Thursday, August 15, 2019

Prem Nath Bazaz on Muslim Communalism, 1967


In the aftermath of Parmeshwari Handoo case of 1967, Prem Nath Bazaz went on to write an essay titled "Kashmiri pandit agitation and its Aftermath". In it he exlained what lead to communal flare-up in the valley. He blamed Jan Sangh affliated Pandits for fanning the issue and generally suggested that KPs should try and play a contructive role in Kashmir, be more liberal so that Kashmiri Muslims may mirror it and try and be more liberal. The piece is often selectively quoted as proof of KP fanatism, however, in the same piece Bazaz tells us the root of the issue, how Muslim communalism was working in the valley and how Pakistan was fanning it.


"In 1947 at the time of partition which was accompanied by inhuman deeds on a large scale in North and East India the communal harmony was put to a heavy strain but the Valley people rose to the occasion and successfully withstood the wave of frenzy from outside ; the culture of the Valley and its old traditions were heroically preserved. Other occasions arose during the last twenty years when the people had to pass through more severe ordeals but they did not flinch or waver in maintaining their balance.

 That after 33 years of continued harmony the fires of fanaticism were alighted afresh last August by Pandit demagogues no impartial observer can deny. But while making an objective appraisal of the unfortunate episode it would be fair to point out that Muslims are not free from blame in bringing about this situation.

 There can be no manner of doubt that a majority of Muslims is obsessed with the desire that Kashmir should accede to Pakistan. If that aim is achieved it is obvious Pandits will have to leave their hearth and home and become refugees in India. If there was any doubt about it the Azad Kashmir Radio and, inspired by it, a by-no-means mute section of Muslims has been constantly warning Pandits that the Valley is bound to join Pakistan so they should take time by forelock and be ready to depart. What alternative do these threatenings leave to Pandits but to determinedly oppose the demand and tenaciously fight back with all resources available to them. It becomes the foremost duty of even the liberal minded Pandit democrat to defeat the Muslim purpose ; for self-effacement is no part of the philosophy of liberalism or democracy. Muslim politicians shall have to propose a solution which should be acceptable to the non-Muslims. It is well to remember that the Indian subcontinent was partitioned because the minority wanted it so. Had the issue been left to the vote of the majority (right of self-determination) the unity of the subcontinent would have been maintained. As long as the Muslims insist upon the right of secession Pandits will be morally right and politically justified in opposing the demand. This may appear unreasonable to the Muslim politicians but they will ignore it at their own cost."

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P.S. In 1968, in the aftermath of 67 riots, my grandfather was convinced by his brothers to purchase a piece of land in Jammu. In 1990 after reaching Jammu, we found some of the land encroached (we let them be), and some part of the land missing, soil dug out and sold. In 1996, we managed to build four rooms over the remaining plot after spending a year, breaking savings and saving money. A few years later around 1998, the ancestral Kashmir house was sold to build four more rooms. Pandits, even Bazazs of the world, knew what was in store for Pandit community. Death or exile. 67 was the last time they put up a fight on the physical ground, in the streets. It also sealed their fate, Tahreek knew Pandits had to be removed from the equation.

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Previously: Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz on Article 370



Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Matchbox Dwellers


I remember a summer spent going around houses asking for Eedi. Asking random strangers for money. Even then I understood there was no difference between post eid money and post Shivratri money. Back then I had a friend, all I remember is that his name started with Q. That Eid morning, he asked me to recite Kalma...I did...and it was done. I could tag along with him asking for money. We made lot of money and spent is all on ice cream. He would call me when ever a Bakra was getting zibah. The place was always crowded, you couldn't see anything. Only drains in the entire neighbourhood used to turn red. He was a strange fellow. If he saw human blood on ground he would put soil and bury it. For a whole month he wouldn't talk without spitting And he would piss while sitting. The kid was a Kashmiri like me. But, this was all in Jammu. Kashmir didn't have this story anymore. Qadir, that was his name. 

