, for strange reasons, some lingering thoughts took me back to 1990, when they were living in Talab-tiloo migrant camp hall of 500sq feet area, with three other families.And I must confess that The sarees, blankets and bed-sheets as their boundaries to safeguard their privacy will have an everlasting impression on my mind….

The crisis of Kashmiri Pandit Identity

19 January 2012 will complete 22 years in exile for Kashmiri Pandits(KP).This minority community of Kashmir were forced to leave their hearth and Homes 22 years back as there was total anarchy and oglocracy in Kashmir. some rabid , religious fundamental zealots were on rampage and Target shooting of KP’s had become their Hobby.In this whole chaos KP homes were plundered and some pyromaniacs set many KP houses on fire. All this happened on the name of Jihad.

At least 4 lakh KP’s left their homeland in the chilling nights of jan 1990 to safeguard their lives, honor and dignity. Today this beleaguered community is scattered all over world-Thanks to Govt. Apathy-with majority of Kp’s dwelling in India particularly Jammu and Delhi Region.

Even after 22 years GOI has no blue print to bring back KP’s to their Homeland-Kashmir. GOI has negated the fact that KP’s are refugees in their own country, they better call KP’s Internally Displaced. Technically or terminologically they may be right but this terminology is more of a Hogwash, a misnomer as “Internally displaced” tag of KP’s misleads one to think that Govt. is going to reverse the migration of KP’s from Kashmir. Till today-even after 22 years nothing has happened.

Post 1990,The successive governments led by either National conference or PDP, came to power in J&K with the support of congress(i), have been pre-occupied with other things and most of their activities are executed with one thing in mind-to increase the vote bank-Unfortunately KP’s do not form any sizeable vote bank and thus the Rights of KP’s have been depredated from time to time, especially since Jan 1990.

Jammu region has a majority of Hindu population and overall in J&K, Hindus constitute around 30% of the total population. Being a Muslim majority state most of the policies are majority centric. Hindus of J& K have felt disadvantageous at many times, particularly in Govt. employments, they also don’t get the subsidies which their counterparts enjoy in Kashmir. Till today there has not been a single Hindu who has made it to become the chief Minister of J&K.

Religion and Culture are the bipods of healthy community, Jammu being a Hindu majority Region has given ample scope to everyone to practice their religion and Culture unlike Kashmir where KP’s faced the brunt of religious apartheid.
Today, K.P’s stand at crossroads, their homeland is so near still so far, their culture and religion is at the brink of extinction, their identity is being erased slowly by the polity of that Nation for which they were killed, raped, hounded and exiled. The need of the Hour is to preserve the unique culture and identity of KP’s, the unique identity that was soul of Kashmir, all that can happen only when KP’s come back to Kashmir-Their motherland .

The million dollar question arises,” can they come back to Kashmir and live as they used to?” the answer is a big “NO”. Most of the houses belonging to KP’s have been either sold out in distress, or they have been burnt down or they have been illegally captured by nefarious elements backed either by Govt. Machinery or Pakistan backed terrorists. The fact is they have nowhere to go if they come back to Kashmir.

Government knows this important point, they have in fact built some ghettos for KP’s where some Kp’s are residing, particularly those who were given jobs in Kashmir, Some of these KP’s have alleged that 4-5 people share a common room in these Ghettos and many basic facilities are missing in these government flats. These temporary ghettos are not a answer for reverse migration of KP’s. This way religious freedom and cultural identity of KP’s cannot be preserved. Anyways Ghettos give a feeling of being a alien.

The other viable solution is a separate homeland which is most popularly known as “Panun Kashmir”. This Homeland can preserve the religion, culture and identity of KP’s for generations. Panun Kashmir is a Homeland demand of KP’s that will enjoy a union territory status like Chandigarh and all those will be welcomed here who believe in India and Indian constitution.

For some reasons the present Govt. is opposing this demand also. Some of the govt. agencies have twisted the concept of Homeland of KP’s as sacrilegious and projected this demand akin to accession of Kashmir with Pakistan.

In either ways the Govt’s apathy is driving KP’s to oblivion. Govt at State or at center should make it a point that KP’s are brought back to Kashmir.22 years has passed and nothing concrete has been done to preserve the identity of Kashmiri Pandits. These 22 years have made me believe slowly but steadily that in future also Govt. will not do anything except wait and watch.

Tibetans have been given infrastructure, environment and everything else by the Indian Govt. just to protect their identity whereas KP’s have been deprived everything that can preserve their religion and culture. I have come to this conclusion that Govt. should now do one last favor to KP’s- Declare KP’s as Refugees and let KP’s reach out to other countries who have laws to protect the religious freedom and culture. At least that way cohesiveness of KP’s will prevail and their culture and religion will be saved.

I will be more than happy if my conclusion will be proven wrong by Govt’s deeds in coming 365 days.

