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September 16th  - November 30th, 2000

EDITORIAL

Selective Transparency

Transparency in counter-insurgency operations in a democratic society cannot be faulted. But the handling of Pathribal probe and its subsequent politicisation by the ruling National Conference raises serious questions particularly when Dr Abdullah happens to be the head of the Unified Command as well. Populist gimmicks which caste aspertions on the security forces can derail the counter-insurgency efforts.

The State government has been found wanting in discharging its responsibilities both before and after the Chattisinghpora massacre. A month before the mayhem many Sikh delegations had called on the Union Home Minister and the State Governor to apprise them about the threats Sikhs were facing from the militants.

The Pandian Commission report has not established the innocence in militancy of the persons killed at Pathribal. It has only said that people killed there were not foreign mercenaries, as claimed by a section of the security forces. The report also doesn't mention that Pathribal killings and Chattisinghpora massacre were the outcome of a single conspiracy. It is significant that the Commission has exonerated both SP-SOG and SHO Achhabal, the two key officers linked to Pathribal killings. There are many other loose ends in the report in view of the limited terms of reference set for it.

Why then has the Farooq government gone overboard in hailing the Pandian report' Its posturings on the report and the decision to recall justice Pandian for investigating the Chattisinghpora massacre have been exploited by the separatist leadership and ISI to unleash a barrage of mischievous propaganda against the Indian security forces. They are trying to invent a new mythology that would link all the massacres in the state to Indian security forces. Also the selective overplaying of the CRPF firing factor during Amarnath Yatra has not helped the nationalist effort either.

National Conference has always revelled in playing the game of political expediency. It is trying to play the 'Muslim Card' when the elections to the assembly are drawing nearer. The totally hostile attitude towards the dispossessed Kashmiri Pandit community needs to be viewed in the same context.

The Central government under the constitution bears overall responsibility for maintaining the national security. It must send a firm message to the politicians in the Kashmir valley that the country will not countenance any politics that complicates the security scenario. The Centre must also ask the State government to get all the massacres to in the state investigated under broader terms of reference. On its part it can set the ball rolling by releasing the long-awaited Shanker Sen report on Wandhama massacre. Selective transparency is not in the national interests. It can prove counter-productive.

NC Unfolds a New Phase of Pandit Destablisation

Displaced Students Strike Enters Third Month

Special Correspondent

It may well flare up into a worst confrontation between the displaced Kashmiri Pandits and National Conference government in the state. The entire displaced population in Jammu is gradually waking up to the implications of the government decision and the motivation behind it, by virtue of which the camp colleges for displaced students in Jammu have been merged with the Jammu University. The summer zone or sub-registry of Kashmir University under which these colleges and the post graduate courses functioned has been brought to closure. The displaced students have rejected this government decision and sought its revocation.

To ensure the same they have gone on an indeffinite strike which has entered the 70th day. The relay hunger strike of the students in front of Divisional Commissioner's office has completed a month and with the joining of the entire Kashmiri Pandit leadership in the strike and the expressed support from all the political parties other than NC for the student, demand, the issue is gradually snowballing into a major confrontation between the students and the government. On the surface the government decision appears to be a simple administrative measure but a close scrutiny reveals a political dimension which is nothing but sinisterous.

In the year 1990, subsequent to the internal displacement of the entire Kashmiri Pandit population, three colleges called 'camp colleges' were established in Jammu city to cater to the educational needs of the displaced students from the Valley. Due to the absence of adequate educational facilities in the Jammu region and the escalation of ethnic and regional tensions these camp colleges were not put under the jurisdiction of the University Jammu

However, these colleges for a long time could not persue their normal academic curriculum. This was primarily because the decision making apparatus for these camp colleges which functioned from Kashmir University in the trouble torn valley was both non-functional due to the situation there and also nursed a venegeful communal hostility towards the displaced students. There was no fixed term, no certainty, no regularity of holding examination. Results were declared after inordinate long gaps of time thus taking heavy toll of the students. Absence of proper library and Lab facilities and lack of adequate staff created more problems. Even for minor decisions the camp colleges had to wait for indeffinite time for administration in Kashmir University, Displaced Kashmiri Pandits anticipated such pitfalls of having camp colleges in Jammu functioning under a hostile administrative machinery operating from Valley. They, however were not well versed with the negative fallout of these camp colleges being put under the jurisdiction of Jammu University such as the potential of escalation of regional and ethnic tensions in Jammu both inherent in such a decision as well as artificially manipulated. Precisely for these reasons some displaced Kashmiri Pandit organisations initially demanded an arrangement of education for their students under the aegis of Jammu University. However the totality of the situation was soon grasped by them and henceforth the entire spectrum of Pandit Organisations sought an arrangement of camp colleges under Kashmir University but with an autonomous administrative set up based in Jammu which could take decisions like conduct of examination, declaration of results etc at proper times. Intriguingly since the inception of camp colleges in 1990 till 1998 no such decision was taken by the state government and the displaced students had to persevere the total uncertainty of their academic cirriculum. On an average a student completed one years' course in two to three years leading to crippling of their academic carriers. The community leadership pleaded their case persistently with the State government, Central government as well as National Human Rights Commission. This effort ultimately led to the decision by the State government to establish a semi-autonomous sub-registry or a summur zone of Kashmir University in Jammu and place the camp colleges under its jurisdiction. Since this administrative set up was equipped to take decisions about conduct of examination, declaration of results, developing basic minimum infrastructure for running of camp colleges and starting post-graduate classes for the eligible displaced students, the problem of the displaced students had been resolved to a large extent. There were no inordinate delays in the conduct of examinations or declaration of results.

The special arrangement of selecting displaced students for post-graduate courses had brought about a relief to the students. For last two years the system was functioning smoothly and unnecessary friction with the interests of local students had been eliminated. Then suddenly and intriguingly this year after the academic sessions in the camp colleges had started as per schedule and months of academic activity had already been accomplished, the State government declared that they were closing the office of the sub-registry of Kashmir University in Jammu.

Why has the State government dismantled a set up which was created after lot of effort, hastles and struggle by the students and was functioning smoothly to the satisfaction of all' The state administration his so far offered a singular explanation for its decision of merger of the camp colleges with the Jammu University. "We have taken this decision in fact at the behest of displaced community. It has been their demand for a long time to be adjusted with the Jammu University." This explanation appears ridiculous in the light of the facts of the evolution of camp colleges as mentioned above. For all these years the State government stubbornly refused to take a measure which at some time might have brought some relief to students but has no relevance now.

In fact after the establishment of sub-registry of Kashmir University in Jammu and its satisfactory functioning for last two years the decision to abolish this arrangement has many dangerous ramification now. Not only the new uncertainty it has caused for the displace student, the decision tentamounts to destroying some of the few arrangements which the State government had created for displaced community after a lot of reluctance. The decision politically has also the potential to pit the interests of the displaced community against the students of Jammu. The displaced students opine that even if a special reservation is ensured for the displaced students in Jammu University for post-graduate courses the same is bound to arouse bitterness amongst Jammu students over the long run, which they want to avoid at all costs.

The decision also appears paradoxical in the light of NC government's resolve to ensure return of Kashmiri Pandits. The arrangements whereby camp colleges worked under the jurisdiction of Kashmir University acted as an important emotional link between the displaced community and the Kashmir valley. "It is virtual religious cleansing of the academic fraternity of Kashmir University. This decision has ensured the total Muslimisation of Kashmir University", says one of the displaced teachers.

The differences in the curriculum of Kashmir University and Jammu University also point out that the closure of the camp colleges under Kashmir University at the middle of a session is least motivated by administrative considerations. The subjects offered by Kashmir University and Jammu University for post-graduate studies vary significantly. There are also significant differences in the syllabii of the two universities.

Looking at some other similar decisions taken by the State government vis-a-vis the displaced Kashmiri Pandits a strange type of political sadism appears to have gripped the ruling NC government. The State government despite the court order to maintain a status quo has already decided to close the camp college of Regional Engineering College Srinagar in Jammu. While these efforts appear to indicate that the State government has diluted its commitment for return of Kashmiri Pandits to Valley and is envisaging their permanent stay in Jammu, the government order to stop the pay of the migrant employees of J&K Cement Corporation and order them to join duties in Valley appears more cynical. The most intriguing is the decision of the State government to cancel all arrangements of security and accommodation for those Kashmiri Pandit employees who have continued to work in the Valley. "It appear that the State government more than pursuing any administrative logic is taking decisions after decisions vis-a-vis the displaced Kashmiri Pandit to bring about their physical as well as psychological destabilization. The attitude of the State government borders on some sort of selective attrition," a political scientist of Jammu University commented.

Recently the J&K High Court upheld the plea of the Ghandhi Memorial College to be treated at par with other government aided institutions and ordered the release of the financial aid to the college by the government. The order has not been implements for around six months now and even a contempt petition is pending now in the court. Such attitude and the other decisions as discussed here have alarmed the displaced community significantly. They view the decision of the State government regarding the camp college in the broader context of their experience with the State government. "This decision is a test case for government to judge our reaction. The actual aim is to create conditions to push us out of Jammu as well," opine community leaders. There is a general impression that NC is persuing an agenda of political Vendetta against a community which has stubbornly opposed its political views.

