close associations with well-meaning, honest and starry-eyed radicals proud
of having played an outstanding role in the struggle against a decadent
system baptised me as a Marxist, aiming high with all unflinching faith
in a sane and secular society free from religious bigotry and narrow perspectives.
As such I frowned at and kept away from any thought wave or movement, which
betrayed parochial and communal prejudices, predilections and motivations.
Though Muslim communalism, frenzied as it is; was spreading its roots deep
and fast, I somehow chose not to deflect away from my old ideological frames
actuating me to dismiss it as a sheer aberration. As an act of rationalisation,
I looked back at yester years, a period when matters were ripening for
a new epoch and Kashmiris of all shades sinking their differences "had
conferred with open minds and assiduously worked together in harmony for
achieving common good, had assembled together and marched for a common
purpose and more than most had pooled their thoughts born in tranquil sanity
for integrated wisdom."
I equally drew
sustenance from the fact that we, both Muslims and Hindus, are a people
living in the same region blessed with bewitching beauty and scenic splendour,
speak the same language enriched by the outpourings of our saint-poets,
work and live in the same style and share the same mental patterns which
by and large reflect the same cultural ethos. Though there were differences,
yet the whole appeared as a mosaic of varied strands.
But, all what
I had thought and consciously rationalised proved nothing but a castle
built on shifting sands. The Muslim majority had been busy hatching a clandestine
conspiracy against the Kashmiri Pandits (an euphemism for Kashmiri Hindus)
and were one with the Muslim rabids to hound them out from their millennia-old
homes and hearths. As part of a pre-meditated design, they were decreed
to quit their home-land dubbing them as Mukhbirs, agents of India, enemies
of Islam and Kafirs with no place in an imaginary Islamic state placed
on the plank of fundamentalism. The milling crowds trotting about the length
and breadth of the Valley of Kashmir chanted anti-Hindus and anti-lndia
slogans working out the dictates of swashbucklers and screwballs flaunting
sophistieated weapons, trained and indoctrinated in Pakistan-established
camps across the borders. The killers ploughed into the houses of Hindus,
killed them, raped their women-folk, sawed them into two equal halves and
chopped off their breasts-all a brutal dance of death and destruction.
The Muslim majority exulted over the holocaust of Hindus and genuflected
in absolute homage before the killers masquerading as champions of Islam.
Hindus as a result of militarised Islam and its hurricane fury are refugees
in their own country suffering cynical and malign neglect of powers that
be, dumped in torn tents and shanties, they are in an extremely parlous
state, let down and frustrated, floodgates have been opened for all kinds
of canards, lies and accusations against them. Human rights outfits operating
within the country have dodged and winked at their human right violations
and invested the Muslim terrorist groupings with innocence and pietic legitimacy.
The brutalities that have been heaped on my hounded-out community motivated
me to run through the history of Kashmir with a view to establishing its
history of unmitigated social, political, religious and cultural repression
bordering on genocide since the advent of Islam in Kashmir.
And now a word
or two of indebtedness. I am highly indebted to my friends and colleagues
inside academe, who have not only encouraged me, but also posted me with
historical materials germane to the subject of my study.
I am extremely
indebted to P. N. Kachru, a renowned painter of Kashmir, now in exile,
who has been a source of inspiration and guidance to me throughout my life.
His precious collection of volumes on Kashmir-looted, and/or destroyed
by the illiterate Kashmir terrorists-which I would browse on, proved highly
useful while preparing the manuscript. The materials then collected had
to be updated and collated and in this arduous task I was assisted by the
librarian of the Ranbir Singh Library, Jammu, thus deserving my thanks.
I am equally
thankful to P. N. Jalali, a veteran freedom fighter of Kashmir, who guided
me in regard to issues of political import and the role of Kashmiri Pandits
in rejuvenating and re-orienting the backward polity of Kashmir.
I am thankful
to B. L. Handoo, my life-long friend; P. N. Raina, a journalist; O. N. Trisal, a freedom fighter and M. L.
Raina, a professor, who have assisted
me in putting the history of Pandits in proper perspective.
My thanks are
also due for P. L. Koul, whose book Crisis in Kashmir has proved of great
usefulness in tracing fundamentalist developments in Kashmir.
I am also grateful
to Sehyog Prakashan, the main publisher of Kashmir: Past and Present-Unravelling
the Mystique. This is a unique publishing concern in the sense that it
probably is the first effort in the capital, to run a publishing house
on cooperative lines.
Last, but not
the least, I must express my heartfelt thanks to Ashok Gupta of Manav Publications,
the co-publisher of my book, which could see the light of this day because
of his substantial financial help.