Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India

Milchar

Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

  Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India

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Milchar
January-February 2004 issue

Swami Vivekananda at Kshir Bhawani, Kashmir 

Table of Contents

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

  Viewpoint

To Write or Not to Write

J. L. Manwati

Over the years, Kashmiri Pandits' Association (KPA) has been embroiled in a Hamlet-like dilema 'whether to take a Political Stance or not', on a given situation viz-a-viz the fate of Kashmiri Pandits, particularly in the post-exodus era or to project its views about the political dispensation towards the community, because our Association is a Socio-Cultural Organisation and obviously a-political in character. Basically, all such welfare/charitable Trusts, Associations or Samitis have mandatory obligation, under the various Trust Acts obtainable in the country, to incorporate a provision in their constitution which ensures non-indulgence in any political activity.
When I took over as the President of KPA in 1998, the frequency of the violent outburst against our community had considerably ebbed down. But the massacre at Wondhama did send shivers down the spine of every Pandit wherever he was. The Kashmiri Associations/Samitis of all hues utilised all the avenues of protestation against the barbaric and dastardly act.
But, we at KPA Mumbai fettered by the Constitutional limitations couldn't give vent to our seething wrath in any vociferous form. The Association had to remain content with a 'Resolution' passed at its BOT meeting, no doubt with all consternation. Simultaneously, when I learnt that Kashmiri Samiti, Delhi (KSD) had made its presence felt on the issue by aggressive posture in the Capital, I asked Shri Gadoo, the then President of KSD as to how they transgress blatantly the constitutional limitations by taking such political overtures. In an obdurate manner he said, ' ...at such times, we shelve the constitutional provisos in the shelves of KSD office'. 
It made me ponder. Are we Kashmiri Pandits in Mumbai more law abiding, or have we grown thick-skinned, or, are we a disillisioned lot? These thoughts kept perturbing me, till one day, I was invited by an NGO in Mumbai to be part of a 'seminar on Kashmir', where Director of Information of US Embassy in Delhi was the chief guest. Trying to unshackle myself from the constitutional fetters, I prepared a matter-of-fact and a hard hitting brief on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits diaspora which contained candid illustrations fully supported by media gleanings for its veracity, as to what brought situation in the Valley to such a sordid mess which forced Kashmiri Pandits to flee the Valley. A day before, when I was supposed to interact with the US Embassy official, I read out the excerpts of the brief to Shri Moti Kaul and Shri P.N.Wali, both Ex-Presidents of KPA to seek their opinion. Looking at Wali Sahib, Shri Moti Kaul, an ardent and vocal proponent of Panun Kashmir, remarked, "Wali Sahib, were we ever such audicious"? My soaring spirits hit the nether.
Now-a-days almost all the official organs/publications of various Kashmiri samitis do take liberty to write, discuss, debate and even pass judgements on the political situation of the State viz-a viz Kashmiri Pandits except KPA Mumbai, which keeps such contentious issues at barge-pole distance.
Let us deliberate upon this aspect. Do these write-ups, deliberations, political workshops/seminars contributed or organised by those Constitutionaly-appointed or self-appointed bodies make any dent on the thinking of the Government of India or the State Government. Or do such exercises help to ameliorate the conditions of KPs in any manner? Looking at the track-record, the answer is big 'No'. Such steps, however, one would agree, help to broaden the vision of thinking people but in terms of tangible results nothing substantial is achieved.
The most crucial and focal point of discussion these days within the community revolves around 'Whether the time is appropriate for KPs to return to the Valley'? There is no unanimity on the issue within the various Pandit outfits. Mufti Sarkar has already created a cluster of 300 flats in District Badgam for rehabilitation of KPs, which still continues to be No. 2 militant infested area after Pulwama/Shopian in Anantnaag district. The government is trying to allure Pandits with all sorts of baits so that it could claim even a minimal success in their professed rehabilitation plans. 35 KP families, it is said, have already filed their affidavits with the State government showing their willingness to return. Come March/April, Government may exercise pressure on the government servants who are recepient of Migrant Salary to resume their duties in Srinagar in the first place. But the government itself is wary if their policy would have the desired effect. It is unfortunate that KPs do not have an effective and united political outfit which could have taken initiative and discussed thread-bare the pros and cons of the 'Return' with the government. Our dissensions within our community is our bane.
Panun Kashmir (Agnishekhar) and Panun Kashmir (Chrangoo) factions hold almost similar views to the 'Return Phenomena', yet, this site attitudinal differences at the implementation level. A slogan 'Clandistine Reversal of Exodus' has been thrown up by Dr. Agnishekhar. But isn't Dr. Agnishekhar concious that the fissiparous tendency within the 'Panun Kashmir' as such, has encouraged the Government to engage its agents to rope in Kashmiri Pandits disillusioned with their leadership.
I think KPA Mumbai is better off remaining a-political in its character; for, politics in general is murky and let KPA refrain from making it murkier.

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