There was another much elder kid, an adult...had a nice big zabiba mark on his head from all the 5 time prayers he must have read in 23 years. The man could swing the ball like Imran Khan. He would play sometimes and people would watch just to be awed with speed. A man in pathan suit, a short run up, and the plastic ball bends in air like a flying snale. Sometimes, he would bring news of Kashmir. One time he told me ditties they were singing in Kashmir for pandits. There was one funny song in which he would ask a pandit to keep paache (feet) clean...for he was coming to have them. Even then I knew it was a sort of warning. I still don't understand why they wanted to eat our feet. Then there was Nafi, he was best buddies was a guy whose father we liked to imagine was in RAW, because he was a Kaw. However, Kaw was more of a Jammu boy, his mother was a Dogra, we could tell, he was dark. He was the kid with the biggest comic collect, the costliest bat, a VCR, a color TV, he had the best of everthing. And Nafi from Kashmir, kid with crew cut and Uzbek looks was his second in command. We all hung out together. I had come to Jammu from Kashmir with a bat that had no handle, a cousin had broken it. The bat was no good but I continued using it for a few years, playing without handle. Finally father bought me a Kashmir willow. Nafi came to check out the bat. Nafi, Nafi, Nafi, how mad you made me that day. Nafi took the bad and then went door to door in the quaters we lived in. He went to each boy in the neighbourhood, me in tow. Showed the bat, "We have a new bat." Another door, another kid, "We have a new bat." Another door, another kid, "I got another bat". Another door, "I got another bat". I got worried, irritated, "tommorow he may declare it to be his bat, he has all the witnesses also now." We must have gone to 20 houses like that. I told him to return the bat, I had to go back him. He was not done yet, there were 20 more doors to knock. He laughed. He knew what he was doing. Something inside me snapped, I made a dash at the bat. He wouldn't let go. Nafi was not even a batter, he was a bowler, he could hit, but he was a bowler. His grip on the bat tightened. I pushed, he pulled. A second later we bother were down rolling on the ground like two snakes grappling. It was not about bat anymore. It was something more primal. I could see his eyes, just as he could see mine. There was hate that normally comes with age. But, we were locked, neither of us ready to give up. As we rolled on the ground, from the corner of my eyes, with horror I could see, a little girl with a big rock in hand running towards us screaming something that my sense were too shocked to register immediately. "Myani Khodaya!!! Baya!!" (My God! Brother!) It was Nafi's youngest sister, no more than seven or eight. She was about to bash my head. Nafi turned, he left the bat, got up, took the stone from her hand. Tuned around towards me and dropped it. He then slapped his sister yelling, "Maetchi...ye chu mai boi. Ghas dafa!" (Mad girl! He is my brother. Be lost). I got up, took my bat and left for home.

A few days later I was sitting at the window with a matchbox in hand. I saw Nafi passing, I threw the matchbox at him. "A gift for you." Nafi picked it up with a smile and opened. A big yellow Tumudi, a wasp flew out singing that stingy song. Nafi jumped, both feet in air, running away, thowing the matchbox away. It was a scene straight out of Charlie Chaplin. Nafia was still shivering when he looked up screaming, "Batta gokha pagal!" (Have you lost you mind Pandit!)


Still laughing, I replied, "I am coming down. We have a new bat, get everyone, let's play."

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P.S.

Feb, 2019. The quaters in Jammu where site of big communal flare-up between Kashmiri Muslims quater dwellers and outside locals. 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Asad Mir's Yeli Janaan Ralem by Rahul Wanchoo

A SearchKashmir production. First in the series.

Rahul Wanchoo sings Asad Mir's "Yeli Janaan Ralem". Asad Mir (d. 1930) in mystical verses describes love, act of meeting the beloved, as a feeling similar to being reborn, to be a new human, again.



VIDEO LINK

Lyrics:
yélí jànànû ralêm
adû balêm dílé bèmàrò
dàg jígras tsalêm
adû balêm dílé bèmàrò
yélí jànànû ralêm

käli yélí tòtû kalêm
zäli panjras gatshí lúrû-pàrò
hês hòsh rang mé dalêm
adû balêm dílé bèmàrò
yélí jànànû ralêm

àbè zamzam chhalêm
asad mîras dílé gúmànò
rahmatûki jàmû valêm
adû balêm dílé bèmàrò
yélí jànànû ralêm
adû balêm dílé bèmàrò

Translation:


When I meet my beloved
My ailing heart will come alive again
Bruises carved on it will go
My ailing heart will come alive again
When I meet my beloved

Someday, I will lose my speech
Cage around me will fall apart
I will lose all my senses and sheen
My ailing heart will come alive again
When I meet my beloved

zamzam water will purify me
Asad Mir has this surmise
He will decorate me with the graceful attire
My ailing heart will come alive again
When I meet my beloved
My ailing heart will come alive again

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