19 jan 2030,kashmir and kashmiri pandits

19 jan 2030————-Place-Srinagar,Jammu,Delhi,
Venue of first scene-Jantar Mantar, New Delhi,19 jan 2030
Background

It has been 40 years, since the largest minority of Kashmir migrated to different parts of the Globe due to the terrorism which had killed tens of hundreds of their Brethren , rendered them homeless and had left a deep scar on their psyche, bruised their heart and soul. The largest concentration of KP’s which used to be Jammu in the 1990’s has lost its numero uno position, the exact population of KP’s is not known as they are scattered all over India, Besides their vernacular has also changed making it extremely difficult to detect them. However, there is still a minuscule group of erstwhile pundits, who protest on this day and remind us all about their glorious, which now can be termed as insignificant past.
National newspapers tend to ignore this news, This is not a spicy news at all from Media point of view ,but a start up newspaper Journalist cover the report of protest held by Kashmiri Pandits and publishes it in the Newspaper, not out of concern , but because of its incapability to find more news, As a matter of fact, the editor of this start up Newspaper happens to be its only journalist . The news will appear something like this:
19 jan 2030,A group of five Kashmiri Pandits organised a peaceful protest rally today at jantar mantar, as a mark of respect for those who were killed and ousted from Kashmir some four decades back,on eve of their 40th year in Exile, a pakistani flag was also burnt down as a symbol of protest.Those who attended the protest were Mr. X-President Kashmir-xxx, Mr. Y-president-Kashmiri hindu-kkk, Mr.Z-President-Kashmiri Brahmin-zzz, Mr. K-Kashmiri pandit-yyy and Mr. DDD-President-Koshur Batta. A candle light procession was also taken from Jantar Mantar to Hanuman Mandir before they dispersed in the motley crowd.
Venue of second scene, partap park,Srinagar,19 jan 2030
Background

Since last forty years, Kashmiri Muslims who are below forty years have not seen Kashmiri Pandits around , This has made them susceptible to believe that Kashmiri Pandits never existed in Kashmir, and they sincerely feel that it is a rumor of RSS agents and Government of India, who keep popping up this dead issue. A protest rally has been organized by the students of M.A History, University of Kashmir to create a mass awareness about this Government sponsored Fallacy.
All the major newspapers of world , including top Indian national newspapers are present to cover this so called momentous occasion. There is a total chaos in Partap park as it is jam packed, people who didn’t find a place in park have smartly climbed the nearest trees and buildings, The chief minister of the state is watching this program live on his T.V , In fact, he has given his tacit approval to this epiphany of the history Students. Next day ,most of the newspapers report this news on their front page and the news appears something like this:
19 jan 2030,Srinagar, The students of M.A history, Kashmir University organized a protest rally at partap park and virulently attacked the agents of Government of India for spreading rumors about the history of Kashmir. Noted Anthropologist and professor of History, Mr. QQQ told the media persons that RSS backed agents and Government of India had previously also tried to distort history by changing the name of Takht-e-sulaiman hill to Shankaracharya Mandir , Islamabad to Anantnag and Lalla Arifa to Lal ded. Professor alleged that In the same line of misinformation and distortion of history, GOI is planting this theory of Kashmiri Pandits, who never existed on this holy land of sufis. The noted Professor also told media persons that they should ask themselves and their conscience that, if ever, Kashmiri pundit existed on Kashmir, then , there should be some sort of proof which will make it evident that they actually lived in Kashmir valley in the recent past .He also reiterated that Kashmiri Hindus once lived in Kashmir and some 100 years back all the hindus of Kashmir, including the Pandits voluntarily embraced Islam.
Venue of third scene, Durga nagar,Jammu,19 jan 2030
Background

Durga Nagar had seen a dense and probably largest concentration of Kashmiri Pandits in Early Nineteen nineties, However , today that scenario has also changed and only 11 KP’ families are now left in Durga Nagar.As a matter of fact, jammu region as a whole, has seen a sharp decline of Kashmiri Pandits who once had swelled to almost 3 lakhs in the early nineties of 20th century. Due to the discrimination of the subsequent state governments, lack of jobs for the youth of this community and step motherly treatment of central government, this beleaguered community has moved to more greener pastures. Reports suggest that at present not more than 10,000 K.P’s are now left in Jammu.
Some Kashmiri Pandit Sexagenarian and Septuagenarians have organized a havan to appease their ancestors , gods and to purify the valley of Kashmir. A press meet has also been organized on the sad occasion of their 40th year of mass exodus. Some other veterans of the community had also joined them from different places of the Jammu city and they are all waiting for the media to come. The press meet is held at the home of a community leader, who was very active in his hey days and was even jailed for allegedly being right-wing opinionated, invitations had been sent to all the major News papers of Jammu but only couple of journalists come for this press meet.
Next day only one newspaper reports about this press meet, the journalist reporting happened to be a Kashmiri pandit in his sixties, he writes the news with a bit of emotional touch, something like this:
19 jan 2030,jammu:The pundits of Kashmir observed their 40 years in exile, in a country which has pushed them into a limbo and erased them from the memory of the nation of 1.5 billion people, while paying homage to those killed during last forty years, It somehow became evident from the body language ,that the pandit community has come in terms with their fate and realized that Kashmir is forever lost for them .A KP gentleman at the function said Philosophically:
“The fire of the Havan
reminds me of conflagration ,
burning deep in my heart ,
The smoke of Havan,
reminds me of melancholy ,
which has engulfed me
the ash reminds me
of my soul less body,
my soul has left long ago,
to meet the beloved
and is waiting,
inside the temple of shiva,
for shiva to open his third eye
and become one with him”

This is the Future reality of Kashmiri Pandits dated 19, jan,2030…unless… we make a sincere effort to change, or get wiped out as a community, which once was the pride of Kashmir….

Photographs of AIKS Conclave,Siri Fort,New Delhi


Photographs by:Mr. Raj Raina