Sunday, December 26, 2010

Violence in Kashmir – Historical Aspects: A Legacy of Shah Waliullah?

Violence in Kashmir – Historical Aspects: A Legacy of Shah Waliullah?
By R. Upadhyay





Paper no. 4072

30-Sept-2010



Kashmir has been in news for all the wrong reasons ever since it became an integral part of India but successive eruption of irrational violence in the state is apparently the outcome of the Islamic political system rooted in Arab tradition and underwritten by its warlords. The reformers from all over the Muslim world carried forward such political system as legacy of Islam from generation to generation when ever they felt any challenge to the Islamic political power. After Sheikh Ahmad Sarhindi (1556-1624), Shah Waliullah Dehlawi (1703-1762) was another Islamic mystic of Naqshbandi Sufi order who launched the movement for Islamic revivalism following the death of Aurangzeb when the glory of Sunni extremism started fading.





Drawing inspiration from the Islamist strategy of Waliullah, the separatists in Kashmir are found following his footsteps and pursuing the eighteenth century ideology of political Islamism. Like Waliullah who considered the rise of Hindus under Muslim rule as threat to Islam, the secessionists of Kashmir too believed that governance of a Muslim majority region under secular and democratic constitution of India was against the Sharia and therefore a threat to Islam. They also believe that political supremacy of ‘Hindu-India’ will culminate into its cultural hegemony over Kashmir.



Since the fall of Muslim rule in the sub-continent, communal politics of Waliullah has been awakening the Muslims of south Asia to re-ignite their wrath against India which was regarded by them as a Hindu state. Suffering from the consequences of this medieval mental burden, the separatists of Kashmir abetted and supported by the forces from across the border and beyond are found preaching anti-Indianism to bring Islamic rule in the state. Emboldened with the 'soft' attitude of the Indian authorities who are avoiding confrontation with them, the forces of bigotry and hatred have raised their ugly head to launch a full scale attack on the very freedom of common citizens in the state.



Ironically, Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Hind (JUH), the first association of Deobandi Ulema (Islamic clergies) founded in 1919 in British India has started meddling in Kashmir and decided to convene a gathering of all Indian Muslim sects to discuss the present situation in Kashmir on October 4. The Ulema (Plural of Ulama) have described it as “Muslim specific issue”, expressed solidarity with the secessionists and have also invited their leaders in the proposed gathering. Such activism of Ulema suggests that they are revisiting the communal history of eighteenth century Waliullah who was the forerunner of Hindu-Muslim divide in South Asia.



Without realising that the state of Jammu and Kashmir comprising of three regions namely Hindu majority Jammu, Muslim majority Kashmir valley and Buddhist majority Ladakh - is governed by a Muslim Chief Minister with larger majority of his cabinet colleagues being the followers of Islam the JUH has forgotten that the four lakh Pandit refugees from the valley have been the victims of the Islamist violence and are still isolated from their land. Pursuing the path of Waliullah, the JUH is also mobilizing the Muslims of the country irrespective of their sectarian and political divisions and inviting the pro-Pakistani separatists perhaps with the objective to strengthen the Islamist revival movement launched by the eighteenth century clergy.



Born in 1703 at Delhi just four years before the death of Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb who made a complete about turn from the Islamic liberalism of Akbar to Sunni extremism, Shah Waliullah belonged to a family believing in hard-line Islam. He was the grandson of Sheikh Wajihuddin, an important officer in the army of Shajahan who had supported Aurangzeb in the war of succession. He had his academic and spiritual education from his father Shah Abd Al Rahim, a Sufi theologian of great repute who was known for his association with the compilation of the famous Islamic legal text, Fatawa-i-Alamgiri in the name of Aurangzeb.



Rahim was also the founding member and teacher of the Madrasa-i-Rahimiyah in Delhi which produced a galaxy of brilliant Islamic scholars and “forerunner of the famous Darul Ulum Deoband”(Islamic Encyclopaedia Vol. II, Page 254). After his education in Madrasa-i-Rahimiyah, Waliullah went for pilgrimage and higher studies to Mecca and Medina. As a spiritual disciple of his father who “essentially belonged to Naqshbandi” ( The Sufi Saints of Indian Sub-continent by Zahurul Hasan Sharib, 2006, Page242) succeeded him as principal of Madrasa Rahimiyya and carried forward the legacy of Sarhindi with amendment of unity between Shia and Sunni for the tactical reason to counter the rise of Hindus due to prevailing disorder in Muslim society. By the time he returned to Delhi in 1932 after 14 year of his study in Medina, Muslim India was faced with the menacing problems challenging the central authority of Islamic rule which gave rise to apprehension among the followers of Islam that political collapse of Islamic power would be accompanied by religious disintegration.





Disappointed with the progressive decline in the glory of the central authority of Islamic rule in Delhi and critical position of Mogul ruler followed by social, political and religious disorder in Muslim society, Waliullah decided to launch a campaign to popularize Islamic values amongst the Muslims and to present Islam in a manner befitting to the political need of the hour. His intellectual movement for uniting the disintegrated Muslim ruling class to save the united Islamic rule in the sub-continent from its critical condition remained a permanent inspiration for the future Ulema in the days of crisis. Identifying the causes for this decline due to ignorance of Muslims about the political mission of Islamic scriptures, he trained a number of students for propagation of pristine Islam in Muslim society. Training his disciples in different branches of Islamic knowledge and recommending Jihad he interpreted Quran to meet his objective for restoration of integrated Islamic power. As a pragmatic thinker and political strategist, he introduced Islamic reforms in social, religious and political affairs and tried to resolve the conflict between orthodox Islam revived by Sarhindi and championed by Aurangzeb and the alleged heterodoxy introduced by Akbar and championed by Dara Shikoh.



Against the extreme Islamism of Aurangzeb which created aversion to Sufism, Waliullah took a tactical stand for bringing the Muslims of all the sects together and tried to retain the virtues of both within the frame of Islamic trilogy namely Quran, Hadith and Shara. During his long stay in Medina he also came in contact with Maulana Wahhab whose influence provided him to abstain from the blind following to Sufism. Aware of the role of Sufism in spread of Islam in South Asia he did not reject it like Wahhab but was highly critical of tomb worship a traditional form of Sufism. Waliullah regarded the land ruled by non-Muslim power as Darul Harb (The land of war) against which Muslims were expected to launch Jihad and to convert it into Darul Islam (The land of Islam). It means the state of Jammu and Kashmir being governed by secular and democratic constitution of India is also Darul Harb from Waliullah’s concept of political Islam.



Being proud of his Arab origin and lineage from second Caliph Umar, Waliullah was obsessed with Arab tradition and customs and maintained his hateful attitude towards Indian customs and traditions. He maintained, “I ought to conform to the habits and customs of the early Arabs and the Prophet himself as much as I can and to abstain from the customs of Turk and habits of Indians” (Religion and Thought of Shah Wali Allah Dihlawi by J.M.S. Baljon, Lieden E.J.Brill, 1986, page 2).



A prolific writer with the credit of writing 51 books in Persian and Arabic as well as translating Quran in Persian and the letters and tracts of Sarhindi from Persian to Arabic, he became a popular revolutionary Islamic thinker among the Muslims of South Asia and was recognized as a great influential clergy in organizing the reform in Muslim society of the sub-continent. In one of his writing Tafhimat Ilahiyya he made a passing reference stating that “one day it may happen that the Hindus will obtain full power over the whole of India”(Ibid. Page 15). His main emphasis was for deep study of the trilogy of Islamic scriptures by the Ulema. Contrary to the anti-Shia stand of Sarhindi, he sought to reconcile Sunni and Shia Muslims for restoration of strong Muslim rule. Increased influence of Shia in Awadh and Bengal was the compelling reason behind the unity move by this hard core Sunni activist.



Waliullah was the first Islamist reformer in Muslim India who believed in united front of Muslims irrespective of their sectarian division for their combined fight against the rise of non-Muslim power which he viewed as danger signal for Islam. Playing a vital role in forging a united front of the then powerful Muslim rulers and Islamist priestly class against the rising Hindu powers of Marathas, Jats and Sikhs which were posing constant threat to Muslim power, he invited Ahmad Shah Abdali, the ruler of Afghanistan to invade India and to save the crumbling Mogul Empire. In his letter to Abdali, he wrote, "... Draw the sword and do not to sheath it till the distinction is established between true faith and infidelity..." . This letter is a most important historical document of 18th century which furthered the widening divide between the two major religious communities in the sub-continent.



The efforts of Waliullah which brought Ahmad Shah Abdali and Najib-ud-Daula, a noted Rohilla tribal chief of Rohilkhand together resulted in the defeat of Marathas in the third battle of Panipat in 1761 and were “the first step towards creation of Pakistan” (Friendsmania.net). While the ideology based on the concept of hate, bigotry and intolerance which was initiated by Sheikh Ahmad Sarhindi led to the decline of Muslim power in the sub-continent after the death of Aurangzeb, Waliullah carried forward his legacy by forming united front of different sects of Muslims and the Islamic rulers against the rise of Marathas, Jats and Shikhs and added extra fuel to the fire of Hindu-Muslim divide.



Waliullah who launched the Muslim renaissance movement and tried to bridge the gulf between Sufis and Ulema germinated the seed of Muslim separatism sown by Sarhindi which was not only put into practice by the clergies of Deoband movement particularly by the Sufi Ulema like Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi but also inspired Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan who launched Aligarh Movement. Noted journalist M. J. Akbar during a lecture on Muslim and modernity in Aligarh Muslim University (April 20, 2010) said “Pakistan emerged as the twentieth century’s answer to a nineteenth century defeat”. But Waliullah who was instrumental in inviting Ahmad Shah Abdali for invading India which resulted in the victory of the latter in the third battle of Panipat a century earlier in 1761 is regarded as a forerunner of Pakistan Movement. His strong criticism that contact between Muslims and Hindus polluted the Islamic society with un-Islamic customs like tomb worship and extravagance in marriage and other ceremonies had widespread influence over the future Ulema after the end of Mogul Empire. It was the movement of Muslim separatism which truncated the sub-continent on the basis of religion with the birth of Pakistan.



