FRAGRANCE OF IDEAS
ASHWANI KUMAR CHRUNGOO
This author has been persistently advocating that the Kashmiri society needed to shun inhibitions and face the ground realities in order to rid Kashmir from the scenario of death, destruction, mayhem and uncertainty of life. The leading role in this connection belonged to the intellectuals of the society, religious preachers, community leaders and activists and the mainstream political parties and leaders. Unfortunately, it seems as if this all has been accepted as a fate accompli by all of them. Their failure for the last three to four decades in this context is a hard fact of history.
Every day killings of people on one pretext or the other in incidents of terror, violence, suicides and accidents are creating a terrible psychological syndrome among the younger generations. Possibly some of them must have by now taken it as a part of the living standards and life of Kashmir. Such is the telling effect of this all that a lot of children have opted to live outside the Kashmir valley along with their parents and study and earn their livelihood there. It is only due to the severe Covid-19 pandemic situation that the rush has minimized to its lowest form.
We hear and watch the news about terror attacks on innocents, security men on duty, policemen and their families, passersby, women and even small children in their homes. It has not only devasted a number of families in the valley but has orphaned children in their young age with a dark future in front of them.
People of all communities including the Hindus and Sikhs were already on target of the terror regime for the last four decades. The drug peddling, their consequent arrests followed by a long legal set of actions and suicides of the young people are a consistent phenomenon of life in the valley. As if it was not enough, the incidents of accidents involving people getting killed and maimed for whole of their life and the Covid-19 devastation have added more tragedies to the life in Kashmir.
When indiscipline, indecisiveness and indifferent attitude towards life creep into the body and mind of a society in general, the net results of it can be seen and observed in the Kashmir valley. Gun and the affects of gun supremacy coupled with curses of those who are severely affected by have brought Kashmir to this day of mourning, weeping and wailing. Yet our guides, friends, philosophers, teachers and mainstream leaders have chosen to be lukewarm towards the hell broken on the society as a whole. They possibly think that it was not going to touch them as long as they keep mum on it, but grossly wrong are their conclusions in this connection. They are mistaken as they are oblivious of the fact that the gun knows and recognizes no relationship whatsoever. It was proved hundreds of times during the last four decades. Silence has also a cost and the ultimate cost is the life of a person, kindly bare it all.
The Sikh community in Kashmir has come on roads for the first time in the last three decades in such a manner. It reminds one of 1967 agitation. They are the worst victims of a willful silence in this regard. In spite of the fact that there are 5,000 Kashmiri Sikh families registered in the Relief Commissioner's office at Jammu, experiencing terrible massacres including those of Chitisinghpora and Mehjoor nagar in the valley they tried to build up a narrative that everything was "right" with them there. They kept mum on the fact that almost 50 of their girls were abducted and converted in the valley and then married to Muslim men. Once they tried to come public on the issue some five years back, but were later dissuaded by their own fraternity fellows in this regard.
The silence and hiding the pain of mind led them to come on the road ultimately and in public over the issue of conversion of one or two Sikh girls this time. Their leaders call it "love jihad" which they earlier brushed aside for reasons better known to them. If after having such “bonhomie" with the majority community over the last three decades in the valley could lead to such a type of scenario for the Sikhs in Kashmir after three decades, the Kashmiri Pandits have a lot of things to think about so far as their resettlement in Kashmir is concerned.
The Kashmiri Pandits are the indegenous people of the valley. Every major community in Jammu and Kashmir like Dogras, Kashmiri Muslims and Sikhs can find their roots in the Pandit community. Their names, surnames and nicknames are a living witness and evidence of this fact. The KP community that has been living in exile for the last three decades now is rightfully calling for their resettlement in the valley under a new dispensation. Given the scenario in the valley, they are not only justified but also historically correct to say that the Delimitation process will determine the intent of the government and the political spectrum vis-a-vis the community so far as their representation is concerned. Clubbing Kashmiri Sikhs with them, in this context, was indeed a thoughtful decision that will have long term impact.
In the Kashmir valley, both Kashmiri Pandits as well as the Sikhs couple with the non-Kashmiri speaking Hindus were made second class citizens under a design. They are politically an unrepresented section of society for the last five decades now. A section of population that constitutes more than 5% of the overall society in J&K has been kept consistently at a distance socially, politically and administratively just because it was a miniscule minority in the Kashmir valley. Unless this pathetic situation is not allowed to change consciously, the step motherly treatment will continue and resettlement of the minorities will remain merely a slogan.
Kashmiri Pandits are part of Kashmir and Kashmir is incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits, they say. So is the case of Kashmiri Sikhs and the other minorities as well. The society where an overwhelming majority community has allowed itself to be frightened day in and day out, is it possible for the minority community to trust any sort of goodwill from it in the given scenario, is the biggest and pertinent question. The failures of the majority community to even save itself are stark and tragic. It has since lost the opportunity to opine on the issue of the resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley, unfortunately.
I would ask the majority Muslim community of Kashmir to gear up, have the courage and determination to save itself from the guns and its after-effects otherwise Syria and Iraq are the right examples right before our eyes. The choice is open and has to be made, sooner or later. But sooner will be better, always and ever.......!
(Senior BJP & KP Leader, Incharge: J&K BJP Political Feedback Deptt, Author & Columnist. Feedback: email@example.com)