Posts Tagged 'kashmiri pundits'

RSS ideologue MG Vaidya calls for seperate Jammu, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pundits, a union territory ladakh and an autonomous Kashmir

RSS ideologue MG Vaidya calls for seperate Jammu, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pundits, a union territory ladakh and an autonomous Kashmir
Nirmal Pundey
Oct. 4, 2010

It may be the viable solution that will create fear and frustration in Pakistan. It will be a win win situation for all sides especially Indian pride, nationalism and international prestige.
The 88-year old RSS ideologue MG Vaidya has stirred up a hornet’s nest with a radical proposal to carve out a separate state of Kashmir and grant it pre-1953 levels of autonomy with a “Wazir-e-Azam” (prime minister) as the government head, with powers over all subjects except defense, currency, foreign affairs and telecommunications.
Vaidya says these are his personal suggestions aimed at a clean-slate debate to contain Kashmir’s rapid drift towards separatism. Nonetheless, his advocacy of autonomy to Kashmir, a separate state of Jammu and declaration of Ladakh as a union territory reflects thinking within the RSS leadership as he continues to be a part of its think tank.
He insists that he is not expressing the “official position” of the RSS. The BJP and RSS have in the past out-rightly rejected the very idea of trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir that Vaidya is advocating.
Vaidya wants these ideas as a way forward in the troubled valley be discussed in a round-table conference, comprising all shades of opinion in the valley, to put in place a new framework that ensures that Kashmir remains an integral part of India and its people are not swayed away by the separatists. He says elements that seek merger with Pakistan should be kept out of such a consultation. Vaidya also suggests that the conference should also discuss the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Election Commission over the new state as also appointment of IAS and IPS officers in the state. He wants the new state to rehabilitate all Kashmiri Pandits who were forced into exile by the militant insurgency in late eighties.
Explaining why the Centre should continue to have its governor in the state, his note says: “During the British regime, there were many princely states that enjoyed complete autonomy on internal matters. But a British Resident used to be there to look after the interests of the empire and the geographic unity and integrity of the state was not damaged. So will it happen in the case of the new state. Our governor, like the British Resident, will have to be vigilant about the whole nation’s interest.

Deportation of a nation


Deportation of a nation
Tarun Vijay, 16 January 2010, 11:00 PM IST
Nineteen always comes before twenty-six. But here, in our gloriously decorated centres of governance, we celebrate January 26 with a blank look at our republic’s bruised soul showcased through January 19, considered the day when the biggest forced exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the valley was accelerated.

A republic is merely a signature of the Constitution adopted for governing a people, who, in turn, constitute a nation. That nation actually represents the continuity of the civilisational flow of the land and its inhabitants. Ironically, in our case the republic, instead of nurturing those roots, is trying to overwhelm the memories of the soul of this nation with decorated mass annihilators. It’s like putting more earth on the debris to stifle any voices of the living underneath it instead of unearthing and safeguarding the life underneath.

Kashmir, one of the fountainheads of Indian civilisational memories and a symbol of the highest achievements in the scholarship that made India a centre of universal acclaim, is one such example. Everything about its relation with the rest of the Indian nation’s body is sought to be deleted as if a nation is a computer storage you can add to or delete from at your whim.

Mercifully, these neo-state-owners are not gods. Hence, the debris, even when put under mounds of earth, show the facts, however unpalatable they might be to the Wahhabi variety of secularism. The truth about Kashmir comes out in a miraculous demonstration of life. The memory of Rishi Kashyap, whose name Kashmir wears, the history contained in “Raj Tarangini” and the valour of the citizen King Lalitaditya, the sacred bareness of Kashmir’s Meera Lal Dyad, the spiritualism of Muslim fakir Rishi Nund, victory campaigns of Zoravar Singh, the region’s defining glory in Amarnath, Shankaracharya’s Hill and Mata Vaishno Devi, and Vivekananda’s unique realisation at Kheer Bhawani. The age-old fountainhead of Hindu wisdom reflected in Sharada Peeth and the origin of Shri Vidya, Shaiv traditions and the Wazvan, Samovar amalgamation that looked once inseparable.

Can there be a Kashmir without these? What happened on January 19 is part of the efforts to erase all that.

On that day 20 years ago, one of the largest and most painful exoduses of a community took place. Although, agreeably, it’s tough in such circumstances to pinpoint a single date, this has come to be registered as one such day of mass escape of the Hindus from the assaults of jihadis in the valley. This was the day when the mosques blared out a message from their loudspeakers: Pundits leave the valley, leaving behind your women. We want Pakistan, without Pundits.

The killings were brutal. Famous philosopher-poet Sarvanand Premi and his son. Their eyes were gouged out before they were killed. Sarla Bhatt. A nurse in a Srinagar hospital. Mass-raped and killed. Tika Lala Taplu, Lassa Kaul. Prem Nath Bhatt. H L Khera and Mushirul Haq (their killers were acquitted recently after a 19-year-long trial). Those were the days when such killings did make some news in Delhi.

