Anaahat Naad

The Unmade Sound

Posts Tagged ‘Exodus

Book Review: Our Moon Has Blood Clots

leave a comment »

Rahul Pandita’s book Our Moon Has Blood Clots: The Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits narrates the displacement of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir valley. It is the account of an ethnic community that was forced to leave home and hearth behind and take refuge in an unknown land. The book describes the ethnic cleansing of Pandits from Kashmir at the behest of Islamic extremists/terrorists.

Our Moon Has Blood Clots

Our Moon Has Blood Clots is a memoir of Rahul Pandita who was fourteen years old when he had to leave his home in Srinagar along with his family. The book brings forth the untold story of Kashmiri Pandits who became refugees in their own country. The book begins with author’s initial days in Srinagar and life in Kashmir. Then it describes the changes in aura of the valley ─ India-West Indies international cricket match in 1983 where the crowd cheered for Pakistan and Indian players faced severe harassment; the chants of ‘Allah Hu Akbar’ on streets when Pakistan defeated India at Sharjah in the final of Austral-Asia Cup in 1986; the threats to Kashmiri Pandits via notices, pamphlets, mosque loudspeakers, street processions.
The changed scenario subsequently led to selective killing of Kashmiri Pandits, rapes of innocent Pandit women and resulted in the displacement of lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley. Rahul Pandita’s book also touches upon the 1947 tribal raid in Kashmir in the voice of his maternal uncle. The author’s maternal grandfather along with his family had to leave Baramulla due to the tribal raid.

The book debunks the lies regarding the exodus of Pandits. The most widespread untruth is that the exodus of Pandits was a ploy by Government of India through Jagmohan, then the Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, to defame the so-called freedom struggle (which is nothing but a struggle for an Islamic state). The author gives the horrendous account of murders of some Kashmiri Pandits by the militants in 1990s. The book also nails the lie that those Kashmiri Pandits who stayed back in the valley (and didn’t leave) were not harmed. In this regard, he met Vinod Dhar who is the lone survivor of 1998 Wandhama massacre in which 23 Kashmiri Pandits were brutally killed.

Rahul Pandita’s memoir makes the reader feel the pain and suffering which Kashmiri Pandits have been through. It evokes anger at the failure of the Indian state in protecting its own people. Pandita’s book tells of the betrayal by the majority community of Kashmir (i.e. Kashmiri Muslims) who were so enamoured with ‘azadi’ that they chose to support gun culture over the people (i.e. Kashmiri Pandits).

Though Rahul Pandita visited Kashmir regularly as a journalist, it was only in September 2007 that he managed a visit to his ‘home’ along with his two journalist friends and found that it was not the same anymore. It was a house built with the provident fund savings of his father and the bridal jewellery of his mother. The author feels helpless when he finds someone else living in his house and he has to seek permission to enter it.

The book tries to break the silence in the socio-political discourse over the ethnic cleansing and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. In the discourse regarding Kashmir conflict, the high-handedness of Indian state and the alleged human rights abuses by Indian security forces are debated but not what happened to Kashmiri Pandits. As the author rightly says, it has become unfashionable to speak about the issue of Kashmiri Pandit refugees. Rahul Pandita’s book sets right the narrative in this context.

I had a lump in my throat while reading the book. There are heartbreaking passages in the book where I could not control my tears. Our Moon Has Blood Clots is not the story of Rahul Pandita alone but the story of every single Kashmiri Pandit who encountered terror in Kashmir. It is the story of the innocent people who were raped, killed and assaulted by terrorists leading to their tragic exodus. It is noteworthy that despite all odds, the Kashmiri Pandit community never espoused violent methods for their struggle for reclamation of their ancestral homeland.

Rahul Pandita describes the pain and agony of Kashmiri Pandits in a very lucid manner without mincing words. Pandita’s book is an extremely poignant account of Hindus of Kashmir who are still living in exile in their own country. The book is a must read for those who don’t know what happened to minority community of Kashmir valley and also for those who continue to be in denial about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.

