Zuv' chumm' bramhaan'
Ghar' gachaa

Dec 8, 2014

..my soul yearns to go home...!

Zuv chum bramAn gara gatshaha...
ज़ुव छुम्म ब्रमान घर गछह ....

..my soul yearns to go home...!

Sep 15, 2014

25 years in Exile - Why?

Today - 14th September 2014 is the 25th anniversary of Martyrdom of Pt Tika Lal Taploo - aka Lalaji, killed solely for his religion, to send a message to the KP minority in the state. His death began a long string of targeted killings of pandits in the valley...

In past 25 years in exile - scores of times, we KP's have been asked scores of time (sometimes rather innocently) - by clueless folks...

  • "oh...we visited Srinagar. Its so great there. We enjoyed. Why did you leave at all?"
  • "My muslim friend says - KPs are welcome back. you can go back and live in peace..."
  • "you should have stayed and fought back...!"
  • ... and such inanities...

Personally - I think I am tired of explaining...

So I recommend a simple four step guide...

  • Google for condition of Hindu & other minorities in Islamic Republic of Pakistan
  • Google for condition of Yazidi's and other minorities in Islamic State of Iraq and Syris (ISIS)
  • Watch SAS Geelani summarize the Kashmiri Muslim ideology in 2 minutes here
  • Would you still recommend a mere 3% minority go back there without applying due caution.
That due caution is "Panun Kashmir" - a union territory where Indian Constitution rules supreme (minus Article 370) - not some religious ideology.

Sep 14, 2014

#FloodsInKashmir -- Army a Saviour - but no thanks!!

A flood that they say is the worst in 60 years - has kit the valley of Kashmir. Srinagar probably amongst the worst hit within valley - from the news emerging so far. There isn't even much news available from other parts of Kashmir as yet... In all the deluge of valley centric news, the crisis in Jammu division has been totally forgotten. Less forgotten, more ignored - as has been the historic fate of Jammu. 

From what emerges so far - the local Omar Abdullah govt has abandoned Kashmir and left it to its own fate. 

Abandoned once gain, I should say - by the Abdullah family. 
25 years ago - in 1990's, Papa Abdullah did the same in face of terrorist onslaught in the valley. Abandoned & flew off... !!
Omar is doing shade better. Abandoned and missing from action, but emerges for exclusive interviews and sound bytes for preferred news channels...

At this time, yet again - the state is left to Central govt and Armed forces... 
And as always, Army & IAF has been doing a fabulous job... but getting more stones in return for their helping hand. 

At scores of places now - over last 2-3 days, army rescue boats and helicopters have been pelted with stones - when the approached with relief material or rescue operations. 

Thanklessness of the highest order...!!!

But Army and GoI needs to do what they are doing - not because its Kashmir... but because that's what Army has always done and would do - in any other calamity across India.
That's being true to a principle and its culture, its nature...

As regards - the stone-pelters on streets of Srinagar and wisdom-pelters on social media - they are doing the same too.. Being true to their nature - biting the hand that helps.
If you observe the folks on social media who are making most noise about "army is not there... doing nothing... rescuing only VIPs and tourists... Army wants Kashmiri's to die..." - All of them entirely are folks sitting comfortably miles away from Kashmir. Folks in Dubai, Saudi, Canada, UK, US, etc - Kashmiri Muslim who have no real eye witness account of the happenings in valley nor much contact. Of course, no one from Srinagar was adding to this noise on Social media - since they didn't even have that connectivity...

Why are they doing it?

Because a sudden paranoia has struck them - what if people saved start appreciating the saviours. Damn! "The movement" will weaken. OMG...what about Azadi then? Shucks...its better more people die in floods. Let anger flare up... Anger will help "the movement", rescue will kill it. "the movement" is bigger than anything else... let more folks suffer on ground".
That's the line of thought...!!

A banner propagating the same thought has been seen in some non-inundated areas of the valley today...  So brave of the rebels to dare go put it up in area's still inundated, where army is still working actively on rescue. 

As regards VIPs/Tourists only being rescued - the Army, which has rescued more than a lakh people in last 4 days has also released lists of several thousand names rescued so far. Would request the wisdom-pelters on social media to provide the designations of these VIP people now...
Kashmir must indeed be the world's capital for VIPs...

In the first place, I am baffled as to why are people on TV complaining of "Delhi not sending enough boats!"... "need to airlift more rafts!"... "not sufficient army boats". Of any city in India - Srinagar, the famed erstwhile "Venice of the East" must have tens of thousands of boats locally available - shikara, dunga, bahatcchs or house boats - boats of all capacities... and a huge hanji community of boatmen.
Even the smallest shikara can save 5-8 people in one time... !!!

I even observed a lot of Delhi based TV channels patting their own backs for their 'exclusive' and brave coverage of J&K Floods... (more K... less J of course! But that's beyond the point here...) 

Unfortunately -Delhi media is doing more harm than good today. 
Dozens of TV channels have their reporters going around areas with barely knee deep water looking for news sound bytes... and gather angry bytes like "no relief here... Army doing nothing...No one came... no boats... no rescue" - with reporters nodding in agreement... 

Didn't see one channel... one reporter share common sense that - "hey dude.. u are standing here on road talking to me... You are in luxury! You don't deserve army to come to your rescue - because Army is busy where there is 20-30ft of water..."
But...that's a bad sound byte... Bad TRP...   
Of course, the journalists themselves wouldn't go into those areas - unless joyriding on IAF sorties...