In order to spread the teachings of Islam, Waiullah translated the Quran from Arabic to Persian which was then the official language of Muslim India. Later on his sons translated it into Urdu. The Islamic state of Pakistan too followed Waliullah’s ideology and adopted anti-India policy ever since its birth. Inspired with the thesis of Waliullah, Pakistan always viewed India with Islamist eyes as a Hindu state and therefore treated it as a threat to Islam. “Waliullah’s religious beliefs developed a school of Islamic thought that is relatively unique and is found primarily in today’s Pakistan” (Moslem Nationalism in India and Pakistan by Hafeez Malik, Washington DC Public Affairs Press, 1963, page 71-72).



Despite the failure of his political thought and strategy in saving the Islamic rule in the sub-continent, Waliullah remained a great source of inspiration to future Islamists for their struggle to achieve Islamic political rights. His idea behind forging united Muslim front against non-Muslims to whom he believed as a threatening storm to Muslim India worked as religio-political regeneration of Muslims. Shah Abdul Aziz the son of Waliullah carried forward the legacy of his father and kept the Islamic revivalist movement alive and issued a fatwa for Jihad against the non-Muslim rulers. Inspired with the echo of the third battle of Panipat Syed Ahmad of Bareli, a disciple of Shah Abdul Aziz responded to this fatwa and launched Jihad against the Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh in Punjab but was killed in the battle of Balkot in 1831. As a result of this Jihad which reflected the true character of the political thought of Waliullah and his son, India has been facing violent communal disorder even today. In fact deep influence of the Jihadi spirit of Islam formulated by Waliullah and Sunni extremism of his contemporary Maulana Wahhab left an indelible impact on the psyche of Indian Muslim society.



The history of Islamic civilization in South Asia demonstrated time and again that the culturally arrogant descendants of Arabian Indian priestly class particularly Sarhindi and Waliullah never allowed the development of Islam within the cultural frame of the conquered- territories. They rather abetted the rulers against the conquered subjects without understanding the civilisational sentiments of the latter. Extreme Islamic reformism, intellectualism and activism, the three major under currents which constituted together the mainstream of Islamist revivalist movement therefore, made a perpetual and a critical gap of mistrust between the two religious communities. Even any attempt for reconciliation with non-Muslims was viewed by Islamist clergies as an insult to Islam which they believed as a symbol of Arab imperialism in Muslim India where the Hindus were supposed to be treated as conquered race. Inspired with Waliullah, the on going Islamist violence in Kashmir and its support by a top association of Indian Ulema therefore, has not only posed a challenge to the secular and democratic character of India but has also demonstrated that Arabian Indians primarily responsible for communal divide between Hindus and Muslims are still relevant.



(The author can be reached at e-mail ramashray60@rediffmail.com)











Saturday, December 18, 2010

Its not a struggle for freedom but its a communal movement which is a part of plan to carve out greater muslim area

Ankush says:
http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India-Circus/entry/kashmir-arundhati-roy-and-the-spirit-of-freedom

October 30,2010 at 03:17 PM IST

Hi! Mr. CP Surendran. There are many drawing room intelectuals in INDIA, you seem to be one of them. I want to highlight few points here as i am a state subject(citizen) of Jammu & Kashmir. 

1) Correct your dictionary as its a state of Jammu and Kashmir and not only Kashmir as most of you think. 

2) We the jammuities (all sections), Kashmiri pandits, people of leh/laddakh, other minorities of Kashmir are equal stake holders of our state.so kindly don't propogate falsehood of one of the constituent i,e of Kashmiri Muslims.you people keep on highlighting only the blackmailers 

3) Its not a struggle for freedom but its a communal movement which is a part of plan to carve out greater muslim area..If you are unaware then instead of going to planned meetings initiated by these terrorists (joined by people like roy) go to a mosques in kashmir on any friday and you will discover the truth..decipher it, it would be good for people like you who keep churning out article after article in national papers without even knowing an iota of ground realities. 

4) A for as freedom of speech and its spirit...There can be no freedom of speech in isolation, first respect the constitution before demanding rights to free speech..you cannot question the constitution and then demand rights too....You cant have cake and eat it too dear 

5) Hope you will try to discover the truth of Jammu & Kashmir before fishing in troubled waters.. May GOD bless you and the rest of the intelectuals


Indian Idiot says:

October 30,2010 at 05:11 AM IST

Kashmir is an Afghanistan in the making. Poor souls who want separation from India will surely be subjected to brutal terrorism from pro- and anti- Pak supporters. In the year 2010, only ignorant fools would think that Pak is a better economic option than India. As far as Kashmiris being a separate cultural tribe, what about the Pandits who were killed and driven away. I wonder if these Pandits yearned for Pak and freedom from India. Thanks to Nehru and Artcile 370. The family continues to screw India to this day.

BG Subhash says:

October 30,2010 at 10:31 AM IST

Dear Mr Surendran, You should reflect in your articles to ask Kashmiri Azadists to ponder about what Azadi means, its implications to Azad Kahmir surrounded by Land grabbing China, Suicide squad specialists, always with a begging bowl for Alms - Pakistan & the third Democratic country India. Kashmir is a land locked country. Azadis in Kashmir must know that they live in a land locked country. What does Azadi mean to a land locked country as they have to depend on the above three countries for every thing.It is all right to talk about Azadi but its responsibilities are huge. Will some separatists list these for the knowledge of Aam Kashmiri! Here is a sample for Azadists. This is the attitude of Pakistan which is in your editorial Article today "Pakistan on the Mind" QUOTE The Pakistan Army is paranoid about Indian Diplomatic presence across Afghan cities and concerned that the road India has built to give Afghanistan access to the Arabian sea via Iran is designed to loosen Pakistan`s hold on afghan trade" UNQUOTE It appears Pakistan is commandered by its army, Aam Pakistani`s concern is never on its mind. Kashmiris by now know that Land grabber China has already grabbed TIBET! By doing what they are doing Azadists are advocating large scale hara kiri for young kashmiris! New Age Kashmiri`s must think and in their own interest reject the calls from Azadists from practical point of view.

shailendram says:

October 30,2010 at 12:34 AM IST

CP Surendran and Arundhati Roys of the world should study the changes in the religious demography of the 4 states he is referring to in this article: Overall Jammu & Kashmir- 75% Muslims, Kashmir- 99% Muslims, Mizoram- 85% Christians, Nagaland- 90% Christians, Manipur- 60% Christians and 20% Muslims. The fact of the matter is that, each and every state of India is going to demand "Aazadi" as soon as Hindus become a minority. Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and few other large states are in the queue to demand "Aazadi" from India in next one or two decades.

Satbir Singh Bedi says:

October 29,2010 at 01:10 PM IST

You have not mentioned about the Khalistani movement when Sikhs demanded an independent Khalistan. The movement was crushed by the then Chief Minister of Punjab, Beant Singh with the support of KPS Gill and with the active support of the then Narasimha Rao Govt. at the Centre. It was right to do so for otherwise it would have led to Balkanisation of the nation. Presuming that Khalistan was formed and Kashmir, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur as well as Assam (ULFA are demanding liberation of Assam from India) are given freedom, will they survive. The answer is clearly No. The Kashmir and Khalistan, if it is formed, would be immediately attacked and occupied by Pakistan and Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Assam as well as Arunachal Pradesh would be eaten away by China. A fedral set up for India would not work. It would only lead to the balkanisation of the nation. The case of Scotland, etc. is different. The people are educated and know how to remain in a Fedral system but in India, the people are poor and do not know the nuances of fedralism. They only understand the concept of a unitary Govt. that we inherited from the British. That is why our Constitution maker thought of a unitary system of Govt.


Ashok Gupta says:

October 29,2010 at 11:31 AM IST

Mrs.Roy/ Geelani have the support of Congress party to declare Kashmir as an Independent state. Over the years National conference/ PDP have been ruling J & K with the support of Congress J& K, and the situation being created by these parties to give Independence to Kashmir Valley. It appears they have a secret game plan with Pakistan to declare Kashmir as an independent State. Intentionally an atmosphere being created in the rest of India, so that all parties and the common people agree to it. Congress was responsible for the first division of India, under the leadership of Eldest Gandhi/ Nehru. Now they are preparing the country for second division. Thereafter North east will go to China. Rest will follow. Like Maoist state with in the boundaries of India. All the contrymen should be prepared now, for the game plan of Congress, for Balkanization of India. USA /China also want the same.



KKK says:

October 29,2010 at 10:55 AM IST

1. 'Neelofer and Aasia were raped and murdered by security personnel'. The inquiry report clearly states that they were not raped, and the role of security personnel was not established. The entire 'rape and murder by security personnel' story was spread by separatists to defame the Indian state. Kindly state the evidence on the basis of which you are challenging the CBI report. 2. 'Roy did not mention secession'. She is reported to have said that Kashmir deserves azaadi from bhooka-nanga India. That is secession, not a demand for justice. Is your blog based on facts, or on Roy-Geelani propoganda?


Saini guy says:

October 29,2010 at 08:59 AM IST

India will be destroyed not by its enemies but by its liberals. This guy has already determined that Shopian women were raped by Security Forces...atleast he could have made a pretence of journalistic integrity by using the word "allegedly" since no court has indicted the accused. He probably believes that 34 Sikhs were killed by Indian Army when Clinton came. Give freedom to who and from what? What is going to happenn in Kashmir if India pulls out. It is going to be another Islamist state where non-Muslims are second rate citizens and Bin Laden will probably be living in a household with a brood of submissive burqa clad women. I wish Laden takes Arudhati as one of his wives. Then perhaps she might learn the consequnces of what she is advocating. If America had given "freedom" to states of southern cofedration during civil war, those states would still be practicing slavery and there would be no USA as we know today. These liberals pull out facile parallels to justify that is unjustifiable. Maybe they are writing such articles just for their shock value to gain higher ratings.

