Monday, 19 January 2015

Kashmiri pandits 9

How the Defodills blossomed again

Quarter of century has  elapsed since Kashmiri pandits, the aborigines of Kashmir had to leave their birth place  because of genocide , Holocaust or ethnic cleansing  of their community by Pakistan sponsored Islamic terrorism.
It is high time for them to  have a look in  retrospect and reminisce  their achievements and failures  during this long period of   twenty five years in exile.
It was really a challenging  and herculean task for them to resettle again in alien environments and temperate zones of India. In early stages they remained confined to the areas around Jammu city only, but with the passage of time they shifted throughout   the  length and breadth of their country and even to foreign lands. They were very much successful in resettling themselves by  the dent of their hard work, intelligence and adaptive qualities. Though elders had to bear the brunt of separation of their homeland but their children experienced the exposure and enjoyed the benefits of developing economic scenario of India in the form of globalization in mid nineties. Many political parties like Shiv Sena also helped them to secure free seats of engineering in the colleges of Maharashtra.  Now most of the Kashmiri pandits have constructed their own houses in Jammu and others have purchased flats in the  metropolitan cities of their country. The people living in camps have  also shifted to two room flats constructed at Nagrota. Many people living in Nagrota flats have also constructed their own houses. However, they can not ignore the sacrifice of their elder generation who had to live in uncongenial atmosphere in high temperatures  and  desperate living conditions  with out proper civic amenities and  modern electronic gadgets like A.C''s etc. But now the position is better.  Most of the community members ,except few , are economically well off . Their children living  in various regions of India and even in foreign countries are nicely settled. However, it is the duty  of KP's now  to identify the needy, poor and old people, who have been left by their children, in their community and help them by creating a common fund contributed by all under good leadership and management.
Now about the failures of Kashmiri pandits,
Yes they have lost the paradise, which Kashmir is usually called and moreover, a homeland which they cherish to call it.  It is not only their houses and land, it is the pleasant climate, rich cultural heritage and  highly adorable pilgrimages of Kashmir which they have lost. It is the congression of their community and relations, it is the streets and lanes of Kashmir ,with which their emotions were attatched ,they have lost. It is their sweet mother tongue which they are going to loose in passage of time.
Even after twenty five years of exile  they could not create a dedicated and bold leadership which could plead their cause unanimously and address their problems promptly.
They were not able to bring social reforms in their society. They spent huge amounts in celebrating the marriage ceremonies of their children and  arranging doweries for their daughters, which could have been otherwise avoided and spent for productive purposes.
In pursuit of giving  higher education to their children and in rush of  sending them to foreign countries , they have forgotten to inculcate values and sense of responsibility in them, which will create problems to KP's when they grow old.
With the exposure of their children in connection with trainings and  employment in various parts of India , rate of intercaste marriages have also  increased.
While concluding the post I remember the first line of some  hindi songs which I would like to quote here.
Kya paya kya khoya me ne    
I.e what I have gained and what I have lost. .or
kuch pa kar khona hai , kuch kho kar pana hai
I.e In order to achieve something we have to loose something. Therefore ,I have no regrets. If we see with optimistic point of view, my community members I.e KP,s have turned every calamity into opportunity and have succeeded in establishing themselves indudually with brilliance.  But they have failed  at collective level. Moreover, successes and failures are part of life and we have to accept them equally. But there is always a scope for improvement, which justly the reasons of analysis.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Kashmiri pandits 8