Never the less - as I said in beginning - GoI, Indian Army must do what we are doing - because that's what we would do for any Indian state. So its no "ehsaan" or "favor" or "appeasement"...

But to expect that it will result in a change of heart would be foolhardy. None of that happened due to rescue, relief and rehab work of Army post 2005 Earthquakes....!! 
None will happen now. 
We will see the usual scenes on streets of Kashmir soon... once the water drains out...
Hurriyat and co needn't worry about the risk of loosing their constituency to sincere efforts of the Indian Army... 

The foundations of their indoctrination is much deeper than what sweat of Armed forces or 20ft of Jhelum water can even soak...!!!

Aug 2, 2014

Say no to Gulmarg, Say no to Dal Lake, Say no to Pahalgam - till..

Dear Tourists of India

A group of 40 yatri's wanted to do a pilgrimage to KausarNag - located at level of 12000ft in Himalayas. A pilgrimage that has been part of Kashmiri Pandit history for thousands of years, from much before the Islamic invaders came to Kashmir, much before their religion even came into existence...

A trekking destination frequented for decades by trekkers, pilgrims and even school kids...My alma mater - Tyndale Biscoe School, used to have an annual trek to the lake for class 9thA. A three day trek/camping in summer - via Aharbal and Kongwattan.
JKTDC is still running a series of sponsored treks across Kashmir - including Kausarnag in collabration with http://www.indiahikes.in/
You are welcome as a trekker, as a tourist... But not as a Kashmiri Pandit or a Hindu.

But today - we are not allowed our own roots. Because, its a group going as Hindu's - as Kashmiri Pandits...

Suddenly - only Kashmiri Pandits are a threat to ecology.

Not surprisingly just days after Amarnath Yatra camp was looted and then burnt down by rioters...
Just days after attack on Mata Khirbhawani Shrine in Tulamula
Not surprisingly after there were protests that the 40 yatri's are an attempt to change "Muslim character of Kashmir"
Not surprisingly just days after ISIS flags appears in Srinagar during Eid celebrations...

And if I react to this - I will be branded communal by those mouthing inanities like Kashmiriyat...

Kashmiriyat - has for long been the worst hoax perpetrated by the money mongers of Kashmir to keep their funds flowing. It was never anything more than a brokered bliss - paid for with the painful silence & subjugation of the minorities..'

Its time to save ecology of Kashmir totally.
If your go to Kashmir - you must shun your identity, your dignity, your soul. Just bring your wallet.

Think Again...!!!

Shun those tourist package tours to Kashmir.
Say no to Gulmarg
Say no to Pahalgam
Say no to Sonamarg
Say no to Dal Lake...

Yes, My Kashmir is beautiful, heavenly! But its cursed too...

As I said many years ago - Must you visit at cost of your dignity and pride... ?
There are tons of places in rest of India that you haven't visited.
Change your holiday plans.

- A Soul in Exile...!

PS: And this applies most to fellow Kashmiri Pandits... alas!!

Jan 18, 2012

KP Holocaust Day!!! 19th January...

...the KP Holocaust Day!!!

Even 22 years from that catastrophic night of 19th January 1990, I can not forget the weird eerie soul churning howl and chill of that night in Kashmir. And yet, even 19 years later Kashmir is as close and ingrained in our souls – as it was that day.
This will be one long post… much like the 20 long dark years my community has spent in a forced exile. As I sit here thinking of that night - a chill still runs down my spine.

The Past…
Kashmiriyat – if anything like that existed had been eroded and molested by the majority in the valley leading to total subjugation of the minority Pandits. Pandits were held to blame for everything – be it excess snowfall or failed crops – because centre/India was to be blamed for it and Pandits were Indians at heart. Everything was a ‘center ki chaal’ and what could be easier than hapless Pandits to blame… Pandits had just borne in 1986 the brunt of the muslim ire – when Dogra’s in Jammu resisted their attempt at installing a mosque inside the government secretariat in Jammu. The wounds of wrath and rampage unleashed on innocent Pandits in Anantnag, Wuyan, Wanpoh, Pulwama, Sopore, Badgam, Baramula in Feb 1986 were still fresh in 1989. The list of temples destroyed in that carnage against the Pandits will never be completely known…just a partial list can be found here. The deaths, rapes and forced conversion in that government supported wave of madness was intolerable for many Kashmiri Pandits.
Scarred by decades of abuse by the majority – Pandits witnessed a mini exodus from Anantnag district in 1986 – when scores of Pandit families left the valley – totally disgusted with their life as a Hindu minority in what was supposedly a Hindu India. Living as a minority in an Islamic shadow is not easy. This was the sixth recorded exodus of Hindus from in recent past – the 12th overall.

