The three World Conferences of Kashmiri Pandits held in twenty years gave rise to a strong and healthy tradition of protest, resistance and the expression of anguish and anger. Kashmiri Pandits from different parts of the world attended the third conference. In fact, the Amarnath Land issue, which created a mass upsurge in Jammu, gave birth to this Conference.
The exodus of Kashmiri Pandits who sought shelter in Jammu could not sow the seed of revolution here. The Amarnath Land issue shaped a strong movement in Jammu. The agitation launched by the Jammuites was inspiring. The seed of protest germinated.
When hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits came to Jammu the routine daily life of the people of this place was in no way affected. Exodus of an entire community did not even stir them. They neither sympathized with our cause nor did they support us. There was no kind of protest from their side. But from inside they were fear-stricken. The seed of fear and uncertainty was sown in them. They were not even conscious of this state of mind. Everything happened imperceptibly and silently. This mute fear created two kinds of attitudes. Some people started thinking in terms of protests whereas others thought of making compromises and bowing before the conditions created by the enemy. This conflict and dilemma lasted for twenty years. The Amarnath Land issue was a turning point in the whole affair. There was a qualitative change in the thinking of the people. The protest flowered and the uprising succeeded. The nationalistic forces in the country showered flowers upon the protesters and congratulated them on their success. This uprising was the defeat of the pseudo- secularists, anti-Hindus and anti-national intellectuals. It was a victory of the nationalistic and patriotic forces.
The Kashmiri Pandits plunged into this agitation fearlessly from its inception. Their participation showed their conviction. They supported this cause till the end. They faced lathis and went to the prisons. They received bullets and were injured. But with rage and anger they bit the enemy having militant bent of mind. They fought the state police tooth and nail without caring for the results. The refugees living in the Muthi Refugee Camps fought the police bravely who treated them as outsiders who had come from Kashmir. The Third World Conference of the Kashmiri Pandits emerged out of this confrontation. The important points that came out of the Conference are :-
- Even Shri Parkash Singh, an expert on and an analyst of terrorism, and Shri Chandan Mitra agreed that the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits victims of Islamic terrorism was neither debated nor highlighted in the media. This was a national shame of great magnitude and reflected the criminal, inhuman and hellish bent of mind of the state.
- The exodus of the Pandits encouraged the neglect of the Hindus in India and strengthened the policy of appeasement towards Muslims. When the Hindus were burnt alive in Godhra (Gujrat) the media and the state remained silent. This apathy towards the suffering of the Hindus was dangerous and alarming for the nation. The mindset of the pseudo-secularists encouraged this indifference for they strongly and vehemently condemned the atrocities committed on the Muslims in the aftermath of the Godhra tragedy. Most of the people turned blind towards the Hindus who had been killed in Godhra. They harnessed all the forces pro-Muslim media, the intelligentsia and the administration to highlight the aftermath of the Gordhra episode. This was a black page in the history of India. It proved very painful. The forums which came into being were less in number. Hindus have to be self reliant and all the anti-national elements are to be eliminated. We have to put an end to all those forces which appease Muslims and anti-nationalists and torture and persecute Hindus.
- Some opportunities devoid of vision and some wealthy and unthinking individuals have created artificial conflicts and fake feelings that there is lack of unquestionable leadership in the community. Some of them even abuse their official position and power to weaken the Kashmiri Pandits. They try to sabotage this revolution and protest, and instill in the community an attitude which is soft towards the enemy. These people help the state and the establishment in neglecting the community. The Conference was held with a view to unite the Kashmiri Pandits and establish unquestionable leadership.
- The common people and the intelligentsia are to be made aware of the tools that the enemy has been using to perpetuate this genocide and to annihilate this race. We have to render those tools useless and devise ways and methods to fight and defeat the enemy.