Recently the government has started offering another explanation for their decision. 'The number of displaced students going to camp colleges is drying up. So there will be no feeder schools for the camp colleges," remarked the Divisional Commissioner in his meeting with the representatives of camp colleges. A closer study of the situation reveals another picture which brings to light the human angle of the problem. All the camp schools which operate in constructed buildings and have some basic infrastructural facilities are functioning well with adequate number of students. However those camp schools which have to operate in open air during blistering heat, the number of students is going down. 'How can young students opt for such schools where they have to read in open during summer. We have many cases of boys fainting and getting heat strokes during summer. Even the facility of water is not available," explained a teacher in a camp schools. As per reports State government is envisaging closure the camp schools and the decision is kept in abeyance pending the outcome of students strike END

--
 

Indian Muslims make Kashmir a Muslim problem

KS Correspondent

Is Kashmir a Muslim problem' At least a section f Indian Muslim intellectuals, holding views ranging from left to frank communalism believe so. While rabidly fundamentalist outfits like students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) have been collaborating with Kashmiri terrorists openly, Muslim intellectuals and political leaders of India are busy lobbying for support for communal demands of Kashmiri Muslims.

Messers Shahbuddin, editor Muslim India, Wazahat Habibullah, a bureaucrat, and Mushir-ul-Hassan, who subscribes to the nationalist school of historiography hold virtually identical views on Kashmir. These views are far removed from the nationalist consensus on Kashmir.

Syed Shahbuddin in a recent statement came out openly in support of the separatist demand of autonomy, a demand voice by a section of Kashmiri Sunnis. While pleading for homeland, he claimed autonomy would protect the larger interests of Kashmiris, but refused to elaborate how. In the month of June he visited Kashmir and at the end of his 5-days "fact finding" visit asserted "we (Indian Muslims) have three relations with you (Kashmiris), humanitarian, religious and the same citizenship". Syed Shahabuddin also claimed that he would try to rope in Muslim organisations like Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Muslim Majlis Mashawarat, All India Milli Council, All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Jamiat-e-Islami Hind for mobilising support for Kashmiris.

Mr Wajahat Habibullah, a bureaucrat in J&K Cadre and presently Director Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration, Musoorie in an interview with a national daily pleaded the National Conference line. He claimed that revival of discussion on the autonomy issue would pave way for return of peace in Kashmir. Mr Habibullah, while lobbying support for National Conference said, "the autonomy resolution could be open to criticism, but you can discuss it, debate it and talk about it to generate public opinion. Moreover the fact that we are acceded to India is inherent in the resolution itself". By limiting the relationship between India and Kashmir to just instrument of accession, Muslim leaders are trying to undermine the closer integration. This has been the long-standing demand of Kashmiri separatists. Mr Habibullah also criticized dialogue with Hizb and said it was unfortunate that immediately after the rejection of the J&K resolution, the Centre shifted the focus to Hizbul instead of keeping the discussion on autonomy issue. He added worse was the feeling among Kashmiris that both India and Pakistan are fighting for Kashmir for its strategic location.

In another development Prof Mushirul Hassan, is organising a symposium on solutions to Kashmir problem in Jamia Milia under the aegis of Institute of Third World Studies on November 10, 11. In this seminar all the three presentations are by Muslim scholars. They are Dr Mohd Ishaq Khan (Kashmir University), a strong supporter of autonomy, Dr Aijaz Ahmed, a Marxist-turned pro-autonomist, has been pleading for autonomy to Kashmiri Muslims in the columns of Frontline, a fortnightly published from Chennai. The third speaker is MJ Akbar, a close friend of Dr Farooq Abdullah. The keynote address, as per programme, will be delivered by Mr Salman Haider, a former foreign secretary.

Non-Muslim invitees have been asked only to send questions. It is a matter of concern because Mr Haider and Mr Habibullah have been manning senior positions in the Indian state END

--

Colonel Bhagwan Singh-A character profile

By K Brahma Singh

One tends to feel somewhat awkward while writing in praise of his own father. So is it with me as I write about my father late Lieutenant Colonel Bhagwan Singh who passed away recently after leading a useful life spanning nearly ninety-five years. However, the thought that I might be failing in my duty to the society if I do not highlight some of the rare character qualities that my father possessed, and which could well act as a model for the present generation to emulate, goads me on. I, as his son, owe this responsibility to the society even more so, as Colonel Bhagwan Singh was not a public figure about who much would be known already to most people. No doubt both during his service in the Army as well as during his life as a civilian after retirement, he had established an enduring reputation of being a man of high principles, but time had begun to take its toll and though Colonel Bhagwan Singh had kept his name in circulation right up to the last years of his life through his writings on current social and political topics, people who knew him for his great strength of character became fewer and fewer as his generation started giving place to the new. There is, therefore, the need to record some of the events from Colonel Bhagwan Singh's life which reflect an ideal combination of honesty, truthfulness, moral excellence, determination, perserverance, professional competence, self confidence, courage of conviction and fearlessness, so that they are not lost to posterity. The fact that Colonel Bhagwan Singh led a successful life without ever compromising on his principles makes him a source of encouragement to those who seem to believe that character and principles do not pay in life.

Colonel Bhagwan Singh was a Karma Yogi in the truest sense, being bothered only about his Karma and not the fruit. His motto was "Trust in God and do the right" and he did exactly that. During his military service professional competence, acquired through hard work, sharp intellect and the great urge to excel in whatever he did, was his hallmark. The urge to excel did not, however, stem from a desire for self-aggrandizement in competition with own State Force officers. His target was the British officer who during the days of the Raj, considered himself far above the Indian officer and farther still above the State Force officer. That was the time when the British would not allow Indians to assume independent command of even their own troops, let alone command British or other foreign troops. While Indian commissioned officers in the Indian Army were not promoted to ranks where they could claim independent command, the State Forces officers who held higher ranks were prevented from taking command of their troops by attacking a specified number of British officers with State Forces units, when operating out side their states--ostensibly as advisors but in practice as de facto commanders, with powers to remove the de jure State Force commanding officer from command. Such British officers, known as Special Service Officers (SSOs), were attached with the Ist Jammu and Kashmir Mountain Batery also as it proceeded to the Middle East, under the command of Colonel (then Major) Bhagwan Singh, to participate in the Second World War. Colonel Bhagwan Singh, however, would not accept the humiliating situation and refused to grant to the senior SSO a position any more than an advisor and even that while retaining his prerogative of accepting or rejecting any such advice--the SSO's powers to remove him from command notwithstanding. In the confrontation with the SSO that ensued, Colonel Bhagwan Singh fought his case before the highest military authority in the Middle East and in a display of great strength of conviction, supreme moral courage, and extreme self confidence borne out of professional competence par excellence, he secured the removal of the SSOs from his Battery to become the first Indian to command a unit in war independently and free of British officers. The achievement of Colonel Bhagwan Singh would appear all the more exhilarating considering the fat that he fought the case of official British discrimination against State Forces officers, (who were at that time the only Indian officers who could stake their claim to command on the basis of their seniority), single-handed and without support from the State, as the British had got all the Princes (including our own) to accept the humiliating situation that their officers were faced with.

After getting command of his own troops, Colonel Bhagwan Singh strove for and succeeded in being given command over British, Australian and French troops that were attached to the J&K Battery from time to time. Colonel Bhagwan Singh then went on to command his unit in war with great distinction and earn laurels for himself, the State and the Country, too numerous to be recounted here. It would suffice to say that his achievements were greatly appreciated as much by the British themselves as by the Maharaja, who not only granted him accelerated promotion but also conferred on him a gallantry award in the form of a Jagir. It is a matter of great shame that Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who had himself expressed his deep appreciation of Colonel Bhagwan Singh's achievements on his return to the State, resumed this gallantry award immediately on heading the first popular government in the State, if only to spite the Maharaja.

On reverting to civil life Colonel Bhagwan Singh came to be generally accepted by the people of Jammu as a man of principles and high moral values, though the more mundane among them may have at times considered him to be rigid, unbending and less worldly. He was known to have preferred waiting for ten long years for getting his pension case settled to getting it done immediately by bribing some one. Most social and political organisations were, consequently, keen to have him with them to be able to present a clean image of themselves. He did join some social organisations but they soon found him too hot to handle and had him eased out as eagerly as they had tried to get him in. Moral of the story: corruption and clean image cannot coexist. Colonel Bhagwan Singh, however, never joined any political party although he had many offers, particularly from the Praja Parishad/Jan Sangh/BJP with whom his views generally tallied. Because of his clean image he was even offered the party ticket for the Parliamentary seat during the time of the Janata wave when winning in the election would not have been much of a problem for an opponent of the ruling party but he refused it. Not that he was not interested in politics, but because he wished to play the role of a watch-dog of democracy and did not wish to restrict his thinking to conform to any party lines. This role he performed very well and even as he invaiably voted for the opposition, he wrote fearlessly and scathingly against the ruling party in the State in national and local dailies/periodicals. His comments on autonomy in response to an article written by the noted journalist Mr BG Verghese in support of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah's demand, both of which appeared in the Hindustan Times in 1972, marked, perhaps, the first voice of opposition to the autonomy theory at a a time when most people, including those in the government, were going head over heels to appease the Sheikh. His book on Political Conspiracies of Kashmir (Life and Light Pulishers, Rohtak, 1973), also touched on topics that were under taboo in those days--as they are even today to some extent. Colonel Bhagwan Singh was in fact a man of very strong convictions who gave full expression to his views in a forthright and fearless manner.

Standing 5ft 10in tall, with handsome looks, robust physique, and a strong character, Colonel Bhagwan Singh, indeed, presented a dominating personality. He was a great sportsman in his younger days and distinguished himself in every game that he played, but more so in Hockey, Football, Tennis, Billiards and Polo. What was, however, most remarkable and amazing about him was his ability to do nearly every thing, resulting from his analytic mind, tremendous self-confidence and commonsense. Apart from being a prolific writer (English) and also bit of a poet (Urdu), he was a plumber, carpenter, mason, painter, tailor, embroiderer, and an electician, all rolled into one, with fair degree of proficiency in each of thse professions.