The Build up…
Pakistan’s General Zia has been sulking and hurting after his failure in getting quick success with the Khalistan movement – and had been working on opening additional fronts against India – to keep alive the Pakistani national philosophy of a 1000-year war with India; a theory openly propounded ironically by his predecessor whom he got overthrown and killed. Irrespective of their political or social leanings, the Pakistani government and ISI have always had the same agenda against India – so change of rulers never really changed a policy. The 1000 year war Pakistan was waging was still on and General Zia only added another dimension to it with his Operation Topac – a covert Jihadi invasion of Kashmir.
And even the victims of this war admire the cunning perfection with which Pakistan managed to achieve it – while the Indian intelligence and political class was caught napping. Grapevine had it that Rajiv Gandhi, dogged by the Bofors controversy, had deployed IB to determine his chances of victory in a poll – rather than bother about what the cross border terror groups were planning.
ISI couldn’t have got it easier – they already had numerous terrorist training camps running for Khalistan insurgency and for the Afghan operations – they had little to do to get Kashmiri’s trained in handling Kalashnikovs, AK47s, grenades, IEDs, rocket launchers- words which sprang up in the Kashmiri lexicon suddenly in 1989 and became better known than “A for apple” to even the kids on the street. They got easy recruits – snaring the loosing MUF candidates (a political front for the Pakistan aided Jamat-e-Islami) and workers of the 1987 election. Even today it’s a hilarious reading when a Syed Salahudin – who was one of the loser’s in that election says that the rigging of those elections by National Conference (Farooq Abdullah’s party) in coalition with Congress(I) (led by Rajiv Gandhi) was the reason they got disillusioned and took to the gun. Was this the first election in the valley? No. Was this the first election which got (if it) rigged in the sub-continent? No. Was this the first time NC came to power? No. Was this the first time Farooq Abdullah became the Chief Minister? No. Was this the first time Sheikh Abdullah’s family – the same Sheikh whom Kashmiri Muslims were hailing as “Sher-i-Kashmir” just a few months ago – was ruling the state? No. Was this the first time a Jamat-e-Islami backed political formation was defeated? No. Then why the lame excuse…
If a failed or rigged election were to be the sole cause, then UP and Bihar would have been independent countries since 1947. This excuse is the just as lame as the other one – often used by Farooq Abdullah and other people when in power in the state, to get bigger and bigger doles from New Delhi; that Kashmiri’s are turning to terrorism because they are impoverished and unemployed – hence alienated. Dear – if Kashmiris are impoverished, then Kalahandi and Bastar don’t even exist on earth. If unemployment and economic backwardness is justification of a jehad – then the migrant Bihari and Oriya labourers – so omnipresent in all corners of India – should have been the most ferocious terrorists of the world.

Extremist Islamic wave…
A large mass of red-white chequered headscarf wearing mullah’s had invaded Kashmir in 1986-1988 already – Pandits only realized the plot later. These mullahs’ were non-Kashmiri’s and apparently came from a particular group of theological schools in UP – with a directive to ensure ingraining the extremist and intolerant version of Islam among Kashmiris…something alluded to by Salman Rushdie as well here.
And Oh boy!!! What a splendid job they did. Suddenly in 1988, the locals started speaking a different language altogether. Kafir, jihad, unIslamic – such terms became known prominently. I still remember the day at a century old premier Christian missionary run school in Srinagar – which had a green neck-tie as part of its uniform. A brigade of brainwashed senior students backed by some muslim teachers and armed with razors went around slashing these green tie’s from necks of students – just because ‘wearing a green tie was un-Islamic’ (Green being the colour of Islam). Students had started coming armed with special dresses on Friday – for Friday prayers and school practically didn’t run after lunch. The situation in offices was worse. Such weird flavour of Islam was showing up in the valley… growing in strength slowly in the mosques around the valley. The earlier rise and popularity of a fundamentalist political group “Muslim United Front” or MUF, was inline with this trend. Many of the loosing candidates from this group ended up in terror training camps in Pakistan later – becoming the early batch of terror proponents later like Syed Salaha-ud-Din, Javid Mir, Hamid Sheikh, Yasin Malik, Bitta Karate, Shabir Shah etc. Mercenary retirees from Afghan war and the Islamic insurgencies around Bosnia, Africa etc joined them later.

