Problems and Prospects
by J. L. LangerIt
seems that Kashmiri Pandits have not reconciled themselves to the triumphant
claim of successful poll made by the government. Some leaders had set the
yardstick for holding free and fair election that Kashmiri Pandits should
first return to their homes. This view was echoed by Dr. Farooq Abdullah
and even BJP had endorsed the view so much so that they would reiterate
that the atmosphere for holding election was not congenial.
apart government posturing and the veracity of free poll, it is felt that
the problems of Kashmiri Pandits are compounded by insensitive and apathetic
approach of the government. To what extent they can redeem their lost glory,
their property, culture and their traditions is a pressing question that
haunts every Kashmiri Pandit. We are leading a refugee life in our own
Most of the
Kashmiri Pandits still live in a traumatic condition taking refuge in tattered
tents, congested halls, under construction Govt. buildings and, of course,
some living as tenants in dingy and dilapidated houses.
They live on
meagre pittance that is doled out to them. The education of children has
gone awry. They can't concentrate and carry on their studies in the limited
sheltered space. They continue to be marginalised so far as government
employment is concerned.
The host of
problems, to say the least, has erupted with the mass exodus from the valley
and this situation has posed a multi-faceted challenge for us so that we
can survive the onslaught. In fact, it is a travail for our existence or
In order to
give extra impetus to the on-going struggle for existence and our right
to retrieve the lost lands and property, I feel we can do enough to ameliorate
our miserable condition.
must shed all individualistic approach and feel like one body. All dissensions
and bickerings among the various organisations of the community should
end. Nobody should be allowed to exploit and make political mileage out
of the prevailing situation. Every Pandit should contribute his mite in
retrieving the lost glory.
Youth, a potential
resource, if harnessed in right direction, may also restore the community
its lost position. It is true that some harm and damage has already been
done to their conscience and mental outlook but despite this they have
creditably borne the brunt and have come triumphant in absorbing the shock
of immense magnitude.
The sad affair
afflicting the community is their total apathy towards social reform. It
is futile to reiterate that hypocrisy, social pride and ego still persist
in the community. Dowry system and ostentation in marriages will accentuate
their financial problems. Already they have invested their substantial
earnings in raising huge buildings which are being gutted apace in the
valley. They should exercise parsimony, conserving whatever is left with
them. Social checks in conducting the marriages can prove very fruitful
in conserving the financial resources. Voluminous belongings devoid of
any practical utility should be discarded as these hinder the mobility.
felt proud in establishing some prestigious colleges in Kashmir. It feels
acutely the need for technical and medical colleges of its own. However,
by raising sufficient funds through mobilisation, the community can own
its engineering and medical colleges. Besides, imparting job oriented training
to the youth, it can generate employment opportunities for unemployed youth.
to man these institutions is already present in the community. Steps may
be taken vigorously to open more colleges and schools to educate the community
And, if possible,
we can train our youth to start small industries with the help of government.
our ethos and cultural distinction, we should conduct regular meetings
and especially on festival days in our respective localities. This will
give greater chances of inter-action and hence induce us to render our
utmost service in time of need or if any one of us is afflicted with some
trouble and suffering. This social service must be rendered unhesitatingly
and without any fail.
there is a Kashmiri Pandit doctor, he should not hesitate to render free
service for deserving Kashmiri Pandit patients.
should pay utmost heed towards the growth of their physical and mental
health. Many members of this community are afflicted by various mental
and physical diseases which if treated at an initial stage can be remedied.
and pathetic scenario confronting the community can be overcome by optimism
and positive approach. The government, by its slow and inept handling,
will not come to our rescue but we must remember the maxim that God helps
those who help themselves.
There is no
denying the fact that Pandits have lost the paradise and the government
has been a mute spectator to the complete ethnic cleansing in Kashmir.
The responsibility for our safe return and rehabilitation in the valley
devolves on the government. This is the greatest challenge that we must
face and strive for.
After all we
are an educated community. We can mobilise media people to highlight our
problems and urge the government for the redressal of these problems.
view the present scenario, and the government's apathetic approach towards
resolving our problems, it is not possible for us to return to the valley
soon. Guns still rule the roost, and the present government's plans to
offer greater autonomy to Kashmir will further complicate the situation.
Parties that come to power may then demand still more autonomy which will
be no less than freedom. Kashmiri Pandits have to rise to the occasion
and to think seriously about their prospects to live honourably on the
are numerous and complicated. We have to stand united to challenge these