It’s amazing to find a studied silence in the Indian and the foreign media on an exodus that made the valley‘s cultural vibgyor vanish. It’s shocking to see a secular tribe in the national capital too hospitable to patriotic Indians’ slayers like Musharraf and Yasin Malik, the former being the instigator of the Kargil war and the latter facing cases of murders including those of Indian Air Force officers. Google and find out about him. He was the guest of honour at a recently concluded India-Pakistan dialogue for peace which was conducted without a single participation from refugee Kashmiri Hindus.

We are about to celebrate yet another day of the republic without willing to see that this republic hasn’t been able to assure safety to the patriotic people of Kashmir and has stage-managed an autonomy report that is widely seen as a document of separation mocking at the resolution of Parliament swearing to guard India’s integrity and take back the land illegally occupied by Pakistan and China.

A resolution passed in December 2009 by Panun Kashmir, an organisation of Kashmiri Hindus said: “It is a matter of extreme apathy that the exiled Kashmiri Pandits are forced to live in subhuman conditions and subsistence in so-called migrant camps in Jammu and elsewhere for the last 20 years. There is no policy for reversing the genocide and rehabilitating the community in its homeland and the governments of India as well as the J&K state have treated the holocaust with bizarre inaptitude and abandonment. In the last 20 years the government has made empty announcements and piecemeal return formulae, only to further compound the plight of the community.”

When a people are uprooted, not just the bodies that consume food and procreate are transferred from one station to another. It’s an entire life cycle and the reservoirs of collective memory that get dehydrated. It affects and destroys a language, traditions that weave the fabric of a societal dynamic, songs and beliefs, religious rituals and places of worship, behaviour and protocols that were created and nurtured by the elders as far back as a thousand years, oral history and the patterns of living including homes, food, utensils, methods to greet and calls to organise for a resistance. It affects the attire, the way children are reared, marriages solemnised and the dead cremated.

An entire world is lost.

A single citizen of the republic contains in him the entire fabric of the nationhood as much as a drop of the ocean carries the ocean in itself. Kashmiri Hindus deported from the valley is like the Indian nation deported from this region. Mere geography doesn’t constitute nationhood.

Afghanistan was Gandhar. We lost it. We lost Taxila, Bappa Rawal’s Rawalpindi, Dahar and Jhoolelal’s Sind and Dhakeshwari’s Dhaka with the Ramana Kali temple, destroyed by Pakistanis in 1971 yet to be rebuilt, as neither Mujib nor Hasina’s government, so lovingly described as “friendly” allowed its reconstruction. When the people, representing the spirit of a nation are deported, the nation’s cultural ethos too gets fragile and finally eliminated. The memory, once a living life force, gets museum-ised.

Imagine how this will sound: Once upon a time, Kashmiri Hindus lived in the valley.

Now we have our own kith and kin, in our independent republic living as refugees for the ‘crime’ of being Hindus and loyal to the Indian nationhood, who refused to side with the pro-Pakistan separatists.

We in our entirety share the sin of forgetting our soul. Our sin is we loved to dine with the killers.

The people of Indus

The People of Indus

23 Mar 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Tarun Vijay

Perverz Musharraf came to India and went back with bouquets, but not before he had collected a few inconvenient questions he couldn’t answer, thanks
to a brave Kashmiri Hindu lady. She asked him at a conclave why it had not been possible for her to go back to her home in Srinagar? He fumbled and looked funny.

Now, this question needs an Indian reply too.

There are five lakh of them. Even if there was just one, the Indian state was supposed to be as active as it was to reserve seats for Muslims in educational institutions and earmark Rs 3,780 crore for a multi-sectoral development plan for each of the 90 minority-concentration districts.

Jammu & Kashmir, an Indian state, under the secular dispensation is fast getting Islamized through state apparatus. More than 172 temples have been razed and Hindu properties have been illegally taken over by neighbours. After a gruesome pogrom and forced exodus of Hindus, villages and towns are being given Islamic names. Now, a bill has been introduced in the J&K assembly by the PDP MLA Peerzada Manzoor Hussain proposing to change the name of the historic Anantnag town to Islamabad. Local Muslim leaders are already using it and even in some state government press releases Islamabad is used in place of Anantnag.

There is a conscious attempt to erode Indian presence in Kashmir. Few would know that officers of the Indian Administrative Service and even those belonging to the Indian Police Service are seldom given charge of a district. They are at best kept at the secretariat for file work. The reason is, politicians decided that the local administration must remain under local Kashmiri Muslims.

But none in Delhi is perturbed by it.

Why is the Indian state in no hurry to create an atmosphere that allows a Hindu lady to return to her home?

Why this hatred for Hindus among people who belong to the same race and have a shared ancestry?

If the jihad in Kashmir is the creation of Pakistan, Pakistan is the creation of a precipitated hatred for Hindus.

Sixty-two years ago there was no Pakistan. The people of this part of the world were known as Indians. And one of the Indians said in March 1881, “No Mohammedan can say that the English are not ‘people of the Book’. No Mohammedan can deny this: that God has said that no people of other religions can be friends of Mohammedans except the Christians. He who had read the Koran and believes it can know that our nation cannot expect friendship and affection from any other people. (‘Thou shalt surely find the most violent of all men in enmity against the true believers to be the Jews and the idolaters: and thou shalt surely find those among them to be the most inclinable to entertain friendship for the true believers, who say we are Christians’. Koran, Chap. V.)