Aura of 1989
1989 – was the watershed year of sorts. For the valley and the world at large…
In China and in Europe, there was political upheaval marked by the end of Communism – and country after country the communist regimes were being overthrown. Anyone who saw television in that period was swamped with images of hundreds of thousands of people gathering in the streets and squares around Europe and winning a surprise victory over the regime… be it in Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria… The Berlin wall suddenly fell down in one huge massive push of sudden human revolt… the big and mighty USSR (deemed to be the strongest ally of India) was breaking into pieces, many of them becoming Islamic states. The other big entity in the game – China had been challenged by the might of the student movement as well – yet, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 apart – the regime in China managed to come out unshaken.
ISI and their honcho’s in Kashmir – JKLF, Hizbul Mujahidin et al, had whipped up a feeling all over Kashmir that these were just the right signs. It was just the right time for freedom and Islamic rule in Kashmir as well. Just one big push was all that was needed for a “Nizam E Mustafa” and the rule of Koran to arrive in Kashmir. And as a build up towards the big push, the infidels/kafirs were to be exterminated. Pandits were the clearest target – since they were unlikely to join a movement aiming for Islamic rule (thereby ask for their own relegation to second class citizen status) and being Indians at heart, they wouldn’t support a demand for merger with Pakistan either. Hence, a wave of ethnic cleansing began.
Pandits were carefully selected out and killed in the most cold blooded fashion by the JKLF terrorists – Bitta Karatey alone owning up to a couple of dozen Pandit killings. Scores of Kashmiri Pandits – prominent or unknown – were killed all over the valley – just merely by branding them informers or traitors. And no one questioned them – not even those who today swear by Kashmiriyat; because this was all part of the operation towards the goal of Nizam-e-Mustafa. Teachers, poets, scholars, leaders, lawyers, nurses, peons, officers, shopkeepers – irrespective of logic were gunned down from close range – just because they were Hindus.
Terror groups resorted to publishing lists of people they intended to kill – called “hit-lists” in local Urdu dailies. A scan through the 1989-90 archives of ‘Aftab’, “Al Safa” and other local dailies would give an idea of how dogmatic the environment was. Posters erupted around the downtown asking Pandits to “raliv, chaliv ya galiv” – (join the movement, leave Kashmir or get killed). A minority which counts up to less than 5% share of the population had little hope of a fight. Honour and self-respect of the Pandits wouldn’t let us join the so-called movement – unless one was willing to convert to Islam. Otherwise why would a Pandit ask for Islamic rule – which in itself meant a wretched life Hindus faced in Pakistan or under Taliban. Slowly now, they were getting killed – and yet, there was no sign of any government intervention in 1989.
Ending 1989: At the end of 1989, an interesting turn of political events was also unfolding in the rest of India. Congress and Rajiv Gandhi lost elections – and a fragile coalition came to power. And this group wanted to prove its pseudo secular credentials to the Muslims of India…so a Kashmiri Muslim who till then had never held any position of authority in his own state was given the most important position in the central cabinet – Mufti Sayed became the Home Minister of India. His real cunning Islamic fundamentalist leanings were already known to the Kashmiri’s… he had been an active leader of the carnage against Pandits in 1986. Kashmiri’s felt they had broken into the bastion – their man was even in the control room now. His anti-Pandit politics came to fore again when he returned as the CM.
And the drama that followed was the right culmination 1989 needed. Abduction of Home minister’s daughter Rubiya Syed was staged and a weak centre yielded by releasing dreaded terrorists like Hamid Sheikh and Yasin Malik amongst others…
A mass frenzy of celebrations followed in the valley – with the released terrorists being openly carried around in the downtown in processions. Law and order were like a polar bear in Sahara - dead. A victory of sorts was declared. This was just a small test push yet – and it turned out so easy – just the way ISI and their honcho’s had been telling them…
A battle was won. The war couldn’t be difficult. The tone and behaviour of the common man on street suddenly changed – my friends were suddenly talking of Azadi and Islamic rule, the language was full of technical terms around guns and war. They suddenly knew how many rounds a AK47 could fire, how many bullets a magazine had, what response times a Kalashnikov was like. By now, surprise guerilla attacks, cross fires, grenade or bomb attacks in city, shootouts at government offices or army camps were common place and daily happenings. By now the kids could tell the sound of a Kalashnikov fire from the AK47, and predict the distance at which IED or a grenade attack must have happened from just the sound of it. Black-outs and bandhs were common events. Schools and colleges stayed more closed than open. Daring to switch on a light during a blackout promptly invited a shower of stones. There were few Pandit homes without shattered glass panes by end of 1989. We stopped replacing the broken ones after sometime, and instead got wire mesh installed on the out side of the windows. Examinations were getting disrupted… normal life was in chaos. Yet, government was asleep.
Jihad was in the air… merger with the wider Pan-Islamic world was just a few steps away. Veils and burkha’s suddenly became predominant common sight– in an otherwise fashion aware society. Hindu’s were getting marked out and standing apart. The belief that Pakistan would launch an offensive at the LOC and invade was overwhelming them, as well.
All this had left Pandits totally confused, clueless of the nefarious activities happening in covert and scared. I still remember the fear and chill the re-broadcast of serials like “Tamas” or news of riots in Bhagalpur on television would send among the Pandits – feeling like hapless pigeons in a cage full of cats. Most had no clue what was to befall them – just because they were Hindu and Indians at heart. Somewhere there was a hope that this was just a passing frenzy and things would be calm soon.

