January 19 has just passed by, internally-displaced KPs completed 29years in exile. The day is commemorated as Holocaust Day by the survivors of genocidal Kashmir Jihad, wherever they are, scattered, in India and abroad.
There are five stages to the definition of genocide – one, demonise the community; two, target cultural and ethnic symbols ; three, restrict freedoms and rights; four, small rehearsals of extermination; five , mass murder. KPs survived the last stage though Wandhama and Nadimarg massacres were executed even after the mass exodus began on that chilling night of January 19, 1990 that saw supremacy of Islamism inspired incompatibility asserted when roars of hate and intolerance reverberated across Kashmir Valley. And, distressed humanity found itself abandoned and wandering in the plains of Jammu. That dreadful night of betrayal and two hundred and eighty eight kilometers long torturous journey will remain etched in the exile consciousness of KPs. We do not forget, we will not forgive!
I am angry because India chose silence when Kashmiri Pandits were hounded out. I am angry because neighbours collaborated through their chosen indifference when AK47weilding Islamists were targeting hapless KPs in towns and villages of Kashmir. And I take pride in the fact that we KPs kept the nationalistic narrative on Kashmir alive despite every attempt at all levels to ignore us. But for our perseverance and continued resistance, India state had almost written off Kashmir. No KP worth his or her salt will ever compromise neither on Indian-ness nor Dharma. We chose exile when served options- “ ralliv , galliv , ya tcaliv” ( merge, perish or flee) but did not surrender.
I recall, it was at India International Centre , Delhi on April 11,2017, in the middle of a seminar, veteran journalist Mr. Vinod Sharma rose from his seat, walked up to me and asked rather sneeringly “why do you wear anger on your sleeves” ? “Because I am angry “ I retorted . Yes, over the years I have learnt to be loud enough to be heard without a microphone because I have been invariably on most such occasions an uninvited guest. What was the occasion- peaceniks led by Mani Shankar Iyer, in cohorts with the then High Commissioner Abdul Basit and former Foreign Minister of Pak Kasuri selling Musharaf’s ‘out of the box’ Kashmir -solution, a recipe for India’s balkanisation, to Indians on Indian soil in India’s very capital, on the very day when Pak had announced death sentence on Kulbhushan Jadhav & India was outraged. I protested in support of Kulbhushan by raising a placard pen-drafted on a traffic signal en route to the venue. What also had irked the Political Editor of Hindustan Times? Man boasting his own contribution to Indo –Pak peace process, claimed, he had taken SAFMA founding Gen Secretary Imtiyaz Alam to Kashmir and also showed him around the Kashmiri Pandit refugee camps in Jammu . He got agitated because I pointed out that on his return to Delhi his Pakistani ‘friend’ told TOI ( ‘View of The Valley’ / Oct 20, 2004) that the then Governor Jagmohan was responsible for Kashmiri Hindus’ mass exodus and that Kashmiri Pandits had lost Kashmiriyat ,were communalised and spoke RSS language. Adding to his discomposure was my observation that Pak journalist peddled Islamists’ propaganda about Jagmohan and that he did not find pan-Islamic fervor in azadi-mongers in jihad infested Kashmir but demonised the survivors of Kashmir-Jihad by calling their squalid camps in exile as RSS infested Hindu-enclaves ( TOI had carried my rejoinder ‘Blinkered View’ / Oct 27, 2004).
At the same event Kashmir based senior Congress leader got irritated because I objected to his statement ‘India not Pakistan was responsible for Kashmir problem’ & his reference to POK as Azad-Kashmir and Pak –administered-Kashmir ; I took cudgels with a celebrity TV anchor who warned me to keep quiet, reminding her to stick to her reporting job & not stop me from exercising my democratic right to counter propaganda and lies; I admonished Jammu member of the apologists’ gang who claimed to be a Dogra, that he was a blot on the name of valiant Dogras who were kind enough to host the KP refugees when centuries old neighborhoods back home in Kashmir saw doors shut on them, over his obnoxious remark about KPs living in exile in Jammu “ tum log hamari schati per bethee ho… (you are sitting on our chest..” . Following day papers did carry the news titled “Abdul Basit’s terrorist remark mars conference on improving India-Pakistan ties “(TOI/ April12, 2017). Yes, I spoiled the peaceniks’ party.
Yes, my activism is disruptive. I don’t care, it consumes most of my productive time. I don’t care, I have been evicted from seminar halls through bouncers. I don’t care I have been detained. I don’t care I am called uber-nationalist. I don’t care I am abused on the SM (just recent ly, a troll wished me death in Kashmiri language like of our BK Ganjoo’s who was brutally killed by Kashmiri jihadists while he hid in a rice drum in the attic of his house… “ami khot aas haakh tchi tath tomli dramas manz,….” / wish you were instead, in that rice drum ..). I don’t care, for it is far more ignominious to be living as a refugee in one’s own beloved India….