(Reply to sopore)- Balkrishan says:

October 29,2010 at 07:07 PM IST

I do not agree that It was Jagmohan the then Governor of Kashmir who facilitated and instigated Pandit exodus.This is totally and totally false. My brother stayed back in Kashmir and did not leave the place. He was killed in his farm while tilling the land and his body was not allowed to be lifted for an honourable cremation. This happened in June 1990 at Khrew (Kashmir). My neighbour in Srinagar (Fateh Kadal) who refused to leave Kashmir was killed just outside Rughnath Mandir when he came out After offering puja.This happened in May 1990. There are hundreds of cases with us where Pandits did not leave in Jan 1990 but stayed back; yet had to leave later on after they were forced by the militants and their supporters to leave.


Sachetak says:

October 28,2010 at 09:34 PM IST

Now it is too much. I am certain, TOI has been infiltrated by ISI agents. The reference to one stray incident of rape could be understood, but to say 'there are thousands like Ahangar' is too shameful, as a journalist and a senior Editor of TOI, to write. Do you realise, you have levelled a very serious charge against the security forces? Please supply proof and correct figure. You should be ashamed to openly defame and insult the Indian Army this way. Please have some respect for the Defence Forces which have sacrificed hundreds/thousands of its personnel at the hands of the Kashmiri terrorists and ISI infiltrators to keep the country intact. Army should take note of your insinuation and ask the Govt to take action against you. Now that you have touched the subject, would you give the fiures of rape by local terrorists and other muslim infiltrators also? The fact is, while involvement of a security personnel is an exceptional case which is being made too much of; there are thousands of cases of rape by the terrorists that are not even reported and recorded for fear of life. Please stop misguiding public that majority of Kashmiris want independence and then cite example of Scotland to justify their demand. Pandits, sikhs and other Hindus (who have been driven out) are also a part of Valley population and they are proud to be Indian. Besides, majority of muslims there do not want to part away. The talk of majority wanting independence is simply nonsense. It is only a handful misguided lot, who control the entire neihbourhood, that are fomenting trouble. Tell me, how these so called leaders of separatist movement are leading such luxurious life? Your article openly advocates disintegration of the country; and I deplore it in the strongest words.


(Reply to Sachetak)- Karun says:

October 29,2010 at 03:01 PM IST

There are also thousands of Pandits looking for justice in Kashmir. The most brutal occupation is in fact the occupation of Kashmiri Hindu homes and lands by the Islamic separatists led by Geelani. But neither Ms Roy nor Mr Surendran care about that!


(Reply to Sachetak)- Gautam Tikoo says:

October 29,2010 at 06:17 PM IST

Sacheta, I totally agree with u. I am just wondering if these well read Editors of ToI are agents of ISI. If they can’t do any good to our country, at least they can stop harming by posting such comments on India. I wonder if speaking/writing against the common sense has become next in thing in journalism!


ss says:

October 28,2010 at 09:33 PM IST

I agree with the idea that we are not the state. The state is for us and we are not for the state. However, I also note that none of you in the mainstream media ever state the fact that kashmir is essentially a muslim problem. And this problem is being repeated in other parts of India with the media being completely silent about it. This stance of the mediais going to have bad consequences, because the people know what is going on.


Satnam W says:

October 28,2010 at 09:13 PM IST

Dear CP Surendran , You seem to be a softer version of Arundhati to me justifying her statements about Kashmir. Quoting from your article " Roy did not mention secession in her speech. She only said Kashmiri people be given justice". Let me tell you one thing straight , Kashmir was home of Kashmiri Pandits as much as its of the Kashmiri Muslims. The demographics of the state was changed when the Kashmiri pandits were forced to migrate from their motherland. They were forced to embrace Islam or else they were kiled brutally. Ms. Roy is deeply concerned about the kashmiri muslims but what about the Kashmiri pandits? Who has given her the right to speak on their behalf. Mr Surendran , Ms Roy associated the Bombay attack on Taj Palace with the oppression of muslims in india and then Kashmir scenario.Statements like these would do no good to the nation. Instead these would create an unbridged divide between the two communities. Sharing the stage with a separatist and asking for a new state is not secession then , Mr Surendran , what the heck should be the defination of secession ? Mr. Surendran , India as a country has been quite accomodating. If you take a look at the history of the country,its for ages that we have accomodated many different cultures - islam being the prominent. On the other hand , you have compared us to brutal Americans/Britishers. The comparison doesnt hold good for any reason since the circumstances are different for both. UK governed India from 1700s to 1947 basically for cheap raw material and to exploit the natural resources of our country.Similerly ,US attcked iraq for crude and everybody knows that. India , on the other hand , gets no such benefit from kashmir.Neither the kashmir tourism is supprting India because of unfavourable military atmosphere nor natural resources are being exhausted for personal motives.Infact a vast portion of our tax payers money goes to maintain order in Kashmir.



Letter to Mr. Rajiv Gandhi by Jagmohan.....

Letter to Mr. Rajiv Gandhi by Jagmohan.....
by UNITED JAMMU

April 21, 1990

Dear Shri Rajiv Gandhi,

You have virtually forced me to write this open letter to you. For, all along, I have persistently tried to keep myself away from party politics and to use whatever little talent and energy I might have to do some creative and constructive work, as was done recently in regard to the management and improvement of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine complex and to help in bringing about a sort of cultural renaissance without which our fast decaying institutions cannot be nursed back to health. At the moment, the nobler purposes of these institutions, be they in the sphere of executive, legislature or judiciary etc. have been sapped and the soul of justice and truth sucked out of them by the politics of expediency.

You and your friends like Dr. Farooq Abdullah are, however, bent upon painting a false picture before the nation in regard to Kashmir. Your senior party men like Shiv Shankar and N.K.P. Salve have, apparently at your behest, been using the forum of the Parliament for building an atmosphere of prejudice against me. The former raked up a fourteen-year old incident of Turkman Gate and the latter a press interview an interview that I never gave to hurl a barrage of accusations of communalism against my person. Mani Shankar Iyer, too, has been dipping his poisonous darts in the columns of some magazines. I, however, chose to suffer in silence all the slings and arrows of this outrageous armoury of disinformations. Only rarely did I try to correct gross distortions by sending letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines. My intention was to remain content with a book, an academic and historic venture which, I believed, I owed to the nation and to history.

But the other day some friends showed to me press clippings of your comments in the election meetings in Rajasthan.

That, I thought, was the limit. I realised that, unless I checked your intentional distortions, you would spread false impression about me throughout the country during the course of your election campaign.

WARNING SIGNALS: Need I remind you that from the beginning of 1988, I had started sending "Warning Signals" to you about the gathering storm in Kashmir ? But you and the power wielders around you had neither the time, nor the inclination, nor the vision, to see these signals. They were so clear, so pointed, that to ignore them was to commit sins of true historical proportions.

To recapitulate and to serve as illustrations, I would refer to a few of these signals. In August 1988, after analysing the current and undercurrents, I had summed up the position thus: "The drum-beater of parochialism and fundamentalism are working overtime. Subversion is on the increase. The shadows of events from across the border are lengthening. Lethal weapons have come in. More may be on the way". In April 1989, I had desperately pleaded for immediate action I said: "The situation is fast deteriorating. It has almost reached a point of no return. For the last five days, there have been large-scale violence, arson, firing, hartals, casualties and what not. Things have truly fallen apart. Talking of the Irish crisis, British Prime Minister Disraeli had said: "It is potatoes one day and Pope the next". Similar is the present position in Kashmir. Yesterday, it was Maqbool Bhat; today it is Satanic Verses; Tomorrow it will be repression day and the day after it will be something else. The Chief Minister stands isolated. He has already fallen-politically as well as administratively; perhaps, only constitutional rites remain to be performed. His clutches are too soiled and rickety to support him. Personal aberrations have also eroded his public standing. The situation calls for effective intervention. Today may be timely, tomorrow may be too late". Again, in May, I expressed my growing anxiety: 'What is still more worrying is that every victory of subversionists is swelling their ranks, and the animosity is being diverted against the central authorities". But you chose not to do anything. Your inaction was mistifying. Equally mistifying was your reaction to my appointment for the second term. How could I suddenly become cammunal, anti-muslim and what not ?

When I resigned in July 1989, there was no rancour. You wanted me to fight, as your party candidate, election for the South Delhi Lok Sabha seat. Since I had general revolusion for the type of politics which out country had, by and large, come to breed, I declined the offer. If you had any serious reservation about my accepting the offer of J and K Governorship for the second term, you could have adopted the straight forward course and apprised me of your views. I would have thought twice before going into a situation which had virtually reached a point of no return. There would have been no need for you to resort to false accusations.

May be you do not consider truth and consistency as virtues. May be you believe that the words inscribed on our national emblem - Satyameva Jayate - are mere words without meaning and significance for motivating the nation to proceed in the right direction and build a true and just India by true and just means. Perhaps power is all that matters to you - power by whichever means and at whatever cost.

REALITY: In regard to the conditions prevailing before and after my arrival on the scene, you and your collaborators have been perverting reality. The truth is that before the imposition of Governor's rule on January 19, 1990, there was a total mental surrender. Even prior to the day (December 8, 1989) of Dr. Rubaiye Sayeed's kidnapping, when the eagle of terrorism swooped the state with full fury, 1600 violent incidents, including 351 bomb blasts had taken place in eleven months. Then between January 1 and January 19, 1990, there were as many as 319 violent acts - 21 armed attacks, 114 bomb blasts, 112 arsons, and 72 incidents of mob violence.

You, perhaps, never cared to know that all the components of the power structure had been virtually taken over by the subversives. For example, when Shabir Ahmed Shah was arrested in September 1989, on the Intelligence Bureau's tip- off, Srinagar Deputy Commissioner flatly refused to sign the warrant of detention. Anantnag Deputy Commissioner adopted the same attitude. The Advocate-General did not appear before the Court to represent the state case. He tried to pass on the responsibility to the Additional Advocate General and the Government council. They, too, did not appear.

