RETURN OF THE NATIVES-KASHMIRI PANDITS

Kashmiri Hindus(Pandits) are living in exile and they are refugees in their own Country Bharat i.e. India! Government of India proposed rehabilitation plan for KPs in Kashmir but there has been hue & cry especially by Majority Kashmiri Moslems perpetrators responsible for throwing Kashmiri Hindus Out. Following piece by Shri Inderjit Dulloo justifies the need for a separate “Homeland for Kashmiri Hindus”.

RETURN OF THE NATIVES

  • Why do Pandits want separate habitation?
  • PANDITS HAVE REALISED OUT OF THEIR EXPERIENCE THAT EVEN THE BEST AMONG THE KASHMIRI MUSLIMS ARE AS HELPLESS AS ANY OTHER MUSLIM MAJORITY COMMUNITIES OF THE WORLD WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR ABILITY AND DETERMINATION TO STAND FOR THE MINORITIES IN THE FACE OF A CALL FOR JIHAD AND THEREFORE TO EXPECT THAT PANDITS WILL AGAIN LET THEMSELVES BE TRAPPED IN THEIR WISHFUL OPTIMISM WOULD BE EXPECTING A BIT TOO MUCH.
  • Even the best among the Muslims kept silent or looked the other way during and after the exodus till the Ethnic Cleansing was over.
  • As a universal rule minorities prefer to stay together. In fact there was probably only one exception to this rule-a rule which continues to be ‘more true’ with regard to minorities living in Muslim majority areas throughout the world- and that exception was that Kashmiri Pandits were NOT living in Ghettos. They were scattered all over the valley… Were they too trusting? Were they foolishly too optimistic to realize that they were the only exception to the above rule in the entire Muslim majority regions and areas of the world? Or were they trapped in their own wishful optimism unmindful of what was going on around them and was this oblivious state of mind which made them easy and soft targets? Yes it was all of it…  and that was their undoing.
  • No matter whether a Kashmiri Pandit  has ‘homeland’ as the ultimate dream, or whether he is open to getting rehabilitated in a Smart City or a Composite settlement, every Kashmiri Pandit is agitated about the resistance and opposition to the very idea of a separate habitation for their return.
  • Objection of Pakistan is worded to mean that once Hindus have been driven out of the Valley to achieve Ethnic Cleansing, the NEW demography of the valley must be respected.
  • There could not be a more depraved, irrational , dreadful, and appalling endorsement to the ‘rights’ of the separatists to cause an ethnic cleansing and to their plan of keeping the ‘valley without pandits ‘  as a ‘sacrosanct’ status qou.
  • Pakistan seems to warn India –How dare you plan to reverse the Ethnic Cleansing which the Separatists have achieved with their blood.
  • So far as the objection from within India is concerned the entire discourse has been dominated by the apparently ‘highly reasonable’ objection to the very idea of a separate habitation for a religious minority in a country such as India which has a pluralistic polity.
  • This deceptive objection is coming mainly from two sources. One- from the separatists who would do whatever it takes to resist the reversal of task of Ethnic Cleansing which they had achieved as the only milestone in their dream of establishing an Islamic rule in Kashmir.
  • The opposition is also  from those   ‘conscientiously secular citizens  of India ’ who are  not actually concerned about ‘secular ideals’ but are in reality professing soft separatism and lastly from those ‘conscientiously secular citizens  of India ’   who  are ‘genuinely’ uncomfortable with  the idea of separate settlement for Hindus  while they see nothing unusual in Muslims in every Indian city living in separate habitations either in newly set up ghettos or in traditionally old and classic  settlements .
  • These ‘conscientiously secular citizens of India ’  also choose to ignore that  even Globally   while living in separate habitations has been one of the choices for settlers into Europe and America ,this preference has been conspicuously more pronounced in case of Turkish and other Muslim immigrants into Europe
  • The duplicity of the objection to separate habitations for Pandits becomes more sharply visible if we remember that Kashmir has had a history of continual exodus of Hindus for centuries. However, unlike the previous cases of exodus, the one in 1990 was not as a result of the threats, intimidation, killings and rape by invaders from outside but as a result of threats, intimidation, killings and rape perpetrated by terrorists who were local Kashmiri Muslims.
