Saturday, January 23, 2010

To forget would be to forgive


Nandimarg massacre of Pandits: Even toddlers were not spared by Islamists.

Twenty
years ago this past week, Hindus were forced to flee Kashmir Valley, their ancestral land, by Islamic fanatics baying for their blood. Not a finger was raised by the state in admonition nor did ‘civil society’ feel outraged. In these 20 years, India has forgotten that outrage, a grotesque assault on our idea of nationhood. So much so, nobody even talks of the Kashmiri Pandits, driven out of their home and hearth, virtually stripped of their identity and reduced to living as refugees in their own country, any more.

Our ‘secular’ media, obsessed as it is with pandering to the baser instincts of Muslim separatists, waxing eloquent about the many sorrows of India’s least of all minorities, arguing the case for rabid mullahs and demanding ‘greater autonomy’ for Jammu & Kashmir so that the Tricolour doesn’t fly there any more, has not thought it fit to take note of the 20th anniversary of the new age Exodus. Our politicians, who salivate for Muslim votes and are willing to go to any extent to appease ‘minority sentiments’ — including approving the automatic though absurd inclusion of Muslims in the list of BPL beneficiaries of the Indian state’s munificence in keeping with the Prime Minister’s ‘Muslims first’ policy — would rather pretend this particular event never happened. Our judiciary, which endlessly agonises over terrorists and their molls being killed in Gujarat, has not thought it fit to set up a Special Investigation Team to identify the guilty men of 1990 and bring them to justice. It would seem Hindu pride, Hindu dignity and Hindu lives are irrelevant in this wondrous land of ours.

Tragically, Hindus have no sense of history: Those who have come of age in these 20 years, we can be sure, are ignorant of how the Kashmir Valley was cleansed of its Hindu population through a modern day genocide. To forget, it is often said, is to forgive. But should we forgive those who committed this monstrous act of criminal misdeed? Should we forget that the Government of India has disowned the Hindus of Kashmir Valley? Should we rationalise the remorseless attitude of the Government of Jammu & Kashmir towards the plight of Kashmiri Pandits?

***

Srinagar, January 4, 1990.
Aftab, a local Urdu newspaper, publishes a Press release issued by Hizb-ul Mujahideen, set up by the Jamaat-e-Islami in 1989 to wage jihad for Jammu & Kashmir’s secession from India and accession to Pakistan, asking all Hindus to pack up and leave. Another local paper, Al Safa, repeats this expulsion order.

In the following days, there is near chaos in the Kashmir Valley with Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and his National Conference Government abdicating all responsibilities. Masked men run amok, waving Kalashnikovs, shooting to kill and shouting anti-India slogans.

Reports of killing of Kashmiri Pandits begin to trickle in; there are explosions; inflammatory speeches are made from the pulpits of mosques, using public address systems meant for calling the faithful to prayers. A terrifying fear psychosis begins to take grip of Kashmiri Pandits.

Walls are plastered with posters and handbills, summarily ordering all Kashmiris to strictly follow the Islamic dress code, prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks and imposing a ban on video parlours and cinemas. The masked men with Kalashnikovs force people to re-set their watches and clocks to Pakistan Standard Time.

Shops, business establishments and homes of Kashmiri Pandits, the original inhabitants of the Kashmir Valley with a recorded cultural and civilisational history dating back 5,000 years, are marked out. Notices are pasted on doors of Pandit houses, peremptorily asking the occupants to leave Kashmir within 24 hours or face death and worse. Some are more lucid: “Be one with us, run, or die!”

* * *

Srinagar, January 19, 1990. Mr Jagmohan arrives to take charge as Governor. Mr Farooq Abdullah, whose Government has all but ceased to exist, resigns and goes into a sulk. Curfew is imposed as a first measure to restore some semblance of law and order. But it fails to have a deterrent effect.

Throughout the day, Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front and Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists use public address systems at mosques to exhort people to defy curfew and take to the streets. Masked men, firing from their Kalashnikovs, march up and down, terrorising cowering Pandits who, by then, have locked themselves in their homes.

As evening falls, the exhortations become louder and shriller. Three taped slogans are repeatedly played the whole night from mosques: ‘Kashmir mei agar rehna hai, Allah-o-Akbar kehna hai’ (If you want to stay in Kashmir, you have to say Allah-o-Akbar); ‘Yahan kya chalega, Nizam-e-Mustafa’ (What do we want here? Rule of Sharia’h); ‘Asi gachchi Pakistan, Batao roas te Batanev san’ (We want Pakistan along with Hindu women but without their men).

The Pandits have reason to be fearful. In the preceding months, 300 Hindu men and women, nearly all of them Kashmiri Pandits, had been slaughtered ever since the brutal murder of noted lawyer Pandit Tika Lal Taploo by the JKLF in Srinagar on September 14, 1989. Soon after that, Justice NK Ganju of the Srinagar High Court was shot dead. Pandit Sarwanand Premi, 80-year-old poet, and his son were kidnapped, tortured, their eyes gouged out, and hanged to death. A Kashmiri Pandit nurse working at the Soura Medical College Hospital in Srinagar was gang-raped and then beaten to death. Another woman was abducted, raped and sliced into pieces at a saw mill.