Do you not remember what happened on the day of Lok Sabha poll in November 22, 1989 ? In a translating gesture, TV sets were placed near some of the polling booths with placards reading "anyone who will cast his vote will get this". No one in the administration of Dr. Farooq Abdullah took any step to remove such symbols of defiance if authority.

Let me remind you that Sopore is the hometown of Gulam Rasool Kar, who was at that time a Cabinet Minister in the State Government. It is also the hometown of the Chairman of the Legislative Council, Habibullah, and also of the former National Conference MP and Cabinet Minister, Abdul Shah Vakil. Yet only five votes were cast in Sopore town. In Pattan, an area supposedly under the influence of Iftikar Hussain Ansari, the then Congress (I) Minister, not a single vote was cast. Such was the commitment and standing of your leaders and collaborators in the State.

And you still thought that subversion and terrorism could be fought with such political and administrative intruments.

Around that point of time, when the police set-up was getting rapidly demoralised, when intelligence was fast drying up, when inflitration in services was bringing stories of subversives plan like TOPAC, your protage, Dr. Farooq Abdullah was either going abroad or releasing 70, hardcore and highly motivated torrosists who were trained in the handling of dangerous weapons, who had contacts at the highest level in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, who knew all the devious routes of going to and returning from Pakistan and whose detention had been approved by the three member advisory board presided over by the Chief Justice. Their simultaneous release enabled them to occupy key positions in the network of subversion and terrorism and to complete the chain which took them again to Pakistan to bring arms to indulge in killings and kidnappings and other acts of terrorism. For example, one of the released persons, Mohd. Daud Khan of Ganderbal, became the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of a terrorist outfit, Al-Bakar, and took a leading part in organising a force of 2,500 Kashmiri Youths. Who is to be blamed for all the heinous crimes subsequet}y committed by these released 70 terrorists ? I would leave this question answered by the people to whom you are talking about the "Jagmohan Factor".

The truth, supported by preponderence of evidence, is that before January 19, 1990, the terrorist had become the real ruler. The ground had been yielded to him to such an extent that dominated the public mind. He could virtually swim like a fish in the sea. Would it matter if the sea was subsequently surrounded ?

LABELLING ANTI-MUSLIM: In your attempt to hide all your sins of omission and commission in Kashmir and as a part of your small politics which can not go beyond dividing people and creating vote banks, you took special pains to demolish all regards and respects which the Kashmiri masses, including the Muslim youth, had developed for me during my first term from April 26,1984, to July 12,1989. Against all facts, unassailable evidence, and your own precious pronouncements, you started me labelling me as anti-Muslim.

May I, in this connection, also invite your attention to three of the important suggestions made in my book, Rebuild- ing Shahjahanabad: The Walled City of Delhi. One pertained to the creation of the green velvet between Jama Masjid and Red Fort; the second to the construction of a road linking Parliament House with the Jama Masjid complex, and the third to the setting up of a second Shahajhanabad in the Mata Sundari road-Minto road complex, reflecting the synthetic culture of the city, its traditional as well as its modern texture. Could such suggestions I ask you, come of an anti-Muslim mind ?

FORUM OF PARLIAMENT: How you and your associates use the fonum of Parliament undermine my standing amongst the Kashmiri Muslims, was evident from what N.KP. Salve, MP ?, did in the Rajya Sabha on May 25, 1990.

Referring to the so called interview to the Bombay Weekly, THE CURRENT - an interview which I never gave - Salve chose wholly unjustified expressions; "There was a patent and palpable attitude if very disconcerting communal bias and, therefore, he (Governor) was happy under the garb of eliminating the terrorist, the saboteurs and the culprits, in eliminating the whole community as it were; now the Governor has himself given profuse and unabashed vent to his malicious malignity, hate and extreme dislike, branding every member of a particular community as a militant".

I know Salve. I do not think, if left to himself, he would have done what he did. Clearly, he was goaded to say something which was against his training and background. But the elementary precaution which any jurist, at least a jurist of Salve's imminence, would have taken, was to first check up whether any such interview weekly had been given by me, and if so, whether the remarks attributed to me were actually made. The unseemly haste was itself revealing. The issue was raised on May 25, while the weekly was dated May 26 June 2, 1990. You yourself rushed a let to the President on May 25, on the basis ofthe interview that in reality did not exist. You explained that V.P. Singh had appointed a person with "Rabid Communalist Opinion as Governor. You also got your letter widely published on May 25 itself.

Since your party men did not allow me to have my say in the Rajya Sabha, even when an opportunity came my way to speak on the subject, I was left with no other option but to file a 20 Lakhs damage suit against the Current Weekly in the Delhi High Court. The case may take a long time and I may donate the damages, if and when awarded, to charity, but I intend sparing no effort to expose all those who have played dirty roles in the disinformation-drama.

ARTICLE-370: You created a scene on March 7, 1990, at the time of the visit of the All Party Committee to Srinagar, and made it a point to convey to the people in 1986 I wanted to have Article 370 abrogated. At that critical juncture, when I was fighting the forces of terrorism with my back to the wall beginning to turn the corner after frustrating the sinister designs of the subversives from January 26, 1990 onwards, you thought it appropriate to cause hostility against me by tearing the facts out of context. Whether this act of yours was responsible or irresponsible, I would leave to the nation to decide.

What I had really pointed out in August-September 1986 was: 'Article 370 is nothing but a breeding ground for the parasites at the heart of the paradise. It skins the poor. It deceives them with its mirage. It lines the pockets of the "power elites". It fans the ego of the new sultans, in essence, it creates a land without justice, a land full of crudities and contradictions. It props up politics of deception, duplicity and demagogy. It breeds the microbes of subversion. It keeps alive the unwholesome legacy of the two-nation theory. It sufficates the very idea of India and fogs the very vision of a great social and cultural crucible from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. It could be an epicentre of a violent earth-quake, the tremors of which would be felt all over the country with unforeseen consequences.

I had argued, 'The fundamental aspect which has been lost sight of in the controversy for deletion or retention of Article 370 is its misues. Over the years, it has become an instrument of exploitation in the hands of the ruling political elites and other vested interests in bureaucracy, business, judiciary and bar. Apart from the politicians, the richer classes have found it aonvenient to amass wealth and not allow healthy financial legislation to come to the State. The provisions of the Wealth Tax, the Urban Land Ceiling Act, the Gift Tax etc, and other beneficial laws of the Union have not been allowed to be operated in the State under the cover of Article 370. The common people are prevented from realising that Article 370 is actually keeping them impoverished and denying them justice and also their due share in the economic advancement.'

My stand was that the poor people of Kashmir had been exploited under the protective wall of Article 370 and that the correct position needed to be explained to them. I had made a number of suggestions in this regard and also in regard to the reform and reorganisation of the institutional framework. But all these were ignored. A great opportunity was missed.

Subsequent events have reinforced my views that Article 370 and its by product, the separate Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir must go, not only because it is legally and constitutionally feasible to do so, but also because larger and more basic considerations of our past history and contemporary life require it. The Article merely facilitates the growth and continuation of corrupt oligarchies. It puts false notions in the minds of the youth. It gives rise to regional tensions and conflicts and even the autonomy assumed to be available is not attainable in practice. The distinct personality and cultural identity of Kashmir can be safeguarded without this Article. It is socially regressive and causes situations in which women lose thier right if they marry non-State subjects and persons staying for over 44 years in the State are denied elementary human and democratic rights. And, above all, it does not fit into the reality and requirement of India and its vast and varied span. What India needs today is not petty sovereignties that would sap its spirit and aspirations and turn it into small "banana-republics" in the hands of 'tin-pot dictators', but a new social, political and cultural crucible in which values of truth and rectitude, of fairness and justice, and of compassion and catholicity, are melted, purified and moulded into a vigorous and vibrant set- up which provides real freedom, real democracy and real resurgence to all.

I must also point out that when other States in the Union ask for greater autonomy, they do not mean separation of identities. They really want decentralisation and devolution of power, so that administrative and development work is done speedily and the quality of service to the people improves. In Kashmir, the demand for retaining Article 370 with all its 'pristine purity', that is, without the alleged dilution that has taken place since 1953, stems from different motivation. It emanates from a clever strategy to remain away from the mainstream, to set up a separate fiefdom, to fly a separate flag, to have a Prime Minister rather than a Chief Minister, and Sadr-i-Riyasat instead of a Governor, and to secure greater power and patronage, not for the good of the masses, not for serving the cause of peace and progress or for attaining unity amidst diversity, but for serving the interests of 'new elites', the 'new Sheikhs'.

All those aspiring to be the custadians of the vote-banks continue to say that Article 370 is a matter of faith. But they do not proceed further. They do not ask themselves: What does this faith mean? What is its rationale ? Would not bringing the State within the full framework of Indian Constitution give brighter lustre and sharper teeth to this faith and make it more just and meaningful ?

In a similar strain, expressions like 'historical necessity' and 'autonomy' are talked about. What do these mean in practice ? Does historical necessity mean that you include, on paper, Kashmir in the Indian Union by one hand at a huge cost and give it back, in practice, by another hand on the golden platter ? And what does autonomy or so called pre-1953 or pre- 1947 position imply ? Would it not amount to the Kashmiri leadership say in: 'you will send and I will spend; you will have no say even if I build a corrupt and callous oligarchy and cause a situation in which Damocles' sword of secession could be kept hanging on your head' ?

KASHMIRI PANDITS: You and the like of you have made India a country which has lost capacity to be true and just. Anyone trying to be fair is dubbed communal. The case of the Kashmiri Pandits bears eloquent testimony to this fact.

Whatever be the vicissitudes of the Kashmiri Pandits' history and whatever unkind quirks their fate might have brought to them in the past, these all pale into insigficance in companison to what is happening to them at present. The grim tragedy is compounded by the equally grim irony that one of the most intelligent subtle, versatile, and proud community of the country is being virtually reduced to extinction in free India. It is suffering not under the fanatic zeal of mediaeval Sultans like Sikander or under the tyrannical regime of Afghan Governors, but under the supposedly secular rule of leaders like you, V.P. Singh and others who unabashed search for personal and political power is symbolised by calculated disregard of the Kashmiri migrants' current miserable plight and the terrible future that stares in their eyes. And to fill their cup of pain and anguish, there are bodies like 'Committee for Initiative on Kashmir' which are over-anxious and over active to rub salt into their wounds, and to label anyone who wants to stand by them in their hour of distress as communal.

