Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Starting a Kashmiri Organization

I recently got this message on facebook from a Kashmiri Muslim ( I have deleted his name ). My reply is given below it

 " Dec 17th, 5:54am
I was going through your timeline after the Fajr prayers and ended up reaching September where you'd posted non-stop concerning the recent floods in J&K. I don't know whether any Kashmiri has thanked you for your help, Sir, and I'd like to take this opportunity to do just that.

So, Thank You... for that, for all the reasons in the world.

P.S. :- I admire you very much and having taken the risk of boring you with my "fan-ness" already, I'd also like to say that you are hilarious.

Hari Om

Markandey Katju
Sent by Facebook Mentions
Dec 17th, 6:03am
Thank you. But I did not need any thanks. Kashmir is the land of my ancestors, and Kashmiris, whether Hindu, Muslim or Sikh, are my flesh and blood. So by helping them, I was helping myself "

 Being a Kashmiri myself,  I wanted to start an organization in which all Kashmiris, whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, etc, and even some non- Kashmiris are members.
 So about an year or so back I met a Union Minister in the UPA government, who is a Kashmiri Muslim, and broached the idea with him. As is usual with politicians, he apparently welcomed the idea, but  quickly forgot about it thereafter.
 At present, Kashmiris are totally divided, and my aim is to unite them. Not only is there a division between Kashmiri Hindus and Kashmiri Muslims, there is also a division between Kashmiri speaking and non- Kashmiri speaking Kashmiri Pandits, and they have separate organizations ( Kashmiri language is very different from Hindi ).
 The Kashmiri speaking Kashmiri Pandits ( perhaps numbering from 3 to 4 lacs ) have an organization known as All India Kashmiri Samaj. with headquarters in Delhi. Such Kashmiris had remained behind in Kashmir until their exodus from 1989 onwards due to persecution by fanatic elements in Kashmir.
  The non Kashmiri speaking Kashmiris ( altogether about 2 lacs in the whole of India ), like myself, are descended from those Kashmiri Pandits who had migrated gradually from about 200 years back, getting jobs in the Courts of some Maharaja or Nawab. They all migrated in this way. None left Kashmir because of persecution, but to get jobs, which they got because they were very proficient in Urdu and Persian, the Court languages in Rajwaadaas.
  The non Kashmiri speaking Kashmiri Pandits have an organization called the Kashmiri Pandits Association, whose present President is my elder brother Col. Valmiki Katju. I suggested to him that at least all Kashmiri Pandits should unite, but he said that his committee members are totally against the idea. I asked him why. He said that the Kashmiri speaking Kashmiris only wish to talk about the atrocities on them, and how they can get compensation for their sufferings and lost properties, but non Kashmiri speaking Kashmiri Pandits, while sympathising with the victims of atrocities, want to move on, and to discuss other issues also.
 Since I am a non Kashmiri speaking Kashmiri Pandit, while my wife is a Kashmiri speaking Kashmiri, I am associated with both groups. And  I have a lot of Muslim friends ( my friends Asif Azmi and Adil Shahnawaz, who though not  Kashmiris, are like  younger brothers to me ), and I have found them to be fine people.
 So I have decided to start an All India Kashmiri Association, whose members can be (1) Kashmiris, whether Hindu,Muslim,or Sikh (2) Non Kashmiris married to a Kashmiri, and their children or grandchildren (3) Some non Kashmiris, who have an interest in Kashmir.
 The object of this organization will be purely cultural and social, and no political activity will be permitted. The main object will be to preserve and propagate the rich composite culture of Kashmir, its contribution in philosophy, poetry, music, etc. Another object will be to help the people living in Kashmir, e.g. during floods, etc. Help to displaced Kashmiris must, of course, also be an objective, though there are already organizations doing this work, and so we can play only a supplementary role.
  Since I will be out of India from mid January onwards for several months, this will only be possible on my return ( probably in June ). However, I do wish to know what people, especially Kashmiris, whether Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs, think of the idea


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  2. What a marvellous idea, Justice Katju! Thank you for doing this! I think that insensitivity and intolerance are among the greatest challenges facing our society today, and that is why I wholeheartedly support this initiative. However, I am of the opinion that the differences between the displaced Kashmiri-speaking Pandits and the Kashmiri Muslims are truly irreconcilable because those two groups have contradictory ideologies and aspirations; Kashmiriyat is almost dead. Even the Hindostani-speaking Kashmiri Pandits, who were once champions of social harmony and justice, have lost their tehzeeb and moral wisdom. Nevertheless, if there is anything that might bring the three groups together, it is Urdu poetry! Good luck! - Vaibhav Kaul