Events leading to that night…
January 1990… the political chaos all over Europe was still in its motions. After Rubiya Syed debacle, the government in New Delhi had proved how weak kneed it was to terrorism – giving birth to an image of India as a soft state – an weakness which Pakistan exploited right through IC814 hijack, Kargil war or attack on Parliament. At the state level, Farooq Abdullah was loosing control – he barely had any, given that he was away in UK taking care of his business and in-laws 3/4th of his time. His political ally - Congress had been routed in the elections and Rajiv Gandhi was at his weakest ever. Farooq was seeing his chair rock each day – and knew he would be one of the recipients of the push – given that ISI and their honcho’s had whipped enough hatred against Sheikh Abdullah and his kith already – holding them to blame for the accession that they wanted to reverse.
Rumour mills were churning out weird stories each day. One night, it was a mass hysteria in Srinagar – when some mosques blared out warnings that they must immediately collect and horde as much drinking water as possible – because Indian government had ordered annihilation of all Kashmiri’s by poisoning of the water supply system. Preposterous and illogical that this may sound – the whole city was busy filling up water in even in the smallest cup and bowl in the house. Yeah!!! Pandits included… after all it was the same tap water everywhere. But did anyone question who caused this frenzy and spread this insane rumour – one dare not question.
Broadcasts from Radio-POK (what they call Azad Kashmir Radio) were interesting – there used to be more religious fervour and war-songs than news. And locals were hooked. Even Pandits regularly tuned in to know how worse it could get…
“Jago jago subaho hui, Khoon-e-shaheeda rang layaa, fateh ka parcham lehraya, jaago jaago subah hui…”
- a war song sung by non-Kashmiri singers of Muzaffarabad was one of the many war songs on air all the time. Soon these were also being played in mosques in the valley over mega-phones to incite passion for jihad. News reports from POK radio were the most hilarious though – one day you would be told that a 1000 Indian soldiers were buried alive by the valiant Islamic mujahideen, or that Srinagar was being readied for a JKLF to take the oath of power, or that Pakistani backed terrorists had captured the radio and TV centers (something seen in European revolutions through 1989) or that JKLF and Hizb were just about to march onto Delhi. Rhetoric like, people of Pakistan will offer next Friday prayer in Id Gah in Srinagar and the week after that in Jama Masjid in Delhi was common speech on those waves. And the masses were lapping it up in Kashmir… stepping deeper into a mass hysteria.
The presence of security forces was still far and few. One could see only 2-3 pickets yet – around Residency road and Lal Chowk areas, and guarding Secretariat and few other important government landmarks. Otherwise, the security presence in downtown or the civil lines was absent. Few sensitive areas like Maisuma, Gawkadal and areas in downtown had witnessed clashes and guerilla attacks on the pickets CRPF tried to set up.
The lack of law and order was getting questioned and there was clear evidence that Farooq was not interested or capable of controlling the situation. How could he anyway, given that he barely was present in the country. New Delhi wanted to soothe the emotions of the people of valley – and decided to recall Jagmohan Malhotra as the governor of J&K.
Despite what Kashmiri Muslims today say about Jagmohan – anyone true to his soul who lived in Kashmir during his earlier tenure would not be able to deny that his period of Governor’s rule in the state was the best time ever people had seen – from an administrative point of view. Jagmohan had run the state till just sometime back when the GM Shah government died after the 1986 carnages. People, Kashmiri muslims worth their pinch of salt would vouch for this – locals regarded it the best run government they had ever seen. There was amazing infrastructural development in such quick time, government machinery ran like clockwork, officials were on their toes, he himself would meet public every day and address issues directly, he had reached out to more people than all other politicians earlier. And he wasn’t even a politician then. He was a governor – an able administrator. When he got the state back to a time for elections – people were openly asking if there could be a way for Jagmohan to become the Chief Minister. Those Kashmiri’s who disbelieve this today, go and ask your father to tell you what it was like. (Of course, he couldn’t contest election or become Chief Minister – because of Article 370). Even Farooq Abdullah famously requested him for his guidance, rebuke and direction if he were to go wrong, admiring the way he had run the state – and cashing in on the admiration people had for him.
The central government probably thought that Jagmohan’s popularity with the masses and his reputation would help soothe the hysteria in the valley and things would settle down. But Farooq got alarmed – he knew his inefficiency would get exposed now. In Delhi, Rajiv was playing the usual sick minded opposition – he had to oppose appointment. Farooq and Rajiv – allies in politics at this time –were hoping that VP Singh would invoke Article 365 and dismiss his government. But they didn’t dismiss the Farooq government, only sent in a new Governor. Farooq decided to use this as an honorable exit. Farooq raised a hue and cry over why Jagmohan was being sent back to the state as a Governor without his permission and sent in his resignation and dissolution of the assembly as a protest. Hands washed off!!! He announced his decision to quit the afternoon of January 19th 1990 – when Jagmohan was still in Delhi and yet to take charge of his gubernatorial duties. The state was headless for a while…till Jagmohan arrived later on 20th-21st and took charge. But in between – the night of 19th January was a night of horror…and a night which changed a lot of things in the valley.

That night…19th January 1990
Farooq’s decision to quit had left the state in confusion… His party cadre’s were restless and chaotic. The ISI’ honchos were alarmed. They feared Jagmohan’s return would send the people back many steps – he being the efficient administrator people had already known him to be and his goodwill with the masses. The mosques all over the valley became hyper active that night. Suddenly there were slogans and frenzied songs blaring from all mosques in the valley. Rumours of an Arab political delegation being in Srinagar to take a look at the situation was around. It was made believe that if the voice of dissent was made known to the Arab delegation – they would do wonders (don’t know how). But no one knew what/where this so-called delegation was. So simultaneous religious propaganda, sloganeering and anti-India chants ranted through the valley all night – blaring aloud from the loud-speakers of mosque; loud-speakers which are meant otherwise for getting the call prayers heard. Slogans like
“Islam khatre’ mein hai” (Islam is in danger),
“Aes gacche’ Pakistan, Batav ros’ te’ batnev saan” (we want Kashmir – without Pandit men, but with their womenfolk)
“Mujahid’on aage bhado” (Warriors of allah – move ahead)
“Yahan kya chalega – Nizam E Mustafa” (What will rule Kashmir – Rule of Allah)
"Kashmir mein agar rehna hai, Allah-o-Akbar kehna hai" (Only those who believe in Allah -(only Muslims) can live in Kashmir)
“Hum kya chahte, Azadi” (we want freedom)
“La ilah Illalah – Pakistan banega Insalaah” (Praise to God! Kashmir will be Pakistan)
“Indian dogs – get out”
“Battav ya raliv, chaliv nate’ galiv” (O Pandits – either join us, flee or die)
…and many more.
It was a night of chaos and madness. The scary environment those eerie slogans echoing from frentic mobs created throughout the night can not be explained - one had to live that trauma to know it. Pandits were taken by shock by this sudden event – given that they had no clue on why and what was happening and neither did they know what rumours and discussions were on inside the mosques – till much later. Pandits, particularly those in the Jamat-e-Islami stronghold areas of downtown were shrunken by fear, like the animals sunken in their holes when a pack of tigers is on prowl. The sound of loudspeaker sloganeering was the most scary one – each household too scared to even switch on their lights.
Around before mid-night, groups of people started streaming through the lanes and bylanes, streets and nooks of the city – marching towards the Lal Chowk area – shouting usual slogans. At several places, the mosques ordered Hindu’s to move out of their homes and join the march as well. They were planning to assemble in Lal Chowk in large numbers – maybe a crowd of 200,000 to 300,000 people and then attack and capture the AIR Radio station and Doordarshan – much like the revolutions in Europe they had been watching over TV through 1989…and thus declare independence. They believed Pakistan would be launching an offensive immediately and permanence of the situation would be sealed. The crowds in such large numbers – reportedly more than 50,000 people gathered in the city centre and attacked the few police pickets and CRPF booths erected there. There were armed terrorists in the crowds firing celebration shots in the air. A shootout was launched on security personnel in Lal chowk and Gawkadal – and no wonder when there is a crowd of thousands; quite a few lives were lost. Thankfully the crowds got dispersed sometime in the night.

