Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Confronting the Truth About Pandit Migration

Aima takes on the "Jagmohan" crowd among Kashmiris posing as well meaning intellectuals when in fact such people are only exposing "latent radicalism" who pay lip service to the plight of minorities. The writer closes his essay with a couplet by Shams Faqir

(Mr. Peyaray Lal Aima, 76, was born in Srinagar. He matriculated from the Standard Public School, Bohra Kadal, Srinagar, and attended the Amar Singh College, Srinagar. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Jammu & Kashmir. Mr. Aima retired as the assistant manager of finance in the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation of India (NHPC). He lives in Jammu city and enjoys reading books in his leisure time.)


Prof M.A Sofi calls migration a myth. Perhaps he feels that the Pandits have gone on an excursion. He has raised a number of issues in his write up which are partly correct and partly misconceived:

1. For the exodus of the Pandits he has accused Mr. Jagmohan. If a lie is repeated time and again, day in and day out it becomes a gobellian Truth. We do not expect the educated elite to repeat lies and spread canards. The truth is that a wave of insanity generated by the Jihadies through Pakistan Philosophy of hate spread like wild fire in the valley which led to the exodus of the Pandits. Incensed by this message of hate a Mulsim boy turned militant killed his own father in FatehKadal area calling him an impediment in the Raodmap of Jihadi concept of Azadi. Did Jagmohan also advise him to kill his father? After some years I found that boy selling clothes on a ‘Raide’ on the Residency Road in Srinagar. I was reminded of some events of history. Allaudin Khiljee killed his uncle to achieved the throne of Delhi. Aurengzeb killed his brothers, imprisoned his father and became the emperor of India. This boy killed his father and became a ‘Radiwalla’ selling old clothes. What a wish fulfilled.

The Pandits have preserved the threat letters sent to them. They have the Audio and Video evidence to show what happened. They have preserved the local Dalies through which they were warned to leave the Valley within 48 hours. These evidences also include still photographs of Pandits killed by the Jihadis and the desecrated temples. These evidences emply prove that the movement was communally oriented. Mr. Sofi wants us to believe that people involved were measly & fringe elements. However, we estimate the damage caused and not count the number of people involved. We admit that the Muslim Civil society suffered irreparable losses as a result of this insane wave. But how can we help it. Let us, therefore bury the hatchet and admit the truth that it was wave of insanity which overtook the Valley in early nineties that led to the exodus of the Pandits and also resulted in killing of many members of the Muslim Community. Let us speak the truth if we want restore peace in the Valley. I admit that under the influence of ‘Janoon’ the civil Society could not hold back the Pandits.

2. Mr. Sofi is right that Kashmir problem has always been political and has no religion angle to it at all. But this is not acceptable to our adversaries. Their politics of hate has already vitiated the atmosphere, poisoned the youth of the valley, and trained them on radical lines.

Pandits have a share in the geography of Kashmir, they are a part of the history of Kashmir, they have a share in the politics and administration and commerce of Kashmir. We want our share to be identified and codified to ensure legal safety and future security and safe return to the valley.

3. Mr. Sofi wants to bet his last penny to prove that Pandits will not return. The truth is that the events of the last twenty years have created a trust deficit between the majority and the minority community. It is therefore, that we demand a Homeland under the protection of Indian constitution. This set up will have sufficient space for the secular and moderate Muslim friends who can join hands to fight the Jihadi menace politically. This is the only permanent solution to ensure peace in the valley.

4. The worthy Prof. wants to bet his every penny on the Non-Return of the Pandits to Valley. Giving reasons in support of his views he talks of the plum posts held by the children of the Pandits in and outside India which shall withhold them from returning to the valley. Such a statement boarders on disinformation campaign.

Mr. Sofi should look inward and search for the truth. The fact is that Kashmiris are a race apart, irrespective of the fact that they are Hindus or Muslims. We are a gifted community. How otherwise are the Kashmiri Muslims boys holding good job or even doing business in Gulf or States or even in Britain and Canada. They are not in these places out of any pity for Kashmiris. They are there because they possess merit. They work honestly with dedication and devotion. It is only their Cousins dealing in dishonesty and corruption in the Valley.

What has after all a Kashmiri youth to learn from a Taliban whose identity is religious frenzy, a gun on his shoulders, Beef in his belly and inate desire for carnal pleasures? Does he possess anything more? The Kashmir youth have their dignity and national pride why compromise it with the radicals. History is witness to the atrocities committed by the Pathans in Kashmir. There is still a Kashmiri Mohalla existing in Kabul, where, in the past, abducted women of Kashmir were sold and settled for providing comfort to people. Their progeny is still in the trade. In fact these Talibans, Pathans, Pashtunes must apologies to the people of Kashmir like Japan which apologised to the people of Korea.

