(Dated: April 1998)
Before I talk about the unethical and immoral proxy war which Pakistan is inflicting on India by means sponsoring Islamic terrorism in the Valley of Kashmir, let me tell you about the ignored party of this inhuman holocaust. We, the Kashmiri Pandit's, are a community which is the original inhabitants of Kashmir valley, but were out-numbered down the ages as scores of invasions by Islamic invaders left more converts than the originals. We Kashmiri Pandit's, have been the worst sufferers of this turmoil which has been going on in the valley of Kashmir for last 10 years now. Tragically, we form a population strength of less than a million people, thus neither the politicians nor the so-called champions of Human Rights or United Nations take note of the agony and miserable plight this population has been subjected to by this conflict. While Pakistan is running high on its agenda of selective killing of Kashmiri Hindu's and thus, hoping to carve out a purely Islamic state in Kashmir by means of ethnic cleansing, KP's continue to languish unheard.
Pakistan sponsored terrorists and mercenaries made sure that Kashmiri hindu's are selective targetted and such this highly educated community (having a literacy rate of more than 95%) is reduced to the status of refugees within their own state and country. We, the original son's and the rightful hier's to this motherland have been subjected to a gory plight by Pakistan's designs.
Although the epithet "Pandit" may evoke a casteist connotation for many Indians, yet I may inform you that it has nothing to do with the caste system. It would be quite in order to inform you that the Kashmiri Hindus are the only Indian Hindu community that doesnot have a caste based hierarchical society. Our ancestors, way back in 14th century, in the wake of horrendous crimes perpetuated against the community by Sultan Sikander of Kashmir (a Muslim), decided to forego the caste system. As per historical records and our tradition just eleven Kashmiri Hindu families were left after Sultan Sikander, the Iconoclast swooped upon the hapless Hindus like a swarm of locusts attacking paddy fields. (Kashmir History by Jonaraj)
I may also remind you that the Kashmiri Hindus are the original inhabitants of Kashmir and have a continous and recorded history of more than 5000 years starting remarkably with immediate post-Mahabharata War. Starting 1338 AD there has been continous persecution, conversion by coercion, plunder and destruction of temples, and other architectural marvels like the Martand, schools of learning, and what not. Even Muslim historians like Fauq and Hassan have testified to the horrors through which the Kashmiri Hindus have been. For more information about these facts, there is a web site which has been painstakingly set up by some missionary Kashmiri Hindus. You can visit it at : http://www.kashmir-information.com/
The history of persecution, therefore, goes back atleast 650 years. In these 650 years, we have seen many an exodus, many an onslaughts but we have tenaciously clung to our roots and to our ethos. We have a distinct Hindu identity and culture which derives directly from the Vedic civilization. And being a distinct ethnic Kashmiri Hindu group, the word "Pandit" has stuck to our combined identity. The Mughal Kings in late 18th century decreed that the Kashmiri Hindus be called Kashmiri Pandits although as I have already mentioned, the Kashmiri Hindu is the "least" casteist Hindu in India as he or she has no caste system. However, it has been our endeavour over the past few decades to address ourselves as Kashmiri Hindus to the broader Indian masses but since we are the only distinct ethnic Hindu group in Kashmir, the media and the rest of the world continues to address us as Kashmiri Pandits.
Now regarding the statement "dying like rabbits", I have much to say but suffice it that Hindus in general have been on defensive and on retreat. Kashmiri Hindus number 600,000 and out of them even less than 2000 are left in Kashmir. It is a pity that in a country of 750 million Hindus, we Hindus have to bear the brunt of a terrorist attack and thereby get killed most barbarically. Is not there a responsibility of the combined Hindu community of India to safeguard this miniscule/microscopic community? How can one imagine to fight hordes of terrorists aided and abetted by the local Muslim population (4 million) when these 5000 Kashmiri Hindus are scattered throughout the valley of Kashmir. It needs will and determination and building the structures and pillars of resistance. Sad to say, but yes the Hindus of India and the GOI has failed to do either. They have even failed to stop the GENOCIDE of this miniscule community of Kashmiri Hindus in FREE, SECULAR and DEMOCRATIC INDIA.
Therefore, in my view it is the softness and defensiveness of the Indian state and the Hindus that is costing all the Hindus very dearly especially those who are a microscopic community like that of Kashmiri Hindus. Unless the Hindus change their mind set to reconcile with all the humiliations and concessions, we are going to see more of this in future as well. No wonder, Hindus of India have lost Multan, Kandahar, Gilgit, Kabul, Dhaka etc. over the last 175 years. What does it speak of?
We have been on the losers end all these years and we have been RETREATING and burying our heads like ostriches. This escapism and lack of foresight has led us to the state we are in today. And unfortunately, rather than addressing the broader issues which afflict our Hindu civilization, howsoever grand and great it may be, we take pot shots at those small groups who by virtue of their grit and determination have taken it onto themselves to take the fight back into the courts of Islamic terrorists and their sponsors and redeem the pledge they have made centuries ago to Vitasta (Jhelum), to Ganga, to Saraswati and to Bharat Mata. Whether we live or not, our sacrifices and our struggle would inspire millions and millions of Indians for generations to come to build a prosperous, strong, sovereign, peaceful and egalitarian India.