There was no chance of recovery thereon.
The ISI honcho’s – disappointed with the failure of the human wave in achieving the ‘one push’ were left directionless. Jagmohan was in city next day and went on television appealing to the general masses to use common sense and restrain. I remember his words like “I have not come here to govern or rule, I have come here to work as a nursing orderly to serve you, to help heal the wounds you have and be your servant”… In the days that followed Jagmohan in his usual way went about meeting people in open darbars in the valley – even though the secretariat was in Jammu. Hundreds of muslims were turning up to meet him with petitions and requests for solving their issues – given that they knew this was one man who knew what a common man’s problem were and knew how to govern.

And the Exodus…
ISI and their honchos were in a panic – they went about increasing their attacks on Pandits and published more hit-lists, killing Pandits all over the valley everyday. Muslim neighbours came to us requesting us to leave the valley till was safe to come back, since they felt they would not be able to protect even close friends and neighbours –were an armed group of terrorists to show up at their neighbours doorstep. Posters threatening Pandits of dire consequences and directing them to leave the valley were showing up on doors and outside temples. Pandits were in a shocked state – frustrated that the government was unable to stop their massacre. Pandits had no option but to leave the valley – all believing temporarily – for safer areas. Most Pandits left their homes set, stocked and ready – expecting to return just a few weeks later once things were calmer – not knowing the return was not likely for decades. Pandits left in trucks, buses, tempo’s whatever means they could find…from villages and nooks of the valley – towards Jammu. Jammu started witnessing a sudden influx of Pandits which it was not ready for. Being winter, the city was already overburdened with the durbar-move population. A sudden influx of thousands of Kashmiri refugees was not something this much smaller city could stand up to. Thousands of Pandits lived in dharamsalaa’s, halls, abandoned buildings, temples, stadiums, retiring rooms of bus stands for weeks. It was turning into a humanitarian problem of another kind for Jagmohan now – given that resentment was brewing in Jammu as well. He set up tented refugee camps for Pandits outside the city of Jammu – to avoid this situation – refugee camps which were to become permanent homes for thousands even till today.

Pakdo padko - Jagmohan ko pakdo…
ISI and their honcho’s saw this as a good opportunity to discredit Jagmohan’s efforts in the valley. Had they not done it quickly enough, the mass connect Jagmohan was re-establishing with Muslims would have killed their efforts totally. Word was spread that Jagmohan had ordered the firing at the crowds in Lal Chowk and Gaw Kadal on 19th Jan night – little logic was used to understand that he was not the governor at that moment. It was officers of Farooq’s regime who were still officiating. Rumours were spread in the valley that Jagmohan has gone to Pandits and asked them to leave the valley – so that he could conduct massive military operations killing all muslims, and they could return once they operation was over. This canard was repeated daily over and over again… and as they say, repeat a lie a thousand times and many believe it’s a truth. That’s the truth a Kashmiri muslim believes today.
Few used their logic – there existed no Pandit leadership at that time (not even now) – where Jagmohan could have conveyed this message to. Did Jagmohan go around visiting Pandit homes – telling them this secret plan. Pandits were spread few and far in between all over the valley. Was it Jagmohan who was pasting those posters at our doorsteps in the night? Was it Jagmohan who killed poets, teachers, social workers, nurses selectively? Did he go around branding Pandits as traitors and informers, and writing up those hit-lists? Did he know Kashmiri language enough to coin and shout those slogans – “raliv chaliv ya galiv”, “Aes gacche’ Kasheer, Batav ros’ te’ batnev saan”. Did Jagmohan go around shooting down Tikka Lal Taploo, Pt. Sarwanand Premi or Lassa Koul or the hundreds of other Pandits… did he go around stoning Pandit homes…? Did he go around gouging the eyes from Premi's dead body and cutting body of other victims on a bandsaw mill? Was Bitta Karatey trained and sent by Jagmohan?
If he really told Pandits to leave – I have a big grudge against him for not coming to my home and telling this to my family.
Rumour mongering is a strong Kashmiri trait – and this is the longest and strongest one ever. Ask a kid in valley today who Pandits are – a kid born in late 80’s or early 90’s… someone who has not seen or known a Pandit or doesn’t know what happened then – and you are likely to hear an answer like “Pandits are kafirs/infidels – informers and enemy of muslims who were taken out of Kashmir by Jagmohan”. Yeah… and Islam is the longest living religion…in existence since pre-human era.
Another interesting fact of late January 1990. We lived in the civil lines area of Jawahar Nagar (now renamed to something like Islampur or so), and happened to have 4-5 sikh families in our close neighbourhood. When family was in dilemma about the exodus – they would come to consult and confer on what to do as well. We seldom talked this to other Pandits – as much as to them. Yet suddenly one day this stopped. Turns out that Simaranjit Singh Mann had arrived in the valley – and met with the Jamat-e-Islami leadership and other ISI backed groups. Khalistani terrorists were afterall of same parentage. Mann had clearly threatened to retaliate against Muslims in other parts of India – and choke their supply lines via Punjab if even one Sikh was touched. Luckily for them, they had not killed any Sikhs either so far - ISI wouldn’t have let them either. Sikh community controlled the trucking business as well in the valley – something which was the economic life line of the massive horticulture and handicraft industry in the valley. Mann was able to broke security for the Sikh’s in the valley – but Pandits were parentless refugee’s…
Sea of Souls in Exile
Without a God-father in the otherwise 80% hindu India – Pandits got condemned to a life in Exile, becoming refugee’s in their own country. Refugees whom the government too refuses to acknowledge and accept – and hence they labeled Pandits as “Kashmiri Migrants”. Migrants – what does that mean? Pandits were not habitual travelers nor nomads by custom, nor were we a specie of seasonal migratory birds.
In hindsight, Pandits did have a hope that the Hindu’s of India would raise a voice for them. A mistaken belief no doubt…
Pandits – were just one thing – 700,000 unwanted Hindu’s in a supposedly Hindu country…refugee’s in their own land. Exiles’ from their own homeland. Aboriginals evicted from their roots…