He remained a strict teetotaler as a matter of strong conviction, much against the army environment of those days. Even in parties hosted by the Maharaja, to which he was frequently invited after his return from the War, he would not drink nor was he ever asked by the Maharaja to do so--such was the Maharaja's regard for this man of principles END

News-brief

Kashmiri traders involved in fake currency racket

KS Correspondent

A report appearing in the Nepalese daily, Kathmandu Post says that many Kashmiri traders are involved in fake currency racket in Nepal. The Nepalese police have arrested 27 Kashmiri businessmen recently and detained them in secret detention centres. Ten of them were released after a week. Nepal has been serving as a base for Kashmiri terrorists and the separatists have been exfiltrating and infiltrating Nepal without any hindrance from the Nepalese authorities END

Army calls the bluff at Beerwah

KS Correspondent

Army has called the bluff of State Police by providing hard evidence about internal subversion in Beerwah camp attack. On September 11 night Lashkar-e-Toiba had carried out an attack on Beerwah army camp, in which fifteen soldiers were killed. The causalities included a Major as well. This incident had led to bitterness between the troops and the police, with Army suspecting the police behind the attack.

Suspecting subversion from within, 34-Rashtriya Rifles carried out identification parade from neighbouring police station and jawans of the CRPF. Army had a strong belief that local police sheltered the militants, who carried out the attack. CRPF, J&K Police and state administration lodged a strong protest against the Army for conducting identification parade of their forces. The police even lodged a FIR against Col. T.Shashidaran of 34 RR for ordering crackdown. Army, however, remained undeterred and carried out investigation.

Finally it turned out that two ISI moles in State Police were behind the attack. They were identified as Mushtaq Ahmed Sheikh and his sister Shafiqa, both Special Police Officials (SPOs). The two had acted as guides to terrorists during the attack. Mushtaq was a surrendered militant and he had been working for the Special Operation Group (SOG), Budgam. As per police sources, many SPOs were recruited from among the surrendered militants and they continue to work for militants as well.

On Oct 2 evening, the troops received information about the presence of a militant at village Sel. As troops laid the cordon around the house, the militant fired from inside the house. Then going down to the first floor, he started firing on the troops. The troops retaliated but the militant managed to escape. Locals identified the militant as Mushtaq Ahmed. He had been earlier arrested in an abduction case.

Later, during search, the Army seized some arms and ammunition, including two disposable rockets. The rockets and IEDs were hidden under the floor of the house. The IEDs went off when troops tried to defuse it. Besides these, troops also recovered some fake currency notes, a film roll and three police uniforms. After developing the film roll, Army ground both the SPOs holding assault rifles and grenade launcher attachments along with some other militants. One of the militants standing along with the SPOs was identified as Riyaz Ahmad Dar of Sel. A diary was also seized from the house of Mushtaq, which revealed details, including telephone numbers of many officials. An FIR has since been lodged with Beerwah police station in this regard. This incident highlights how difficult is the situation in which the army is operating. Anti-national elements, with their deep tentacles in the local administration have been relentlessly pursuing the gameplan of making Army the victim of a disinformation campaign END

India seeks Israeli expertise in CI strategy

KS Correspondent

Mandarins in Delhi have finally woken up to the fact that our border management and counter terrorism strategy needs fine tuning. A team of top security experts from Israel, led by Eli Katzir of the counter-terrorism combat unit of the Israeli. PMO visited Srinagar in last week of September. The team studied the deployment, operations and border management polices of the armed forces in Kashmir. Israel is going to supply highly sophisticated ground sensors, to be installed at borders. This will help in cutting down the cost of policing the borders. The IAF has also ordered purchase of Phalcon airborne early warning systems. The military is negotiating among other things, anti ballistic radar systems END

'I have lost my beautiful abode', says Bekas

KS Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Oct 8: The ace broadcaster of yesteryears, and poet, Makhan Lal Bekas reflected his inner most feelings, here at a two-day Kashmiri Conference convened by Lal Ded Foundation. Unlike his other Pandit colleagues, Bekas refused to gloss over the reality that he has been thrown out from his homeland through an act of ethnic cleansing. Bekas recited at the function a poem, written before migration. He said he has left writing poetry as a protest because he has lost his land-Kashmir.

Bekas said migration was very painful and he lost his abode. In a choked voice, he lamented, "I have stopped writing. I felt that there is no fun in continuing my writing because I have lost my beautiful abode. I am living the life of a migrant"

LETTERS

Open Letter to Mr Advani

Sir,

I am surprised at your statement "I wanted to quit after yatri killings" (H.T. of 14th. Oct) Men of your stature either resign or they do not resign. They do not offer to quit and then be "persuaded to stay on." There are gimmicks of lesser men. I also do not agree with the congressmen who told you privately that if you had resigned it would have been the victory of the killers. On the other hand if you had resigned you would have shaken the nation out of its slumber. I am most disappointed. However, all this is behind you. You have also said" the lowest point of my tenure came when you heard about the killings of Amarnath Yatris". May I with all my humility ask--what have you done about it after that' You undertook a rathyatra from Kanya Kumari to Ayodhaya for Ram Janamabhoomi-a very soft route. How about a Rathyatra on the Amarnath route from Banihal Tunnel to Panchterni. Face the threats which the yatris faced.

Immediately after this massacre came another challenge. A brigadier-brigade commandant was killed by the militants and the forces were not allowed retributions. See what the Israilies are doing after losing two soldiers. Was the recent visit of the high ups to Israel just a jaunt' Have they learnt nothing. I agree the army have their limitations. The locals are not helpful in giving information. Guerillas can be fought only by guerillas. I admired the Bihari Yatri who faced the TV camera squarely and said that he was not daunted by the killings. He will continue the yatra and if in process he can deal with even militants his aim in life will be achieved. Settle men like him around the Holy Shrines, give them arms, support them all along the Yatra route all the year round and they will protect the yatris better than the army and the local police who in any case are with the militants. This will be cheap proxy war answer to the Paki brand of cheap proxy war. Give it a thought. Now is the time.

 --S.D. Khanna.

Hauz Khas, New Delhi

"Indian State is in conflict with its own civilisation"

M.K.Teng

We reproduce here the key-note address delivered by Prof MK Teng at the convention organised by Panun Kashmir and NS Kashmiri Research Institute to commemorate this years Kashmiri Pandit Balidan Divas (Martyr's Day) at Abhinav Theatre Jammu. The day was observed as the day of 'Asmita' to highlight the importance of preservation of Kashmiri Pandit cultural identity, image and voice.

Preface to the keynote address delivered by Dr. M.K. Teng:

Due to the liberalist moorings of the English speaking Indian intellectual class, which flourished with the consolidation of the British power in India, the Indian historiography followed a methodology, which in the ultimate analysis reflected an ideological commitment to liberalist reformism. The Indian renaissance performed the most vital task of the assertion of the Sanskrit identity of India which formed the foreground of the Indian nationalism . Starchey's definition of India as a "geographical expression" was basic to the claim of the legitimacy of the British rule for the 'geographical expression" negated the national identity of India and its right to unity.

The Indian intellectual class which directed the Indian national movement followed Strachey's negativism for the British and the Muslims in India, from whom the British had inherited power. This class visualised India as a special plurality which could not claim a national unity as the basis of its independence. Liberal reformism could not visualise Indian unity as an expression of its civilisational content. The Muslims and the Christians, could not accept Sanskrit civilisation as the basis of their participation in an independent India. The Indian intellectual class, under the leadership of Congress set out in search of a unity in diversity, rejecting the Sanskrit substratum of the Indian civilisation as the basis of the Indian nationhood. The Indian emphasis on unity in diversity, deepened the ethno-centric conflict in the Indian political culture and when the British left, the Muslim also joined them to leave India.

The time has arrived to re-emphasis the basic current of the Indian renaissance and redefine the basis of the Indian identity. India continues to be visualised as a geographical identity and not as a national unity based on its own civilisational content, because, the Indian intellectual class is still trapped in the reformism of the British liberal tradition. The only way, therefore, for India to unite into a nation, is to of find the roots of its identity.

Key Note Address

Ladies and Gentlemen

I express my gratitude to the chairman N.S. Kashmir Research Institute and the Chairman Panun Kashmir for having invited me to deliver the keynote address of the procedings today.

There is an urgency to rediscover the identity of the Hindus of Kashmir. In fact there is an urgency to rediscover the identity of the Hindus in India. In the liberation struggle of India the Muslim separatist movement rejected the identity and the unity of the Indian nation. The rootless English-speaking intellectual class of India, which led the Indian movement for liberation, disowned the Indian renaissance because the Muslims rejected it.

The British recognised the Muslim claim to a separate nation. The Indian leaders claimed a national unity based upon the diversity of India. In the process both Gandhi and Nehru and the other leaders of the Indian independence movement diluted both the unity of the Indian nation as well as its Sanskrit content.

Jammu and Kashmir is part of the national identity of India, which is Sanskrit in origin and Sanskrit in content. India is in the midst of a civilisational war. The expansion of the Muslim power to the east will ultimately depend upon the de-Sanskritisation of the northern frontier of India, more specifically the warm Himalayan hinterland, of which Jammu and Kashmir forms the central spur.

Committed to the unity and the Sanskrit foundations of their heritage the Hindus in Kashmir have always formed the frontline of the resistance against the Muslim crusade. They fought against Muslim separatism in India before the independence of the country. They fought, with determined resolution, against Pakistan and the Muslim secessionist movement inside the State, after freedom came to India.

