Kashmir, our Home Land


Kashmir, our Home Land

*Rajesh T Bhatt

One of many abondoned Kashmiri Hindu homes in Kashmir (Picture by Deepak Ganju)

Another summer and the same unlimited queries from our kids ranging from, “Where is Kashmir” to “When will we go there?” The kids become more inquisitive about our ‘Lost paradise’ when parents show their predicament about visiting their lost homes even during kids’ vacations or when parents are having their off time. The situation becomes awful for the kids when their classmates and other friends visit their own hometowns and narrate the pleasure and fun they experienced. We can not tell them the actual reason for leaving our home and why we hesitate in going back. As conscientious citizens we don’t want to build hatred and anger against Kashmiri Muslims.

Though we are still hoping for the day to go back to our homes, as per the present political scenario it is perhaps impossible for us to return. Neither the J&K govt. nor the central government is coming with some fool proof rehabilitation program for Kashmiri Pandits (KPs). In the recent past, Punjab and Gujarat were facing tough situations but now both the states are absolutely normal and progressive because of the action oriented approaches of their state govts. to install peace and normalcy. Who is to be blamed and who is not to be blamed for the situation in J&K?

Unfortunately the people at the helm have not understood the psyche of the people of Kashmir. Poor KP’s have resultantly fallen prey and suffered from the innumerable follies committed by the politicians, both at the state as well as the central level. The Nation of India could not protect the lives and rights of this minority KP community. From Dr.Farooq to the so called secular, compassionate Gulam Nabi Azad, a number of CM’s have come and gone. The only assignments for them; demanding and accepting thousands of crores of rupees as grants under the pretext of operating in a disturbed area. With this money, politicians have created heavens for themselves within the state as well as in other parts of the country and even in foreign countries. What is more agonizing is that those who are responsible for mayhem in Kashmir are being sheltered and provided with Z category security (by the Indian govt.)

It is not only the militants in the Valley but also the inaction of the Indian govt. that has inflicted heavy pain on the KP’s. They face unemployment and those in the camps face poverty and malnutrition. In such situations many of them were compelled to sell their property in the valley for peanuts. When govt. has rehabilitation program for militants of J&K, why not the same sort of rehabilitation for this pro-India KP community? Why do they have to pay a heavy price for being Indian patriots? KP’s have lost their homes and hearths and this loss can not be compensated, and the loss of life, never.

Now another question arises, if the government says that the situation is not favorable for KP’s in the Valley, then how come it is favorable for people from different parts of world to be there as tourists and traders. How is the state govt. able to invite different corporate sectors to build and set up in the valley? Or is the govt. deliberately keeping the KPs away? It should not be so. Though KP’s form a minority and are not a significant vote bank, they are the major stake holders in the valley. Referring to history, the entire area of Kashmir belonged to them. Ancestors of all the Kashmiris were from the dynasty of Kashyap Rishi and it was only after the advent of Islam in 13th century AD that things changed. The Saraswat Brahmins of Kashmir who were the original inhabitants and rulers of Kashmir have since had to face evection 7 times.

Those who claim to be the proprietors of Kashmir need to brush up their memories or read up to know that factually this land is the land of KP saints. Even the Sharda Peeth in POK actually belong to KP’s and was an important centre of learning for them. All the Shrines like Amarnath, Verinag (source of Vitasta-Jhelum) and centuries old temples such as the Sun temple at Martand, Godess Uma temple at Uma Nagri, Hari Parbat, ShankaraCharya, KheerBhawani, Anantnag contain our souls.

As the famous saying goes “History repeats itself”. May be peace and normalcy will return and we may return back to our homes. Let this seemingly unrealistic wish turn into reality! But at the same time it is a crime to live in a fool’s paradise rather than the real paradise on earth. Hence, we need to stand on our own legs and get our rights in the valley. Meanwhile, we are no doubt scattered but our sprits should remain high and we should leave no stone unturned to maintain our ethno-cultural identity.

*Rajesh T Bhatt (freelancer), a Kashmir valley resident from Anantnag, Education: Post graduate in computer Science, working with Telecom sector for last 8 years. Father retired from defence services. Presently living in Delhi with his family. E-mail-rajeshtbhat@yahoo.com
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