Further, the truth is that Pakistan has succeeded in introducing disorder and disorientation in the Civil Society of Kashmir. There is no doubt about the fact that wealth has come to the Valley through Indian and non- Indian sources but the values have been eroded. This is what is hurting the reasonable and sensible people of the Valley. Opinion given by the elite educated persons of the Civil Society of Kashmir is expected to generate more light than heat. Only a secular approach can restore order in the society and all of us must work towards that. Why leave our problems to interlocutors when we have the capacity to solve these ourselves. It is only the Public will that is needed for this purpose. One Mr. Bharti has commented on the protest by Pandit youth against Mr. Geelani in New Delhi. Let us concede that the K.P’s. living in Valley survive owing to the good will of the majority. But what is the guarantee that this goodwill will not change into ill will by the mischievous machinations of the radical elements at the behest of ISI. It is for this purpose that Pandits ask for a Homeland where all secular forces irrespective of cast, creed, colour, gender could be accommodated under the cover and protection of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution supported by the umbrella of State Subject.

It is a fact we oppose any move about the solution of Kashmir that directly or indirectly supports the nefarious designs of the ISI. We know that sacrifies made by the people in Kashmir have been orchestrated by the Pak agencies to promote their interest in Kashmir. We know for certain that Pak is interested in the land of Kashmir and its water resources. They are not interested in the people of Kashmir because they know how intelligent the Kashmiris are, strong contenders to the Civil Society of Pakistan. One General Aziz Bhat of Pak Army being of Kashmir origin would always write General Aziz and not Aziz Bhat. This is how Kashmiris are treated in Pakistan. When he was tipped for the post of Chief of the Army by Nawaz Sharief, a coup took place and General Mushraf became the head of the State (ref Crossed Swords by shuja Nawaz). Kashmiri Pandits know that Mr. Geelani is a respected leader but so long as he espouses the cause of his handlers in Pakistan, he has to be opposed. What is wrong about it? Speaking of religious harmony and brotherhood are sweet words but the situation on ground is different. So many temples were desecrated throughout the Valley. If religious tolerance is a apart of Mr. Geelani’s policy why does he not condemn such dececration and support the Pandits who want the Temple bill to be passed by the state Assembly. Love and hate should be visibly seen on ground and not on paper.

Mr. Sofi has refered to Dr. Sameer a Kashmiri Pandit who has some good words for Mr. Geelani. Family Doctors are bound by Medical ethics and they always follow that. Had the Doctor treating late Mohd Ali Jinnah disclosed that Mr. Jinnah was living on borrowed time, the history of the Subcontinent would have been entirely different. However, the Doctor was bound by the principles of Medical ethics and therefore did not disclose the truth.

The opposition to the removal of AFSPA by the Pandits is on sound grounds. The first condition for talks placed by Mr. Geelani is that Indian Army should be removed. Let us suppose that the Army is removed then who will fill the vaccum caused by such removal. It is surely the PAK Army that will fill the vaccum. What happens then to the cause of Azadi. Will they allow any space for such demands. Pakistan still rues the day they lost the chance to capture Srinagar Airport in 1947 (Refer Crossed Swords by Shujah Nawaz). Geelani Sahib knows it, so do others understand it but since Geelani Sahib is committed to his masters across the LOC, so he is also helpless. We admire his sincerity towards his masters, however we oppose any demand that goes against the fundamental interest of the whole of J&K State.

Prof. Sofi’s reference to 2% against 98 % or 98% against 2 % may be partly relevant. Some via media to avoid subordination and servility has to be chalked out if we are really interested in restoring peace in the Valley. This is where legal safe guards are needed. As already stated change of Good-will into ill-will cannot be guaranteed against by any leader at present.

I admire Prof. Sofi’s belief in Kashmiriyat.

Now coming to the point of Kashmiriyat. Kashmiriyat is infact, a nectar churned out of the interaction of the Principles of Kashmir Shaivism and Islamic sufi-ism. The writing of great sufi poets like Shams faqir, Samad Mir, Lal Ded, Nunda Rashi, Ahad Zargar, and many others having tasted this nectar have given us a great wealths of guidance. With the passage of time we have been ignoring their guideline and now the whole Society is paying the price. The claim on the Heritage of Kashmiriyat does not belongs to Kashmiri Muslims only. Pandits have equal share in this Heritage of which they feel proud of. Let us not loose this wealth of knowledge. While closing I would like to quote a few lines of shams Faqir and request Prof. Sofi to find its linkage with Kashmiriyat.

Turya Sushafti Swapun Zagrati, Dopun Kar Zano
Shamas faqiro Gham Khe Ati, Lo Lati Lo
Rai Traw my Kar Chhayi Gitee, Lo lati Lo
Aath Rang Mandori, Hang Chai Rati Sang ti Gyano
Shunia Kin Dari Baar, Chhai Wathi , Lo lati Lo

The debate must continue.

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