The Hindus of Kashmir are an ancient people. They form an inseparable part of the history of the Sanskrit civilisation of India. The contours of their identity are determined heritage. Their social culture is proto-Vedic. Their language has origin in the proto-vedic. Their ritual culture is Sanskrit. The Hindus of Kashmir are a part of the Sanskrit people of India.

The Hindus of Kashmir are of proto-Aryan origin and have lived in Kashmir from times, which began with the Bruzahom civilisation between 3500 to 4500 BC, far before the Aryans and presumed to have invaded India. The skeletons found at Burzahom in Srinagar are of the people, were the ancestors of the people who live in northern India today. I saw the skeletons with my own eyes. I had no doubt who they were. The anthropometric survey corroborated the fact that the people, who lived at Burzahom, were of proto-Aryan origin.

Kashmir and Jammu including Ladakh, perhaps with the region extending to the Indo-Ganetic plains formed the part of the Aryan heartland. The truth must be told and it is better that it is told by us. The Hindus of Kashmir are no imposters. They never descended on the Karewas of the Kashmir valley from the oblivion of the north. They grew from the soil of Kashmir and had their birth in it.

The posterity of the Burzahom Aryans, lived in Kashmir, through ages down to our own time. The Nagas and the Pisachas were no aborigines. They were also people of Sanskrit origin. They were no more ancient than the Burzahom people. They were their descendents and inheritors of the Burzahom culture. Their ritual forms were adopted from the Vedic Kalpa-Sutra and the Vedic Grah-Sutra. They followed Vedic Karma-Kanda which Laugaksh Muni evolved in the first millennium before Christ, which represented the zenith of the Neelmat era.

The Hindus of Kashmir became an epicenter of the Sanskrit civilisation of India. To them goes the credit of evolving the tenents of Shiavite Monism. Shiavite Monism represented both a theological doctrine aimed to achieve recognition of a unified field of universal existence and a philosophical concept of logical positivism. The recognition of eternal consciousness, of which universal existence was an expression, was the greatest gift of the Hindus of Kashmir to the Sanskrit civilisation of India. Shiavite monism grew out of 'Advaita in which, time and space vanished with the end of human consciousness. Shiavite monism transcended the limitations of human consciousness and the relativism of time and space.

The Hindus of Kashmir Sanskritised the Himalayas and a great part of Asia beyond.

Sarvastavadin Budhism filled the Hinyan nihilism with the immortality of the Budhisatva and the foundation of its being by the mother goddess Tara. Sarvastin Budhsim was evolved in Kashmir and was spread by the Kashmiri Pandit masters of Budhism to Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia and part of Western China. The Hindus of Kashmir founded a script for both the Tibetan as well as the Mongolian language on the basis of linguistic sociology of Sharda. The Budhist theocracy of Tibet was founded by Kashmiri Pandits, who reached Mongolia in the time of the great Chengis Khan.

The Hindus of Kashmir are not a part of the so-called composite culture of Kashmir. Islamic Sufism did not represent with cultural and the spiritual ethos of Kashmir. It represented the liberal theology of Islam, which did not accept coexistence of a composite culture. Sufism did not grow in Kashmir. Kashmir was never an abode of Rishis of the Sufi order, as is claimed. Lallshari represented the last resistance to the persecution and the ethnic extermination which the Hindus were subjected to in her time.

India is not a geographical expression. It is a unity of people with a universal civilisational ethos which has grown through the millennia of the Indian history. The unity of India is not synonymous with unity in diversity.

As a matter fact, the emphasis laid on unity in diversity during the liberation movement in India led straight to the division of the country.

The propagation of the sub-national diversity of India was a subtle design to undermine the Sanskrit foundations of the nation of India. The creation of Pakistan was the first phase of the conspiracy.

Neither Gandhi nor Nehru resisted the conspiracy. They failed to realise the fundamental conflict inherent in the claim to unity in diversity and what they called the composite culture. Their acceptance of diversity as a basis of Indian unity drove them straight to the partition of India and the creation of the Muslim state of Pakistan. After the partition, the insistence of the Indian leaders on the unity in diversity confronted them with the first phase of the Muslim crusade in Jammu and Kashmir.

Hidden under the cover of the composite culture of India is the civilisational conflict, which seeks the de-Sanskritisation of the northern India to open the way for the Muslim power to expand eastward. The attempts to recreate the identity of Jammu and Kashmir in Sufism, is a subtler plot to dilute the boundaries and the content of the Sanskrit civilisation of Kashmir. From Kashmir the Muslim crusade has spread to Jammu and Ladakh, which form the two major bulwarks of the Sanskrit civilisation of the Northern India. Sanskrit Himalayas are impregnable. If the warm Himalayan hinterland is de-Sanskritised the Muslim power will spread over the whole of the north of India. The Indian state will ignore the warning at its own perils.

Committed to the Sanskrit foundations of their heritage, the Hindus of Kashmir have formed the frontline of resistances against the Muslim crusade. They fought with bare teeth against Muslim separatism in India before independence. They fought with determined resolution against Pakistan and the Muslim secessionist movements after freedom came to India.

A new phase of struggle has begun for them now. They must apprise the people of India that the Indian state does not recognise the civilisational unity of India. The Indian people must be told that if the Indian state repudiates the Sanskrit basis of the Indian society, it will disintegrate. The state of India which is in conflict with its civilisation will not survive. The Indian state will not be able face the Muslim crusade without a civilisational face END

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The Role of Para-Military Forces in Countering the Terrorist Challenges in India within the overall Security Strategy

By Prakash Singh

Terrorism has spread far and wide in different parts of the world. It has made a profound impact on India also. We have had (and continue to have) terrorism of the tribals in the North-East, of the Naxalites in Andhra and Bihar particularly, of the separatists in Punjab and the militants in Kashmir. On a conservative estimate, about 40,000 lives are believed to have been lost in the terrorist incidents in different parts of the country. We lost a Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi), an ex-Prime Minister (Rajiv Gandhi) and a former Army Chief (General Vaidya).

The responsibility for the maintenance of law and order, under the Constitution, vests in the state governments. Unfortunately, however, there has been over the years a gradual erosion in the striking power of the state police forces. A number of factors have contributed to this phenomenon. There have been no reforms in the police. On the contrary, there has been increasing politicization of the force. What is worse, there is now a growing nexus between the politicians, criminals and the civil servants and policemen. As a result, we have the strange spectacle of law enforcement agencies not being able to cope with even routine law and order duties. Dealing with motivated and well equipped terrorists becomes well nigh an impossible proposition.

In such a scenario, the paramilitary forces naturally get sucked into all kinds of internal security situations. We find them assisting the state police forces during agitations, demonstrations, religious festivals, communal riots and elections. The state police forces consider it a matter of right to call for the paramilitary forces while dealing with terrorists. There is no gainsaying that terrorists are a tough lot and require specialised handling. It should nevertheless be possible for the state police forces to deal with minor terrorist groups like those of the Marxist-Leninists and any other formations which have a regional complexion only. The terrorist movement in Punjab and militancy in Kashmir are of course in a different category. Even in these areas, the problem would perhaps not have assumed such serious dimensions if the first symptoms had been dealt with firmly. In any case, without going deeper into this question of handling or mishandling of terrorist problem while it is still in embryonic stage, let it be conceded that there was and is adequate justification for the induction of paramilitary forces in the kind of situations that obtained in Punjab and continues to prevail in Kashmir.

The paramilitary forces were raised at different periods of time for specified purposes. The Border Security Force (BSF) was raised as an Armed Force of the Union by amalgamating 25 battalions of various States Armed Police Forces in the wake of the border incursions that preceded the Indo-Pak War in 1965. It was designed essentially to guard the frontiers of the country and assist the Army during war time. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which was originally the "Crown Representative's Police" was renamed as the Central Reserve Police Force on December 28, 1949. Its basic role is that of a striking reserve to be placed at the disposal of States/UTs for operations of short duration and return to the barracks once the task is accomplished. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was raised in 1962 in the wake of the Sino-Indian Conflict to guard the Indo-Tibetan border from the Karakoram Pass in J&K to Lipulekh Pass in UP. The Assam Rifles' charter is to ensure security of the North-Eastern sector of the international border and maintain law and order in the tribal areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur. The National Security Guard (NSG) was raised to neutralise terrorist threat in any specified area and to handle hijack situation involving piracy in the air and on land. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is meant primarily to provide security to the industrial undertakings owned by the Central government.

It would thus appear that only the Assam Rifles and the NSG had terrorism as a component in their charter of duties. We find however that the Border Security Force, the CRPF and the ITBP have all been extensively utilized in anti-terrorist operations in different theaters. The seriousness of the situation and the inability of the state forces left the Union government with no option but to deploy these forces to face the challenges posed by the separatist and secessionist terrorist groups.

The Border Security Force has been deployed to deal with the internal security situation in the north-east and is bearing the brunt of insurgency in the urban areas of J&K. According to the latest figures available, 269 Coys (out of total of 942 Coys) of the BSF are today committed on internal security duties in different areas. Earlier, when terrorism was at its peak in Punjab, the BSF was deployed in strength in anti-terrorist operations in that state.

The CRPF has unfortunately lost its reserve character due to prolonged deployment in operational areas. It is estimated that more than 98 per cent of the force is deployed on the ground and out of this total 88 per cent is in the active theatres of North-East, J&K, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.