  • So far as ‘Muslim majority Kashmir’ is concerned the telling reality of Srinagar which needs to be told to the ‘conscientiously secular citizens of India’ and particularly to the hard and soft separatists is that the Shia Muslims have been living in separate areas for centuries. This is true of the entire state.
  • If Pandits would not have been driven out -as a result of threats and intimidations intercepted with brutal killings and rape -then their scattered existence in a Muslim majority Kashmir would be the only such example in the whole world.
  • KASHMIRI PANDITS HAVE LEARNT A HISTORICAL LESSON. THEY WOULD NOW LIKE TO FOLLOW THE RULE RATHER BE AN EXCEPTION.
  • The Muslim majority of Kashmir did not value this distinction of being the only Muslim Community in the whole world who were recipients of such a singularly unique trust which a Hindu minority community had demonstratively reposed in Muslim majority by living as their neighbours and by refusing to live in Ghettos.
  • If the Majority in Kashmir had valued this distinction then at least some of them would have hit the streets to prevent the exodus, or they would have found at least some ways to show solidarity with Pandits and to demonstrate their opposition to the forced exodus. While ethnic cleansing was going on they did none of these during and after the exodus. That is to say the least.
  • Kashmiri Muslims could not save the distinction of being the only Muslim community in the world whose role as protectors was trusted by their Hindu minority community to such an extent that they kept living in truly integrated manner scattered in the entire valley stretched over thousands of square kilometers. The Kashmiri Muslims, during the exodus and afterwards, did little to retain this distinction.
  • So far as the question of so called ‘Kashmiriyat’ is concerned the reality is that Shia Muslims are living in separate areas not only in Srinagar but in all towns and rural areas of Kashmir.
  • Are these separate Shia Muslim localities a threat to Kashmiriat?
  • The separatists and the ‘conscientiously secular’ citizens have no objection to Shias living separately…Then why should a separate settlement for Kashmiri Pandits be a threat to Kasmiriyat?
  • The entire Kashmiri Pandit population is viewing the bogy of ‘Kashmiriyat’ as a sinister move to thwart any step towards the return of the Pandits to the valley. Yet the bogy of ‘Kashmiriyat ‘is not the only issue to be overcome for the return of Pandits.
  • The real issue is whether it would be possible to persuade the community to give up their dream of a homeland where Indian constitution would prevail without the overriding provision of 370.  Would Kashmiri Pandits be willing to expose themselves and their children to this experiment   of a Smart City or a Composite City which would be housed in a wider valley of Kashmir, a Muslim majority area which is still devoid of any semblance of civil society?
  • The so called ‘conscientiously secular’ Indian citizens are busy in imagining that the time is now round  the corner   for  Kashmiri Muslims to seize the opportunity  to become a pioneering Muslim majority community in the whole world by throwing up a vibrant, active and vigilant civil society.  A civil society which would, to begin with, fight for Human rights violations of people of Gilgit  and  Baltistan and as true affirmation of the so called ‘Kashmiriyat’, fight for the prosecution and trial of all those who murdered and violated PANDITS.
  • The question is –Is this going to happen? If we go by the examples set by the so called most forward looking and the most so called democratic Muslim countries of the world we will find that even in case of so few of them none have even the least semblance of a claim of peaceful co-existence with minorities and that the emergence of effective civil society has yet to start in the entire so called democratic Muslim societies. Today’s Muslim majority Kashmir is no different.
  • Would it be possible any time in foreseeable future to expect a murmur of such a civil movement to start in Kashmir which could over the years and decades eventually become a robust voice to influence opinions and cause respect for the rights of Minority Pandit community to prevail over the call of Jihad?

ALAS! THIS IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AND THEREFORE THE IDEA OF HOMELAND REMAINS RELEVANT AND LIVE.

(Permission has been taken from Author Shri Inderjit Dulloo to reproduce Return of the Natives-Kashmiri Pandits. Author Shri Dulloo is solely responsible for the views expressed in this write up. For Comments, suggestions etc. write to: inderjitdulloo@hotmail.com)