Table of Contents
  Index

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Kashmiri Pandits: Problems and Prospects

by J. L. Langer

It seems that Kashmiri Pandits have not reconciled themselves to the triumphant claim of successful poll made by the government. Some leaders had set the yardstick for holding free and fair election that Kashmiri Pandits should first return to their homes. This view was echoed by Dr. Farooq Abdullah and even BJP had endorsed the view so much so that they would reiterate that the atmosphere for holding election was not congenial.

However, leaving apart government posturing and the veracity of free poll, it is felt that the problems of Kashmiri Pandits are compounded by insensitive and apathetic approach of the government. To what extent they can redeem their lost glory, their property, culture and their traditions is a pressing question that haunts every Kashmiri Pandit. We are leading a refugee life in our own land.

Most of the Kashmiri Pandits still live in a traumatic condition taking refuge in tattered tents, congested halls, under construction Govt. buildings and, of course, some living as tenants in dingy and dilapidated houses.

They live on meagre pittance that is doled out to them. The education of children has gone awry. They can't concentrate and carry on their studies in the limited sheltered space. They continue to be marginalised so far as government employment is concerned.

The host of problems, to say the least, has erupted with the mass exodus from the valley and this situation has posed a multi-faceted challenge for us so that we can survive the onslaught. In fact, it is a travail for our existence or extinction.

In order to give extra impetus to the on-going struggle for existence and our right to retrieve the lost lands and property, I feel we can do enough to ameliorate our miserable condition.

The community must shed all individualistic approach and feel like one body. All dissensions and bickerings among the various organisations of the community should end. Nobody should be allowed to exploit and make political mileage out of the prevailing situation. Every Pandit should contribute his mite in retrieving the lost glory.

Youth, a potential resource, if harnessed in right direction, may also restore the community its lost position. It is true that some harm and damage has already been done to their conscience and mental outlook but despite this they have creditably borne the brunt and have come triumphant in absorbing the shock of immense magnitude.

The sad affair afflicting the community is their total apathy towards social reform. It is futile to reiterate that hypocrisy, social pride and ego still persist in the community. Dowry system and ostentation in marriages will accentuate their financial problems. Already they have invested their substantial earnings in raising huge buildings which are being gutted apace in the valley. They should exercise parsimony, conserving whatever is left with them. Social checks in conducting the marriages can prove very fruitful in conserving the financial resources. Voluminous belongings devoid of any practical utility should be discarded as these hinder the mobility.

The community felt proud in establishing some prestigious colleges in Kashmir. It feels acutely the need for technical and medical colleges of its own. However, by raising sufficient funds through mobilisation, the community can own its engineering and medical colleges. Besides, imparting job oriented training to the youth, it can generate employment opportunities for unemployed youth.

The potential to man these institutions is already present in the community. Steps may be taken vigorously to open more colleges and schools to educate the community children.

And, if possible, we can train our youth to start small industries with the help of government.

To preserve our ethos and cultural distinction, we should conduct regular meetings and especially on festival days in our respective localities. This will give greater chances of inter-action and hence induce us to render our utmost service in time of need or if any one of us is afflicted with some trouble and suffering. This social service must be rendered unhesitatingly and without any fail.

And wherever there is a Kashmiri Pandit doctor, he should not hesitate to render free service for deserving Kashmiri Pandit patients.

The community should pay utmost heed towards the growth of their physical and mental health. Many members of this community are afflicted by various mental and physical diseases which if treated at an initial stage can be remedied.

The dismal and pathetic scenario confronting the community can be overcome by optimism and positive approach. The government, by its slow and inept handling, will not come to our rescue but we must remember the maxim that God helps those who help themselves.

There is no denying the fact that Pandits have lost the paradise and the government has been a mute spectator to the complete ethnic cleansing in Kashmir. The responsibility for our safe return and rehabilitation in the valley devolves on the government. This is the greatest challenge that we must face and strive for.

After all we are an educated community. We can mobilise media people to highlight our problems and urge the government for the redressal of these problems.

Keeping in view the present scenario, and the government's apathetic approach towards resolving our problems, it is not possible for us to return to the valley soon. Guns still rule the roost, and the present government's plans to offer greater autonomy to Kashmir will further complicate the situation. Parties that come to power may then demand still more autonomy which will be no less than freedom. Kashmiri Pandits have to rise to the occasion and to think seriously about their prospects to live honourably on the Indian soil.

So, problems are numerous and complicated. We have to stand united to challenge these problems.

 

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