Do you know the real history of Kashmir ? :
Paush Shuklapaksha 8, Kaliyug Varsha 5114
Even after the mutilation of the two Indian soldiers by Pakistan, there is a lot of misconception in people’s mind, both Indian and western, that Kashmir did not always belong to India, or that it is a “disputed area”. This is why FACT (Forum Against Continuing Terrorism) chose to do an exhibition, which was shown with a great success all over the world, including to the US Congress in 2006 (http://refugees-in-their-own-country.blogspot.in/). Here are some of the facts we highlighted.
For two thousand years, the Himalayan valley of Kashmir in Northern India has been the home of Learning and Wisdom. From this small valley have issued masterpieces of history, poetry, romance, fable, and philosophy and many of the greatest Sanskrit scholars and poets were born and wrote in the valley. Kashmir flourished under some of India’s greatest rulers, such as Mauryan emperor Ashoka, who reigned between 273 and 233 BC and is recorded to have founded the old city of Srinagar. Under his sovereignty, many Buddhist scholars, missionaries, and intellectuals permanently settled in the valley. Or the great Hindu King Harsha (1089 to 1101 A. D) who was versed in many languages, a good poet, lover of music and art, making his court a centre of luxury, learning and splendour.
Unfortunately In the beginning of 14th century, a ferocious Mongol warlord, Dulucha, invaded the valley through its northern side Zojila Pass, with an army of 60,000 men. His savage attack ended for all purposes the Hindu rule in Kashmi and he is said to have destroyed many temples and killed thousands of Hindus. Muslim rule was further tightened in 1389, during the rule of Sultan-Sikandar. He banned all celebrations and would not even listen to music. He imposed Jizia (tax on Infidels) upon Hindus and stopped them to use tilak. Almost all the Muslim chroniclers of that time speak of the wholesale destruction of Hindu shrines including the famed ‘Martand’ Temple, and forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam. Thousands of Hindus fled to India to save their religion and holy books, and also to escape the wrath of the Sultan
Then, after a period of relative tolerance and peace, came the rule of Afghans warlords till 1819, roughly a period of 67 years. The very first Afghan governor Abdullah Khan Aquasi, immediately after assuming powers, started a reign of terror. People were looted and killed indiscriminately, and even soldiers began to amass wealth beyond any imagination. Fortunately, in 1819, 30,000 soldiers of Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh attacked Kashmir, defeated the Pathans, and the state became a part of Ranjit Singh’s empire for nearly forty years, providing some relief to Hindus in Kashmir. But the British defeated the Sikhs and became undisputed masters of India. Not interested by Kashmir, they sold it in perpetuity for 75 lakhs of rupees (appr 150.000 $) to Maharaja Gulab Singh of the Doghra dynasty (what wonderful merchants the British, who sell something which does not even belong to them!).
By treaty, conquest, or inter-marriages, the Doghras created a state comprised of five major units, which are fundamentally very different from each other in terms of geography and ethnicity and have further complicated the problems of Kashmir: the territory around Gilgit (today in Pakistan), which belongs basically to Central Asia; Ladhak, which is an extension of Tibet and is peopled at 55% by Buddhists and 45% by Muslims; the area around Muzarrafad which is today under Pakistan control, comprised mostly of Punjabi Muslims; Jammu, which in essence belongs to Himachal Pradesh and is Hindu in majority; and the valley of Kashmir, of course, which was Indian Muslim at 95 % in 1947.
Finally, India gained its independence from in 1947 and was disastrously divided by the British, against the advice of saints and seers, such as Sri Aurobindo, along religious lines into India and Pakistan. Although many Muslims chose to stay in India, knowing that they would be granted the freedom of practicing their own religion, most Hindus had to flee Pakistan as they were being slaughtered mercilessly. Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir decided to attach his state to free and secular India. Furious, the Pakistan Government invaded Kashmir, and encouraged the Muslim tribal people to carry loot, plunder, death and destruction into the hearths and homes of innocent Kashmiris in general and among Hindus in particular.
Since 1947, Pakistan, aided by China, which also claims parts of Indian territory, has initiated three wars to regain Indian Kashmir, four, if you include the Kargil war fought in the icy reaches of upper Kashmir. Worse, the proxy war which they are waging on India today, by arming, training and financing not only Kashmiri separatists, but also Islamic militants coming from Afghanistan, or even faraway Sudan, has cost the lives of nearly 60.000 innocent people, both Hindus and Muslims. It should be added that Pakistan decided in the late eighties that it would be easier to regain Kashmir if all the Hindus were pushed out by a campaign of terror, both in the valley, where they are a tiny minority and in Jammu where they still have a thin majority. Thus 450,000 Kashmiri Pandits, constituting 99% of the total population of Hindus living in the Kashmir Valley, have been forcibly pushed out of the Valley by terrorists. Since 1989, they have been forced to live the life of exiles in their own country.
People should also be reminded that terrorism in Kashmir is not about separatism only, it is also an ideological struggle with specific fundamentalist and communal Agenda. Terrorist violence aims at the disengagement of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from India and its annexation to Pakistan. It is a continuation of the Islamic fundamentalist struggle.
Vaishakh Shukla 10, Kaliyug Varsha 5114
While Kashmiri Pandits living outside the Kashmir valley have dominated the narrative, Pandits who chose to stay in the alley despite threats and violence have been suffering a silent death – and their numbers have dwindled from 32000 to just 2654 in 2008-09, as per the last recorded figures.
In this special story, this Citizen Journalist takes a look at how this miniscule population has been suffering on financial, social and psychological fronts
SANJAY TICKOO chose to stay put in Kashmir when all his frightened Pandit friends, relatives and neighbours preferred to leave the valley after insurgency began in 1989. Despite facing threats in the form of a letter pasted on his door, asking him to leave, Mr Tickoo fought back, but 22 years down the line, he regrets his decision.