How the Defodills withered

It was only after the night between 19th and 20th January that  kashmiri  pandits  thought of leaving Kashmir for some time and to return, when the conditions become feasible  for them to live there again. They never apprehended that they are leaving the Kashmir for good. But I could observe that people were leaving for Jammu with out advising  their friends or relatives. Often I would see  empty trucks  arriving  in our lane early in the morning and people loading it with domestic luggage and leaving for Jammu. The  selective killings of Kashmiri pandits was going on with out any halt. The Gun culture had  started to begin in Kashmir. Intimidation of Kashmiri pandits had become a Key word  for terrorists. Fear psychosis had taken hold of KP's mind and misery was writ large on their faces. No body was able to open his mouth because of the fear of Gun. Militants could kill anyone at point zero range in order to ensure  his instant death. One mentally retarded Kashmiri pandit boy was killed in our street  by terrorists just to check their shooting ability. Any tom, dick or harry wielding the gun could create havoc and intimidate any brave man. The persons on the receiving end had lost their rationality under the grip of fear.
But the good sense prevailed upon the Kashmiri Pandits that  they left the Kashmir, otherwise they would have been the soft target for terrorists in Kashmir for so many years to come. They could only open their mouth once they reached Jammu. It was at Gita Bhavan Jammu that our leadership under the able and selfless guidance of Sh.Amar Nath Vashnavi took its form. People used to come from Kashmir in all sorts of transport, some with house hold goods and  others without it, and halt there for few days until they could find an  alternate accommodation. Some shifted to their relatives houses, who were residing in Jammu,   others found rented accommodations. Mostly people started living in camps temporarily created  at Purkhoo, Mishriwala and  Nagrota. The registration of  Kashmiri pandits .who had left kashmir was started by Government. at Jammu.  With the increase in day temperatures  in Jammu,  it was very difficult to stand in long rows for registration purpose.
Jammu was a temperate zone in J and K and Kashmir  was having  a nice climate in summers,  pandits of Kashmir were not accustomed to temperate climate. They started roaming, like in Srinagar , on the streets of Jammu in hot temperatures and many of them died because of  hot winds called' Loo'.  The Living condition of pandits in camps was  really deplorable. The large family was  living under a single  tent with no privacy and proper hygienic civil amenities. The rising temperature of Jammu in summers made the position of people living in tents more miserable.  Most of the elderly people, who could not  stand living under such conditions died and some people died because of snake bites and hot climate. The life was not worth living in such circumstances.
The life of people living in rented accommodation was not good either. Due to the  large demand for rented accommodations in Jammu, exorbitant rents were charged by the landlords. Even Go downs and semi finished houses in Jammu were occupied.  It was very difficult to find a suitable accommodation on reasonable rents in Jammu during those days. The large families living in one or two room small hutments with newly married couples and  children studying in higher classes created many psychological problems to  its dwellers. It created the segregation of joint  families and beginning  of nuclear families.
The old people among KP community were the worst sufferers. They enjoyed the nice climate  and company at Kashmir through out their life. But at the last stage of  their life they could not compromise with the circumstances. They suffered from  many physical and psychological disorders. They could not come out from the nostalgia of Kashmir up to  the last day of  their life.
The water scarcity in Jammu as compared to the abundance of water in Kashmir was another shock for Kashmiri Pandits. However, they had no other alternative but to compromise with  the circumstances.
With the migration  of many KP's to other parts of India and construction of their own houses in Jammu , latter on, solved  the problem of housing in Jammu.
The Govt. started giving free ration to the migrants ,which KPs were latter on  called ,and some nominal monthly doles to the business community among them. However salaried class was disbursed salary at Jammu until their further posting in or outside J and K, which gave a big relief to the community.
Some political parties like BJP also helped KP's by disbursing relief materials  them.
The Shiv Sena Chief Late Sh. Bala Saheb Thakhery also came to the rescue of Kashmiri Pandits at that time and allotted free engineering seats  in all colleges of Mahrashtra to their children every year, which was then followed by some other states also.
Last but not the least it will be ungrateful on my part if I will not mention the name of then Governer of J and K Sh. Jagmohan, who helped our community immensely in rehabilitation at Jammu.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Kashmiri pandits 7

How the  Defodills were uprooted in Kashmir.

