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PM’s Vision of Naya Kashmir

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K.N. Pandita

In his opening speech at the 3rd Round Table Conference on Kashmir in New Delhi on April 24, 2007, Prime Minster Manmohan Singh said that he was repeating the vision of Sheikh Abdullah’s Naya Kashmir.

Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah released Naya Kashmir, the manifesto of National Conference, in Sopor convention in 1944, which Pandit Nehru had also attended. It set forth the political philosophy of NC and its roadmap of governance after assuming state power. Officially drafted by a leftist ideologue, namely B.P.L.Bedi and his wife Freda, it was the brainchild of the left wing in NC. Well informed sources have confirmed that the draft was actually written by Niranjan Nath Raina, a staunch Kashmiri Pandit leftist who, during his studentship at Allahabad Unviversity, had picked up communist ideology from Ashraf Ali, the head of the Minority Group of Congress housed at that time in Anand Bhavan, Allahabad. Raina was the Srinagar District Secretary of NC at the time of drafting Naya Kashmir. The Manifesto was oriented along leftist ideology. Its activists received solid patronage from the Sheikh.

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Don’t distort Kashmir history

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K.N. Pandita

Ali Shah Geelani, the pro-Pak Kashmiri hardliner’s recent (April 23. 2007) assertion in a public rally in Srinagar that Shaykhu’l-Alam Nooru’d-Din Noorani (Nund Rishi) was not a saint/rishi but a zealous Islamic missionary of early 14th century who propagated orthodox Islam has decimated the myth of Kashmir being an example of religious tolerance and harmony. It also repudiates the belief that there was any synthesizing movement in Kashmir after the advent of Islam in A.D. 1339

Earlier also, some well-informed scholars have presented the same views based on historical evidence. They have strongly questioned the fecundity of Kashmiriyat, which now very rightly appears a manipulated but too hollow a slogan. Those deliberately distorting mediaeval Kashmir history are serving their political interests. By secularising the “Rishis” and Sufis arbitrarily, they want to dilute the bigotry and religious zeal with which the early Islamic missionaries and their local followers propagated faith in Kashmir and forced conversion on the Hindus.

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Reviving Martand after half a century

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By K.N. Pandita

Kashyapa Bandhu, the tallest among the Kashmiri Pandits of twentieth century, was a multi-dimensional personality. Brought up in adversity, his journey from a Kashmiri village Middle School to the circles of intellectual luminaries of his times in Lahore was a rare example of quest for learning. He evinced keen interest in Arya Samaj movement and met and talked to its stalwarts. He imbibed the spirit of this social reform, applied it to his community and thus was destined to play a role in the social and political history of Kashmiri Pandits. He met and exchanged views with the old outstanding Kashmiris settled in Lahore and other parts of Punjab, included among them was the poet Iqbal of Pandit extraction.

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