Monday, September 19, 2016

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Unimagine every Sikh you have known in your life time. Imagine you have just heard about them and have never come across one in life. Imagine hearing stories that they used to be your neighbours but don't live there anymore. Imagine their empty houses and towns. Imagine they are all gone. Imagine Gurudwaras across India, some shut, some crumbling, some looted, some secured by Security forces, some run by Hindu men as part of job or homage to past. Imagine running into an occasional sikh pilgrim who you befriend and talk nostalgia with.


One might ask, "Where have they all gone?"

"Of course, Canada to seek material prosperity. Why they left is another question! Sitting in Canada why they curse India is understandable."

In 1980s, when Punjab was reeling under militancy, Sikhs were about 3% of Indian population. A prosperous productive community. But just 3%. Yet, it is unimaginable to imagine that this 3% can disappear from India almost overnight. A sick thought. One would imagine, Indian society would forever be needled about an event like this. After all, disappearance of communities doesn't happen in India. And if it does happen, it is not brushed under the rug of "hota hai, move on!". Right?

Kashmiri Pandits were just around 3% of Kashmiri society in 1980s. By the end of 1990, this 3% was just gone. Who imagined it? Now, ask that question too often and you are being a nuisance. A nuisance that holds 97% hostage. 97% that in some cases wan't Hindutva and in come cases an Islamic paradise.

Meanwhile history tells us 1980s saw the migration of Punjabis from border town of Punjab. Some of these Punjabi Hindus moved to a place called Faridabad near Delhi. The land prices sore. When the Punjab militancy settled down in late 90s, the land prices in the area crashed. Just as they crashed, Kashmiri Pandits moved in fleeing hope of returning to Kashmir. They bought land a low prices in arid wild lands where now societies have grown. Land prices in Faridabad have steadily increased over the decades. One can't imagine them ever going down with a crash.

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While in Jammu, I decided to give Kashmir a break and took up Punjab instead. However, Kashmir doesn't leave you alone once it grabs your soul. I read "My Bleeding Punjab", a compilation of Khushwant Singh's notes on the violence in Punjab of 80s.


This is from around 1986 when threat letters and selective violence were previously successfully used to engineer a mass migration. Interestingly, none of the Kashmir experts on Pandit exodus mention this phenomenon. Another interesting point made by Khushwant Singh is about this the do numbri "Shiv Sena". It is this Shiv Sena that also figures in stories from Kashmir of 80s where politically aggravating pandits were getting branded as Shiv Sainik by the majority community. I am sure even the people doing the branding had no clue that this Shiv Sena had nothing to do with Bal Thackeray. In all this, I have also realized that the tribal ritual of beating utensils to send out morse coded threats of violent death upon minority is still prevalent in Hindu society. In 2008, the method was used in Jammu while in Kashmir stones were flying. We are all in a one bad symphony of violence that has a secret language of its own. Sometimes it rings out like a shrill metal sound in that night and draws the children to its tune. I have heard this terrible song. Tie your children to the mast, the song is still playing.

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Friday, September 2, 2016

ek tarana yeh bhi


[with apologies to Majaz]
Ye mera chaman hai mera chaman, main apne chaman ka Hizbul hun
Sar kalam kafir ka Ghazi hun, basta lab karnay ka Jazba hu
Ye mera chaman hai mera chaman, ye mera chaman hai mera chaman
main apne chaman ka Hizbul hun
Jo haraam taaq taaq may khojay hai, wo aag jala kar aya hu
Is dasht ke goshe goshe se, ab ek joo-e-maut ubalti hai
Ye dasht-e-junoon deewanon ka, ye bazm-e-wafa parwanon ki
Ye shahr-e-maatam farmaano ka, ye dozakh-e-bareen armanon ki
Fitrat ne sikhai hai ham ko, aghlaat jahan parwaaz wahan
Gavaye hain wafa ke geet yahan, chhede hai junoon ke saaz yahan
Ye mera chaman hai mera chaman, main apne chaman ka hizbul hun
Is bazm mein taighein khencheen hain, is bazm mein so ghar tode hain
Is bazm mein aankhay khoye hai, is bazm mein dil tak tode hain
Har shaam hai shaam-e-Arab yahan, har shab hai shab-e-Pak yahan
Hai saare jahan ka soz yahan aur roos ka sasta saaz yahan
Zarraat ka bosa lene ko bhi, sau baar jhuk tu hai baatil yahan
Khud aankh se ham ne dekhi hai, Hind ki shikast-e-faash yahan
Ye mera chaman hai mera chaman, ye mera chaman hai mera chaman
Main apne chaman ka Hizbul hun
Jo abr yahan se uthega, wo saare jahan par barsega
Har joo-e-rawan par barsega, har koh-e-garan par barsega
Har sard-o-saman par barsega, har dasht-o-daman par barsega
Khud apne chaman par barsega, ghairon ke chaman par barsega
Har shahr-e-tarab par garjega, har qasr-e-tarab par kadkega
Ye abr kab barsay ga, ye abr kab barsay ga
Ye abr kab barsay ga, Ye abr kab barsay ga
Ye abr kab barsay ga, Ye abr kab barsay ga
Barsegaa, Barsegaa, Barsegaaa
~ Mazak