(Originally published in Niti Central and The Pioneer)

Written by Varad Sharma

February 24, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Yet another 19th January

leave a comment »

“Bol Ki Lab Azad Hain Tere, Bol Zubaan Ab Tak Teri Hai” ─ Faiz Ahmed Faiz

The Government of India has failed Kashmiri Pandits (who are the aborigines of Kashmir valley) as they are still living as refugees in their own country. On January 19, Kashmiri Pandits entered their 24th year in exile. Kashmiri Pandit refugees commemorate January 19 as holocaust/exodus day every year.

Twenty-three years ago, Kashmiri Pandits fled the valley leaving behind their homes and homeland so as to save themselves from persecution at the behest of Islamic extremists/terrorists. Around four to five lakh Kashmiri Pandits were displaced due to militancy in Kashmir valley. After the partition of India, it was the biggest ever displacement of people.

Terrorism in Kashmir valley started with the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in 1989-1990. Ethnic cleansing refers to an attempt to create ethnically homogeneous geographic areas through the expulsion or forcible displacement of persons belonging to particular ethnic groups. United Nations defines ethnic cleansing as rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove from a given area, persons of another ethnic or religious group.

The so-called freedom movement (Azaadi) in Kashmir was joined by many Kashmiri Muslims (and not all). They opted for guns for the so-called Azaadi which never was attained. The main purpose of terrorism in Kashmir was to create a valley homogenous in its religious (read Islamic) character. The minority Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave the valley to create such homogeneity. If the majority community of the valley had not supported the insurgency, there probably wouldn’t have been any exodus of the minority community.

Ethnic cleansing sometimes involves the elimination of all physical vestiges of the targeted group through the obliteration of monuments, cemeteries, and houses of worship. Death or displacement may also be involved in ethnic cleansing where a population is identified for removal from an area or a region. With the rise of insurgency and Islamic extremism in Kashmir, houses of minority Hindus were burned and temples were destroyed. Also, notices were pasted on the walls of Kashmiri Pandit houses telling them to leave the Kashmir valley or to die.

Genocide may possibly be used as means to carry out ethnic cleansing. Genocide is defined as the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.

Article 2 of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  1. Killing members of the group;
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

On June 11, 1999, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in a ruling stated that “Against the stern definition of the Genocide Convention, the Commission is constrained to observe that while acts akin to genocide have occurred with respect to Kashmiri Pandits and that, indeed, in the minds and utterances of some of the militants a genocide-type design may exist, the crimes against the Kashmiri Pandits are near-Genocide and not Genocide.”

The United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan at the 60th Session of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on April 7, 2004 said, “Wherever civilians are deliberately targeted because they belong to a particular community, we are in the presence of potential, if not actual, genocide.”

What happened in 1990s in Kashmir was ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits marked with genocide. Kashmiri Hindus were killed by terrorists in 1989 and afterwards until they left the valley. Prominent Kashmiri Pandits who were killed are Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, Justice Neel Kanth Ganjoo, poet Sarwanand Koul ‘Premi’ and his son, advocate Prem Nath Bhat, Lassa Koul (Director, Doordarshan Kendra – Srinagar).

Though the official figure of Kashmiri Pandit killings is 219, Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), a valley-based organisation, suggests that 399 Pandits were killed and the list of Pandit killings is still incomplete. A survey was done in 2008 and 2009 to find the precise number of Pandits killed. The survey revealed that 302 members of the community were killed in 1990 alone. Such selective killing of minority Hindus of Kashmir amounts to genocide.

Kashmiri Pandits were seen as obstacle in the path of the so-called Azaadi from India. The valley was cleansed of Pandits because they had a tilak on their forehead. It is ironic that there has not been a single judicial enquiry about the exodus and killings of Kashmiri Pandits. The killers aren’t prosecuted, rather they roam freely in Kashmir and have many supporters in the valley.

The State/Central Government has not taken substantial measures till date for the return of Kashmiri Pandits back to the valley. If they had taken any, the return would have happened. How long will the Government of India take to wake from its deep slumber to address the issues concerning Kashmiri Pandit refugees? It has been 23 years and there are still no answers — answers about the exodus, the killings, the human rights violations, the justice and the return (back to Kashmir valley on their own terms). The exile continues. The scars remain.

(Originally published in Niti Central)

Kashmir’s Exiled Bhattyein

leave a comment »

Kashmiri Pandit women are commonly known as ‘Bhattyein’. The word is a distortion of Sanskrit word “Bhattini” which means lady belonging to a noble family.