The ITBP was deployed in Punjab during the worst phase of terrorism in that State. Though a good part of the Force was utilized for guarding the banks in the wake of incidents involving looting of banks by the terrorists. The Assam Rifles bore the initial onslaught of the Chinese aggression during the Sino-Indian Conflict (1962) and held on until the Army was able to take up positions. The force has played a significant role in counter-insurgency operations in Nagaland and Manipur, particularly during the wars in 1965 and 1971, when the Army was withdrawan from these states. The NSG is the country's elite paramilitary unit. It was put to good use in Punjab against the terrorist. Of late, however, the force has unfortunately been deployed more to protect the VIPs than to uphold the country's vital interests in areas affected by terrorism.

The paramilitary forces are experiencing certain difficulties in performing their mandated role. These are briefly as follows:

*the forces are diverted from their primary role

*the bulk of the forces are deployed with the result that there are no reserve for training

*overstretching the forces is having an adverse effect on their discipline and morale

*overlapping responsibilities are given to different paramilitary formations

*routine jobs are given to CPMFs with the state police forces abdicating their responsibilities

*lack of coordination at the apex between the CPMFs and the state police forces.

The paramilitary forces have an undoubted role in dealing with security situations, particularly in areas affected by terrorism and insurgency. It is however essential that the state police forces are revitalized and given the necessary training and equipment so that they are able to deal with the situations and there is no undue dependence on the central paramilitary forces. The force level of the CPMFs should also be suitably augmented so that the prescribed minimum reserves are available for training.

There are reports in the media that the four paramilitary forces, namely the BSF, CRPF, ITBP and CISF are to be brought under a unified command. The details are not available but we would have to guard against the temptation to raise mega forces. The BSF has already a strength of 157 battalions while the CRPF has grown to a strength of 137 battalions. Combining them in any form would create more problems than help in resolving any. What is important is that the forces are utilized for the purposes for which they were raised, ensure that any diversion from their mandated role takes place under compelling circumstances and for a limited duration only and reducing, if not eliminating altogether, the political considerations in the diversion of forces, and augmenting their strength to an optimum level where they are able to deal with the problems and challenges they have to face without adversely affecting their training, discipline and moraler

*The author retired as DG BSF. His works on naxalite movement and north-east establish him as a creative thinker on national security END

The Science Of Spirituality

By Dwarkanath Munshi

'Intriguing and even mystifying' is the first reaction to the title of the book. But the reader soon feels comfortable with what he/she is served in simple and seemingly familiar words and expressions.

What the author sets out to achieve, however, is to explain in detail how the state and style of religion, philosophy and science, as he sees the truth is in confusion and has failed to answer convincingly human-kinds' external questions of the purpose and meaning of life.

One of the prime concerns of the author is to draw a clear distinction between religion and spirituality. In his view, religion is based upon a man's attempt to discover the quintessential truth about himself and the universe. This of course is a very generous description in polite terms. Religion today is no longer pure theology. Its pull arises, for the most part, from the deep-seated aspirations in the human being for a prolonged enjoyment of every material possession. And he seeks it through the path of codes, conventions and propitiations laid out therein to reach God.

For the uninitiated, only his own religion is the true guide. Today's religion thus divides, circumscribes, limits, even cripples the flight of mind and dims the light thereof.

Religions have been governed by tradition and are preoccupied with statements and observations by prophets and other authorities about truth rather than truth itself. In short we are confused. The book strives to examine the causes and dispel the confusion.

Spirituality on the other hand sheds off this blind faith. This other path leads to "ultimate bliss" through self-abidance and "consciousness". This path holds the prospect of uniting and liberating human kind and giving the mind immensely powerful wings of flight to infinity and thought and deed in the search for truth. It modernises the old ways of accepting religion. That is what the Science of Spirituality explains, asserting that it fuses the faith of religion, the synthetic view of philosophy and the rationalization of science. It further avers that the new science of spirituality, built on the 'debris and ruins' of the old religions, would develop over time to meet the needs of human kind.

The author goes on to offer the concepts and theories of the phenomenon. Yet in his characteristic humility, he promptly disclaims any originality emphasizing that he has only picked it up from existing sources. He is also open to reviewing or even demolishing his assertions and theories if found weak or inadequate.

The book is what may be called a mono-discussion, starting with "Reality" whose nature and purpose can never be known except that one could perceive what is 'truth' which also can contain errors of perception.

As the discussion progresses, the subtleties and intricacies of the author's thoughts and ideas unfold what he has felt and experienced over the years of introspection, which keep deepening but lead on the reader in curiosity and novelty of the subject.

That it may be an audacious effort to walk over areas where angels may fear to tread so to say. Yet one is tempted to add here that 'only one who has studied can teach and only one who has acquired can give'.

The overall result is nonetheless, stimulating in that you see a refreshing, even though at places a fairly complex approach to age-old concepts, attributes, faiths, expressions and definitions. Here is presented a novel face of the science of spirituality with its own vocabulary and hypothesis, smoothly progressing through arguments and definite opinions, graphics and equations to a wholly new set of conclusions.

"Consciousness" is one of the cardinal aspects of the theory which is averred to be a state of 'dynamic awareness' at different levels-spiritual, intellectual, emotional, vital and gross. That is the real stuff of the universe. The theory claims that each individual should achieve a dynamic equilibrium-and has chalked out a path for it "for restoring sanity". It is a conglomerate concept made up of awareness, existence, bliss, light, knowledge and creativity.

Rising to ever higher levels of awareness, one can see one's identity with the Cosmic Consciousness. Human beings acquire different attributes at different levels of consciousness. This is achieved by continued transcendence or dissolution of the circumscribing thoughtfield. At the superconscious stage, the author holds, the person would be commanding extraordinary positive powers. A totally original concept offered by the author relates to control of thought to create "thoughtonous" analogues to e.g. protons of amazing powers of travelling in time and space. The style throughout is of a talented knowledgeable teacher, talking to a class, taking good care that it be all intelligible to the audience. Like Rapid Readers for examinations, the book explains much complexity in simple modern terms.

Shri Kaw is a reputed writer. His sweep is over vast and varied subjects-poetry English and Hindi, fiction, short stories, one Act plays, et.al. One of his collection of his essays is a best selling ribtickeling as well as thought-provoking humour, pregnant and profound, boldly presenting his own tribe in "Bureaucratzy" (presently he holds with distinction the topmost administrative position of secretary in the Union Ministry of Education).

The Science of Spirituality is by any standard a path-breaking "dream of a future world where the present preoccupations of sex, food, money, power will give way to art and music, philosophy and spirituality", a truly futuristic offering, which is Shri Kaw's own words he "launches on the human consciousness".

His youthful visage screens a sober, mature, sharp intellect. However, he accepts or at least does not disapprove to be called a "pioneer". Yet he wears the celebrity status and spectacular band rather nonchalantly. Having grown up in a middle class family with siblings equally gifted in their own lines, there is a palpable reserve about him, as if he should succeed at a higher level but should not appear to stand out from the rest.

A book no seeker of serious knowledge can afford to miss END

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Harappan-Aryan Myth

By Dr. M.K. Teng

Methodologically, the analysis of linkages of between archeology and an ideology of history may appear to be serious work of research, but ultimately it is only, one of thos many attempts to distort Indian history by various techniques of logical reductionism. The pre-supposition of a Harappan-Aryan debate, hings on the British historiographic assumption of a civilisational conflict, which the Aryan race movement in India generated. Mortimer wheeler, dazed by this stanctural formats of the Sind Valley Civilisation and their historical antecedents, could not imagine the sequences of events which led to the growth of the Harappan civilization, except in the conceptual formats of the race movements across Asia, the liberalist reformism envisioned.

The attempt made by scholars of Indian history to use the Indian media, for a projection of the Indian past, provides good reading but in essence it is a preposterous combination of archeologist evidence and paradigms of approach to the study of history, built around an irrational urge to deny the continuity in Indian history and its civilisational identity. A psychologist complex of fear, haunts the mind of the Indian historian that the acceptance of the continuity of the India history and its civilisational identity would necessitate the reconstruction of the Indian history in the context of its Sanskrit content.

The Aryan myth was a part of the sociology of the race movement and the ideological and moral commitment to formulate premises that racial differences were fundamental to the growth of human civilisation. The sediments of a civilisational history bear evidence of the racial characteristics presumed to provide clues to the analysis of the levels of its culture. The myth that Aryans considered themselves to be superior to the Authroloid and proto-Austraoloid stock of the Indian population, is also a projection of the British liberalist reformism. That caste had its origin in the social differention between the Nordic invaders and the Austroloid and proto-Autroloid survivors on the India sub-continent has its roots in the presumption that race movements were ideologically oriented. An attempt is made with deliberate intent to ignore and leave out of reckoning the race-movement of the Western-Brachycephlic Alpinoid peoples, across the north of India, spreading down to Bengal. The Alpinoids disappeared and are now extinct as a separate raceist identity, but their acculturation in India had a deep impact on the social patterns into which the Indian civilisation grew. Possibly a study of such acculturation would explain the western Bracky-cephlitic presence in northern India.

Ideological conflict dominates the study of Indian history for their are visible trends in historiography in India to prove that Indian culture was an extension of the civilisational process of the Occient, where divinity had ordained the reality of an ominipotent masculine God, who determined the legitimacy of human action. The claim to the closer proximity of the Sind civilisation to the civilizational, has an ideological thrust to Occidentalise the Harappan culture. Having grown along the river Saraswati or the Sind, is only important in so-far as it establishes the proximity of Sind Valley civilisation to the Middle East, to prove that the civilisational process of the Harappan culture was not Indian and it had a plural origin.

