This thin booklet is a timely publication to make the readers aware of the controversy raised with the allotment of land to the Shree Amarnath Shrine Board for Hindu pilgrims to stay on their way to the shrine. The true face of the Kashmir politicians came into view when the pro-Pakistan separatists launched their agitation against the allotment of mere 100 acres of land in Baltal (Kashmir) for the Hindu pilgrims. While on the one hand, separatist leaders, National Conference, People'sDemocratic Party and terrorists did not experience any qualms at presenting themselves as the protectors of the extremists on the question of Kashmir, on the other hand, the current Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and the Congress leaders lost no time in supporting the policy of Muslim appeasement and the Partition of India in 1947.
The Amarnath shrine, according to ancient Hindu texts, is the residence of Lord Shiva, who is said to reside in this pious cave in the form of a Shivalinga that forms due to a natural process. As a result Amarnath has been considered a religious site since time immemorial when mankind was not segregated into different religions like Hindus, Muslims, Christians, etc. Hence, this pilgrimage site is devoid of the narrow divisions separating castes, creed and beliefs.
Situated in the far north, about a 140 km away from Srinagar, this cave lies roughly at a height of 15,000 feet. Nearly 350 years ago, a shepherd grazing his sheep discovered this 50 feet long and 25 feet wide cave, when he entered it to search for his lost sheep that had escaped into it. On entering the cave, he noticed the naturally formed Shivalinga. One other belief is that a Muslim Gujar, Buta Malik was given a sack full of coal by Lord Shiva who approached him in the disguise of a sadhu to tell him about the cave. On reaching home, Malik opened his sack and was shocked to find it filled with gold sovereigns. Subsequently he made every effort to search out the sadhu, but instead he reached this Amarnath cave, where he saw Lord Shiva in the form of a Shivalinga. Mention about his Shivalinga is found in the 5,000-year old Neelmat Purana; world-renowned Kashmiri historian Kalhana has described this Shivalinga in his 12th-century treatise Rajataringini; even historian Abul Fazal has written about it in his Ain-i-Akbari and famous English writer, Walter Lawrence, has mentioned it in his book, The Valley of Kashmir.
(Suruchi Prakashan, Keshav Kunj. Jhandewalan, New Delhi-110 055.)