The over two-decade old Kashmir conflict has adversely affected the people of valley; be it men, women or children. Kashmiri women have faced the brunt of conflict since the beginning.

Bhattyein (Photo Courtesy - Vijay Koul)Photo Courtesy: Vijay Koul

While the Kashmiri women living in the valley are considered a part of debate/discussions regarding the impact of Kashmir conflict, there are women living on the other side of the tunnel who are ignored. Having witnessed the killing of their community members and then subjected to forced displacement from the Kashmir valley, the psyche of exiled ‘Bhattyein’ have got affected. Such a generation of women have seen the turmoil/insurgency in the valley and have been at the receiving end of terrorism.

During the rise of insurgency in Kashmir valley, the Pandit women were raped, brutalized and killed. In 1990, a nurse named Sarla Bhat, resident of Anantnag, working in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (Soura) was gang-raped and then murdered by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) militants. In the same year, a woman named Girja Tickoo, resident of Bandipora, was gang-raped and then chopped into pieces on mechanical saw by the terrorists. Many such acts of savagery were committed by the terrorists in 1990s against Kashmiri Pandits including ‘Bhattyein’. Moreover, there was an infamous slogan in Kashmir chanted by many during the peak of insurgency which revealed their intention – “Asi Gachchi Pakistan, Bhattav Roas Te Bhattyenav Saan” (We want Pakistan along with Hindu women but without their men).

After the displacement of lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir, the Pandit women have suffered from several health diseases like diabetes, thyroid gland malfunctioning etc. which were unheard of when they used to live in the valley. There is rise in stress-related disorders like depression, hypertension etc. among the Pandit women. Dr. KL Chowdhury, renowned Kashmiri physician, did a survey on the exiled Pandit women in the past and found that there was drop in population of Kashmiri Pandits. “Many Pandit women developed premature menopause even at the age of 35 years which reduced the ability to conceive at an early stage of life. Living in inhumane refugee camps after the displacement, the sexual desire itself diminished as three generations of a family lived in a single make-shift tent. This caused a decline in birth rate which resulted in fall in population of the Pandits.”

The “Bhattyein” have encountered hardships on a day-to-day basis. They lost their lifestyle and environment while living in exile. The very idea of a woman’s dignity was hurt. Rahul Bagati was a young boy when he had to leave his native place Kupwara due to turmoil. He remembers the difficult days in exile. “When our family was forced to migrate to Jammu, we started staying at a rented place. During this time, my younger sister was born. However, we developed some serious differences with the landlord due to his conduct and decided to move to our under-construction house which did not have any flooring. As funds were scarce, a make-shift bed made of bricks meant for construction and wood for doors was created for my mother. For rest of us, one of the two sarees my grandmother had brought with her was used as flooring to sleep.”

In exile, Kashmiri Pandit refugees have died due to change in environmental conditions. They were forced to live in hostile conditions in make-shift camps. Think of the “Bhattyein”, especially the older ones who had to live in 45°C in Jammu, who don’t know what a scorching summer is like (as average temperature of Kashmir in summer is around 30°C). The habitat change resulted in heat-strokes, anaemia, malaria etc. which caused many deaths.

Pandit women (Photo Courtesy - Aditya Raj Kaul)Photo Courtesy: Aditya Raj Kaul

“My maternal grandmother was like a mother to all in the village Irkumoo (which is in Kokernag area of Anantnag district) irrespective of them being Hindus or Muslims. However, as soon as Islamic fanaticism rose in valley in 1990, the Muslim neighbours who were like her children drove her out of Kashmir. The mother in her could not bear the pain of her children and grand-children living in refugee camps in Jammu. She could not bear the heat of the summer in Jammu and passed away. We called it heat-stroke. But it wasn’t only heat that killed her; it was the death of a mother who was driven away from her own home by people (Muslim neighbours) whom she treated and nurtured like her own children all her life,” says Deepak Kaul who lost his maternal grandmother in exile.

The media as well as human rights organizations have time and again highlighted the plight of Kashmiri women living in the valley, in particular half-widows (women who don’t know whether they are married or widows). But they have forgotten those exiled “Bhattyein” who have also suffered the loss of home and homeland due to the conflict. One can hardly find a report, editorial, story etc. dedicated to them. No women’s organizations have given a thought to such women.

