A dirge for Kashmiriyat

By K.N. Pandita

In a commentary on ground situation in Kashmir relayed from Radio Kashmir on 25 November after evening Urdu news, a litany of subtle accusations against the government and depressing comments on the ground situation in Kashmir were broadcast. Earlier, the newscast as usual, used most of the time in accusing the administration for many hardships and deprivations caused to the people by imposing strict preventive measures after August 5. Any regular listener well acquainted with the entire history of militancy and also the background of abrogation of 370/35-A, will say that the freedom of speech is being abused because same criticism, same accusations, same shortcoming and same castigating is broadcast with meticulous regularity. The news usually begin with the dirge that it is the one hundredth and odd day of abnormality in Kashmir, shops are closed, public traffic is off etc. etc. This squarely contradicts the statements of the Home Minister and others in and outside the parliament that there is normalcy in Kashmir. Why the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is not taking a notice of this paradox remains a mystery.

If it is thought advisable to allow the government institution to publicly indulge in self-criticism, then care has to be taken that no scope is left for giving rise to contradiction and confusion. If the purpose is to give the impression that the government would not like to interfere in the unbridled freedom of the media, then it becomes incumbent to bring information to the public domain why a massive deployment of security forces was unavoidable in the light of August 5 decision of the parliament? It is also unavoidable to tell why a large number of Kashmir leaders and political activists were to be put under house arrest? Why mobile and net services were to be disconnected and why the normal activity of life had to be suspended? Almost everybody knows the answer to these questions but that is not the point. The point is that the government has to formally and through same public media justify its actions through which it so liberally allows criticism of its policies.

Close monitoring of Radio Kashmir Urdu section will bring many surprising anomalies to light. One is surprised how history and culture are subtly subverted with the intention of fixing the seal of legitimacy on illegal distortions. In its news bulletins Hari Parbat is always called as Koh-i-Maran knowing full well that Hari Parbat has a history behind it and Kohi-i-Maran has nothing behind it except the fancy to distort the nomenclatures. Similarly, Shankaracharya hillock is called Koh-i-Suleyman. What is the sense? The entire hillock is clearly mentioned in Rajaratarangini as Gopadari hills, from which has been derived Gupkar. Wherefrom does Suleyman suddenly appear on the scene? Suleyman is an imaginary and mythical figure with so many legends attributed to the name in Islamic social history. Poets and antiquarians in Iran have given the name of Mulk-i-Suleyman and Takhtgah-i-Suleyman to the famous southern city of Shiraz. But Iranians never changed the name of Shiraz with Mulk-i-Suleyman. Why should government institution allow a historically established nomenclature of a place or site be changed with a fictitious and mythical name? What kind of fascination is this?

Hundreds of names of villages in Kashmir have been changed ever since the popular government came to power seven decades and three ago. More than 300 villages were renamed during the stints of Sheikh Abdullah. During the one hundred years of Dogra rule over the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir not a single place name was changed. They were the ‘autocrats’ so to say. But when Nehru snatched the State from their hands and handed it over to the Sheikh on a platter making hum the unbridled Sultan of Kashmir, Islamization began with the change of place names in Kashmir. This is the contribution of Indian secularism to Kashmir’s social history.

This brings us to another aspect of the discussion. Replacing the ancient and well recorded place names with a distinct history with new names of Islamic orientation is what Kashmir intellectuals call Kashmiriyat. In other words, what was Kashmir in pre-Islamic period was not Kashmiriyat and the Kashmiriyat came only with the advent of Islam. Hence to give Kashmiriyat popular acceptance it has become a fashion to change the place names into Islam- oriented names in the name of Kashmiriyat. Therefore, put in simple words Kashmiriyat is the soft face of Islamism and that begins from the date when Islamic rule replaced Hindu rule in Kashmir in 1339 A.D.

