Although a Kashmiri Pandit, I regard 99% Kashmiri Muslims as good people, and I do not share the opinion of some Kashmiri Pandits, particularly those who were displaced from Kashmir, who are critical of Kashmiri Muslims. This is because my teacher, the great French thinker Rousseau, had taught me that men are good by nature ( though some of them may be temporarily misguided by some wicked people who have their own vested interests ).
Kashmiri Muslims have suffered a lot, like Kashmiri Pandits. My effort is to bring both Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits together under one umbrella. The Chinar Foundation is a product of that thought.
One of the principal aims of the Chinar Foundation will be to apply balm and give a healing touch on the deep wounds both Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits have suffered.
Till now there has been no organization which incuded both Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims. So this will be the first venture of its kind.
I have, of course,my own political views about the Kashmir problem. I have often said that the only solution to the Kashmir problem is reunification of India and Pakistan ( and also Bangladesh ) under a strong secular government which will not tolerate religious extremism of any kind, whether Hindu or Muslim. That will automatically solve the problem of Kashmir. But this is my personal view, not the view of the Chinar Foundation. In fact the Foundation is a non political organization with no political views. Its aim is to promote the rich composite culture of Kashmir, its sufi tradition,its music, poetry, philosophy, etc and also to help Kashmiris in flood relief, sustainable development, creating job opportunities for Kashmiri youth, promoting the Kashmiri language, etc.
The Chinar Foundation, which is still in the formative stage, is a unique organization. Its members include not only Kashmiris ( whether Muslims or Hindus ) but also people married to Kashmiris, and descendants of such mixed marriages, and even non Kashmiris who subscribe to the liberal cosmopolitan Kashmiri spirit.
Thus the Chinar Foundation will represent not just Kashmir but also the integrity amidst diversity of the whole nation.
The first preliminary meeting of the Chinar Foundation was held at my residence some time back, where about a dozen people, including some non Kashmiris attended. Col. Valmiki Katju ( email id email@example.com ), my elder brother, was chosen as the President, and Mr. Iftikhar Gilani, a Kashmiri senior journalist ( of the DNA newspaper ) based in Delhi ( email id firstname.lastname@example.org ), as the General Secretary. I will be one of the patrons ( my email id is email@example.com). The other office bearers, Vice Presidents, Joint and assistant secretaries, treasurer, etc will be chosen later.
Mrs. Meenakshi Behara ( email id firstname.lastname@example.org ), a Kashmiri lady married to an Andhrite, Mr. Subbu, has prepared a draft Charter of the Aims and Objectives, etc of the organization ( which I have posted on facebook ), and the next meeting is scheduled for 11th January, 2015 at the residence of Mr. Subbu, in which the Charter will be finalized and other matters discussed. Suggestions in this connection are invited from all.
Although those who attended the first meeting of the Foundation live in Delhi or nearby, we wanted a strong wing of the Foundation in Kashmir. So a meeting of some persons will shortly be held in Srinagar in this connection, as informed by Dr. Ijtaba Shafi ( email id email@example.com ), a J&K State government medical doctor based in Srinagar. Mr. Ghulam Hasan Kaloo ( email id mirrorof firstname.lastname@example.org and mirrorof email@example.com ),editor and publisher of the newspaper 'Mirror of Kashmir', and President of the J&K Press Association, and others ( email ids firstname.lastname@example.org, vivek kaul, whose email id is email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com etc ), are also helping in this venture