On 19th January, 2013, these “Bhattyein” will enter their 24th year of exile.

(Originally published in Newslaundry and The Jammu Height ― April Issue, Page 30)

Written by Varad Sharma

January 12, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Memories of a home beyond that tunnel

leave a comment »

Last month, I visited my home-state Jammu and Kashmir to see my folks. Accompanied by my father, I was meeting an uncle of mine after some two years. In the plethora of things we talked about we also spoke about ‘home’. It is quite natural for the exiles to talk, discuss and share views about the ‘home’. Not a long time back we lived together in one big house in Kashmir. When the family grew larger, my uncle and his family moved out and built another house behind ours. It was in a village in Anantnag district in the Valley.

Meanwhile, my aunt served us pinkish salty tea — Scheer Chai. My uncle and my father were conversing about the good old times — the life, the neighbours, the alleys, the school, the college, the fields and the fishing in Lidder. Listening to them I realised that I have missed the life in Kashmir.

My uncle had been to Kashmir some months ago and had taken a few photographs of our houses — the ones we used to live in. We observed it very keenly for some minutes. Silence followed. Thanks to my uncle we saw our ‘home’ after 22 long years.

The silence was broken by a flurry of questions — What about the land we owned, the alleys, the fields, the stream from Lidder. We were told that some land seems to be encroached upon.

Even after leaving my uncle’s place my mind was buzzing with thoughts and questions about the life in Kashmir, the militancy, the exodus of Pandits, etc. It was the home where I celebrated my first Diwali with young Muslim brethren. That was the home where my forefathers lived.

A little over two decades have taken a toll on our house. All the wood that was part of the house has disappeared and today it looks like a dilapidated three-storey structure. After pondering over the picture, I thought — had our neighbours been so caring and loving, they would have maintained the sanctity of my home.

From my father’s expressions I could gather that the photograph brought back memories. After all, an exile possesses only memories; memories of home, homeland, and the life in homeland. We are left with memories of a home that lies beyond that tunnel. As much as we yearn for our home, the home would also be longing for its people. It was the same home where elders of my family once lived. That home stood witness to the good and not so good events in our family. That photograph was more than a photograph — a story is implicit in it.

Likewise, there are thousands of such houses — abandoned, looted, encroached, ruined — in the Valley and its people living in exile.

We were saddened to see that picture but there will be time when the house will again be full of its people to whom it belongs; there will be time when the place will again be bustling. It was once home and it will be home one day.

There is hardly a day without conversation about the ‘home’. Kashmiri poet Dina Nath ‘Nadim’ fills one with hope of return — Mei Chham Aash Pagahuch, Pagaah Sholi Duniyah (I have hope for tomorrow, tomorrow the world will glisten).

(Originally published in The New Indian Express)

Written by Varad Sharma

March 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm

A conversation with an unknown Kashmiri

leave a comment »

On 17th of November 2011, I had an appointment at 1330 hours at a ‘special’ venue in New Delhi. I set out from my place at 0900 hours as the ‘special’ venue was far from my place.