We appeal to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry of the NDA government to spare daubing Kashmir with the alchemy of Kashmiriyat. We have had enough of it during the long rule of Congress and NC. Kashmir’s political stalwarts, prominent public functionaries and sections of intellectuals have now, at the end of the day, taken the Kashmiriyat mask off their faces and revealed their imposing and impressive visage of Wahhabism and its sister ideologies as the lodestar to guide them along the path of imported ideologies embedded in their bosoms.

Reorganization Act and regional strategy

By K.N. Pandita

With the passing of J&K Reorganization Act 2019, J&K’s more than seven decades old frozen political narrative has entered its de-freezing era. Remember the Act was passed by a massive majority vote in the Parliament. Those who opposed the bill during the parliamentary debate, and continue their opposition even more fiercely after the passage of the bill, are motivated by politics of vengeance and not by larger national interests. Continue Reading…

Letter to the Editor – Reorganization of J&K

Daily Excelsior

This refers to the write up “Is Article 370’s …..” by B.L. Saraf (DE Oct 31). Ruling political parties are within the bounds of logic to talk about their positive achievements in public domain. Achievements like BDC/Panchayat elections etc. are to be gauged not by the criterion of which party wins how many votes but by the imperative of fundamental democratic principle of empowering the people and facilitating them for self governance. Continue Reading…

Durbar move: a raging controversy

(see on en.wikipedia)
By K.N. Pandita

Amidst a plethora of tasks awaiting attention in the aftermath of the reorganization of the State, is the question whether abolishing nearly two centuries old practice of Durbar move after every six months is or is not feasible. This is a serious question. Continue Reading…

The histrionics of J&K accession

By K.N. Pandita

In his book Integration of the Indian States, (page 438), V.P. Menon, the then Secretary in the Ministry of States, writes, “Shortly before the transfer of power, Pandit Ramchandra Kak was replaced as Prime Minister by Maj. Gen Janak Singh. The Government of J&K then announced their intention of negotiating Standstill Agreements with both India and Pakistan. Pakistan signed the agreement but we wanted time to examine its implications. We left the State alone. Continue Reading…

UNHRC’s doubtful impartiality on Kashmir

By K.N. Pandita

UN Human Rights Council’s 42nd session has just come to an end in Geneva. My more than twenty year experience at the UN in Geneva is that it has not been fair to India in regard to Kashmir cause. This bigotry is traceable to the days of British colonial rule over India. Continue Reading…

Who abused Article 370 and how?

By K.N. Pandita

Recent constitutional and administrative reforms in J&K have caused some concern and apprehensions to the Muslim population of the State especially the Valley. Their main argument is that the law makers had understood the necessity of granting J&K a special status in the Indian Constitution. Continue Reading…

Depoliticizing Kashmir is the way out

By K.N. Pandita

Upturning of a plethora of Kashmir political rubble accumulated over seventy years is the sum and substance of Governor’s recent interview to some pressmen. It is for the first time that the Governor has demystified the inscrutable facade of Kashmir politics. Some commentators will call it a browbeating. Unfortunately most of our Kashmir watchers in the media are not well informed on the psyche of the Kashmiris and would like to evaluate in terms of true democrats only or through their ideological prism. Continue Reading…

Palsied intellectualism of our times

By K.N. Pandita

More than 700 top intellectuals of the expelled and exiled community of Kashmiri Hindus (Pandits) coming from pre-eminent professions all over the country and abroad, recently signed a memorandum wherein they warmly welcomed the historic decision taken by an overwhelming (two-third) majority of both houses of Indian Parliament in regard to important constitutional and administrative reforms specific to the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir. Continue Reading…

PoK “nationalists” on horns of dilemma

By K.N. Pandita

I have many friends in PoK. A good number of them lives as expatriates in the UK and other European countries including Switzerland. We are good friends and, in a way, friends in adversity. Pakistan’s oppression forced them to seek asylum in western countries and for the same reason people of my community had to leave the homeland and seek shelter in different parts of our country. The difference is that they are the refugees in a foreign country and we are refugees in our own country. Continue Reading…