In a soft, superficial, permissive and, in many ways, cruel India which has the tragic distinction of creating over one lakh refugees from its own flesh and blood and then casting them aside like masterless cattle to fend for themselves on the busy and heartless avenues of soulless cities, chances for Kashmiri Pandits to survive as a distinct community are next to nothing. Split, scattered and deserted practically by all, they stand today all alone, looking hopelessly at a leaking, rudderless, boat at their feat and extremely rough and tumultuous sea to face before they can reach a safe shore across to plant their feet firmly on an assured future.

The deep crisis through which the Kashmiri migrants, or for that matter, the entire Kashmir, is passing is really the crisis of Indian values - the perversion, in practice, of its constitutional, political, social and moral norms. If I visited the camps of the refugees and tried to extend the firm hand of justice to a community in pain, if I instructed that, instead of cash doles, the migrant Government servants should be given leave salary, and if I conceded the demand of a widow of the person brutally killed by a terrorist, for allotment of a house on payment, I became communal, a known anti-Muslim, about whom concoted stories were planted in the press. If, on the other hand, someone falsely accused the Indian Army and the Governor's administration, if he assailed Jagmohan in particular, of giving inducements through provisions of plots and trucks, without giving particulars either of plots or of trucks, his accusations got published all over the press, his reports were flaunted in national and international forums and were copiously quoted in Parliament by the members of your party and he was labelled as secular and progressive and champion of human rights and what not. Hard Evidence about 'Jagmohan Factor'. I do not like to refer to anything that looks like indulging in self-praise. But not to let you get away with your calculated campaign of disinformation, about Jagmohan communal factor, I must invite attention to some hard evidence about what the people of the Valley actually thought about me before you and your proteges started the smear campaign on my appointment for the second term.

Your principal prop of current politics of Kashmir, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, was not to be left behind in the drive launched to create an 'anti-Muslim' image of mine. In his interview published in the Times of India of August 30, 1990, he said, "A known anti-Muslim was appointed as Governor of a Muslim majority state". How untrue, how unfair, was the propaganda, should be obvious from the fact that on November 7, 1986, at the time of his swearing-in-ceremony, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, in a public speech for which the records exist, said: "Governor Sahib, we should need you very badly. It is, indeed, amazing that such remarkable work could be done by you in a short time through an imbecile and faction-ridden bureaucracy. If today three ballot boxes are kept - one for the National Conference, one for the Congress and one for you, your ballot box would be full while the other two ballot boxes would be empty".

The misfortune of our country is that we have leaders like Dr. Farooq Abdullah who have no regard for facts or truth and whose superficiality is matched only by their unprincipled politics.

Incidentally, did it not strike you that Dr. Farooq was virtually accusing your late mother of being anti-Muslim because she was the Prime Minister when, in April 1984, a 'known anti-Muslims' was appointed for the first term, as 'Governor of a Muslim majority State" ?

Apparently in consultation with you, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, on February 15, 1990, issued a written statement to the press in Urdu in which he inter alia, said, "The Governor, in the personification of 'Hallaqu' and 'Changez Khan', is bent upon converting the valley into a vast graveyard. On account of continuous curfew since January 20, it is difficult to say how many hundreds of people have become victim of the bullets of the army and paramilitary forces, and in this general slaughter how many hundreds of houses have been destroyed. At this moment, when Kashmiris are witnessing their beloved country being converted into a vast graveyard. I appeal to the national and international upholders of humanity to intervene in Kashmir and have an internatianal inquiry made into the general slaughter of Kashmiris at the hands of army and paramilitary forces".

Here is your 'patriot' calling Kashmir "Aziz Wattan", suggesting a separate country. Here is your 'national leader' asking for an international inquiry into the general slaughter of the Kashmiris by the Indian Army and paramilitary forces. Here is your 'responsible friend' speaking about the continuous curfew for 25 days in the valley and his consequent inability to find out many 'hundreds of innocent and unarmed Kashmiris' had been massacred and how many hundreds of Kashmiri houses razed to the ground, although he knew perfectly well that there had been a number of days when there was no day- curfew, partially or wholly, and the authorities had brought out the list of casualties, about 40 upto February 16, and were daily asking the public to provide with the additional names, if they had any, so that correction in the official list could be made. Here is an erstwhile Chief Minister who did not care to explain how 'innocent and unarmed' people were ruthlessly shooting down IAF officers, BSF jawans, senior officers of the Television and Telecommunications Department and young men in the streets; and how, while inciting people through lengthy and fiery statements, he did not find a single word to condemn such brutal murders.

Is the nation not entitled to know why you have not disowned such unfortunate behaviour on the part of Dr. Farooq Abdullah? And how do you account for his recent statement as published in The Times of India of February 7, 1991: 'I directed my partymen to lie low, go across the border, get training in arms handling; do anything but not get caught by Jagmohan' ?

Stabbing me in the back at personal level, perhaps, did not matter. But by keeping the pot boiling, you your proteges prolonged the agony of Kashmir and caused many more deaths and much more destruction. The politics of unscrupulousness was brought to its lowest depth.

ROOTS: You once said, 'I do not read history; I make history'. Apparently, you do not know that those who happen to make history without reading it, usually make bad history. They cannot understand the undercurrents and the fundamental forces that really shape the course of events and determine the ultimate destiny of a nation.

In the absence of historical perspective, you and the like of you never perceived the roots and tendrils which gave rise to the current crop of separatism and subversion in Kashmir. Poisonous seeds were persistently planted in the Kashmir psyche. And these were liberally fertilised. Those of you whose obligation it was to stop these plantations and their fertilisation, were not aware of even the elementary lesson of history; to compromise with the evil was only to rear greater evil; to ignore the inconvenient reality was only to compound it; to bow before the bully was only to invite the butcher the next day.

I could cite scores of cases to support my contention. Here I would restrict myself to only two examples.

Softness and Surrender. On October 2, 1988, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday his statue was to be installed in the new High Court complex at Srinagar. The function had been announced. The Chief Justice of India, R.S. Pathak, was to do the formal installation. But a few Muslim lawyers objected. They threatened to cause disturbance at the time of the function. The Chief Minister gave in, almost willingly, to the bullying tactics. The function was cancelled.

What are the implications of what happened ? A secular Kashmir, part of a secular India, could not have, even in its highest seat of justice, a statue of the Father of the Nation, of a sage, who laid down his life for communal harmony. Who was the person spearheading the move against the installation ? It was none other than Mohd. Shafi Bhat, an advocate of the J and K High Court and an active number of the National Conference, who was later on given party ticket for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat in the elections held in November 1989 and with whom you kept warm company during your visit to Srinagar on March 7, 1990, to create as many difficulties as possible for Governor's administration.

At that time there was National Conference (F) Congress (I) Ministry in office. Such was its lack of adherence to principles, such was the character of Congressmen who formed part of the Ministry and such was its disposition to cling to power that not even a little finger was raised when the function was cancelled.

The bully's appetite could not have been whetted better. Intimidation could not have secured better results. The troublemakers could not have perceived a more casual and non- committed adversary. Was it not natural for them to nurture higher ambitions and think that more spectacular results could be achieved by deploying a more aggressive and threatening strategy ? Only a naive would believe that in the context of the Kashmir situation, softness and surrender on basic principles would not act as an invitation to terrorism and militancy.

The Union Government enacted the Religious Institutions (Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1988. It was made applicable to all the States of the Union except J and K. Because of Article 370, concurrence of the State Government was needed for extension of this law to the State. But the same was not given. Why ? Because J and K is different what an argument for having a law which aimed at eradication of misuse of religious premises for political purposes.

Nowhere was this law needed more than in the State of J and K. Nowhere were religious places misused more than here. Nowhere were seeds of fanaticism and fundamentalism sown every Friday more assiduoulsy than from the pulpits of the mosques here. Nowhere was it preached more regularly than here that Indian democracy was un-Islamic, Indian secularism was un-Islamic and Indian socialism was un-Islamic. And yet, neither the State Government which was ruled by two supposedly secular parties, nor the Union Government took the matter seriously. What intrigued the most was that the law which was considered good for 100 million Muslims in other parts of India, was not considered good for 40 lakh Muslims of Kashmir.

What was the use of the nationalist forces ruling the country when they would not act in national interest at all, when they remained mental slaves of the politics of communalism; when they were inclined to place reliance on words and not on deeds; when they did not lead, but succumbed; when they encouraged, and not defeated, separatist elements; when, instead of building a new society strong in human and spiritual values, they did everything, wittingly or unwittingly, to repair, renovate and strengthen the old decaying and smelly sitadel of obscurantism; and when they invariably gave precedence to expediency over the basic goals and principles of our Constitution ? What could be the result of all this ? Did it require any unusual insight to understand where such fipurious forces would take us ?

I leave it to the well-wishers of the nation to consider, without any political or personal bias, a basic question. How was it that Dr. Farooq was calling me Hallaqu and Changez Khan, and you were travelling all the way to Srinagar to 'expose' me as anti-Article 370, anti-Kashmiri and anti-Muslim and, at the same time, Miss Benazir Bhutto was vowing to tear me to pieces - 'Jagmohan ko Bhag-Bhag Mohan Kar Denge' ?

There are many other facets of Kashmir's truth which lie buried underneath the heaps of disinformation and also of superficiality and shallowness. These days I am busy in an attempt to remove some of these heaps. One day, I hope, the country will acquire the true perspective of the problem. The Kashmiri masses would also realise that I was their greatest well-wisher. I wanted to save them permanently from the exploitative oligarches and also from the machinations of religious 'Czars' and forces of obscurantism.

