ollowing comment is in response to the J & K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s sarcastic remark on Varun Gandhi’s “Kashmiri’ roots from ‘Nehru’s” side. Omar Abdullah’s observation had appeared in an interview in DAILY EXCELSIOR.
Kashmiri politicians are known for their doublespeak. It is well known that they articulate the same view differently with varying tone & fervour in Srinagar, Jammu & Delhi respectively. But in a bizarre attempt to join the ‘secular’ bandwagon & to please the newly (re)acquired political partners the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah went over board in making insinuation about Varun Gandhi’s “Kashmiri roots” from “Nehru’s side” while condemning his alleged speech (“No deadlock over seat sharing: Omar”/ DAILY EXCELSIOR,JAMMU / March31,09/ page no.4 / col.no.4/ para 2nd / line 5th). It smacks of hypocrisy & political opportunitism in view of the on going two decades old pan Islamism inspired bloody movement that seeks secession of Muslim majority Kashmir valley from secular India, by the Kashmiri separatists in his own backyard,.
The Abdullah scion has conveniently ignored the ethnic cleansing of the aboriginal Kashmiri Hindu Pandits in the valley in 1989-90 at the hands of their very own Kashmiri Islamists. It bothers none, that today the much cherished social fabric called Kashmiriyat stands dumped in to the dustbin of history. And by whom? By none other than those who claim themselves to be the upholders of ‘Kashmiri’ virtues.
It was his father Farooq Abdullah the then CM who in the face of the sudden eruption of Islamic uprising unabashedly abdicated his responsibilities & fled the valley leaving Kashmiris at the mercy of the zealots in that horrible winter of 1990. His own pusillanimity was also evident when Omar Abdullah retracted from his own comment in his blog where in he had lamented the conspicuous silence of Kashmiri Muslims when their Pandit neighbours were being hounded out of their homes. And yet it becomes so easy to raise fingers at the ‘Kashmiri’ roots of others.
It is ironic that Varun Gandhi’s statement ‘I am an Indian & a Hindu’(in the same order) should evoke the wroth of the secularists while Omar Abdullah’s own in his parliament speech ‘I am a Muslim & I am an Indian’(in the same order) that was followed by the war cry over temporary allotment of land for the arduous Amarnath pilgrimage “hamari zammen ka mudha tha, ham apni zameen ke liye lade aur marte dam tak apni zameen ke liye ladenge” (the issue was about our land, we fought for our land & we will fight for our land till death) which polarised the state almost to the brink of a civil war, fetched him brownie secular points & opened new political avenues for him & his party. People of the state aren’t oblivious of the fact that it was the mischief of the valley based main stream politicians purportedly wedded to ‘Kashmiri values’& ‘secularism’ who initially ignited the anti land transfer agitation in Kashmir in order to poach on to the separatists’ political space.
Instead of indulging in the secular rhetoric Kashmiri politicians would do well to put in efforts to insulate the local masses from the onslaught of the extreme religious indoctrination; spread awareness about coexistence amongst the masses; fight the foreign sponsored jihadi separatism at home that has eaten in to the very vitals of Kashmiri ethos; resist mischievous attempts to alter & impose history through the legislature means; support the security forces who for the past few weeks now are engaged in a virtual war against the Islamist infiltrators who after the fall of Swat to Taliban, are renewing attempts to penetrate in to the Kashmir valley.
It is a blot on the secular polity at the national level in general & at the state level in particular that today even after two decades Kashmiri Pandits continue to live in exile & suffer the ignominy of being ‘refugees in their own country’. The lost Kashmiri ethos could be resurrected only with the return of the Kashmiri Hindu Pandits to their own ‘homeland’ on their political terms. It is time for the self appointed proprietors of Kashmiri ethos to start up ‘cleaning’ in their own stinking backyard before poking their snouts in the others’ houses.
*Lalit Ambardar: A Building Design Consultant, presently based in Delhi. Has been a ‘programme coordinator’ for foreign TV & Radio bureaus. Regularly writes on 'Kashmir' in response columns of national dailies. Interests include acting & modelling.
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