Not far off from the remains of the Harapan culture in the upper reaches of the Shivaliks, across the Pir Panjal mountain range, the worship of the Mother Goddess, Bhawani had already achieved a systemic shape with a basic sub-stratism of Shakht, which the mesopotamian civilisation did not envision, and which later florished in the Shiavite monism of the Trika, in the Kashmri valley. In the Sind valley cilivisation, figures of Goddesses were found and a representation similar to the Pashupati was also found, with the types of ornaments, which were strictly native and which had a ritual texture close to the Vedic ritual system.

The later Neolothic culture at Burzaham in the Kashmir valley, populated by people of the Aryan stock. The chalcolithic revolution in the Burzaham civilisation came about, in the begining of the period of the Nilmat Puran in Kashmir, undoubtedly by its contact with the Sind valley. The ritual culture which grew in Kashmir in the Nilmah era, was the negotiation of the masculine God of the Occident.

The Harappan culture and the myth of its civilisational conflict with the Aryans requires to be analysed by new and more sophisticated tools and techniques of history Linguistic sociology and the analysis of ritual culture and social anthropology provide as vital data on history as archeology does. The neolithic culture, which flourished in Kashmir along the river Vitasta (Jehlum) and which formed the ground work of the Shahkt-Shiva ritual structure, must be studied more intensively, to understand the contours and content of the Sind valley civilisation and its alignments with, the Aryan people END

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How Kashmiri Pandits Preserved Painting

By P.N. Kachroo (Artist)

The Kashmiri painters, in their heyday of estab lished movements had chiseled and garnished a style based on the traditions of Harvan formalism and Baroque of Wushkar school and contented with their philosophic thought. The chromatically decorative element composed with spatially organised figurative symbols constituted the great Kashmir murals, of which the majestic but lingering appearance still stands in the monasteries of Alchi in Ladakh, waiting pathetically for its demise. Further, the style was subtly and sensitively ornamented with the linear sensibilities observed in Mathura and Pala schools while their seasonal sojourns and pilgrimages.

Hordes of such aesthetes and creators went out in the company of eminent and propagating Kashmiri scholars under numerous leading painters like Hasuraj and lead their artistic movement as far as into Tibet, while contributing to the establishment of themes of Buddhistic Mahayana-Vajrayana in Central Asian regions.

The barbaric and devastative onslaught of Islamic iconoclasm, ushered in early thirteenth century, which vandalized, ignited and razed to ground all the monumental edifices and temples of national sanctity along with the invaluable and creative wall frescoes, murals and gold gilt paintings. The examples are still lingering over the mud walls of monasteries of Alchi. Consequent to this the Kashmiri painter suffered a deep cultural shock and a grievous starvation for means and methods of expression. But, as always like a typical Pandit he not only survived the shock but came up with an alternative equipment that did not only bring forth but strengthened and energized the Kashmir miniaturist movement. Thus the base for expression shifted from monumental areas and structures to portable areas of Burjapatras and home made papers. This altnerative means for expression did not only safeguard the continuance of his creativity secretly, but also made it easy for him to carry his masterpieces in case of his migration to seek shelter for his life. This physical fanning out widened the field of diffusion for the Kashmir style, leaving behind the pieces of master--expression not only in neighbouring Himachal principalities but in places of pilgrimage like Kurukshetra, Vrindavan, Haridwar and in as far away places as Sangam and Varanasi.

During the transitory periods of peace in the Valley the customary pilgrimages, particularly in winters, had taken the shape of an intensified yatra of Sthanapatis (Thanapti) from numerous religio-cultural centers like Jeshtheswara, Martand (Matan) and Vijeyashwra (Vejabror). This would compensate their prevailing penury through annual visitations to their Jajmans living in various Indian principalities. These hordes of migratory Brahmins were joined by numerous painters, calligraphers and scribes who, in their search for economic survival, would move from village to village, particularly in neighbouring outer Himalayas and Punjab. The numerous groups of scribes and painters would drop themselves in a nearby Sarai of a town at its outskirts and then fan out in the alleys of township and would hawk and call Muratgarh! Chitragarh! Likhari! In later periods of Indian Muslim rule their calls changed into Mussavir, Katib, Mussavir-mi-Katib, the painter and scribe together.

In absence of printing technology the profession of a scribe and book illuminator proved to be an indispensable profession that kept the starving Brahmin and painter wedded to his staunch faith and philosopy. He would hawk in the various lanes of Indian settlements and would transcribe and illumine the various tattering Pothis and manuscripts. It has become customary for every household to provide these pundits free quantities of oil, besides their wages, so that they could finish their job by burning the midnight oil. The wandering Pandits would pack up their bundles the moment their job would finish, and would move to another Sarai and seek out their job for transcription and illumination. At the advent of spring time, in case the situation permitted, these groups would return to the Valley to spend their summer time with their kin and families.

Various collectors and research scholars, particularly Swiss, German and American teams and organisations have collected a sizable number of such manuscripts and Pothis from various Indian townships, scribed and painted by these wandering pilgrims of culture who have fanned out the aesthetic elements of Kashmir school to wider areas of the subcontinent. Recently, one of the most creative collections of a high aesthetic order lying now in the Museum Reitburg, Zurich from Alice Boner collection of Switzerland, has been published by these authorities. This is one of the finest collections of Kashmir school, depicting the various forms of Shakti as interpreted through the creative forms of Kashmir Miniaturist movement end

Recruitment in Central Services-and Sheikh's bogey

Special Correspondent

By September 1951, Sheikh Abdullah had made up his mind to undermine the accession. The idea of a "free and independent" Kashmir infatuated him. He was raking up phoney issues to communalise the situation and distance Kashmiris from India. He humiliated national stalwarts and delivered inflammatory speeches in July 1953 at Mujahid Manzil, Khanyar, Ganderbal and RS Pura.

Sheikh Abdullah created serious controversies over issues concerning installation of a Radio transmitter and recruitment in Central government services. Nationalist leadership of that time preferred to underplay Sheikh Abdullah's negative role and communal stances. Much of the confidential correspondence between Sheikh Abdullah and nationalist leaders has not seen the light of the day for obvious reasons. Had all such documents been made public, Sheikh Abdullah's negative role and communal outlook would have stood exposed before the nation and the international opinion.

By not doing so, Indian position was undermined and India had to defend Kashmir from a reactive mode. Similar to its approach today on countering disinformation campaign on human rights launched by moles of ISI and western agencies, Indian leadership remained on defensive in 1953 and did not expose the gameplan of Sheikh Abdullah in communalising the issues. Its fallout has been that even Maulana Azad and well-informed Journalists like Mr Saeed Naqvi have believed in Sheikh's propaganda.

Why was Sheikh Abdullah raking up the issue of alleged discrimination in recruitment of Kashmiri Muslims in Central government services. How far were they keen in serving in Central services' If Kashmiri Muslims were not interested in joining Central services, then why was Sheikh Abdullah raising the bogey' Why did Sheikh Abdullah raise the issue in 1953 and not in 1951, when the selections were first made' He was utilising this issue to counter Praja Parishad movement and also to loosen links with India. Even in Maharaja's time P&T department was with the British government. Sheikh's argument that it was magnamity on his part to hand over this department to Central government looked ridiculous.

When Sheikh raised the issue of recruitment in P&T, Maulana Azad wrote two letters to Nehru, without seeking details about it. He wanted to build a case for alleged discrimination against Indian Muslims by citing the argument of Sheikh Abdullah. Azad wrote that "fifty-three persons from J&K apply for a clerical post and only one is appointed--the rest are from outside the state". In another letter written around same time Azad quotes Sheikh Abdullah "jobs are given only to non-Muslims. Recently an examination was held for the recruitment of clerks in the northern circle--3 Muslims were recruited".

In 1994-1995 two senior Muslim Journalists underplayed the involvement of Kashmiri elite in Pakistan's proxy war and tried to rationalise its anti-India campaign by arguing that the Kashmiri Muslim protest was built on genuine grievances of discrimination in Central services. Mr Naqvi quoted the above mentioned letters of Azad to add the ring of history to his argument.

The readjustment of P&T employees from the area which now constitutes Pakistan, in Kashmir division was a different problem altogether. In Kashmir there were no vacancies as no Muslim employees opted for Pakistan. Kashmir was under Punjab circle, headquartered at Ambala. Its other divisions were Kangra, Amritsar and Simla. In other divisions, many Muslim employees migrated to Pakistan, leaving behind vacancies. Kashmir division had surplus staff, as it had to absorb employees who were serving in PoK on the eve of partition. Infact, for quite some time this staff remained unadjusted. Whenever, some vacancy became available this migrant staff categorised as 'A' filled the post.

P&T department conducted two tests, one in 1950-51 and second in 1953 for selection of clerks in P&T department (Northern Circle). The advertisement clearly specified that vacancies were for other divisions and not Kashmir. Three preferences were asked. There was proper advertisement in Tribune and local Kashmir vernacular papers like Martand, Hamdard and Khidmat. Selection was purely on the basis of examination, and merit.

This was the period, when Kashmir Muslims had enough opportunities to serve in state services, thanks to Abdullah's new policy. Since recruitment in Central services meant serving outside also, no Muslim was willing to opt for it.

Also, as compared to Kashmiri Muslims, Kashmiri Pandits were better qualified. Matriculate Muslims had to compete with better qualified Pandits (BA).

Moreover, Kashmiri Hindus faced strong discrimination from the newly installed regime of Sheikh Abdullah. The doors of state services were virtually closed to them. It has been so well-documented by Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz. They strained every nerve to qualify the test.