Ami pana so'dras nAvi ches lamAn
Kati bozi Day myon meyti diyi tAr
Ameyn tAkeyn poniy zan shemAn
Zuv chum bramAn gara gatshaha.
-Lal Ded (14th century Kashmiri Saint and Poetess)
With a rope of loose-spun thread am I towing
my boat upon the sea.
Would that God heard my prayer
and brought me safe across!
Like water in cups of unbaked clay
I run to waste.
Would God I were to reach my home!

Dec 28, 2010

JAMMU DECLARATION - adopted at "1st - All India Kashmiri Pandit Women’s Conference”


HQR- Jammu

Mb: - 9906001813, 9419140619, 0191-2532244

E-mail:- (1) kashmiravahiniheadquarters@gmail.com

(2) Kashmiravaahini@gmail.com

Ref: - KV/Media/55 DT: - 26-12-2010

Press Release

The first “All India Kashmiri Pandit Women’s Conference” organized by Kashmira Vahini was held today on 26-12-2010 in Abhinav Theatre, Jammu where in unanimously Jammu Declaration was adopted by the delegates of the conference which is as under for necessary publication in your papers:-

Kashmira Vahini

1st All India Kashmiri Pandit Women Conference

26th December 2010



Kashmir, the land of Kashyap, abode of sages, fountain head of knowledge and glorious traditions imbibes special pride in its original inhabitants. With its more than 5000 years rich history, Kashmir has been far ahead of its times in terms of

Creating aesthetics, producing institutions of excellence or granting equality to all sections of

society particularly to usually suppressed women class. The land described as the envy of Gods saw empowerment of women even in pre-historical times. Kashmir is proud to have produced Queen Yashovati, a contemporary of Lord Krishna and, perhaps, the first women monarch in the entire sub-continent. The glorious precedents established by Queen Yashovati continued till the time of Queen Kota Rani, whose death in 1339 AD brought end to the Hindu rule in Kashmir. This proved to be beginning of an unparalleled odyssey of atrocities, tyranny, persecution and

subjugation of peace loving Kashmiri Pandit community. This also started Kashmiri Pandit women’s great saga of sacrifices, endurance, perseverance, conservation and fortitude.

The tribulations of the Kashmiri Pandit women, which started with the demise of Queen Kota Rani continued thereafter and assumed more challenging proportions during the community’s latest and seventh exodus from its ancestral homeland. Kashmiri Pandits have gloriously survived the atrocities, homelessness and exodus of seven exiles. The entire credit for this survival must be conferred upon the grit, determination and resilience of Kashmiri Pandit women.

1st All India Kashmiri Pandit Women Conference,

Proudly Recognizes and Hails the Kashmiri Pandit Women for their,

  1. Contribution in preserving the socio-cultural legacy of the Kashmiri Pandit community in Kashmir despite centuries of subjugation, humiliations and atrocities committed against them.
  2. Successfully safeguarding the prestige and dignity of the community against all odds normally confronted in similar situations of forced exile and inhospitable conditions.
  3. Being the beacons as well as instruments of social reconstruction by exemplary acts of preserving the rich socio-cultural legacy of the community along with its unique rituals and religious practices.
  4. Conquering the servitude of forced migration, sacrificing the normal human pleasures, transcending the awkwardness and inconvenience of living along
  5. With three generations in an 8X6 tattered tents and surviving the ordeal with pride and dignity intact.
  6. Being the epitome of love, compassion, diligence and far sightedness.
  7. Upholding the community’s traditional inclination towards the pursuit of knowledge and education and adopting an uncompromising attitude while ensuring the children receive best of education.