 I reached the venue almost one hour early. I went to the waiting hall and took a seat. After 15-20 minutes, one of the organizing members announced in the hall that the meet was postponed by 90 minutes. Many seemed annoyed by this announcement. I was also. After all, who loves to wait? I was observing things in the waiting hall. A guy sitting adjacent to me enquired about the meet. And soon our conversation started.
Mr. S: So where is your home?
This question has always been a difficult one to answer for an exile no longer has a ‘home’.
I: At present, my place is New Delhi.
Mr. S: Do you belong to Delhi?
I: No. I am from Anantnag, Kashmir.
Mr. S: Oh Great! I am from Srinagar.
And the conversation about ‘home’ has begun…
Mr. S: Kar ousukh tormut Kasheer paetimi lyeat? (When did you go to Kashmir last time?). I haven’t been to ‘home’ for last one year due to very busy schedules.
I: We were forced to leave Kashmir 22 years ago. Bu’ha tchus bhatt’e. (I am Kashmiri Pandit.)
Then we both were silent for 10-15 minutes. May be he was thinking about gloomy 1990s and the tragic story behind it.
Mr. S: Tarun’uk tcha iraad’e? (Do you have any intention of ‘return’?)
I: Aa tarun tchu wapis. Aj, pagah, suli tcheer. Kasheer tchu panun ghar. (Yes, we will ‘return’..Today, tomorrow, sooner or later..Kashmir is our home.)
We talked about almost every ‘Kashmiri’ thing — Pheran, Tcheer Chai, Haakh, Chakker, Telwour, Sheen, Wazwan etc.
The fellow Kashmiri was a bit surprised to see me talking in Kashmiri. May be it was unusual for him to see a person brought up outside the vale speaking in mother tongue.
And how can there be no discussion about politics. Every Kashmiri is a ‘political analyst’.
I: Why majority of the majority community of the valley chant ‘Azaadi’ (secession from India)? It amazes as well as amuses me. More than two decades ago, the same wanted merger with Pakistan.
Mr. S: Yes, many say so. Neither ‘Azaadi’ nor merger with Pakistan is the way forward for Kashmir and Kashmiris. At the same time, many things need to be set right. Justice has been delayed.
I was little surprised to hear that. The fellow has studied in south India and has been to many cities of India.
We agreed on the fact that sooner the justice delivered to the people (living on both sides of the tunnel), better it is for Kashmir. Though on a community level, the majority and the minority differ on several issues. We had lunch in between. He narrated a few distressing stories and how Kashmir has become a lucrative industry.
I: Every Kashmiri has a peculiar story and a poignant one.
Mr. S: I feel sad about the exodus of Pandits. It was dark period in the history of Kashmir. Inshallah, you will return soon.
I: Amen! Return we will on our terms.
We wished each other before we departed.
The meeting was fine. The postponement was blessing in disguise because it resulted in a ‘special’ meeting with an unknown Kashmiri. Was it a mere coincidence or more than a coincidence? I came back to my place and thought of ‘home’.
(Originally published in Hindustan Times)

Written by Varad Sharma

November 20, 2011 at 8:00 am

The Exile Continues!

leave a comment »

21 years ago, on 19th January 1990 started the biggest exodus since partition.  About half a million Kashmiri Hindus, facing the threat of Islamic fundamentalism left their homeland. Every year since that day Kashmiri Pandits observe 19 January as Kashmiri Pandit Holocaust/Exodus Day, hoping to go back to their homes one day.

Why did it happen? Every stakeholder has their own version.  Muslims in Kashmir blame then governor Jagmohan but Pandits seem to have not forgotten the events that took place before the fateful night of January 19, 1990. 

Warnings were shouted from mosques against KAFIRs, threat letters posted on walls of Pandit houses, often processions would shout slogans like Hum Kya Chahte, Azaadi (We want freedom), Yahan Kya Chalega, Nizam-e-Mustafa (What will have sway here – Prophet’s governance) etc. Killing of Pandits had become a regular affair. 

Well Pandits, who were a miniscule minority, thought that the situation in valley will improve in few months. They left for the land unknown, hoping that one day when the normalcy returns, they will come back HOME!

What remains an irony is that there was no judicial enquiry for genocide in the valley till date. There are enquiries, probes, commissions for 1993 Mumbai Blasts, Gujarat Riots, Babri Mosque Demolition, 26/11 Mumbai Attack but no fair enquiry as such on exodus of minorities from Kashmir.  The killer of Pandits – Bitta Karate, who claimed to have killed 22 Pandits in an interview, was let go because of lack of evidence!

Who is responsible for Kashmiri Pandit Exile? Well I would say everyone from the terror mastermind sitting across the border to the elected leaders of this country.

Our neighbours from the majority community did nothing to stop our selective murders.  In fact, most of them were driven towards the Azaadi sentiment and openly supported it.  Pandits were detested and many a time the local would turn an informer for the terrorist organization looking for a Kashmiri Pandit.  In 22 years, not a single protest was held to protest against injustice done to Kashmir Pandits. In fact, when killers like Karate were released they were given a HERO’s welcome.

Indian government remained and remains a mute spectator to the exodus. Spokespersons of the political party in power have often ridiculed Kashmiri Pandit cause to attract voters of a particular sect.  The small community of Kashmiri Pandits definitely doesn’t interest the vote-hungry politicians of this country. Today a NATIONALIST community is on verge of extinction and seems no-one cares! The people responsible for the exodus have now become power brokers in Kashmir. Our Government hold parleys with them.