In both these selection tests, all the non-Muslim candidates selected were posted to Kangra, Ambala, Simla and Amritsar circles. They continued to serve there till 1964, when reorganisation of P&T circle Ambala took place. No outsider was appointed in Kashmir. There was recruitment bar for appointments in Kashmir division, because of overstaffing.

The department worked out a policy to adjust the surplus staff. In 'A' category were those migrant employees who had remained unadjusted for quite sometime. In the group 'B' were those people, who were adjusted temporarily in some other circles of Punjab. Thus whenever a new vacancy was created, Kashmir Postal Division had to adjust this old staff. Practically, very few appointments took place in Kashmir division between 1947-62.

In 1954, under pressure from the State government, the State Chief Secretary Ghulam Ahmed Shontho (previously Accountant General, J&K State) was made incharge of the selection process for recruitment of postal officials in J&K State. The only other member of the selection body was SSP, (P&T) Srinagar, Mr Deendayalan. This was a unique instance of its kind, where state chief secretary selected officials on behalf of Post Master General. In 1961-62, a post was created for SSP Jammu. In 1966, J&K circle came into existence, with its own director.

Gh Ahmed Shontho, known for his extremely parochial views violated all norms and undermined the efficiency of the postal system in Kashmir. During his time around 15-20 officials were selected, with only two of them being Kashmiri Pandits.

Such was the deterioration in the postal department that in 1962 for as many as twenty-eight days no mail was opened. PMG, Ambala circle, Mr Sajdani took up the matter with Union Home Ministry and Director General P&T. He demanded for the posting of Punjab-trained people to Kashmir

The State government, on instructions from Shonthoo continued to oppose return of Kashmiri officials posted in Jammu. The department, unwilling to enter into controversy with the arrogant chief secretary, first brought these employees from Punjab to Jammu and later on to Srinagar, when J&K circle was created. Recruitment process was again taken over by the P&T department.

There were two types of selections for officials--one on the basis of matriculation merit for recruiting postal clerks and second on the basis of open examination for selecting lower division clerks in the circle office.

Unscrupulous politicians have been trying to communalise the issue of recruitment in Central services for their own nefarious ends and to subserve their communal mind set. They are infact the people, who have been fanning hatred for India among Kashmiris

Playwrighting in Kashmir

By Sh. M.L. Kemmu

Kashmir had a rich tradition of writing plays and performing them in Sanskrit from 2nd Century A.D to 12th Century A.D, side by side there were numerous Natya-Charyas professing in Natya and galaxy of scholars writing commentories on Bharata's Natya Shastra, most authentic being 'Abhinav Bharati' by Abhinava Gupta Acharya (10th Century A.D.), Vide Sholok No: 16 of second Tarang of Rajtarangini, Kalhan informs us that there lived Chandrak Kavi during 2nd Century A.D. who wrote plays of sorts for people of all castes and creeds. Kalhan considers him incarnation of Vyas Muni, writer of Mahabharata. In Abhinava Bharati, Abhinava Guptacharya writes that Chandrak wrote Rupakas in Sanskrit language of Rodra and Veer Rasas. One can assume that Chandrak must have remained most popular playwright of his times. Some of the Sholokas from his plays are quoted in Commentories and manuscripts of Khemendra and Srivara. It is really unfortunate that the plays written by Chandrak Kavi are not available to us. Yashoverman of Kashmir is also mentioned as Playwright. Shiva Swami was one of the important poets during the reign of Avantivarman. Besides Mahakavyas he had written Prakaran and Natikas. Shyamalik was another Kashmiri poet who had written a Bana type of play, 'Padtadik'. He lived during 5th century. Bana is always humorous and full of satire. It has only one character who narates, and acts through question-answer style. Any actor playing a Bana should be a verstile one in his art. He has to keep the audience fully involved in what he narrates, acts and describes. It is monologue as well as mono-acting. Till date we have only four Banas in Sanskrit language available to us known as Chaturbani, the Padtadik is the earliest one among them.

Kshemendra (990-1065 A.D.) who is considered people's poet, had written three plays, Lalit Ratan Mala, based on Udayan story of Brahat Katha, Kanak Janaki, based on Ramayana episode, Chitra Bharat, based on some story of Mahabharata. Unfortunately these plays have not reached us till date. He himself quotes certain sholokas from these plays in his extant work, Kavi Kanthabaran. It seems that these plays were Uparupakas (Natikas) of Shringar and Veer Rasa. Bilhana (1028-1090 A.D.) was a poet of eminence and is famous for his Historical Mahakavya Vikramankh-devcharitam. He has written a 4 act Natika known as Karn Sundari. The influence of Kalidasa's Malvika Agnimitram and Harshas Ratnavali is markedly seen on the Natika. Its main Rasa is Shringar. A Sanskrit play, 'Prabhavati Pradyuman Natakam' had come to light, which after getting printed in the Press, was never released by the Research and Publication Department, J&K Govt, Srinagar. Because after Late PN Pushp there was no Director of eminence to head the department and carry on research work particularly on Sanskrit and Sharada manuscripts.

While praising the women of Kashmir, Bilhana says that in Natya Prayog (Theatrical performances), they excel Apsaras of Heaven such as Rambha, Chitralekha and Urvashi. Even if it may be considered nostalgic exaggerated statement, yet it reveals that women were acting, and taking part in theatrical performances.

Vishnodharmotar Puran and Nilamat Puranas written before 7th Century are very important to know about socio-cultural life in Kashmir and its surroundings. V.D. Purana in one of its chapters describes importance of Fine Arts, ten kinds of Rupakas, Mudras of Dance, Music, Aesthetics etc. etc. It is encylopeadic work concerning all the branches of knowledge and is a source book of importance. So is Nilmatpuran for Kashmir studies. According to Nilmata Purana there is no festival of importance complete without theatrical performances, music or dance. This markedly shows that people were real patrons of arts and Natas (Actors) and Ranga Jeevina (People associated with theatre) were given their due share of produce, clothes and money as Prekhsha Danam. Therefore, some kind of plays were written and enacted on these occasions. Budh Purnima, Krishan Janamshtami, and festivals connected with Lord Shiva were celebrated and some sort of Theatrical activity was also associated with these festivals. Therefore, one can say that Jataka tales, Shiva Leelas and later on Leelas connected with Lord Krishna and Rama were also enacted on such occasions. Since all such occasions were celebrated by the people the play scripts written and performed were not preserved in the hope of writing a new one on the next occasion. This is true even nowadays, when some one writes play, or a rough sketch and the same is later on improvised by the actors on their own. Those of the plays which were written by known poets and writers were totally according to the rules of Natya Shastra or at times modified innovations, or total rejection for expressing some philosophical point of view like Agamadambaram of Jayant Bhat (850-902 A.D.)

Jayant Bhat's play is in four acts but cannot be termed Natak-Rupaka set forth by Shastras. It presents different schools of Philosophy as were prevalent during Shankar Verman's time in Kashmir. The scene of the play is Srinagar and the place Ranaswamin Temple in the IVth Act. Four schools of thought discussed in the play are Baudha, the Arhata and the Charvak; the mimansaks and the Nyaya (including Shaiva); and Agama (Panchratra). The hero of the play is neither any king, Devta or Heroic Person but a Snataka, who has completed his studies. There is no heroine and Vidushaka in the play. It defies the norms of Bharat Natya Shastra as well, and the Sutradhara of the play expresses doubt that experts of dramatery may find fault with the play but it has been brought to him by the pupil of Jayant Bhata for performance and they comprise the audience hence lets the students of Nyaya see the play.

During King Kalsha's reign, low music styles (Upang Geet) were introduced and patronized and Playwrighting received very little attention. Some Prabandh and Charit Kavyas were written and perhaps actors produced and presented on stage exhibiting their talent at singing.

During Zain-ul-Abdin Badshah's time a Charita in Kashmiri was written by Uttasom for performance. Srivera in his Rajtarangini writes, "that Yodhabhatta is a poet in the vernacular language-viz; Kashmiri, and composed drama, pure like a mirror called the Jain Prakasha in which he gave an account of the King." These are not extant. Kashmir has seen many a turbulent times after 12th century, attacks, forced conversions, floods, raids, fires and epidemics from time to time and this has resulted in the loss of Books, manuscripts and play-scripts. Yet the most powerful theatrical form of folk theatre, once known as Bhand Natyam has somehow survived. We call it Bhand Pathar. Even during the Muslim rule, Bhands were the popular entertainers. They were roaming ministrels, not only in the Valley of Kashmir, but also used to cross Pir Panchal range and perform in Jammu, Himachal, Punjab and other areas entertaining people through their humorous plays.

With the spread of modern education and establishment of Institutions in the early years of 20th century plays began to be staged by students in Colleges but it was once a couple of years affair. It was during the celebrations of coronation of Maharaja Hari Singh in 1924-25 that Elfred Company of Bombay was invited to present its plays in Jammu in the open at Purani Mandi for the public. After having seen the plays the then Maharaja Pratap Singh desired to have a local company of actors to produce and present the plays for the people of the state in Srinagar and Jammu.

Thereafter, The Amateur Dramatic Company was formed under the Patronage of Maharaja and plays of Agha Hashar Kashmiri, Betab and other writers in Urdu were presented year after year at Srinagar and Jammu. The plays written in Parsi style like, 'Bilwa Mangal' Surdas, Mahabharat, Bewafa Katil, Khoobsoorat Bala, Yahoodi Ki Larki, Veer Abhimanyu, Achut Kanya and Danveer Karan were produced and presented for about twelve years till 1937. The Amateur Dramatic Club was dominated by Government Officials and Tankhahdaar actors. Other Theatrical Companies were also formed by enthusiasts at Srinagar one after the other presenting the same Betab and Agha Hashir's plays but they performed at Baramulla, and Anantnag as well.

