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What is a Kashmiri Pandit

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Text of the Speech of K.N. Pandita, presented at the Convention of Kashmiri Pandits organised by KOA (Kashmiri Overseas Association) in Chicago on July 3, 2006.

What is a Kashmiri Pandit?

How should I answer this enigmatic question?

Behind us, the Pandits of Kashmir, stand a hundred thousand year old archaeological remains at Burzahome and Semthan plus more than ten thousand year old written history, the Nilamata Purana.

Our homeland – Kashmir mandala — sits in the lap of the Himalayas. For many good reasons this particular geographic landmark became the icon of our spiritual and temporal existence. It is the first mark of our identity.

In times immemorial our ancestors gave the trident-wielding supreme deity of the Hindu pantheon, namely Shiva, an abode atop Mount Kailash and let him indulge in the ecstatic dance of creation (tandav nritya). that churned the cosmos. Our relationship with Shiva is the relationship between the ocean and the molecule. Therefore our sages emphasized that death meant assimilation not destruction. It is eternity.

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