Note: In this article, I will not use diplomacy and I will state true facts. If you believe that religious extremism plays no part in any form, it is my humble request to please stop reading.
Who are Kashmiri Pandits and why we sometimes hear talks about their migration from their homeland?To understand all this we have to look into their history and understand how religion and politics played an important role in their present condition.
The Kashmiri Pandits (also known as Kashmiri Brahmins) are a Saraswat Brahmin community from the Kashmir Valley, a mountainous region in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri Pandits are the original inhabitants of Kashmir Valley and only remaining Kashmiri Hindu community native to the Kashmir Valley.
Their origin can be traced back to the Ashoka rule since it is only after his intervention that caste lines in the Kashmir society were blurred, only Brahmins remained the notable distinctive caste left them. They enjoyed a really high status. Another factor for their unquestioned status was that Kashmir valley was never attacked and won by any outside invader primarily because of the locational advantage.
Northern India was subject to attack from Turkic and Arab regimes from the eighth century onwards, but they generally ignored the mountain-circled Kashmir Valley in favor of easier pickings elsewhere. It was not until the fourteenth century that Muslim rule was finally established in the Valley and when this happened it did not occur primarily as a consequence of invasion so much as because of internal problems resulting from the weak rule and corruption endemic in the Hindu Lohara dynasty.
After the capture, the distinctive status that had been a boon to them until now became a curse, since they after stripped of their special status and for the first time in centuries they were forced to pay taxes. During this time they were also forced to convert to Islam and torture became common.For example – First Migration ZUL QADIR KHAN @ DULUCH, a Turkish Tartar reigned Kashmir for eight months In 1320 AD and resorted to loot and plunder of Hindus resulting in the death of many. He took 20,000 Kashmiris (then all Hindus), including women and children, for sale as slaves in Turkistan but the whole lot perished in cold snow while crossing the ‘Devsar pass’ – a place referred to as ‘BATA SAGAN’(Brahamans death oven).
Rulers changed but conditions deteriorated. Although there were few rulers who tried to improve their conditions but throne was overturned too soon and hence no practical achievement was received for example – during the rule of SULTAN ZAIN-UL-ABDIN @ BADSHAH (1420-70 AD), who was most tolerant and benevolent. Historian SRIVARA described the period “ as the cooling sandal paste after the heat of summer in a desert had departed”. He allowed rebuilding of demolished temples, removed all restrictions against Hindus, banned cow slaughter and killing of fish in ponds considered sacred by Hindus. Above all BADSHAH recalled Hindus who had fled the Valley due to persecution and assigned them responsible positions on merit. He also got Hindu shastras as also Mahabharata translated into Persian.
After this period many Islamic extremists ruled the valley namely – SHAH MIR, NUSRAT RAINA etc.They also gave no quarter and no time for recovery to the distressed Kashmiri Hindus.They used to get 900 Hindus beheaded every day for not having accepted Islam. RAINA also ordered the slaughter of 1,000 cows, whom Hindus held as sacred, to wreck vengeance and shock them into accepting Islam. Hindus wearing sacred thread had to pay an annual tax to CHAK Rulers. YAQUB CHAK, a rank communalist, even got Hindus hauled up in their houses to roast them alive. Innumerable Hindus left their homes and hearths and while fleeing a barrage of spiteful abuse was let loose to prevent their return to the land of their heritage.
So after this period came the modern age, the age of exodus. This period started from 1980, this period saw the rise of many terrorist organization in the valley. many pro-Pakistani Islamic extremist groups like JIJK (Jalamat-e-Islami Kashmiri), JKLF(Jammu and Kashmir Liberation front) etc. fulled the youths of Kashmir with anti-Indian sentiments that led to riots. Up to this point, they were not targeting Kashmiri Pandits but soon they saw this anti-India segment as an opportunity to remove Pandits from their homeland and they started this plan when they killed Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, an advocate and a prominent leader of Bharatiya Janata Party in Jammu & Kashmir in front of several eyewitnesses.
After that, these extremists group gave an ultimatum to the pandits. “Convert or die” was their motto. This period was the most brutal portion of their entire sufferings since their houses were marked for the killings, this period saw one of the biggest exoduses in the entire history of India. 24,202 families of Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their homeland.
Now, the real and most important questions are these:
- Why no writers returned their awards for Kashmiri pandits like they did for the so-called intolerant issue. And if their award return act was not drama then why they were only worried about intolerance and did not care about the real issue? And if it was all drama then who sponsored them?
- Why the government allowed this to happen and why no concrete steps are being taken to solve the issue of Kashmiri Pandits
- Why journalists do not talk about this issue since around 1.54 lakh people were either converted or murdered or forced to leave. Who is holding them back to talk openly about this issue and Why they are not willing to go against religious extremists there?
The issue is real and culprits are known, even then nobody is willing to take action or even educate people. You can even do this simple exercise, browse through the archive of the media houses and you will find that 2-day riot in Gujarat is given more coverage than the issue which leads to biggest migration in India?
What I think is that unless and until WE force our politic to work. The problem is that this issue has been buried down and most people know nothing about this issue. This article is a little effort on my part to spread the word. I request you all to share this article and do your research and try the very least to solve the issue.
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