“I can’t go back in time and change my decision but yes if my daughter who will be in 12th grade in next couple of years chooses to study and settle outside Kashmir, I wouldn’t stop her,” says Mr Tickoo in a husky voice.
About one lakh Kashmiri Pandits migrated from Kashmir towards Jammu in the South in 1990 in a mass exodus â€“ and many conflicting theories explain the exodus with some blaming the administration led by Governor Jag Mohan, who wanted to escort them safely out of the valley till the situation got better. Others believe that the administration wanted to give a communal colour to the uprising but all agree to the fact that the exodus was a big loss to the Kashmir societal fabric in which Muslims and Pandits had co-existed peacefully for centuries.
Such mysterious posters asking Pandits to leave or face death were pasted across the length and breadth of the valley â€“ on the face of it the obvious aim was to frighten them so they could leave. While it worked and Pandits began to leave as government transport picked them up from villages and towns but there was one man who chose to fight back â€“ Mr Tickoo got the letter published as an advertisement in one of local Urdu newspapers. It worked and all his shocked Muslim neighbours and friends assembled at his house and apologised for the misdeed, not before promising that his family faced no threat and urged him not to leave his home.
A father of two, Mr Tickoo, who now heads the Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), an organisation looking after the affairs of Pandits, chose to stay back despite the threats and violence, and says that the community is facing the toughest times ever. He alleges that for the state, only migrants (Pandits who left the valley) matter and they have policies for them only while for them there is nothing in store. “They have policies for only two Ms â€“ Migrants and Militants. They want militants to come back and promise them rehabilitation policies, and similarly they have announced jobs for migrants who return,” says Mr Tickoo. “Do they know we exist and what have they done to save the Pandit community which we represent?”asks Mr Tickoo.
Acording to 1991 govt. Census figures, the number of Pandits who didn’t migrate was 32,000 but according to a census carried out by KPSS in 2008-09, there were only 2654 people left. “Government policies are to be blamed for the dwindling numbers,” Mr Tickoo reasons.
According to him, a Pandit student with as low as 42% marks can get a Software Engineering seat outside Kashmir and on the other hand, non-migrant Pandit doesn’t get it even after scoring 80-90% marks. “Isn’t this enough reason that our students will also decide to leave the valley,” asks Mr Tickoo, adding “This should serve an eye-opener for those who are crying that migrant Pandits should come back.” “Will they?”he asks.
Also, as per the state’s rehabilitation policy, more than 1500 Kashmiri migrant Pandits have been allotted jobs in various state government departments but for the non-migrants, government, according to Mr Tickoo have been promising will find something. “The government should have endorsed our sacrifices but it didn’t and it never accepted the fact that we stood on ground zero for last two decades,” Mr Tickoo rues.
At a time when migrant Pandits have dominated the narrative while this miniscule population, dwindling with time has become virtually become non-existent. From pro-freedom organisation and civil society to political and religious organisations, everyone has been only talking about the migrant Pandits and their return, not a single voice is heard to look into the affairs of Pandits living inside the valley. “If Mirwaiz Umar Farooq can raise the issue of Kashmiri language, why can’t he also raise our issue,” asks Mr Tickoo.
Migrant Pandits, according to Mr Tickoo are eligible for financial packages besides their children get the reservation across the educational institutions. They have found lucrative careers for their children who are comfortably settled in various parts of the country and abroad. In this situation, according to Mr Tickoo, one can’t expect a software engineer to leave his job and settle in valley. This holds true for all those Muslim Kashmiris as well who have settled outside Kashmir and their association is just to visit their homes once or twice in a year.
Mr Tickoo says that people from his own community have been using unparliamentary language against them for their decision to stay put. “Why did you stay back, they ask us,” says Mr Tickoo. And rightly so, this community hasn’t been facing only financial issues but also social and psychological issues.
“We can’t find a good choice for our daughters in valley and then we are forced to marry them outside and quite similarly our sons also face the same problem, no outsider is willing to marry off their daughters to a Pandit living in Kashmir,” rues Mr Tickoo.
Besides, this community has lost all the friends and relatives with whom they can share their moments of happiness and sorrow. “When my father passed away in 1991, priest wasn’t available and I needed somebody my own (close relatives like sister, aunt, uncle) to console me. But they weren’t there. Though my Muslim neighbours and friends were by my side but I couldn’t have expected that from them,” reveals Mr Tickoo.
Last but not the least, these people have been suffering psychologically as well. “We could share what happened with us during the day with anyone. It was a period of suffocation and we could feel that uneasiness which we could have vented out by sharing with friends and family,” says Mr Tickoo.
Vaishakh Krushna 13,Kaliyug Varsha 5114
There is no other country other than India in the whole world where its own citizens have become migrant in their own country. Shame on Congress who has ruled more than 60 years but could not stop genocide of Kashmiri Hindus and could not resolve the issue even after 22 years . Now Hindus must unite and establish Hindu Rashtra to safeguard Hindus !
New Delhi :The government on Wednesday said that 58,697 families have been reported to have migrated from Kashmir Valley to other places since the emergence of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“58,697 families have been reported to have migrated from Kashmir Valley to Jammu, Delhi and other places,” Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
He was answering a question on the number of families who have migrated from Kashmir by January 2011.
“The Central government is reimbursing expenditure for cash and ration relief in respect of Kashmiri migrants in Jammu. The migrants in other states have been provided facilities to the eligible ones (migrants) which includes monthly allowance, provisions of other amenities for health, education and better living conditions as per scale fixed by them,” Singh said.