You have already committed the sin of letting down the Bharat Mata in Kashmir. Now do not add to it another sin of letting down the other Mata also. There is, after all, some power above. Conscious of her. She may condone your negligence. But she would not condone your sin of blaming an innocent person for what were your own faults, particularly when he had been persistently reminding you of your obligations.

So far as I am concerned, I am content with my gloomy pride of having done the correct thing in Kashmir. True, I seemingly and, perhaps, temporarily, lost the goodwill of some of the locals. But I was not seeking a certificate from anyone. I had gone for the second term to do a national duty.

The country's polity and administration have assumed such a character that it has become incapable of solving from its roots, any serious problem. Elections have virtually lost all meaning. And these would continue to be meaningless until and unless Indian democracy and its constitutional structure acquires a healthy cultural base, a pure soul and soil, from which the seed of justice, truth and selfless service could sprout and blossom into a Great Tree providing shade and shelter from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Currently, the inner light is gone, and we are being led virtually by blind men with lanterns in their hands. We stumble from one crisis to another. As a poet says:

It has happened
and it goes on happening
and it will happen again.

With best wishes,
Yours sincerely,
Jagmohan

Kashmir summer of 2010 by UNITED JAMMU By Dr. Jitendra Singh

Kashmir summer of 2010
by UNITED JAMMU By Dr. Jitendra Singh


Another summer. Another season of tourists. Another impending influx of Amarnath pilgrims. Another month of official and semiofficial meetings as ministers, parliament members and bureaucrats alike seek to escape from the soaring heat of plains by managing excuse of a ‘‘business’’ in the Valley.

It is a familiar June in Kashmir...witnessed year after year for the last few years but this certainly not is a June of the pre-militancy era prior to the watershed year of 1989.

The nature's cycle continues to move with unfazed commitment enlivening the Vale of paradise with spring, summer and golden autumn year after year notwithstanding the din of gun shots or the smoke of unruly blasts. And, though the level of militancy has remarkably gone done during the last few years and enthusiastic tourists are seen in queues outside popular eat points, what one misses is an unguarded Shikara ride past midnight or the sight of one of your popular film stars casually shooting a romantic song on the Buleauvard. For, at the back of mind, everyone is always quietly conscious about the lurking possibility of a sudden cross-fire or an unforeseen shutdown over a sundry ‘‘Hartal’’ call.

It has been exactly 20 years since the first shot was fired to announce to the world that Kashmir, hitherto known for its peaceful demeanour and docile hospitality, had been taken over by militancy in the holy name of ‘‘Azaadi’’ or ‘‘liberty’’ or ‘‘realisation of genuine aspirations’’ or whatever you call it. Militancy and ‘‘Azaadi’’ fervour may have declined over the recent years but not enough to inspire a gala return of Bollywood or, for example, reopening of the HMT factory.

The above predicament owes an answer from the protagonists of Kashmir, whether they call themselves ‘‘separatists’’ or ‘‘non-separatists’’. These self-styled crusaders on the one hand feel flattered by Kashmiri youth like Faisal making it to the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) and are simultaneously not averse to Kashmiri youth accepting financial and moral patronage from Pakistan. This is a classical case of having the cake and eating to too by getting the better of both New Delhi as well as Islamabad.

While an ordinary Kashmiri youth continues to pay the price for this unsettled scenario without perhaps even realising what he is inadvertantly missing out, an ordinary tourist on a visit from outside finds everything magnificent about the natural splendour of Kashmir and yet finds something missing. Umapathy sums it up with a Faiz expression ‘‘.....Ajab Andaaz Mein Ab Ke Bahaar Guzri Hai !’’

News (17.12.2010) : Governor, CM pays rich homage to Imam Hussain (AS)

News (17.12.2010) : Governor, CM pays rich homage to Imam Hussain (AS)
 
by Jammu Links

Governor N. N. Vohra and Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah today paid rich homage to Imam Hussain (AS)

The Governor, N. N. Vohra, has paid tributes to the sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and other martyrs of Karbala.

In a message on the eve of Aashoor-e-Muharram, the Governor said that Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions sacrificed their lives for upholding the high values of truth, justice and righteousness. He added that their martyrdom reminds mankind of the high principles of human dignity and morality.



The Governor prayed for peace, harmony and normalcy in the State.



On the Ashura Muharram, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has paid rich homage to Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions who sacrificed their lives and tolerated worst kind of atrocities at Karbala in Iraq over 1400 years ago to safeguard the righteousness, humanism and justice.



In his Muharram message, the Chief Minister said that martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions depicted their unblemished and solid faith in Almighty Allah and truthfulness.



“They underwent worst kind of atrocities but their faith was not shattered at all and they did not show even an iota of deviation in their firm determination to uphold the righteousness and protect humanism and justice”, Omar added.

The Chief Minister said that the lesson we derive from Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Aali Muqam (AS) would continue to guide us in all fields of life and in all times to come.



Omar Abdullah prayed for the peace in the State and well being of the people.

News (17.12.2010) : Muharram procession taken out in Poonch

News (17.12.2010) : Muharram procession taken out in Poonch
 
by Jammu Links

With religious devotion and sanctity Muharram processions were taken out today through out Poonch district in commemoration of lofty sacrifice of Imam Hussain (R.A) alongwith his 72 associates in battle field of Karbla for the sake of humanity and upholding Islamic tenets.



In Poonch town “Ashoor” procession (10th day of Muharram) was taken out under the patronage of Anjman-e-Jaffria president Alhaj Rahat Hussain Nehvy Sahib. Besides large number of men and women mourners renowned ulemas of shia sect participated in the procession. The speakers highlighted various aspects of karbla carnage and great sacrifice of Imam Hussain (R. A.).



Procession was taken out from Takya Pehalwan Shah and culminated at Imam Bargah Poonch in the evening after passing through main market of Poonch town.



Processions of Zul-Jinnah (Ashoor) were also taken out from plaira and Sathra villages of Mandi tehsil which collectively ended at Imam Bargah Mandi in the evening. Similar processions were taken from Gursai and Mendhar also here today.



At Surankote “Ashoor” procession was taken out yesterday (9th Muharram). Zul Jinah procession was led under the patronage of Anjman-e-Jaffria Surankote and Mendhar chief Moulana Syed Khadam Hussain shah and Moulana Muneer Hussain shah of Imamia organization Poonch and other prominent ulemas. Hundreds of mourners participated in the procession which started from bus-stand Surankote and culminated at Imam Bargah Surankote in the evening.



District Administration and respective tehsil administration had made elaborate arrangements for sanitation on procession routes, security, traffic arrangement, first aid medicare equipped ambulances, water tankers besides additional provision of ration, sugar, K.Oil etc. Additional DDC Syed Anwar Hussain Shah who was representing District Administration Surankote and monitored all Ashoor processions in district.

News (17.12.2010) Srinagar : Zuljannah processions taken out in Kashmir Valley

News (17.12.2010) Srinagar : Zuljannah processions taken out in Kashmir Valley
 
by Jammu Links

Zuljannah processions were taken out in various districts of the Kashmir valley today in which thousands of mourners joined to pay rich tributes to grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). The processions after passing through various bazaars and localities culminated at respective Imambaras.



At Srinagar, Zuljannah processions were taken out from Lal Bazar, Shalimar Hawal, Hassanabad while in Budgam processions were taken out in Budgam and Yachgam. The procession from Magam will be taken out tomorrow.



In district Anantnag, similar Zuljannah processions were taken out from Chatergul, Wullarhama, Halakha, Bonegund Dooru and Warigam.



The procession from Baramulla districts were taken out from Delina, Moongam, Singhpora Kalam, Pattan, Ahmadpora, Ikhwanpora and Danisaidan in Uri. Similar processions were also taken out from tehsil Sumbal areas.



In Pulwama, the Muhurram procession was taken out from Gongo village and culminated at Imambara.



District administration had made elaborate arrangements for the mourners, which include drinking water and medicare facilities. The processions were provided ambulances, equipped with necessary first aid, doctors and para-medicos.



Since last 20 years, Muhurram processions remained restricted in Abiguzar area, accordingly this year also, as per police spokesman, the restrictions were imposed in Abiguzar area.





Similar, Muhurram processions were drawn from various area of Jammu Division. Thousands of mourners joined to pay rich tributes to grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). The processions after passing through various bazaars and localities culminated at respective Imambaras

News (18.12.2010) Kulgam/Srinagar : CM announces additional ties for Kulgam

News (18.12.2010) Kulgam/Srinagar : CM announces additional ties for Kulgam

 
by Jammu Linkson Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 7:52pm


Appreciating the Kulgam District Administration for executing development works to the extent of 64% out of the availability of funds, the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah hoped that the targets would be accomplished by the district administration by accelerating the pace of work without compromising the quality.



The Chief Minister was addressing the District Development Board Meeting held at Chawalgam, Kulgam here today. He said that the power distribution system should be made in proper manner, so that the inconvenience of the people is avoided.

He reiterated that the Power Department Authorities should come up with well published and well announced power curtailment and load shedding programme in the entire valley for winter months and asked the Officers to adhere to the load shedding programme strictly without causing any in convenience to the people at a time when they are supposed to get the power as per schedule. He said any disruption should be properly advertised for the information of the people in case of any technical fault in any area.


The Minister for Forests and Environment, Mian Altaf Ahmed who is also the Chairman of the District Development Board meeting of Kulgam ,Minister for Social Welfare, Ms Sakina Itoo, Deputy Speaker, Legislative Assembly, Sartaj Madni, Political Advisor to Chief Minister, Davinder Rana, MLA, Kulgam, M. Y. Tarigami,MLA, Homeshalibugh, Sofi Abdul Gaffar, MP, Dr. Mehboob Beg, all the Heads of the Department and District Heads were present on the meeting.

Omar Abdullah asked the Officers to go through the report of NAPCOM, third party monitoring cell and also work in a coordinator manner so that the works are completed within the scheduled time.



