Answer to yesterday’s letter

By Kashi Nath Pandita – The letter leaves out no conceivable accusation against the Pandits: they are absconders, they had nexus with the traitors of “freedom war”, they encouraged Jagmohan’s intentions of the massacre of Muslims, they are informers etc. etc.

One significant regimen of the planners of “freedom war” in Kashmir is disinformation. But what the non-militant Muslims of Kashmir speak in private, either within their close circles or with their “not too bad” Pandits in exile, is the reverse of what they speak in public. A militant who had abandoned the gun told me once that after interacting with some Pandits, myself included, he had to disbelieve all that had been said to him (during brainwashing) about the Pandits. He regretfully ruminated the indiscreet indoctrination to which he had been subjected by the ISI during the training in arms in PoK. Hatred and animus against the Pandits are the first requisite of the plan of “war for freedom” in the valley.

The “war for freedom” in Kashmir is actually the war of Kashmiri Muslims against “Hindu India”. The Muslim warriors kept their mission of training in ISI camps in PoK a top secret never disclosed even to their parents and closest relatives leave aside the Pandits. They began their “freedom war” with the gunning down of innocent Kashmiri Pandits followed by stern warnings to them to leave Kashmir at any cost. The ruling party of the time (1990), covertly in league with the gun-wielding Islamic warriors, found the escape route in destabilizing the state administration further by quitting the government and shirking their responsibility to civil society. The outgoing ministers occupied government bungalows in Jammu under high security provided by the Indian government and watched from distance how in the valley they had brought the people to the brink of disaster. If anybody obstructed the “war for freedom”, it was only the Kashmiri political leadership that had become apprehensive of losing its positions of power and hobnobbed with all shades of ideologies and their upholders.

The Pandits have little regrets of their compatriots chasing them away from their native land. After all they are related by blood. What pains us is that those who actually manipulate them have nothing in common with them except religion. Even in the matter of religion, their traditions, life style, social structure, historical background, cultural sources etc. are at great variance. And they manipulate them for their self-aggrandizement only.

The Pandits are aware that Kashmir militants are neither thinking nor acting independently. They have been roped in by international Islamic radical movement with the aim of realizing the dream of an Islamic Caliphate from Spain to Indonesia. In pursuit of this dream, the radical Islamists are facing stiff resistance from western liberal forces.

The Pandits are aware that the so-called war of civilizations, a nomenclature much espoused by the Islamic radicals, is, in essence, a conflict and contradiction within the Islamic fold and not outside it. This faith is on the horns of dilemma whether it should go along modernism and liberalism championed by the west or remains glued to a millennia and half old desert tradition. Since the protagonists of former ideology would like to take recourse to logic and free debate, the radicals must perforce stifle their voice. We have in our times the unsung heroes like Sheikh Muhammad Kabbani and Salman Rushdie. The animus of Islamic diehard radicals towards reformists goes back to late 12th century when great and liberal Central Asian thinkers like Al-Farabi, Al-Kindi and Ibn Sina attached immense importance to the science of logic as the key to interpretation of scriptures. The rise of Ghazali (14th century) who denigrated the Aristotelian school of thought among the Muslims with his radical stereotype was welcomed by the Islamic orthodoxy and local satrapy combine.

As the internal strife among the Muslim is deepening and widening, albeit imperceptibly at the moment, the orthodoxy must perforce demonstrate its strength visibly and materially. In pursuit of this compelling urge they are looking for and taking on what is now termed “soft targets”. The unarmed and defenseless Pandits of Kashmir, the innocent work force in NY Trade Towers, the unsuspecting commuters in London tube or Madrid or Bombay train or night club goers in Bali are all sitting ducks and soft targets on which the radical musclemen can rain bullets and bombs. But they will not fight their real adversary in open simply because they cannot.

The phenomenon of Islamic Theo-fascists choosing to target the innocent people speaks of their inherent cowardice. As they cannot face logic and reason, which is likely to explode myths, entrenched in their heads, they have to kill the innocent people no matter if the holy book disallows it.

But undoubtedly this is only a passing phase, and in a state of equilibrium, which is the law of nature, Islam as a great faith will be able to present its humanistic and positive face and endear it to the rationalists wherever they are. They will understand in due course of time that the strength of a faith like Islam does not lie in hatred and mayhem but in debate and discussion. They will have to behave and convince the world that they are living in the 21st and not the 6th century A.D.

Therefore our regret is that our compatriots in Kashmir, who may boast of having banished the Pandits from their homeland will find to their surprise that how naively they played in the hands of those who had an axe to grind. It may be easy to sow the seeds of hatred and animus but the end product generally becomes counter-productive.

For nearly half a century, the people of Kashmir, irrespective of caste and creed, fought hand in hand to remove autocratic rule and usher in an era of freedom. In 1947, the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir became free for the first time in their history. Now they were the unhindered architects of their destiny. Alas, that freedom was quickly snatched from their hands and as in mediaeval times, the valley was again relapsed into the environs of chaos and confusion.

What are the so-called freedom fighters fighting for in Kashmir? Don’t they want to be governed by their elected representatives? Don’t they want to be governed by the constitution, which their own representatives framed? Don’t they want to protect and preserve their traditions, culture and life style? If they do not want all this, then what is the meaning of “freedom” from their point of view?

The Pandits are part and parcel of Kashmir, its history, its society, its culture, its aspirations and it’s well – being. If a few gun wielding goons have issued them threatening, they should not feel discouraged. While pitying the cowardice of these gun wielders, the Pandits should not underestimate the goodwill and sensibilities of a vast majority of Kashmiri Muslims, most of whom are as critical of radicalism and violence as the Pandits themselves are.

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