At a time when the internally-displaced and persecuted Kashmiri Hindus were preparing themselves to observe the holocaust day, pay homage to the martyrs and reiterate their demand seeking a separate homeland for them within the Valley on January 19, the day the abandoned miniscule minority quit the Kashmir Valley 25 years ago in 1990. To save their lives, culture, religion and honour, certain commentators with perverted thinking came out with nasty formulations to humiliate, insult and abuse the Hindus of Jammu Province. They had the audacity to ignore the fact that the valley which 700 years ago was a per cent Hindu became almost 100 per cent Muslim in January 1990. Perhaps, they considered the religious cleansing in the valley as a manifestation of genuine secular polity.
They have nothing to do with the custodians of the Indian State of the time who watched the drama of death and destruction enacted with utmost ease by the Pakistan-indoctrinated, funded, guided and controlled mercenaries in Kashmir as a mute spectator. Everything is on record and well documented, and hence, no need to refer to what the fanatics in Kashmir did to the Kashmiri Hindu men, women and children to cause the exodus of the community with a view to establish the rule of Shariat there. Their whole objective was, it seems, to not only create an impression that it was the Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, Jagmohan Malhotra, who caused migration of the miniscule minority of Kashmiri Hindus from their land of Vitasta (Jhelum) so that the Indian State could “punish” Kashmiri Muslims and produce a moral effect so that they behaved like Indian nationals, but also to mislead the nation by telling it that the fanatics in Kashmir had nothing to do with the exodus of the Kashmiri Hindus.
These perverted commentators did make a passing reference to the exodus of the Kashmiri Hindus, but their main focus was not on them and their miserable life but on the 1947 Jammu and the Muslims of Jammu of the time. They were so determined to downplay the exodus of the Kashmiri Hindus from the valley so that they could pander to communalists in the valley and elsewhere that they came out with highly biased formulations to denigrate the Hindus of Jammu. They even took recourse to falsehood to mislead the nation and defend the fanatics in Kashmir, who had created such a situation in the Valley using the more-than-willing local press and religious places which had left the Kashmiri Hindus with no other option but to vacate the Valley to become refugees in their own motherland.
For example, what Swaminathan Aiyar, wrote just on the eve of the holocaust day in his highly questionable, provocative and biased essay, “A tale of two ethnic cleansing in Kashmir” (ToI, Jan 18). He asserted that the Hindus massacred many Muslims in cold blood in Jammu and created an environment which forced the remaining Muslims of Jammu to migrate to Pakistan-occupied-Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK). “Today (2015), Jammu is a Hindu-majority area. But in 1947, it had a Muslim majority. The communal riots of 1947 fell most heavily on Jammu’s Muslims; lakhs fled into what became Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). That turned Jammu’s Muslim majority into a Hindu majority. In sheer scale, this far exceeded the ethnic (read religious) cleansing of Pandits five decades later,” he wrote in his essay, which has been termed by the Kashmiri Hindus and others as a “blend of falsehood” and a desperate attempt to hoodwink and mislead the nation, outrage the sensitivities of the minority community in J&K and strengthen the secessionist forces in the Valley, which hate the minorities and contemptuously dismiss them as fifth columnists.
It’s true that many Muslims did migrate from parts of Jammu, Kathua and Udhampur Districts in 1947 in the wake of the communal partition of the country and communal riots which erupted in parts of Jammu Province following the barbarities perpetrated by the protagonists of two-nation theory on the Hindu and Sikh minorities in the PoJK. But no one can deny that they migrated to Pakistan to become the Pakistani nationals and not to the PoJK, an integral part of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, nay India. Hardly any Jammu Muslim migrated to the PoJK consisting of districts like Muzzaffarabad, Mirpur and Poonch and Gilgit-Baltistan region, which were already predominantly Muslim. The fact of the matter is that it was the Hindu and the Sikh communities, which migrated to Jammu Province and other parts of the country from the PoJK. The fanatics and ardent believers in the concept of the pernicious two-nation concept had unleashed such a reign of senseless brutalities that all, barring a few Hindus and Sikhs, quit their homes and hearths and migrated to Jammu and those who didn’t migrate had to renounce their religion and culture and embrace the religion of their persecutors.
And those who migrated from the PoJK to various parts of Jammu, called Displaced Persons (DPs), constitute nearly 20 per cent of the Jammu Province’s population. The zealots and butchers in the PoJK, who were backed to the hilt by the Pakistanis, had massacred thousands of Hindus and Sikhs, ill-treated the Hindu and Sikh women-folk and looted and burned down the non-Muslim properties on an unprecedented scale. Everything is on record, but the likes of Swaminathan have nothing to do with what the radical Islamists did to the Hindus and Sikhs in the areas of the state which have been under the illegal occupation of Pakistan since 1947-1948.
It must remain a matter of shame for Swaminathan and others of his ilk, including the author of trash “Kashmir: The Unwritten History” Christopher Snedden and the authors of “India’s World” perverted historians like Arjun Appaduri and Arien Mack, who distort and misrepresent facts to please the radical Islamists for reasons best known to them.
Meanwhile, the internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus observed holocaust day on January 19 at different places in the country, including Jammu, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and so on, and reiterated their resolve to have their own Panun Kashmir (An Organisation of displaced Kashmiri Hindus/Pandits) invested with Union Territory status where the Indian Constitution will flow freely. The most significant aspect of the whole event that the internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus organised on January 19 was that they all pledged not to forget what was done to their community by the fanatics in Kashmir in January 1990 to cleanse the Valley and resolved that they, like the persecuted Jews, would recreate the place of Kashmir which is essentially Indic. Besides, they also pledged that “We will expose how under the secular Indian State after 1947, the State of Jammu & Kashmir was created as a sphere of Islamist influence, adjacent to the ideological State of Pakistan, and how under an all pervading Islamist hegemony, being soft-pedaled as ‘Kashmiriyat’, the identities of Jammu and Ladakh too are being eroded, making them subservient to an imposed place conscious of an Islamist Kashmir”.
Prof Hari Om (The writer is the former Dean of Jammu University’s Faculty of Social Sciences)