                                It started  in the last quarter of year Ninety eighty nine, with bomb blasts , killing and injuring people on roads indiscriminately and murdering  of Sh Tika Lal Taploo, eminent Kashmiri pandit Lawyer and state BJP  Leader at point blank range. Kashmiri pandits joined the funeral  procession of  Sh. Taploo  in large numbers, which was however, disrupted by the unscurplus elements. Then Retired High court Judge Pt.Nila Kanth Ganjoo was killed while walking on the Hari Singh High Street of Srinagar city. Sh,Ganjoo, as a judge had earlier announced death sentence to Mohd Maqbool Bhat , who was a founder member  of JKLF and involved  in high jacking of Indian plane to Pakistan. The posters and flags of The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation front began to appear on all the streets and corners of Srinagar city. The anti national and  pro Azadi slogans were announced on loudspeakers along with daily  Azan. Then they started killing Pandits discriminately for the sake of being pandits only and blamed them as informers. The road side barbaric and serial killings of sh. Navin Sapru,  Bal krishen Ganjoo and Ashok Bhan and many others  in my area were really heartening  experiences. No body dared to lift their dead bodies and not to speak of taking them for performing their  last rites in funeral processions. Their bodies remained on roads in the pools of blood for hours together and could be handed over to their kiths and kins  by police only. Fear psychosis prevailed throughout in the minds of Kashmiri Pandits. No body could decide or discuss  future course of action to be taken by Kashmiri pandits. There was complete leadership crisis.
With the abduction of  Rubia Syed the daughter of then union home Minister Mufti Mohd. Syed and  subsequent  release of five hard core Militants in exchange  for her, made the situation more worse. The common Muslim earlier shy of miltancy, became a part of Tahreeq, which they liked to call it. There were mass demonstrations. The people came on roads wearing white 'kafans'. Kashmir looked  like an arena of revolution. Early in the morning most of the people used to visit UNO office at Srinagar with a resolution of  their self determination. State administration was in Chaos. Militancy had crept in all the ranks of administration. One day I observed that  Muslims from all walks of life in all modes of transport or even on foot were heading towards chrari shareef,, shrine of Nund Reshi. Roads were full of all types of vehicles and groups of people. There was total confusion. Latter on we came to know that a big haul of arms had reached  from Pakistan to Chrari Sharif,  which was to be distributed evenly among all militants placed through out the valley.
Posters displaying the hit lists of  Kashmiri pandits for selective killings along with warnings to them for leaving the valley  in general were pasted on electric poles and prominent places.
Due to able administration of newly posted Governer of J & K law and order situation could be restored to some extent in the valley, but after his tenure cut short, because of  some political reasons, power vacuum was again created in the valley.
Common Kashmiri Muslim was of the view that freedom from Indian domain is at thresh hold  or merger of Kashmir with Pakistan   was imminent.  Moreover, many Kashmiri Muslims had postponed their present auspicious ceremonies to be celebrated with Pakistan holding the charge of Kashmir.
The night between 19th and 20th January 1990 was really  a nightmare for Kashmiri pandits which sowed the seeds of migration in their minds. I was living in  the heart of old city Habba kadal with my family. It was a sullen cold night and when we started to enter our beds, a loud announcement was made from the loud speakers of all the Mosques in the area,  telling people to come on roads. The people came from all the lanes , bylanes yelling loud slogans ' Ham kya chahte  Azadi'  'we want Islamic rule '. The nature of outburst was so sudden that it frightened us very much. But latter on we came to know that it was all  preplanned and  enacted through out the valley. The windows and doors of our house were already closed  due to winter and We switched off all the lights  in panic and could peep only through cracks of windows. As our house was situated on the banks of river Jehlim, overlooking the bridge, we could see a huge crowd in violent mood hurling abuses on Kashmiri pandits , but some sane elements among these were heard abstaining them from it.  There was also a loud noise from our back side gate connecting the by lane. Suddenly I heard a loud  bang from the backyard  of my house.  A cold shrill passed through whole of my  spine. I thought end of everything. But they did not enter my house which I thought was inevitable otherwise.  They had only broken the gate to burn it for warming themselves. However, we spent the night with out a wink of sleep. There was no sign of police or Army. We were at the mercy of hoodlums.
Then with the  early signs of dawn  we could hear few  Gun shots of Army in the air to disperse the mob.   our Muslim neighbors in the morning encountered us  with a   brazen smile  on their faces  betraying their ill intentions and designs . It was the most trying period we had undergone through out the night and even a thought of it  today frighten and haunt us.
After some days, few boys entered our compound flaunting  their guns under their 'firan' and told us that they  want to tie a JKLF flag across the river from the upper story of our house, as our house was situated on river bank. Most reluctantly I allowed them to enter my house to do their job. There was no option either and after doing their job they left our house with out doing any harm. My wife missed a beat of heart and I heaved a sigh of relief as if it was a miraculous escape from death.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Kashmiri pandits 6