In villages and towns across the valley, terrorist hit lists have been floating about. All the names are of Pandits. With no Government worth its name, the administration having collapsed, the police nowhere to be seen, despondency sets in. As the night of January 19, 1990, wears itself out, despondency gives way to desperation.

And tens of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits across the valley take a painful decision: To flee their homeland to save their lives. Thus takes place a 20th century Exodus.

* * *

After the Holocaust, Jews reflected on their persecution and resolved, ‘Never again.’ Yad Vashem is not only a moving memorial to the atrocities committed against Jews, it is also an archive that documents specific details, including names, addresses and photographs, so that future generations neither forget nor forgive their tormentors. Twenty years after the persecution of Hindus began in Kashmir Valley, we don’t even know how many men, women and children were stripped of their rights; how many were raped, slaughtered and maimed; their names; and, what happened to those who survived. Barring those living in refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi, in the hope that some day they will be able to return to Kashmir Valley with their dignity and safety assured. Deep within they know, and the rest of us know, that is never going to happen.

And thereby hangs a tragic tale of callous Hindu indifference.

[This appeared as my Sunday column Coffee Break in The Pioneer on 24/01/10]

22 comments:

JITENDAR said...

Its not only politicians, even the hypocrite media has let the nation down by not fighting for the rights of the kashmiri pandits in the same breadth as they fight for so called 'minorities'. Absolutely enrages me whenever I think on this. Yes never forgotten and will never forgive.
Jiten

uthamanarayanan said...

Deep within we know it is never going to happen............. tragic indeed to bear the burden of having lost the kith and kin and live life like rootless trees in the era of politicians who never think that justice should rule in a democracy otherwise democracy has very feeble substratum to survive.

Anonymous said...

It always perplexed me that why the leftist secular media sides with hard core rabid right wing mullhas and always sidesteps the real 'secular' issues. This is a curious jugalbandi to my mind. After all religion is opium of masses or some such stuff is said by these leftists.
After some struggle, I'm able to find one common ground for these people. The power of 'whining'. Both of these types of people are perpetually whining and always nurse a sense of victim hood against an imaginary oppressor. They always held someone else responsible for their problems and never ever attempt to look within. Another similarity between them is both of them support the concept of centralized power where a small coterie should control the mind and life of rest of people. When I further explored this line, I could thought of lot of similarities between them.. and voile, I realized that actually both of them can not be separated and are two sides of same coin. Both of them use dogmatic philosophies to perpetuate the tyranny of small set of ruling junta. Both of them believe that final word on truth is already written in their holy books and of course can not be altered. Only task that is remaining is to convert the world. In fact the whole concept is very similar and different in only name...
So, from this what we derive is the current situation is not exactly war on terrorism but it is return of war of ideologies. The same old foes in different hues.
Hence, as the final conclusion, there are only two types of ways in the world....
Further, from this perspective, it is only natural for left wing media to behave the way they did, in Kashmir or any where else in the world.
We should not expect any sympathetic ear from the foe. Only way is to increase our own strength…

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satya said...

But isn't it true that most of the die-hard secularists have been kashmiri pandits too

Anonymous said...

Kanchan da,

Thnks 2 ppl like u, d plight of the kashmiri pandits forced 2 live as refugees in their own motherland is highlighted.

But, trust me no Secular Govt in this country will be moved by their plight, as they do not constitute a votebank, to explot...

Anonymous said...

Dividing us on the basis of religion , language , caste & hodge podge semblance of governance fosters nothing but "callousness".

So shocking.

Sivaraman said...

"We want Pakistan along with Hindu women but without their men". This is the religion that claims to respect women's chastity and dignity by forcing them to wear the "burqa". Islamists must realise that dignity and respect are not in symbols but in practising what's preached.

But I'm profoundly outraged that the BJP aligned with Farooq Abdullah (till post-Godhra 2002 happened) whose govt in J&K was appallingly inept or clandestinely derelict when the Islamist rage boys went on rampage resulting in the Hindu exodus. After reading this blog, I don't feel like voting for BJP ever again. Plague on BJP.

Vox Indica said...

Please see the following article:

http://voxindica.blogspot.com/2009/10/let-operation-in-j-and-detention-in-us.html

Rakesh Singh - राकेश सिंह said...

Coming years we will see more Kashmir (north east states, Tamil Nadu, Kerla, Goa etc…) and as usual Hindus too much busy to become ultra modern.

I feel the Kasmiri pandits were also responsible for their plight. Kashmiri Pandits never-ever thought and worked together to build their strong community and network to defend themselves against evil Islamic terrorists, mullas.

As far as secular media or the person is concerned they are spineless. Secular media know this very well that they will not get any benefit if they show truth about the plight of Hindus & Kashmir.

