A preliminary meeting of the Chinar Foundation was held today at my residence in Delhi at 11 am, and was attended by about one dozen persons.
This organisation will include Kashmiri Pandits, Kashmiri Muslims, Kashmiri Sikhs etc, persons married to Kashmiris or descendants of such mixed marriages, and also persons who are non-Kashmiris but believe in the Kashmiri cosmopolitan spirit. This will be a historical organization, because no such organization uniting everyone was ever created before.
I informed the persons attending the meeting about my efforts for quite some time to create such an organisation, about which I have put several posts earlier on Facebook.
The objects of the organisation are as follows:
1) To preserve and promote the rich, composite Kashmiri culture, including Kashmiri sufi poetry, Kashmiri music, Kashmiri philosophy, etc.
2) To help Kashmiris in matters such as flood relief, creating job opportunities and careers for Kashmiri youth, sustainable community development work in Kashmir, etc.
3)To promote the Kashmiri language, and to do all that is necessary for this purpose.
As regards relief to displaced Kashmiri Pandits, there are already several organizations which have been working for this for two decades or so, and a large amount of benefits have already been given e.g. reservation in Medical and Engineering colleges, reservation in jobs etc.Those organizations doing such work, including government organisations, have lots of funds for this purpose, whereas we have presently nothing. Therefore, while sympathizing completely with the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, we can only play a supplementary role.
It was decided that the name of the organisation will be 'The Chinar Foundation', subject to any legal objection. Chinar is a tree which symbolizes Kashmir. It is huge, and gives shade to comfort people. Its leaves and bark have medicinal properties. So our organization will act a balm and give a healing touch to the wounds of both Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits who have both suffered a lot.
It was made clear that this organisation will be purely non political and will have nothing to do with politics. People having political views can be admitted to the organisation, but that will remain their own personal political views, and shall not be the views of the organisation.
I will be one of the patrons of the organisation. The President will be Colonel Valmiki Katju (firstname.lastname@example.org) , resident of Saket, New Delhi, and the General Secretary will be Mr. Iftikhar Gilani (email@example.com) , Senior Journalist with DNA newspaper, Delhi. The other office bearers e.g. Vice-Presidents, Joint Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Treasurer etc. will be decided later. The Foundation will be registered as a trust.
The next meeting of the organisation will be held at the residence of Mr. BVR Subbu resident of Shanti Niketan, New Delhi on 11-01-2015 at 11:30 am. He is an Andhrite married to a Kashmiri
Some Kashmiris living in Kashmir expressed some apprehension as to whether they should join this new organisation because of my political views about Kashmir. I have clarified on an earlier Facebook post that my political views are my personal ones and are not those of the organisation. In fact the organisation will not have any political views at all. I have put up this clarification on Facebook.
A meeting of the Kashmiris living in Kashmir is likely to be held on 22nd December at some place in Srinagar. I have requested that this clarification should be placed in the meeting, and they are requested to join us.
A memorandum of statement of objects of the organisation is being prepared by Mrs. Meenakshi Behara w/o Mr. Subbu,whose email id is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before concluding the meeting, a resolution was passed congratulating the J&K cricket team for its historical victory over Bombay, the 40 times winner of the Ranji Trophy.
I will keep updating you about the further developments.