The Chief Minister after taking review of all the on-going works and demands put forth by MLA’s and MP announced an amount of Rs.2.58 crores as additionalities for various works, besides Rs.50 lacs as untied grants at the disposal of District Development Commissioner, Kulgam.



The MLA’s of the district projected their demands, which include Laroo bypass road ,Bushier- bridge, SDH,Dhamhal Hanjipora, completion of Sports Stadiums, augmentation of Grid station, construction of Cold storage, completion of Kaimoh-Hagripora road, Water Supply Schemes etc.



Earlier, the Chairman, District Development Board, Kulgam,Mian Altaf Ahmed welcoming the Chief Minister and other guests and officers thanked the Chief Minister for taking review of on-going works at Kulgam. He assured the Chief Minister that all the on-going works in the district would be completed within stipulated time and asked the Officers to personally monitor the pace of works.



Earlier, the District Development Commissioner, Kulgam, Farooq Ahmed Khan informed the Chief Minister about the achievements registered in various sectors in the district. He said out of an outlay of Rs.71.28 crores, an expenditure of Rs.38.40 crores which comes up to over 64% of the availability of Rs.59.78 crores has been utilized on the executing works and welfare schemes till December 15,2010 in the district.



He further informed that under R& B sector,10 bridges/Culverts have been constructe4d and 6 minor irrigation schemes have also been completed providing irrigation facilities to 3726 heacters of land.

Mystic Trends in Kashmiri Poetry by Dr. Krishna Raina

Mystic Trends in Kashmiri Poetry

by Dr. Krishna Raina


 
http://shaivism.net/articles/13.html

Ours is a great country. We have had for centuries a great history, the whole of the East reflects our culture. We have to present what India taught right from the Mohenjo-Darro and Harappa times. These are the precious words of Dr S. Radhakrishnan. Kashmir is the most important part of this great country with a rich geographical, historical, cultural and literary background. It is known as a famous seat of learning. Kalhana has given us the first chronological order of the kings of Kashmir and thus Rajtarangini is the first history of Kashmir written in the 12th Century.

Kashmir is supposed to be the originating center of human culture, and it is popularly known as the Paradise on Earth. Kashmir is famous for its Pratyabhijnya system of Kashmir Shaivism which has given radical revisions of Indian Philosophy. Pratyabhijnya Philosophy is the main contribution of Kashmir to Indian philosophy. Shri Somananda was the originator of this philosophy and Utpaldevak Abhinav Gupta and others were main expounders of this philosophy. Buddhism has also a long history in Kashmir. The great Buddhist Council was held in Kanishka's time near Harwan, known then as Kundala-Vana-Vihara. Kashmiri scholars have written much about Buddhism and have translated many works. Indian Literature without the contribution of Kashmir would be hollow. Kashmir has produced scholars of Sanskrit Kavya Shastra: Vamana, the founder of the Riti School and Udbhatta, the teacher of different theories of Riti; Rudratta, Ananda Vardhana, Mamatta and Abhinavgupta, Kayyatta, Ruyyaka and Mahima Batta-all were Kashmiris. Anand Vardhana is the founder of Dhvani School and Mammatta of Rasa School. Abhinavgupta's doctrine is that Rasadhvani is the soul of Literature. Patanjali was also a Kashmiri. Thus Kashmir has given a lot to the Indian Poetics and Literature. Kashmir has produced many Sanskrit scholars and mystics. The cultural life of Kashmir has had the impress of great mystics.

The main language of Kashmir is Kashmiri. It is said that it is a mixed language and the greater part of its vocabulary is of Indian origin and it is allied to that of Sanskritic-Indo-Aryan languages of Northern India.

Kashmiri poetry begins with the works of great mystic poetess Lalleshwari of 14th century. Her Guru was Siddha Srikantha and she learnt yoga from him. Lal Ded propounded the yoga philosophy and high moral truths in Kashmiri verse. These are called Lala Vakh or sayings of Lal Ded. These sayings are the gems of Kashmiri poetry and true knowledge of yoga.These are deep and sublime. She was influenced by Kashmir Shaivism and Shankracharya's Advaita Philosophy. Lal Ded's God is Nirguna. She wanted to make Shaivism easy for common man. She says that one who thinks himself not different from the other; one who accepts sorrow as good as pleasure; one who frees himself from duality; he and he alone tells the beads of Lord of the Lords-Almighty and this is the basic thinking of Shaivism. She held a key to many mystic truths. The following stanza illustrates her deep mystic thought:
"So my lamp of knowledge afar,
Fanned by slow breath from the throat of me.
They, my bright soul to my self revealed.
Winnowed I abroad my inner light.
And with darkness around me sealed,
Did I garner truth and hold Him tight."
(Translated by Sir Richard Temple)
Lal Ded thinks dissolution of 'self' (Aham) essential for Realisation. According to her, Sadhaka has to reach that mental attitude where there is no difference between 'Him' and 'self'. She says one who considers his own self and others alike ends the distinction between 'I' and 'you', who treats days and nights alike, who is above sorrows and pleasures, can only realize God in his ownself. According to her, differentiation between the human soul and Divine-self was Zero. Lal Ded is the first woman mystic to preach medieval mysticism in Kashmiri poetry. She used metaphors, riddles and other mediums for her expression.

Like Lal Ded, another mystic poet of Kashmiri language is Nunda Rishi, who is known as Sheikh Nur-ed-Din alias Sahajanand. His father, Salar Sanz was influenced by Sufi Saint Yasman Rishi, who arranged his marriage with Sadar Maji. The child of this couple, Nunda Rishi is the great founder of Rishi line of Kashmir. Jonaraja refers to him as Maha Nurdin-the chief guru of Muslims-but the saint poet always refers to himself only as Nunda. He preached to subdue the five senses and control Kama, Krodha etc. He has given much importance to yogic practice- breath control for communion with God. Nunda Rishi favoured good action which is the secret of happiness in the world. He preached a disciplined life like this:
Desire is like the knotted wood of the forest
It cannot be made into planks, beams or into cradles;
He who cut and telled it,
Will burn it into ashes.
He considered rosary as a snake and favoured true worship:
Do not go to Sheikh and Priest and Mullah;
Do not feed the cattle or Arkh or leaves;
Do not shut thyself up in mosques or forests;
Enter thine own body with breath controlled in communion with God.
Rupa Bhawani was the second great mystic poet of 17th century. She had a great and deep experience of ups and downs of life. The worldly sufferings showed her the path of spiritual life. Her spiritual 'Guru' was her father Pandit Madhav Joo Dhar who initiated her into the mysteries and practices of yoga. She gave rich mystic poetry to Kashmiri language. In her poetry, we can find the influence of both Kashmir Shaivism and Islamic Sufism.
'Selflessness is the sign of the selfless;
Bow down at the door of the selfless.
The selfless are of the highest authority,
The kings of the time and the wearers of the crest and crown.
These lines show her spiritual understanding. According to her dissolution of self is essential for Realisation. Rupabhawani was a great preacher of yoga. She describes her yogic practice. The different stages of 'yoga' and awakening of Kundalini has been described in the simple language of common men:
I dashed down into the nether regions and brought thc vital breath up;
I got its clue out of earth and stones;
Then my kundalini woke up with nada;
I drank wine by the mouth,
I got the vital breath gathered it within myself;
This great mystic poetess had experienced the truth and then explained the same. Such mystics had real experience and not a bookish one. That is the reason why this mystic poetry in every language is considered great after so many centuries.

Pt. Mirzakak of eighteenth century was a great mystic poet of Kashmir. I have seen three manuscripts of this poet at Hangalgund which is 13 miles away from tourist resort, Kokarnag. There are some supernatural stories also related to this great poet. According to Mirzakak, 'Brahma' is one and invisible. He is the aim of 'Prani'. According to him 'He' is 'Ram', 'Shyam' and everything. 'His' abode is universe.
Tas naav Shyama Sunder
Gharu Chhus zagi andar,
Nebar naav voochhi zi andar
Bhajan kar Ram Ramay.
'Self' and 'Praan' are both Brahma. He creates, nourishes and then becomes Rudra :
Praan Brahma laagith paida chhum su karan
Praan Vishnu laagith rachan dam ba dam Ram Ram
Praanay Rodur laagith soruy chhum galan
Pran hastoneste pran bood nabood dam ba da Ramay
(Manuscript)
We can find our goal with 'Omkar' . Mirzakak has given a fine metaphor that Omkar is arrow, worldly man is bow and our target is Brahma.
Om gav kamanay
Jeev zaan teeray
Nishana Brahma
Om is real man, Om is the light. It is past, present and future. It is the God of Gods:
Om gav aadi purush
Mysticism is in broader sense as old as man hut it is with man in this scientific century also. Pandit Zinda Koul is known as 'MasterJi' in Kashmir. His school is that of Lal Ded, Rupabhawani and Mirzakak. According to Shri B.B. Kachru, he is a mystic by temperament and naturally he could not stand the 'material fret' of his own generations. He sharpened his intellect to reflect the knowledge of truth and dialectical doctrine of Vedanta. Although mysticism was out of tune in the age of 'Master Ji ' but the mystic approach is present in his poem. He believes in 'Karma' theory and yearns for salvation. Human salvation is more in the hands of man than in the hands of God. According to MasterJi, God is besides oneself.
He unknown and unseen
Quietly listens, sitting by.
This is the basic idea of a mystic who believes in oneness. The poet wants to search 'Him' in another spiritual world:
Where all have a living faith in God-
One loving Father, Lord of all-
Where ghosts, given and spirits dark
Hold no sway over men's mind.
For Master Ji God is Love and he wants to understand the world through the lover's eye. In 'Hymn to Love' poem, he describes:
O Remover of world's darkness.
Thou art the source of light and withal my own true self.
Let me see thee shine in all these modes
Initiate me into the philosophy of atonement.
Remove from me this duality.
For the poet like Sumitranandan Pant, change is the process of life. Sorrows and happiness are the two sides of this life coin. End is the beginning of the new. In this poem, 'Ah this world ' Master Ji says that one thing alone makes life monotorous, therefore, darkness and light are natural and important:
If the Lord had not made Death,
If the hell of life were to continue,
Providence would not deserve our thanks
We should overwhelm it with complaint.
For Master Ji the the power in man is nothing but 'His' Shakti. One can only face the ups and downs of this world with the grace of God. We get inspiration from that eternal truth which is Supreme. Man is always longing for something unknown but that noble self is manifest in man's own self. Longing for unknown creates mystic attitude for ages.