1st All India Kashmiri Pandit Women Conference, Strongly Condemns:-

  1. Agents and practitioners of religious bigotry who blatantly and against all principles of humanity perpetrated genocide on an entire peaceful minority.
  2. All jihadi terrorists for unleashing a barbaric drive of ethnically cleansing a religious minority only on the basis of faith.
  3. The perpetrators of faith driven terrorism who assiduously forced extreme physical torture, violation of human dignity and sensitivity; and victimization of innocents on a hapless community.
  4. Cowardly silence of a majority in Kashmir who through their deliberate quietness connived with the actors of the sordid macabre.
  5. Successive governments in Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir for being silent spectators to the dastardly drama of extermination, rape of women, gruesome torture of human life and physical intimidation of Kashmiri Pandit community in Kashmir.
  6. Both governments in Delhi as well as Jammu and Kashmir for maintaining a criminal silence, disgraceful apathy and reprehensible neglect of Kashmiri Pandit community.
  7. Human Rights bodies and civil societies for maintaining a stoic silence on the sufferings of displaced Kashmiri Pandit community.
  8. National Commission for Women for being perpetually blind to the atrocities committed upon Kashmiri Pandit women and keeping silence on the official apathy and neglect of the Kashmiri Pandit women’s plight.
  9. Religious fundamentalists for trying to wipe out symbols and edifices of Kashmiri Pandits’ religo-cultural legacy through wholesale destructions of their temples, cultural centers, educational institutions, literary and academic manuscripts and all ciphers of their existence in Kashmir.
  10. All marauders for plundering the left over properties of displaced Kashmiri Pandits and perpetuating circumstances for mass scale distress sale.
  11. All aspirants of a theocratic status and conniving state apparatus for inflicting a cultural genocide on the displaced community by changing the historical names of Hindu temples, sacred hills and ancient villages.
  12. Section of prejudiced and biased intellectual class for their criminal conspiracy of distorting the history of Kashmir and undermining or usurping the contribution of Kashmiri Pandits towards the spirituality, literature, fine arts, aesthetics etc.
  13. Conspirators and their cohorts in civil society and state’s politico-administrative apparatus for illegal sale of Kashmiri Pandit temples, cremation grounds, community properties, educational and cultural centers.

1st All India Kashmiri Pandit Women Conference appreciates the ongoing struggle of the community necessitated by the unfortunate circumstances forced upon the community and recognizes the utmost need for building appropriate responses for ensuring its survival in exile. The conference also recognizes the fact of Kashmiri Pandits being a socially conscious, emancipated, liberal, non-orthodox and progressive society. The conference is absolutely conscious of the current realities and after having deliberated over the issues and challenges confronting the community,

1st All India Kashmiri Pandit Women Conference unanimously resolves to appeal to the displaced Kashmiri Pandits worldwide to,

  1. Actively reconsider the existing numerical strength of the community in terms of socio-political, economic and survival strengths.
  2. Seriously consider the implications of the current reproductive trends in the community and aggressively pursue the multiplication of community’s progeny by reverting to not so old norm of having at least three children per family.
  3. Restrict the diminishing of numbers in the community by preserving its genetic pool and encouraging only the intra-community matrimonial alliances between the youth.
  4. Encourage whatever new social circles that the community has now from inter-community alliances to form a lasting support structure in our struggle in exile.
  5. Assiduously fight the newly acquired social aberrations in the community like high divorce rate, vulgar display of wealth in marriages, introduction of easily avoidable and unwanted ostentatious rituals in societal obligations.
  6. Retain community’s distinct ethno-religious identity by observing and promoting its austere social customs, special rituals and unique religious practices.
  7. Ensure no member of the community remains without obtaining the state subject certificate.

1st All India Kashmiri Pandit Women Conference appreciates the historical role played by Kashmiri Pandit women in the evolution of the community to its present state of dynamism, pragmatism and resilience. It also recognizes the imperative of the displaced Kashmiri Pandit women to stand shoulder to shoulder with men in the struggle for obtaining justice and legitimate rights for the community in Exile.

1st All India Kashmiri Pandit Women Conference, therefore, DECLARES that the displaced Kashmiri Pandit women will consolidate themselves into a potent force of Goddess Kashmira Devi and,

  1. Untiringly work for preserving the distinct geo-ethnic identity of Kashmiri Pandit community by striving for having a separate homeland of its own.
  2. Support the community’s mainstream political demand for a separate homeland with Union Territory status in North and East of Kashmir as envisaged in the historic Margdarshan resolution of 1991.
  3. Aggressively spread the exile consciousness around the world.
  4. Consolidate a global data bank of Kashmiri Pandit women.
  5. Create awareness about the exemplary contribution of Kashmiri Pandit women towards politics, religion, philosophy, mysticism, spirituality, science, literature, art, education, architecture and performing arts etc.
  6. Hold an annual convention of displaced Kashmiri Pandit Women to assess the progress of existing goals
  7. Recognition of a Kashmiri Pandit Women in any field by conferring upon her the prestigious ‘VITASTA SUKANYA SAMMAN’.
  8. Establishing symbols of Kashmiri Pandit identity in exile by every year celebrating Vitasta’s birthday (Vyeth Truvah) as Kashmir Diwas and making it a global movement.
  9. Paying special attention to the needs of old and infirm of the community by involving the global Kashmiri Pandit community in creating adequate infrastructure in Jammu for establishing an old age home in Jammu.
  10. Fight the highly discriminatory and draconian conditions attached to the employment package for the displaced youth as these unconstitutional strings amount to the exploitation of the sufferings, miseries and helplessness of the unemployed youth of the community.
  11. Campaign for increase in the number of jobs earmarked for the displaced community which will be commensurate with the number of unemployed persons and also the number of Kashmir Pandits who have attained superannuation in last 21 years.
  12. Seek alliances with the like minded groups in the state and elsewhere for creating pressure groups for obtaining justice for the community.

Adopted, this the 26th of December 2010, by the 1st All India Kashmiri Pandit Conference in Jammu.

Media Secretary