Date: 13/03/2013

No attempt yet to understand plight of Kashmiri Pandits

By Mahesh Kaul on March 7, 2013


The evolution of political idiom and discourse is the direct outcome of the social, religious, economic and cultural experiences that a community comes across during a sufficient period of time. The comprehensive effect of all these experiences becomes more profound when the community is in exile in a country which it claims as its own and to which it bears its complete allegiance in terms of its civilisational moorings.

The Kashmiri Pandit community falls in this category. More than two decades of exile have passed, as far as this community is concerned, in the history of the independent and post-colonial India. But the Indian state has failed miserably to protect the right to life, property, religion, culture and what not as far as this community is concerned. The reason being that the Indian state is guided by a policy premise — to keep the State of Jammu & Kashmir within the Indian union, it is necessary to compromise democratic and secular nation-building in the State with hopes that preserving the Muslim-majority character that confronts and rejects the Indian nation will help keep the State in the Indian Union. It is a self-contradictory policy meant to defeat the Indian nation in Jammu & Kashmir and deconstruct the national idiom.

The result of this false and anomalous policy has been that the Kashmiri Pandit community and other minorities have been subjected to the servitude of the communal, theo-fascist politics and society of the majoritarian community guided by fanaticism in Kashmir in particular and Jammu & Kashmir in general. Its first outcome was the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kashmiri Pandit community in 1989-1990 from their ancestral homeland Kashmir.

Kashmiri Pandits were made to pay the price for being the seeds and anchors of Indian nationhood and Sanskrit Indian civilisational moorings in Kashmir. The communal Muslim politics of Kashmir succeeded by this myopic policy of the Indian state that has been consistent in giving concessions to the separatist tendencies of the so-called mainstream political outfits. This has lead to the failure of the secular and democratic model of the Indian state in the Jammu & Kashmir.

This policy gave readymade tools to the jihadist and communal forces to de-Sanskrtise Kashmir and has shrunk the nationalist space in Kashmir. Its outcome has been the unhindered march of Islamist jihad, paving way for the theocratic order based on Muslim communalism.

More than two decades of exile have made it amply clear to the Kashmiri Pandit community that their return and rehabilitation in their ancestral homeland Kashmir is a remote wish that can never be fulfilled keeping in view the social, political, religious and educational structure of the Kashmir valley that has evolved over the years. As every sign of their culture and heritage has been completely erased by overt and covert means in Kashmir.

The knee-jerk policy of creating jobs for the over-age Kashmiri Pandit youth, that too with the conditions imposed under SRO 412, and the creation of the so-called townships — resembling concentration camps — reveals that the Indian state has failed at all levels to analyse the true nature of the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit community — which is the communal faultline in Kashmir. The Indian state feels that they are the victims of natural calamities like earthquakes, floods etc. This is not the case. They have failed to realise that Kashmiri Pandits are the victims of genocide and have been subjected to ethnic cleansing by the Muslim communal forces in Kashmir with internal and external support to uproot this minority community.

The Indian state and the Jammu & Kashmir State Government have failed to understand that the return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pandit community in Kashmir is impossible without the free flow of the Indian constitution and nationhood. In a recent Press release, the Central Government has acknowledged that not a single Kashmiri Pandit family has re-settled in Kashmir despite the Rs 1,618 crore package! This makes it abundantly clear that the resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits is not a core economic issue, it is a communal issue based on political and religious faultlines.

The only model that can envisage the return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pandit community in Kashmir is the ‘Margdarshan Resolution’ passed by the exiled community on December 28, 1991 in Jammu unanimously. The implementation of this resolution in letter and spirit will reverse the ethnic cleansing and genocide of this exiled community. This resolution calls for the creation of a Union territory in Kashmir on the banks of the river Vitasta with free flow of the Indian constitution and nationhood. This is the only solution to the problems of Kashmiri Hindus and will help them reclaim their ancestral homeland on their own terms.