Swabhimaan said...

why has the BJP been silent on this issue? Kashmiri Pandits were mentioned in the general election manifesto last year but it did nothing to condemn Manish Tiwari's statements on Jagmohan and the Kashmiri Pandits. If the Kashmiri Pandits have to be heard loud and clear all across the country, BJP will have to support them actively.

Swabhimaan said...

the 'protest' against Manish Tiwari would start from Kashmir Kashmir House Prithiviraj Road at 2:30 PM

Is someone from the BJP going to support them now?

Anonymous said...

I don't see any kashmiri pandit talking about their plight. Nobody can help if somebody do not want to help themsleves.

There have been too many movies about Gujarath riots. How about doing a movie about Kashmir cleansing or Delhi sikh riots. Any takers in bollywood? Rahul can be invited to watch these movies too.

Swabhimaan said...

BJP must support Kashmiri Pandits:
Kashmiri Pandits lambast Congress Spokesperson’s statement;call him a ‘separatist spokesperson
http://bit.ly/5wYyEa

Join 27Jan 2010 2.30 on back of JKHOUSE Prithviraj road, newDelhi.& shall proceed at 3 to CongHQ at 24,Akbar road".

Sivaraman said...

"Our judiciary, which endlessly agonises over terrorists and their molls being killed in Gujarat, has not thought it fit to set up a Special Investigation Team to identify the guilty men of 1990 and bring them to justice"

I'm cockahoop. At last, somebody has exposed the ivory-towered judiciary for what it's.

sunaath said...

There were many outcries against Operation Bluestar. There were justified
outcries against the genocide of the Sikhs after the assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Those whom India recognises as intellectuals (like Mr. Khushwant Singh) were not bothered to raise one little finger against terror unleashed against Hindus in Punjab while they agonised at the genocide of Sikhs.
Look at the hypocrisy! Indian communities are very selective.

Swabhimaan said...

What is this? Is this the reason you said Kashmiri Pandits might never be able to go back?
http://bit.ly/bOHwsq

Shameful indeed that even RSS is complicit and is becoming party to 'constructive' opposition ideas of the BJP.

If there can be an autonomous and greater Kashmir, why can't there be a greater Jammu or an separate state for the Kashmiri Pandits?

Anonymous said...

It is a tragedy that the world has let this genocide happen. Indian sec. media is the biggest culprit in this tragedy.
The jews would never have let this genocide be forgotten or let it be swept under the carpet. Wake up fellow hindus!

Anonymous said...

It is a tragedy that the world has let this genocide happen. Indian sec. media is the biggest culprit in this tragedy.
The jews would never have let this genocide be forgotten or let it be swept under the carpet. Wake up fellow hindus!

wyyt huun said...

Action plan and initial proposal

The instant purposes
Create immediate job opportunities
• Services to the students.
• Transport.
• Services and products to the military camps.
• Shopping complexes, malls and store houses for the hospitals.
• Staff for the various institutions.
• Construction and maintenance employees.
Create growth opportunities
• iit, iim and aims for immediate growth .
• open university for free flow of ideas.
• create a base for growth of various contact centers.
• growth of society as an highly educated base for entrepreneurs.

Partnership from private sector
• boarding schools.
• institutions: practical knowledge like aircraft maintenance, air hostess training, fashion designing.
• private banks and their regional centers.
• Development and handover.
• Malls and showrooms.
Future vision
• Development as the knowledge hub of the country
• Locally developed industries to provide quality employment and drive real estate costs to soar.
• High involvement of the KP community in the educational institutions and city’s administration.
• Taking the city to metropolitan city status within 15 years.
Steps need to be taken
• Spreding the idea to KP youth.
• Getting support from a state government.
• Involvement of experts to finalise the plan, calculate economic social estimates.
• Getting signatute of support from private institutions and organisations.
Other options
• Support from religious groups running schools, colleges and hospitals.
• Sports complexes and stadiums.
• Museums and memorials.
• Airport, railway stn., media centers.
• Ayurvedic medicine production centers, and other eco friendly industries.
• IT centers.

Allotment plans;-
• According to the size of families, allotment of houses in multi story buildings.
• Along with house, each adult to be allotted a piece of land not sellable for a period of 10 years.
• In the residential areas shops and industrial slots should be auctioned only to the residents.
• Separate land reserved in residential as well as military areas for future growth.
• The development of the city beyond the initial plan should be left for natural growth of the city on the condition that it be in a colony pattern and not random individual housings.
• According to the qualification jobs be given in the field of transport, catering, lodging and security to the locals.

Soul aim:-
Creating a community determined for growth. Free from corruption, filled with enthusiasm and sense of community. With people willing to make things work, create, interact and take initiatives. To make a model for “India we will love to be in”.

gbz said...

Kashmir isn't lost to the hindus. 20 yrs ago, even when we kashmiri pandits were fleeing the valley, we never thought we would never return. We can't go back to a muslim majority kashmir, but a separate homeland for kashmiri hindus (including non-pandit hindus) within the valley is a fight we have fought for and will continue to. Might not happen in my generation, but sure as hell, we wont give up.

http://www.panunkashmir.org/margdarshan.html

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