Friday, 29 August 2014

My First Home

I have seven homes in India, Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, Orissa, Tamilnadu, and Delhi and so I am truly all Indian. Let me mention about them one by one, in separate posts. This post is about Kashmir, my first home

I am a Kashmiri Pandit. There are two kinds of Kashmiri Pandits, the Kashmiri speaking ones, and the non Kashmiri speaking ones. The non Kashmiri speaking Kashmiri Pandits ( like myself) are those whose ancestors had migrated from Kashmir valley about 200 years back. These Kashmiri Pandits all migrated in exactly the same way, that is, they got employment in some princely state, i.e. in the Court of some Maharaja or Nawab ( they got such jobs as Kashmiri Pandits were highly proficient in Urdu and Persian, the Court languages).  The ancestors of Pt. Nehru, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, etc had all come from Kashmir in this way.Having left Kashmir, they forgot the Kashmiri language after about two generations, and know only,Hindi and English. My estimate is that they are between one and two lacs in number. My own ancestor, Pt. Mansa Ram Katju migrated from Kashmir about 200 years ago and got service in the Court of the Nawab of Jaora. Jaora is a town in Ratlam district in western Madhya Pradesh, on the border of Rajasthan. My family lived in Jaora for several generations

The Kashmiri speaking Pandits ( like my wife) are those who can speak Kashmiri ( apart from Hindi and English). Such Kashmiri Pandits are those who remained in Kashmir, and would be today about 3 lacs in number ( most of them fled from Kashmir after the selected killings of Kashmiri Pandits from 1989 onwards). Kashmiri language is totally different from Hindi, and when my wife speaks to her relatives in Kashmiri I cannot understand,though we have been married for over 40 years.

Though the non Kashmiri speaking Kashmiri Pandits had left Kashmir about 200 years ago, they married only among themselves, and not with the local Pandits or other communities. Also, they retained their food habits. They are non vegetarians, their preference being for Kashmiri mutton dishes, e.g. roghanjosh, yaqni,kabargah, kofta, rista, etc, apart from vegetarian dishes like dam aloo, haq, etc.
  
Although such Kashmiri Pandits had migrated about 200 years ago, we never forgot Kashmir, and proudly called ourselves Kashmiris. We were like the Jews who had migrated a long time back from their homeland, but said in their prayers :
 " If I forget thee, O Jerusalem
   let my right hand forget its skill
   If I do not remember thee
   let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth"
                                     Psalm : 137.5
 The same was always our sentiment for Kashmir

Despite leaving Kashmir so long ago, we would perform the Kashmiri Pandit religious rituals regularly, e.g. Shivratri puja, pun, etc. I remember when I was very young on Shivratri day my family members used to go in a procession to a door, behind which was another family member. We used to say " Kuch choo, kuch choo", and the person inside would say, "Kay heyth ", and we would say " An dhan Laxmi", and then the door would be opened and we would enter. It was only after my marriage with a Kashmiri speaking lady that I came to know what we had been chanting for 200 years without understanding its meaning ( like many people chanting Sanskrit mantras). In Kashmiri language, ' kus choo ?" means "who is it?". "Kus choo" became "Kuch Choo" after 200 years, and "kay hyeth" i.e. ' what have you brought with you ?", became "kay heyth". It was only when my wife told us the meaning of what we had been chanting for 200 years that we understood its meaning.

Although the Kashmiri Pandits who had migrated about 200 years ago were only a tiny community in the regions where they had settled, their influence ( like that of the Parsis, another tiny community) far outweighed their numbers. We were a highly respected intellectual community, and having first taken up service in some princely state, in a later generation we entered the legal profession, where we excelled. In U.P. not only were some of the top lawyers in the Allahabad High Court Kashmiri Pandits, in about one half of the district Courts in U.P. the leader of the bar was a Kashmiri Pandit ( though in each town we were only a few dozen in numbers). The same was the position in many other north Indian states where Kashmiri Pandits had settled

Still later many of us entered the civil services, or became business executives, etc, and some migrated to foreign countries.

7 comments:

  1. Nice post sir. you are so outspoken. keep it always sir.

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  2. Great Post Sir. I always Remember this Cry of the People in Exile

    " If I forget thee, O Jerusalem
    let my right hand forget its skill
    If I do not remember thee
    let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth"
    Psalm : 137.5

    Sir. You surely Know that Some of the Jews Fleeing the Babylon Exile in 586 BC eventually Migrated to what is Today's Kerala. :)

    The above which is taken from Psalm 137 of the Bible begins with the words "By the Rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, There we Wept when we remembered Zion'. This was the Base for the Boney M hit song "By the Rivers of Babylon" with the Rivers being the Great Tigris and Euphrates now Flowing on both sides of Mesopotamia - Iraq of today

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  3. Sir, Nature allows only merit-full, stronger and thriving species to advance in their evolution and continues its advancement to this day. Every species we see today have advanced it its present state, starting from the birds, plants, Amazon creatures etc. This natural evolution and flow, contradicts with the Reservation policy of India. How come the will of politicians started favoring less intelligent human beings appointed to govern the citizens who are more intelligent? The Reservation policy is neither aligns with Russia's communism nor with America's capitalism. Somehow I feel India chose a ambiguous path earlier., And the present generations are left with the picking the crumbs and not being able to do anything to ingredients already placed in before them.

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  4. On the Reservation policy, otherwise known as Affirmative action in America, a noted African-American author Thomas Sowell says "Such programs have at best a negligible impact on the groups they are intended to assist." And he further says ""People differ - and have for centuries.... Any 'temporary' policy whose duration is defined by the goal of achieving something that has never been achieved before, anywhere in the world, could more fittingly be characterized as eternal.".

    So, why India still need to continue the Reservation policy!. I am dead against it!. I know your heart sir. But, please do write an article exposing the myths behind and vote-bank politicians of Reservation Policy. Let the Media debate this. Let it go as Headlines. Sir, please do it for the betterment of the nation "India". I have no ego, if its anything better for any nation! Sir, I hope you shall do the same and I believe you will do it!.

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    Replies
    1. Most people people don't know. American has Reservation policy as well. But, it is minuscule and do not drag their designing airplane, researching gene and DNA, nor any show-stopper for America's advancement!.

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