It was the aftermath of partition between India and Pakistan.  Pakistan had sent Tribal infiltrators known as Kabalis inside Kashmir to capture it.  Kabalis were looting, killing Hindus  and raping their women in the border areas of Kashmir. The whole of Kashmir was burning under the Pakistani sponsored proxy  war through  these tribal invaders.   All the people especially Hindus were running helter skelter to save their lives.  In this melancholic atmosphere my father, a devout hindu was posted in a small village near present LOC as a doctor in local hospital.  All the Hindu non local staff  had left the  station with their families, except my father, who was running the hospital with the help of local staff. However, he had sent his family to Srinagar already.  My father did not leave the station as he happened to be more loyal than King as then king of Kashmir Mahraja Hari singh had already made arrangements to leave state of J and K with all  his immovable property in a chartered plane for Bombay. And which he did latter on.
My father was advised by some local Muslims to grow  beard so that he will be taken for a Muslim in case kabalis enter their village. My father used to have a busy schedule. He would rise early  in the morning  and after attending natural calls and having a bath, he would go for meditatation. Then after taking breakfast he had to attend hospital. After hospital  chores , he would visit patients in near by villages on a horse back. His family at Srinagar was very anxious as they had no news about him for months together.
One day after attending his hectic schedule,  my father was looking gloomy because some molvi of the local mosque had advised him to attend the mosque tomorrow as all the local hindus have been converted to Islam.  But my father told the Moulvi plainly that he doesn't belong to this village and he is not obliged to do what local Hindus have decided to do. Then this  Moulvi started pestering my father daily with the same suggestion.  My father got sick of it and left  the village for another near by village, where a Hindu saint lived. My father told the saint that he wanted to stay with the latter for some days. But saint advised my father that he should go back to his own village. While returning, when my father reached the border of his village in the evening, most of the elderly villagers had gathered there to welcome my father who later on rebuked the Moulvi and advised him not to pester my father any  more.
As the kabalis had approached nearer to village, my father decided to handover all his valuable belongings to a  Muslim orderly of Hospital with the condition that if every thing was alright, latter will return the goods. When orderly was carrying these belongings to his home in two suitcases, my father followed him with out the knowledge of former. My father overheard him saying to himself,  My Allah, please bestow me with an opportunity to return these goods to its real owner. Listening these words my father left the place of orderly unheard.
Later on this orderly returned all the goods to my father.
One day Kabalis entered the village, where my father was posted. They were very angry as they had lost the way to Srinagar. As after heavy lootmar and rapes at Baramulla some Maqbool Sherwani had put them on a wrong route , when they asked him to advise them shortest route to Srinagar.
Therefore, they hastily visited the Hospital accompanied by local Muslims. The local Muslims introduced my father to them as newly converted Muslim. They asked my father to serve them with some sweet Medicine, which my father readily offered to them. Then they proceeded again for Srinagar,  where they never reached.  Because till then Indian army had approached Kashmir and Mahraja Hari Singh had signed the treaty of annexing state of  Jammu and Kashmir with India.
Then my father reached Srinagar to  join his family on leave, hale and hearty and with all his belonging. My father was then awarded a letter of appreciation, two increments in advance and transfer to his home place Srinagar as a reward for not leaving the station in crisis and turmoil. The appreciation letter was with my father until we left valley in 1990 with out our belongings.