“Now God has made them rulers over us. Therefore we should cultivate friendship with them, and should adopt that method by which their rule may remain permanent and firm in India, and may not pass into the hands of the Bengalis. This is our true friendship with our Christian rulers, and we should not join those people who wish to see us thrown into a ditch. If we join the political movement of the Bengalis our nation will reap loss, for we do not want to become subjects of the Hindus instead of the subjects of the people of the Book.” (Great Speeches of Modern India. Pp 30-31)

The man who spoke these words was Syed Ahmad Khan, whom the British knighted. He is better known as the founder of Aligarh Muslim University. As vote bank politics gains in strength, he may one day get Bharat Ratna.

It’s another matter that his speech didn’t see even a hundred years of British consolidation and while 1947 saw a separate country carved out of Hindustan on religious lines, 1971 witnessed the superiority of culture over religion as the sole binding force with Bangladesh emerging on the map, dissociating with its Islamic other half and getting freedom on cultural lines that reflected more the colours of a Hindu India.

And the Muslim world revolted against the Christendom, whom Sir Syed had so affectionately called the people of the Book, and Osama bin Laden became famous for organizing terror attacks on the United States and Britain. If Sir Syed quoted the Koran to advocate the continuation of the British rule in India, Osama’s people quote the same holy book to bomb the US and India.

Breaking all such divisive barriers a Pakistani scholar-politician Aitzaz Ahsan has come out with his thesis of the “Indus people”. He refuses to accept that Islam is Arabization and says Pakistan can’t have an Arab or central Asian identity. The only identity that befits Pakistan is an Indus identity. So he names the entire region of the present-day Pakistan as Indus.

He says, “The Pakistani may not be an Indian, but neither is he an Arab, a Persian or a Central Asian. The commonality of religion with the Arabs, Persians and Central Asians is obvious, but commonality of religion makes the Pakistani neither Arab nor Persian nor Central Asian. On the reverse side of the same coin his so-called ‘un-Indianness’ cannot make anyone oblivious to the several aspects in which the Indians and Pakistanis share a common history, culture, language and racial stock. As I journeyed into the distant past, it dawned upon me that ‘Pakistan’ had existed for almost five and a half of the last six thousand years. Indus had seldom been a part of India. (Preface)

‘Indus (Pakistan) has a rich and glorious cultural heritage of its own. This is a distinct heritage, of a distinct and separate nation. If the Pakistani were really reassured of this he would be confident that there is no fear of any other country devouring or destroying his state. And he would thus come out of the present-day ‘bunker-mentality’. (Pp- 11)

Does Aitzaz represent the reverse of Sir Syed?

Can he make the people of Pakistan think what makes them so hateful towards India? I just read a review of the book “Stranger to History” by Atish Taseer, and he is quoted as being wounded by reflexive anti-Indianism, which he encounters widely in Pakistan, and particularly among the young. He laments the rejection he finds everywhere of a pluralist subcontinental past, and is dismayed by the growing spread of a narrow version of Islam.

Shouldn’t someone in Pakistan and in parts of India where Islamic jihad against Hindus is getting support be thinking what creates this acid?

Without getting into addressing some of the notions in Aitzaz’s book that are not correct, I must say let’s build bridges on the Indus theory. If a Pakistani feels so great about his heritage and ancestry, it must be taken forward and shouldn’t be wasted. That may make Pakistanis and Indian Kashmiri politicians understand that Hindus and Muslims of this region are both Indus people. Insulting Hindus or driving them out of their territory means insulting the common heritage, ancestry and blood. After all, three generations ago Sheikh Abdullah’s family were Kauls.

An Indus region, comprising the present Pakistan, India and Bangladesh and bound with cultural threads and a commonality of ancestry alone can remove distrust and animosity. This Indus region will be the strongest bulwark against a unipolar world order and will be so self-reliant and powerful that it will work as a great force of peace and harmony. Bloodshed that we see in Talibanism and Kashmiri jihad begins with distrust, alienation and hate. Cultural affinities remove such potholes. Basant celebrations, songs, language, marriage customs, caste affinities, ancestry, geography, history, everything is already there. Remember that Prophet Muhammad converted people in Arabia to Islam but never asked them to change their names or costumes. Parvez, Omar, Rustam, Usman, Ali are all pre-Islamic names drawn from Persia. So why should Islamists insist on Arabic names for the those converted from this region? A Muslim with a Sanskrit name, adhering to the Islamic path must also be allowed to enter heaven as much as one bearing an Arabic name.

Islam has seldom been a uniting force between countries that profess the faith as a state policy. No two Islamic countries are friends or have ever helped each other in times of crises. Pakistan-Afghanistan, Afghanistan-Iran, Iran-Iraq, the list goes on. On the other hand, culture unites across borders.

Let Indus magic prevail.

(Tarun Vijay is director of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation)