Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India


Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

  Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India

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March-April 2004 issue

Kashmir's Students of the Vinod Sur Shringar Music Academy performing at the Annual Cultural Nite at Rang Sharda, Bandra

Table of Contents

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri


Help for the needy. How? 

Last few months, the community saw some appeals for help from members of the community who were in desperate situation, particularly of medical nature. In couple of cases, Mr. Raina (our coordinating editor) took personal interest in relaying these messages to a large number addresses in India and abroad on e-mail. The response has been over whelming. I saw in a New Year function at Muscat, the small community collected about Rs.20,000 in few minutes when the message was read. Such has been the response from number of places and number of people. This opens certain points to ponder about for a sustained response in such situations.
First, when does a man from a self-respecting community makes such a public appeal. Most often it is a desperate situation arising out of grave health matter calling for large expenditure of money. To save a life, even honour is staked. There can be social issues like marriage of daughter. Can a person living in the camp on dole of say Rs.2500 afford marriage of daughter even in a most frugal manner. We are told that there are girls passed marriageable age because family can not afford a marriage. There are cases where help is needed to pursue school or higher education.
I am sure, every body will agree that a community initiative in matters like this is desirable. Our community, now spread over the globe can lend a helping hand in ameliorating such individual financial suffering. People are ready to help. But the machinery to canalise it is not in place.
Whenever any one of us receives such appeal, the first reaction is, whether it is a genuine one. It is a right reaction. Such requests could come from not so deserving persons also. Since sifting the right from spurious is not so easy for an individual, ignoring is the result. Next comes the question of how to send the assistance. Transferring small amounts over distances is cumbersome for busy people. Even after sending it, one would like to know whether it has been received by the right person and used for the right purpose. It is for all reasons that an organisational approach is useful. We have a large number of organisations of KPs spread far and wide. (Although at each center, there are good number of people who don't necessarily keep in touch with local association and yet they would like to help in such effort). These associations are even doing some financial assistance work. KPA Mumbai has medical relief fund but only small assistance can be given from this, particularly to those in Mumbai or visiting Mumbai for treatment. The corpus of the fund is small and regular donations are not coming. Similarly other associations at Jammu, Delhi etc. are doing there bit. But it is not sufficient. Jammu Sabha has also been doing commendable job in managing the NRI assistance to students. These associations have fund constraints to go a whole hog. 
Pt. J.N.Kaul, ex-president AIKS tried to pursue the idea of 'Mchhphl'. Shri Dileep Langoo, a social activist has been advocating it recently. It is a good idea. No one minds a small monthly donation but it does not work in practice. It is easier to pay Rs. 200 once a year than pay Rs. 10 every month. It is cumbersome. The idea is from old days in Kashmir when people were available to go from home to home every month to collect 'Mchhphl' in cash or kind. Who will do it now? Again we come to our organisational network to evolve systemic approach to the problem.
I would envisage that each organisation makes it an important sub-goal to be pursued as separate activity with separate man-power. The central body AIKS could coordinate this activity. Coordination is also necessary to avoid duplication of effort. Guidance from resource persons like Pt. J.N.Kaul Ji could be sought. A meeting of all associations under AIKS for this purpose alone, may be called.
Handling of assistance through local associations, i.e. collection and disbursement, will also take care of genuineness of the request. This will also help in avoiding duplications. Only care be taken that associations do not exhibit arrogance while making assistance available, but do it with all humility. No public functions for disbursement.




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