This article is neither for the government nor for our neighbours, because enough has been said to them. But, it’s for the common man of India; please awake before it’s too late.  Kashmir is about to fall and you never know what will be next!

Kashmiri Pandits will keep fighting for their right over their motherland and they will sure return on their own terms!

“If I die in exile, think this of me. There is a corner out there in Kashmir where my soul will come to rest.”

Written by Varad Sharma

January 19, 2011 at 12:30 am

Reversal of Exodus: Separate Homeland

leave a comment »

Homeland is one’s native place. Homeland is a place which belongs to a person or an individual or an ethnic community. In broader sense, Homeland means land which is home to a particular community.

 I dedicate the lines of famous Kashmiri Poet, Dina Nath ‘Nadim’ to my homeland –

Yi  Chhu Son Watan Nundbon Watan,           
Lachchi Vuhur Chhu Lachchi Phiri Zamut Nov,       
Path Gomut Beyi Bronth Amut Nov,  
Navi Ayi Pakan Gatshi Pron Watan, 
Yi Chhu Son Watan Nundbon Watan.

(This is our homeland, our beautiful homeland. Our million year old ancient homeland; our homeland has been born anew a million times. It has lagged behind and then again forged ahead. It is like real gold tested on touchstone of time. Our old homeland shall march forward with new gusto.)

Kashmiri Hindus called as Kashmiri Pandits are the original aborigines of Kashmir valley. Kashmiri Pandits existed in Kashmir from the time when civilization started in valley. Kashmiri Pandits have history of 5000 years. Various historical texts/books mention about the presence of Pandits in the valley; the oldest one is ‘Nilamat Purana’. In other words, community of Kashmiri Pandits is 5000 year old and will continue to exist as long as there is life on earth, as long as human beings exist on this planet.

The advent of Islam in Kashmir around 14th century brought a paradigm shift in socio-political, and religious system. They started to spread their religion in the valley by forcing its inhabitants to convert. And the population of Hindus in the valley continued to decrease and they became minorities in their own land where they used to be in majority. But somehow Kashmiri Pandit managed to preserve his religion, culture as well as tradition. Kashmiri Hindus have migrated several times from the valley due to Islamic fundamentalism. There are seven exoduses of Pandits till date. The seventh one (1989-1990) happened in today’s world of democracy, liberalism, secularism, universal brotherhood.

Around half a million Pandits migrated from valley due to terrorism by fundamentalists. Pandits left valley because there was attack on their culture, tradition, religion. Above all, Kashmiri Pandits left valley because there was attack on their existence. Thousands of them were killed in valley during gloomy years of nineties and many lost their lives in exile due to post-exodus trauma which affected the ethnic community of Kashmiri Pandits. And that trauma, especially among elder ones, is still there and will remain until Pandits return.

Kashmir is the idea of ‘home’ among younger generations of Pandits who were born during the period of exodus as well as post-exodus. Twenty years has been passed since this genocide of Hindus in Kashmir. It’s a blot on Indian Secularism and Indian State as well that Kashmiri Pandits are out of home from past 20 years.

Why Homeland? Many talk about ‘Kashmiriyat’ (Kashmiriyat is term coined by historical pundits describing socio-cultural harmony between Hindus and Muslims that existed somewhere in historical period). But in present times it is just a term, actually a misnomer. Whatever brotherhood that existed between Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir, that brotherhood died in 1989-1990 with the chanting of slogans like “Yahan Kya Chalega, Nizam-e-Mustafa”, “Azaadi Ka Matlab Kya- La Ilah Lil Allah”.

Though most in the majority community want an independent Kashmir but there are saner voices who are truly secular and do not support the movement. But such saner voices are curbed. The ongoing unrest is clear cut example of communal movement in valley. And it brings forth the communal design which is forcing Kashmiri Pandits to demand a separate homeland.

Where homeland? Kashmiri Pandits want separate homeland to North and East of Jhelum River with a status of Union Territory where there is free flow of Indian Constitution without any fetters of Article 370. A separate homeland where there is no fear of attack on distinct culture, tradition and religion of Kashmiri Pandits.

Homeland is my birth-right and I shall have it. I will return to my homeland; to my Panun Kashmir.

Written by Varad Sharma

October 5, 2010 at 8:00 pm