- We are resurrecting the memories of the past six migrations in order to tell the world that we are fighting and that we will continue to fight till we achieve our homeland. These are the seeds of the memories and signs which the Saraswats and Kashmiri Pandits sowed in the past so that their dream could be fulfilled. This dream of returning home is not the dream of four hundred thousand or seven hundred thousand persons. This is a dream of ten million persons that cannot be crushed. The struggle is a nuclear bomb waiting for an explosion. Nobody can stop us from going home. Those who left Kashmir hundreds of years back are looking towards their homeland. They are ready to move bag and baggage. They will finally find their roots. Those who threw us out of our motherland exhibited their vicious mind. They usurped our lands, property and destroyed our heritage and our icons. They are frightened now. Which is why they scrutinize the map of Panun Kashmir to find out and locate the area which Panun Kashmir claims in Kashmir. Kashmiri Pandits humanists, virtuous, civilized and cultured were forced to flee Kashmir for no fault of theirs. The enemy wished total extinction of the Pandits. We were not tolerated there because of our education, value-based life, style, thinking and knowledge. Our quality of life became a victim of the enemy’s violent jealousy.
- The refugees living in the camps devalue themselves by accepting doles. Their quality of life has been affected. They are always ready to sell the community for a pittance. In a situation like this dreams became foggy. The Conference was an attempt to give light to them, to create new opportunities for them, to inculcate values in them, to free them from the mist that blurs their vision and to make them cleanse their souls and mind. The Conferences was an opportunity for writing a new chapter in their lives and for fulfilling their dreams.
The Conference was held after a gap of ten years. Twenty years is a moment in this long, hazardous and terrible struggle. The first two decades were very significant. This is the most compulsory stage to create a path in a difficult terrain. This direction has journeyed to the future generations.
Meaningful deliberations were held and useful ideas expressed in the Conference. The youth of the Kashmiri Pandits got acquainted with the dreams, ideology and philosophy of the return to homeland. It gave flip to a new culture and vision. Those who don’t think of the homeland or don’t subscribe to this view are untouchables, inhuman and devillish even if they are wealthy or powerful or outwardly good.
In the Conference a pledge was taken to save our culture, language and exclusiveness. The people graduated into thoughtfulness. When the people left the Zorawar Singh Auditorium in the evening of 12th of April they had become wise, matured and understanding. They eyes had opened, their attitude had undergone a change, their inner eye had seen things in a new perspective, their sixth sense had activated and their vision had expanded. Even the world outside had changed. Action had replaced inaction. The enemy, till then, had thought of the Kashmiri Pandits as dead or doomed. The Conference infused life into the community. Kashmiri Pandits will never give up their claim on their homeland nor forgive the enemy.
In the evening of 12th of April Jammu seemed to smile and say: “I am proud of you, children” Kashmiri Pandit mothers were delighted to declare: “ We have to go home all of us …… dear children.”
Light shone in our wounds. We have to step firmly, confidently and cautiously in that light. The agonizing wounds are our inspiration and strength. These wounds are our fellow-travellers now. We won’t skip them for we view them with a new insight.
We sent ‘shame’ to traitors, the media and the anti-nationalists because they have closed their eyes and refuse to look at our condition. We sent ‘shame’ to the media personalities like Barkha Dutt and the like of her who devote time to the villains like Sajad Lone, Yasin Malik, Mehbooba Mufti and Gotam Navlakha who play devillish roles in the political scenario of our country. We sent ‘shame’ to Sardesai, Pankaj Pachori, Vinod Dua and the like. We sent this message to them : “ You are the real Fidayeens. But we will free India from the vicious people like you.” Pakistan is napak (unholy). We will destroy her with our will and determination.
The Jammunites and Kashmiri Pandits are one now. We found tears of love in their eyes. There was gratitude in our eyes. There were songs in their voices; there was music and melody in our voices. We resided in their minds; they resided in our hearts. The interaction in the Conference was significant, meaningful and attractive. Our sight was fixed on the goal. All questions, misgivings and doubts disappeared. The only mantra recited was:
JAI PANUN KASHMIR
This is the English translation of the article written in Hindi by Dr. Khema Kaul, below.
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