Rejoinder: “Mark my words”
by Dr. K.N. Pandita, Jammu
Somebody sent me a copy of a write-up titled ‘Mark my words’, published in the Musings column of your esteemed paper in its issue of 8 April 2010. I venture to send a rejoinder hoping you will give it space.
For one thing the writer deserves appreciation; he is sincere and rather passionate in his wail over some shortcomings in the character of Kashmiri Muslims. This apart, what he has done is to bring on record a long litany of weaknesses and aberrations in the character of Kashmiri Muslims subtly alluding to sporadic or selective events of post-independence history of Kashmir. He condenses his observations in cryptic phraseology, which, amusingly reveals more than what it conceals.
Taking out a single leaf from the history book of a community does not do any justice to its members. Character of a community is best analysed by going to its roots in history and culture rather than by exuding emotional lament on some shortcomings inevitable to mortals. Throughout its history Kashmiri Muslim community has invariably risen to occasion, for example like responding to the call of the Muslim missionaries to the new faith in early 14th century down to 1990 struggle for identity and individuality, secular or Islamic or Kashmiriyyat whatever. Like any futuristic society, it has followed and also revolted against the leader depending where its present and future interests lay. If the Indian nation had picked up courage to rise against Gandhi at the end of the day, partition of the country and its catastrophic aftermath would have been avoided. It failed history’s call for identity and relapsed into a state of servitude worse than slavery. Kashmiri Muslim community did not. I am reminded of this symbolic yet profound verse of Mirza Ghalib:
- Ba man mayamiz ay pidar farzand-i aazar ra nigar
- Har kas kih shud sahib nazar din-e buzurgan khush nakard.
In a sense Iqbal also repeats the same philosophy:
- Mayara bazm bar sahil kih anja
- Hawa-e zindagani narm khez ast
- Ba darya dar figan ba mauj awez
- Nishat-e zindagani dar sitez ast
As regards the writer’s “warning” to Kashmiri Pandits, I honestly feel that he is out of tune with the dynamics of an active, vibrant and highly conscientious society struggling hard to wriggle out of a millennium of abject servitude in order to seek the dawn of freedom of thought, speech and action. Exiled Kashmiri Pandits are no more rejected and sidelined entities; they have plunged into the vast and deep national mainstream from which they will haul out material prosperity and spiritual fulfilment through their untiring effort. Diasporas have made great civilizations. That is one of the lessons of human history.
26 April 2010