Milestone Journey with Shehjar - II

Milestone Journey with Shehjar - II

Arun Koul

Recently, we at Shehjar sent our readership an email titled Milestone Journey with Shehjar (reproduced below). Our objective is to bring Kashmiri Leadership and Opinion in one place, at Shehjar-Kashmirgroup, the watercove (meeting place) of the community. If agreeable to many in some form, some of us wish to help Kashmir and Kashmiris overcome the Past and Path of violence, to embrace a future of togetherness but with a guarantee for the preservation of individual cultures and powers; each managing itself through internal democracies but combining in a Federal Management structure. Some wish a completely Islamic state and in that situation others want a unique Panun Kashmir. Some others want restoration of status as it was before the violence of 1990 and the ensuing Kashmiri Hindu exodus from the valley….

But what is the “rightness” of these goals - Moral Rightness as compared to Political Correctness?

Shehjar has become the nerve-center of Kashmiri Hindu opinion while having a readership which is truly global in respects of geography, community, opinion and religion. But this nerve center is yet to diagnose what that Kashmiri Hindu opinion exactly is. To find out, we will be interviewing and having a dialog with those who have been the bulwarks of our community for decades now. And also come to face with the youth who have made a difference lately. Very importantly, we will launch a survey for our dedicated readership base of which more than 10000 are families of Kashmiri Hindu origin.

Finding out will be a process and the community needs your participation. We have progressed substantially but a lot, lot more is yet to be done. Is there a leader you definitely want us to talk to or interview with? Do you want to convey your opinion in an open ended manner while we prepare the framework and infrastructure for the survey to be launched later? We have begun our work with your inputs but welcome additional views regarding the design of the survey and specific questions you want answered by the community through the survey. You may pose these questions to the community by emailing

Meanwhile below are some of the responses we received to our first mail on the subject:-

It is a good idea. It will be great if it could also help bring the community leadership together on a single platform.
Your journal is no doubt doing a great service to KP community in exile.
Almost every KP is a leader himself but is this justified, with a multitude of KP Forums, some of them with near similar names eg, Panun Kashmirs. Please ask the leaders why we cannot be content with just one Panun Kashmir? When the government even declares that 85% of immovable property of KPs is already soldout, how does All India Kashmiri Samaj propose to take back the community to its native places.
I am glad you are dedicating Shehjar issues on this topic. I would like my child who has worked in the camps to contribute.
Shehjar---or for that matter the team of this magazine has really come up with a novel idea of forming a research based opinion about changes on various front having taken place during the last 18 years of turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir.
Apart from Kashmiri Hindus, we should seek responses to such questions from other communities especially Muslims. Many Muslims are deadly against this naked dance of death perpetuated by the merchants of death.
Thanks for you mail . Please do count me in any activity which is beneficial for our community.
I visited Srinagar Kashmir last month. Atmosphere is congenial for a tourist. I noted the difference as this time I went on foot from Tankipora to Ganpatyar, also visited my former house at Gogji Bagh. I felt no attachment, no emotions. Although externally local people are welcoming, as they with every tourist but they have inner hatred for KP'S. They neither want us nor do they want us to draw our genuinely due salary, pension etc. Traveling in an auto was not scary or risky this time. Flattened temples pained me.

Please read Milestone Journey - with Shehjar Part-1 below and email us with your inputs by June 10th.

Thanks and Warm Regards
Arun Koul
On behalf of the Shehjar Editorial Board

Milestone Journey - with Shehjar Part-1

The world knows that there has been a low-grade military conflict ongoing in Kashmir. Pakistan’s national army and intelligence agencies operating covertly are spearheaded above ground by Pakistan trained and abetted Muslim fighters and they are pitted against a secular India . The stated goal of these military efforts is the establishment of Kashmir as a theocratic Islamic state, separate from secular India . A plethora of politico-religious outfits in Kashmir refer to this military conflict as a justification for their existence and advocate various positions and issues with a view to carve out their own niches and identities. Fair-weather mainstream politicians such as Mufti Syed attempt to create a base with militants and politico-religious outfits and have them generously use their tactics as a means for gaining “legitimate” political power through “elections”. And such politicians as Mufti Syed and a platoon of politico-religious outfit leaders are doled largesse by the Indian State with a view to minimizing their “nuisance value”, creating thereby a self fueling process for the “discontent generation machinery”. Not to be left behind in this dole-a-thon, Islamic foundations and donors the world over, suckered into the “cause” contribute mightily in a belief to curry their own influence. Due to such largesse, Kashmir, without any economic output worth its name, boasts among the highest per-capita incomes of any state in India. Less of a war-zone, more of a tax-haven, property prices have hit the roof, people having all the unexplained income required for their purchases. Population numbers are rapidly rising and individual welfare indicators look good.

Caught in the vortex however, if one may, are the more than 400,000 Kashmiri Hindus who faced an en-masse exodus from the valley in 1990. With a remaining global population of about 750,000 (still rapidly dwindling), this community still does not have an established leadership structure. But within the community, is there some form of issue based consensus or can such a consensus be created? Can opinions be consolidated and then transformed into a meaningful action plan? Who, in your opinion is representing Kashmiri Hindus now and what should the future leadership look like? What are the present ground realities and what do you think does the future behold?

In the coming issues, Shehjar embarks with you on the journey to find out. We will carry interviews and dialog with those who have been the bulwarks of our community for decades now. And also come to face with the youth who have made a difference lately. Very importantly, we will launch a survey for our dedicated readership base of which more than 10000 are families of Kashmiri Hindu origin.

If you have any advice or suggestions, please email us at Let us know with full phone and email contact information the leaders who you want us to certainly interview. Let us know the questions we must carry in our survey. We welcome these before we start on this milestone journey.

This is a journalistic mission and please support it wholeheartedly.

Thanks and Warm Regards,
Arun Koul
Shehjar Editorial Team

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