What is the future of the Kashmiri Pandits?
Posted by jagoindia on September 17, 2011
“When a man is robbed of his belongings, kicked out of his home, and forced to leave his land where his ancestors had lived for thousands of years, it is very hard to imagine that he will continue to have faith in the human values of his tormentors and destroyers –even of his neighbours and countrymen at large, and even that of the people around the world,” he said.
“Kashmiri Pandits, the original inhabitants of Kashmir, have been kicked and destroyed before, but never have they been so grossly brutalised, victimised, and dehumanised as this time. The annihilation of Pandits happened while the government of India was watching and well aware of the dimensions of the tragedy taking place but chose to play soft with its perpetrators, Muslims, in the hope of winning the civil war in Kashmir one day,” he said.
Today, he continued, “Most of the Pandits pass time in the dreary, pigeonholed, futureless existence in Jammu. Thousands of men in mid-30s to mid-50s never go to work, as they have chosen to survive on government handouts given in lieu of the salary they would have earned if they had the proper conditions to work in Kashmir. This psychological-self-annihilation is the worst price the Pandit community is paying at the hands of the civil war. It will take generations before Kashmiri Pandits of Jammu and Kashmir will regain purposefulness, confidence, and cheerfulness in their lives. Although Kashmir will continue to remain under India, its past social and cultural atmosphere will never reemerge. Kashmiri Pandits have to accept the fait accompli of the situation the events have thrown them into. They are the sideshow of the sideshow in this insane and ancient drama played between Muslims and Hindus. Kashmir cannot become their home in the same way as it was before.”
He added, “How can a Kashmiri Pandit return to a place where his fellow Kashmiri Pandits have been murdered, many of their houses have been burnt, by a majority community who hates them? Even though Kashmir will continue to remain a part of India, it is no longer a home of the Kashmiri Pandits. It would make a lot of sense for Kashmiri Pandit organisations like Panun Kashmir to withdraw from the cause of returning Pandits to Kashmir and re-channel their energies and financial resources to the placement of young Kashmiri Pandits in jobs, helping in the education of the destitute children, and the creation of international networking for the sustenance of the Pandit identity and ambition
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