Ways Saffron History uses Pandits


"A major event of Maharaja Ranbir Singh's reign which could have changed the whole course of history of Kashmir was the collective approach of Kashmir Muslims to him for being taken back into the Hindu fold. They pleaded that they had been forcibly converted to Islam against their will and were longing to re-embrace their ancestral faith.
Ranbir Singh sought the guidance of Swamy Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj, in the matter. Swami Dayand advised him that he could take them back in Hinduism after performing certain rites.
The proposed return of Kashmiri Muslims to their original faith was not to the liking of short sighted Kashmiri Pundits who were having a hey day since the return of Dogra Hindu rule. They tried to dissuade the Maharaja. When they found him adamant they took to a subterfuge. They filled some boats with stones and brought them midstream before Maharaja's palace on the Jhelum. They threatened him that they would commit suicide by drowning along with the sinking boats as a protest against his decision to take back Muslims into Hindu fold and that he would be then guilty of "Brahm Hatya" i.e. murder of Brahmins.
Ranbir Singh was a brave soldier. But he could not muster courage to face the crafty Brahmins, who were out to misinterpret the Vedic "dharma" for their selfish ends. The plan of return of Kashmiri Muslims to Hinduism thus fell through."

This is an extract from the book "Kashmir: The Storm Center of the World" (1992) by Balraj Madhok who was instrumental in setting up RSS in the state and BJP in India.

What we read in the passage is something that seems very factual and plausible. The pandits would certainly believe it. In 1992, fresh refugees, Pandits could be made to believe that somehow it was all their own fault. Because in past their ancestors were “shortsighted”. Look to the future, Hindu India is coming, don’t be “selfish”, don’t be weak, don’t make the same mistake again. This is a standard recruitment technique used by any fundamentalist ideology. This wasn’t first time Madhok was recruiting refugees. History becomes a handy tool at such times as fiction is sprinkled with facts and a vengeful dish is prepared, left into the oven for a long time, slow baked, till the oven bursts in flames and out pops a great revolution.

In the entire process, few would after ask about the actual flavour of the facts. So, what are the facts of that episode mentioned by Madhok.

What actually happened was that Dayanand Saraswati in Punjab had proposed such conversions were possible. He was interested in breaking the caste system using religious texts. Ranbir Singh became interested and wanted to try it in Kashmir. Muslims didn’t ask for this Shuddi. He asked the brahmin clergy, who protested as they held caste more dear and so Saraswati was barred from entering Kashmir. In the writings of “sickular” Lala Lajpat Rai, we read that Ranbir Singh had approached the brahmins of Kashi to ponder upon the question. And not Brahmins of Kashmir. In Madhok’s “secular” version Kashi becomes Kashmir. Further in historic writings from Arya Samajists we read:
Once Pandit Manphool said to the Swami: “If you give up refuting and denouncing idol-worship, the people would cease to be angry with you and what is more, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir will also be pleased with you!” The Swami answered:”Shall I strive to please the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, or shall I strive to carry out the mandates of Ishwara- the Sovereign of sovereigns – embodied in the Vedas?”

Obviously, the relation between Dayanand Saraswati and Ranbir Singh were not that hunky-dory.

So, this careful fuddling with facts just because a fresh batch of refugees had arrived and Sangh was recruiting. Today the book is available online on a KP website.

Balraj Madhok was born in Skardu in 1920 and by 1938 he was already a RSS pracharak who moved to Srinagar in 1944. The 1947 Kashmir War meant his birthplace went to the other side and he became busy working on a final solution, a cleaner version of Kashmir. Interestingly, his younger twin born in 1934 in Gilgit, Amanullah Khan, founder of JKLF was doing the same across the LOC, working on a parallel final solution, a cleaner version of Kashmir. The two final solution came to bloom in 1990 feeding off each other. The solution mooted by still-born postcard men of imagined glorious nation preying with half-a-dead brain on half-a-bleeding-heart.

It is interesting that Madhok came from an Arya Samajist family and believed Arya Samaj idea was in-sync with RSS. May be, it is in a natural militant variant of it. Dayanand Saraswati was re-interpreting the Hindu texts in an alternate sanitised ways. Something that people now want Muslims to do with their text and religion. As we can see, even that road is not straight…even in that path we can end up with someone like Madhok and a movement like RSS. Or, we are already on that path.

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