[Courtesy: Glimpses of Kashmiri Culture, issued by Parmanand Research Centre, Srinagar]

Source: Koshur Samachar

Maha Shivratri - Revisiting Kashmiri Ritual Variants-PART X By Upender Ambardar

Maha Shivratri - Revisiting Kashmiri Ritual Variants-PART X

By Upender Ambardar


 
http://ikashmir.net/uambardar/shivratri2x.html

PART X

The multitude of Shivratri rituals having undated antiquity sculpt a riveting portrayal of indigenous and exogenous strains of our societal cum cultural growth. They represent a microcosm of diverse beliefs, varied faith patterns, variegated societal mores, multiple layers of distinct religious practices and variable traditions acquired over centuries in the bygone times. Speaking on a nostalgic note, Sh Chand Ji Bhat, an original resident of the village Ladhoo, tehsil Pampore, district Pulwama and presently putting up at ORT Complex Nagrota, Jammu, divulged that ahead of the festival, the whole house was spruced up by smearing it with a combined mix of clay, water and cowdung usually on Phagun Krishna Paksh Ashtami, the day set aside for it. To ensure the foolproof piousness and cleanliness, the clay to be used was procured from the adjacent almond orchard of the family. In conjuction with the family defined 'reeth', the ritualistic pooja of two flat bottomed and wide mouthed spherical earthenwares, locally called 'Anyut' was performed in the evening of Phagun Krishan Paksh Dwadeshi, also known as 'Vagur Bah'.

The said pooja was performed in the kitchen. The two earthenwares of 'Anyut' were seated on the backside space of the mud herth, called 'Dhaan'. They were seated on grass woven bases 'Aarie'. The pooja would take place in the evening after mouli and 'vusur' were tied around and 'sindoor' applied to them. In accordance with the family 'reeth' it was customary to put uncut red coloured raw turnips one each in the earthenwares of 'Anyut'. The cooked rice was also put in them. The said pooja was undertaken in the kitchen and not in the 'Vatuk Kuth' for the obvious reason as kitchen is not only an integral and bustling part of a Kashmiri household but also constitutes a sanctimonious area of the house after the pooja room or 'Thakur Kuth'. Chandji also divulged that 'vatuk comprised twenty two earthen utensils of one 'nout', one 'choud', one 'doul', three 'doulji', seven 'varie', two 'saniwarie', one 'sanipatul', one 'dhoopajoor' and two 'tokes'. On Shivratri, usually at dusk, only the pooja utensils of 'nout' and 'choud' were taken to the nearby spring called 'charish pokhar' by both male and female family members.

Before undertaking the said ritual of water filling, the ladies would attire themselves in new outfits and wear new 'Athoar' in the ears as a mark of auspiciousness and good omen. On their return, the entry inside the house was allowed only after observance of 'Aaluth' by waving around of a water filled vessel having a few rice grains inside it. The lavish spread of non-vegetarian gourmet goodies of 'Roganjosh', Kalyai, mixed dish of turnip and lambs stomach called 'Demni gogiz' minced meat preparation of 'mach', sour tasting 'chok charvun', the most favourite humble 'hakh' and raw chutney of raddish called 'muj chatin' were the sacrificial offerings to the designated vessel of 'Bhairav Doul' amidst elaborate pooja. As a part of the offering, apart from milk and sugar candy called 'kund', kishmish, almonds, dry dates sliced coconut pieces and a native herb of 'Bubrikath' were the ritualistic offerings to the pooja utensil of 'Nout', the symbolic representation of Lord Shiva. In accordance with the family custom, an oil lit clay lamp was kept burning continously right from Shivratri day upto the evening of 'Doon Mavus'.

The 'doon Mavus' pooja was performed at the village rivulet bank. Only 'Nout' and 'Choud' were taken there for replenshing them with fresh water during the 'Visarjan' ritual. Contrary to the more prevalent practice of ladies involvement elsewhere, the rite was performed solely by male members of the family. During the knock at the door ritual of 'Thuk Thuk', in addition to the usual 'ann, dhan, orzu, sokh sampdha, gurgupan was also symbolically wished and granted, undoubtedly affirming the pastoral disposition of the said family. On Tila Ashtami seven earthen diyas having a sprinkle of black sesame seeds were oil lit in the kitchen and seven rolled-up cooked rice morsels called a 'Hoon Machie' were placed on seven rice flour rotis called 'Chochivar'. Additionally a bronze 'Kahwa' tea utensil called as 'Khoas' was also filled up with cooked rice to facilitate the observance of ritual obeisance to the departed souls of the family. The rite was also supplemented with the filling up of an earthen soucer called 'Toke' with cooked rice, which was subsequently placed at the village rivulet ghat as a part of the said ritual.

Out of the seven oil lit lamps, one each of them was subsequently placed at the charcoal ash deposition, dry cowudung heap, exterior stepping stair stone base called 'Brandh', streamlet or spring bank and the village temple. Their placement in the rooms was avoided. However the family specific custom permitted only a previously used old oil lit clay lamp to be kept in the kitchen. The family also observed the rite of 'Jatoon Toon' by circular rotation of worn out wicker exteriors of 'Kangri' and old wicker baskets of 'Phout' and 'Kranjul'.

The Shivratri rituals are an amazing blend of multi splendoured traditions, myriad religious attitude, varied devotional pursuits and enormous reverence for the most favoured God and Ist Dev Lord Shiva, asserted Sh. Maharaja Krishan Handoo, a native of Achabal Adda, main town Anantnag and now putting up at Anand Nagar Bohri Jammu sharing the cherished memories of the festival of yester years, he disclosed that ahead of the festival, the house was readied for the most momentous occasion by smearing the entire house with a mixture of clay, water and cowdung. The clay required for it was specially collected from the sacred hillock shrine of the 'Tutlai Baal' of Nagbal Anantnag.

The 'livun hur' or the fabric used, for the cleanliness cum purifactory act of 'livun' had necessarily to be preserved in a contanier before it's subsequent immersion in the flowing waters of vitasta river. It was in accordane with the family belief to safeguard the wholesome sacredness of the purifactory act of 'livun'. Expanding his conversation, he also informed that 'Vatuk' consisted of thirteen items of a 'Gagar', number of 'Katories', two bronze tumblers, two Rattandeeps' in addition to a conch and a hand ringing bell or 'ghanta'. The pooja untensils were taken to the Nagbal for getting them filled up with water. The ladies of the household would drape themselves in new dress and wear 'athhoor' in the ears before undertaking the said ritual. It is akin to the must wear requirement of wedding finery during the auspicious and eventful occasions of weddings etc. A combination of seven different types of drug pulses namely mazie, mooong, maha masoor, rajmah, channa and peas mixed together was a family specific ritualistic offering to the 'Bhairav Doul'. The said offering was known by the local name of 'Sut Sous'.

In addition to it 'cooked rice along with a rice flour 'chochivor' was put in an earthen sacucer shaped 'Toke', which was seated on a grass woven base 'Aaer'. A few unwashed and uncooked meat pieces put into the 'Toke' amidst pooja was an extra sacrifical offering. An unusual and unique family 'reeth' also ordained that motifs of flowers and leaves were elegentaly carved out on the lime white washed side walls of the main door of the house on the Shivratri day. It is synonymous with the custom of the 'Krool Kharun' on the front door wall area of the house on the weddnig occasions. The said floral illustrations were also drawn on the lime water smeared back side wall of the 'Vatuk Kuth', which had an array of pooja utensils of 'Vatuk' installed in the front. It undeniably symbolises a feeling of heightened delight and cheer besides it being a recognisable sign of welcome on the aupsicious occasion of celestial weddnig of the Divine couple of Lord Shiva and Jagatmatta Goddess Parvati. It is in harmony with a sidespread belief that Godess Parvati is the divine daughter of the Satidesh Kashmir.

The above ritual bears a close resemblance with the reproduction of a specific carvings marked on the wall of the ceremonial room of the wedding function of 'Divgoan', which are knwon in Kashmiri as 'Divtimoen'. As per one more uncommon family reeth, it was requried to sanctify the 'Vatuk Kuth' before commencement of the Shivratri pooja by sprinkling water drops with a twig of an indigenous wild herb locally known as 'Bubrikath', which was dipped in a water container. The said ritual is also synonymous with a custom of same nature locally called 'Laev dieni' performed during the wedding functions and the other such events of auspicious nature. The utilised pooja material and restulting 'Nirmaal' was deposited after midnight usually at the base of a nearby tree, preferably a fruit bearing one during the custom of 'Purmujan' on Shivratri. An oil lit clay lamp was also required to burn uninterruptedly right from the Shivratri pooja upto the next day of 'Salam'. The final 'Visurjun' pooja of Doon Mavus was performed in the evening on the Vitasta ghat.

Interestingly on 'Doon Mavus' the used grass 'Arie', 'Vusir', Mouli, used flowers and the left over pooja material was wrapped up in dry grass, giving it a shape of spherical ball. It was subsequently floated in the Vitasta river after an oil lit clay lamp, and lighted 'dhoop' and incense sticks were placed on it. The knock at the door ritual of 'Thuk Thuk' was performed with a minor variation that all the good things of life were symbolically bestowed by the daughter-in-law instead usually done by elderly lady of the family. On Tila Ashtami, oil lit earthen lamps were placed at the four corner's of the house, the pathway lane leading to the house, the potable water source like a well or water tap the adjacent road intersection called 'chowk' and the 'Thokur Kuth'.

The placement of the oil lit lamps as such also display an unusual variance in the relation to the widespread practice prevalent in most of the households.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

Jammu Kashmir & Laddakh

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