Because, I am angry, I have resolved to avenge genocide by using all democratic means available.
Thank you, Jammu for giving us shelter. Thank you Jammu for sharing your own abysmal municipal and community services with us. Thank you Jammu, the land of Dogras, for facilitating KPs rebuild their lives from scratch….. We celebrate building new homes in Jammu while never letting go the pain of having been forced to abandon ancestral one back in the Valley of our origin.
There were attempts to ‘unsettle’ us in Jammu as well. Misunderstanding and mistrust was sought to be created against the refugees by the vested interests. But the good will prevailed. Indian-ness prevailed. Thank you Jammu for being considerate.
Our genocide was trivialised. Callous state was brazen enough to award the epithet ‘MIGRANTS’ to the displaced community. It was left to the genocide-survivors to recall and narrate their story, even count their own dead. Narrative that prevailed was about making ‘victims’ out of the perpetrators of independent India’s only ethnic cleansing. No one wanted to neither tell nor know why KPs were targeted, why was a miniscule minority seen as a threat by the Islamists?
KPs were not a ghettoised minority as is the quintessential characteristic of minorities generally elsewhere. And, Islamists were aware, the aborigines’ presence remained intact across the length and breadth of Kashmir Valley despite having been decimated demographically over the centuries of genocidal persecution. There were mohallas left with a lone family and even in far flung villages with no Hindu soul, existed a functional temple which would come to life on a particular auspicious day almost every fortnight. Local mountains, hills, caves, rivers remained objects of worship for KPs. Kashmir is the cradle of India’s thousands of years of civilisational ethos and the KPs symbolised Indian presence in Kashmir. Every KP was seen as a mobile Tricolor in Kashmir. This went against two nation theory inspired Kashmir Jihad. Is it not a fact that the so called stalwart of Kashmiri Muslim politics who sowed the seeds of separatism in Kashmir described KPs as ‘agents’ of India in his biography? How ironic, today his grave needs twenty four hour security cover. “Yahan Kya Chalega, Nizam e Mustafa” (what will prevail here, Nizam e Mustafa) and “Asi gastchi Pakistan, Batav rosct ta Batnev saan “(we want Pakistan, with KP women, without KP men) said it all. Every rape, individual killing or mass murder was so gruesome that it created fear psychosis in the rest, forcing the beleaguered KPs abandon their hearths and homes.. ……
Worst was the incessant attempts to break our resistance in exile, break our will to survive and force us to ‘reconcile’. Overtures were made from the very platforms where the protagonists of Kashmir jihad were presented as stakeholders. Those responsible for the macabre dance of death & destruction playing out in the streets of Kashmir and who deserved to be tried for crimes against humanity were accorded political makeover. Murderers and warlords became ‘Sahebs ‘on India’s leading TV channels where KPs if remembered, was only in the passing and condescendingly. Genocide was sought to be reversed via dhimmitude.
The notion of ‘Truth and reconciliation ’ is a sinister design to accord political legitimacy to terror infested pan Islamism inspired Kashmir Jihad which is essentially a military problem and deserves a military solution as in jihad conflicts everywhere else in the world. Global coalitions are fighting against the menace of Jihad in Afghanistan, Syria etc. Even in Pakistan Zarb e Azab was the response against Islamists in its Waziristan that saw all tools of military warfare including deadly air power deployed. Ironically , this is how veteran Pak journalist turned politician Ayaz Amir, no friend of India, justified Pak military action in Waziristan “ what Pak faces , is the battle hardened jihadists who took the might of Indian army head-on in Kashmir”.
Kashmir Jihad is a test case for India’s survival and the response is beginning to be visible in terms of proactive military approach. Jihadi terror threatens humanity today. World is changing and India’s concerns are being taken seriously. KPs also see a ray of hope in the growing awareness about Kashmir Jihad and KPs genocide in resurgent-India.
The only political aspect of the so called Kashmir issue is the long due abrogation of regressive articles of Indian constitution namely 370 and 35A as well as reorganization of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in to Jammu State, Ladakh Union Territory and centrally administered Union Territory of Panun Kashmir in the Valley to contain the menace of hegemonic Islamism that seeks to resurrect medievalism in the state of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh.
Our historians say, this is the seventh exodus of KPs in as many centuries, what is agonising is the last happened under the secular watch of Independent India’s secular constitution… But we are determined to make it the last. Return we will to Our Kashmir, on our terms, where we will resurrect our roots, where unconditional free flow of Indian constitution is guaranteed, where Delhi is answerable for KPs’ security, where we can wear Tricolor on our chest, where we are able to breathe as free Indians and cease to be ‘Indian Dogs’ …