The first Kashmiri, play was written by Shri Nand Lal Koul 'Nana' in the same Parsi Style in 1929 and was produced the next year in the heart of the City of Srinagar. It was based on the famous Puranic tale of Satya Harishchander and was named 'Satach Kahvat' Nana wrote a few more plays, 'Dayi Lol', 'Ramun Raj', 'Prahlad Bhagat' and according to GMD Sufi, all these plays were published. Out of these it is Satich Kahvat which was staged by many a groups till 1955. Dina Nath 'Madrer' and Sudhama Ji Koul were later playwrights who wrote plays in this style but never published them. Shri JN Wali wrote a play about Habakhatoon entitled 'zoon' and this was published in 1950. Shri Tara Chand 'Bismil' was another Kashmiri poet playwright who wrote 'Satach Wath' Akanandun and Ram Avtar out of which 'Satich Wath' was published and staged a number of times by local amateur theatre groups. On the foot prints of Parsi style, Kashmiri plays based on Puranic tales, such as Prahlad, Satyavaan Savitri, Krishan Janam, Shankar Parvati, Tapasya, Shiv Lagan' were presented at Raghunath Mandir, Fateh Kadal, Chotta Bazar, Rainawari, Sheetal Nath, Baramulla, Anantnag, Mattan and Chattabal till 1955 at different interval of times.

During the forties of last century, some amateur groups were formed and few Kashmiri plays based on social themes were produced one after the other. Shri Triloki Nath Vaishnavi Rafeeq wrote two plays in Kashmiri but the titles were in Hindi such as 'Chitar', 'Samaj Ki Bhool'. 'Vidhya' was another play which was produced prior to independence. It was directed by Shri Mohan Lal Aima, who himself acted the main role against Vidhwa and composed its music. Shri Sarwanand Bhan was a Sports and Cultural Enthusiast. He used to encourage young poets-writers and make them to evolve a play on any burning social topic till an improvised version of the play would emerge. 'Aulad' and other plays were written and presented under his guidance. Those days both play-wrighting and production were result of collective efforts of writers, poets, actors, musicians and theatre enthusiasts. The dialogues were written in simple prose and delivered in realistic style instead of 'Blood and Thunder' style as was in vogue in Parsi Urdu style. The songs were composed on popular filmi tunes. The role of Manzimyore (Middleman arranging marriages) was acted by late TN Tapiloo, late SN Sumbli and Pushkar Bhan, in different productions.

Soon after Kabali raid in 1947 some of the prominent poets, writers, artists and theatrists united themselves under Cultural Front which focussed local issues through their plays and songs. Working scripts for stage performances were written and improvised by the performers. The Cultural Front, later turned into Cultural Conference, emphasised progressive trends and brought young writers and theatre artists into its fold and an awakening to create peoples theatre to present local issues on stage through short musicals and open air performances. Most of the artists and performers associated with the Conference got appointed in Radio Kashmir, Srinagar and writing for stage received a jolt but for very short time.

Shri Dina Nath 'Nadim wrote his first Kashmiri Opera 'Bombur Yambarzal' in 1953, which was produced the same year and presented at the Nedous Hotel and SP College Hall. He wrote 'Heemal Nagirai' with Noor Mohammad 'Roshan' in 1956 which was presented at Hazooribagh Open Air Theatre constructed for the purpose by Jashan-e-Kashmir Committee. Both these operas were directed by Shri Mohan Lal Aima. He also composed music and some songs proved so popular that these are sung even now, with vigour, interest and involvement.

Three Kashmiri plays written by late Ali Mohd Lone, Shri Amin Kamil and Noor Mohammad Roshan were published by the State Information department during these very years. The plays related to the floods--their effects and devastation, and measures to control it with peoples involvement. Out of these only one 'Wiz Chi Saney' by late Ali Mohammad Lone was presented through State Cultural Conference in different villages. Shows were government sponsored.

Till 1960 there were only a couple of writers writing for the stage but the scenario completely changed from 1962 with the construction of Tagore Hall in Srinagar. Now a proscinium theatre with modern lighting system was available for state performances. Simulatenoulsy with the establishment of J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in 1958 the theatre activity remained dull till 1964 when Drama Competitions/Festivals became annual feature both in Srinagar and Jammu. Academy also conducted Theatre Workshops from 1970 and Playwrighting workshop thereafter. More than a dozen playwrights emerged and their plays were enacted in the festivals and Tagore Hall became a centre of activity.

Ali Mohammad Lone and Pushkar Bhan were regularly writing Radio Plays, Shri Lone adapted a few Russian plays in Urdu and later on began to write in Kashmiri, first for radio and thereafter for stage. After Wiz Chi Saney, he wrote Suya as Radio Play in Urdu and later on re-adopted it for stage in Kashmiri in an elaborate way. His Taqdeersaaz exposes the socio political beahaviour of Free Thinkers of Society for personal gains and ambitions, simple hypocrisy. Suya is a historical play in which Sutradhar is an associate character from begining to end. Durlabh Pandit is his third play in Kashmiri, a character play.

Pushkar Bhan wrote a serial of plays entitled Machamma-on unemployed youth, having fantastic dreams to serve his parents but fails at every attempt to attain his ambitions. It was only "Hero Machamma" which was staged a couple of times and Abhinav Bharati's production ran for 25 nights. Bhan wrote several plays in collaboration with late Shri Som Nath Sadhu, such as Chapath, Grand Rehearsal. Besides being humorous, these are social and reformist in content.

Sajood Sailani has been constantly writing for both Radio and Stage. His Shihul Naar, Rata Kreel, Gata Reni, Ropyi Rood, Kajey Raat Gashi Taruk and Utra Buniyul remained successful on stage for their being mixture of fantasy, humour and pungent.

Avtar Krishen Rahbar, virtually a short story writer began to write plays first for Radio and then adapting them for stage. His plays were mostly on current topics concerning society such as Bu Chus Choor, Aulad, Talash, Vola-Harish, etc. He could not bring out any collection till date and these plays remained dramatic exercises. He wrote a play on "Budshah" as well.

Prof Hari Krishen Koul has written "Dastar", a humorous character play, "Yeli Wattan Khur Chu Yivan", a social play about present day family crisis and "Natuk Kariv Band", an experimental play.

Mohammad Subhan Bhagat, a Bhand artist, wrote Taqdeer, Yeti Chu Banawavun, Poz Apuz, three rural plays and Kani Shechey, Mantini Legi Panzoo and other plays in Kashmiri folk style. Now Ghulam Rasool Bhagatyar has brought out his collection of folk plays, "Civil Kina Sarkari' in 1996.

Moti Lal Kemu started writing plays at an advanced age first in Hindi and later on in Kashmiri. He has so far brought out 8 collections of plays, out of which Trunove, Tshai, Lal Bo Drayas Lol Re, Natak Truche and Tota Te Aina have won him awards. His Dakh Yeli Tsalan after being translated into Hindi was produced by the National School of Drama Repertory Company entitled 'Bhand Duhayee' and its 34 shows have been presented till date at Delhi, Bhopal, Calcutta and other cities.

Ghulam Rasool Santosh (late), a poet and playwright was also first writing for the Radio and thereafter adapted his plays for Stage. His Akanandun, But Ta Buldozer were staged.

Shri Radha Krishen Braroo has written two Kashmiri plays in Folk Style, Yahoo and Reshivar--

Shri Ashok Kak has recently brought out his collection of plays Sath Sodur and he is some times seen to get them enacted.

During the last century there were vividly four trends, in Kashmiri play-wrighting musical operas like Bombur Yamberzal and Vitasta, Folk style plays like Manzil Niku, Haram Khanuk Aina, Mangai, Mantini Legi Panzoo etc, experimental like But Ta Buldozer, Lal Bo Drayas Lol Re, Natuk Kariva Band, Chare-Pathar, Comic-humorous with social content like Chapath, Grand Rehearsal, Kane Shaicha Ropyee Rood etc.

The militancy in 1989 gave a final blow to all this activity. Tagore Hall was damaged with grenades and bombs. Best of the playwrights, actors, theatrists were part of the exodus of 1990 and got scattered in the country.

During its journey of 70 years Kashmiri playwrighting attained its high and low standard and some of the plays were translated into Hindi as well. So far about 25 books of Kashmiri plays, (3 one act collections included) are published in Kashmiri. Unfortunately, during the last century all the stageable plays were not published and preserved with loyalty perhaps because neither there is book purchasing public around nor regular theatre activity. so in view, after all a play is to be enacted on stage for people. A playwright has to tred a long distance to attract and inspire the actors to choose his play for production so that the audiences share aesthetic experience.

Kashmiri is a spoken language since 8/9th century and has its literary masterpieces too. Even after 54 years of independence Kashmiri language is neither a medium of instruction in Kashmir nor taught as a subject in schools though it has been recognised by the Constitution of India and is placed sixth in the 8th schedule. All the dailies in Kashmir are published in Urdu and English and none in Kashmiri. The State Academy runs two Institutes of Music and Fine Arts, one each at Jammu and Srinagar but has no plans to teach Dramatics.

Kashmir is facing a proxy war and attempts are being made to destroy the very Kashmiri ethos. When there are no actors, no theatre groups and readers, for whom should a playwright write' When government is not interested in running a Theatre Arts Institute and preserve and promote the traditional Bhand Pathar, how much time it will take to get extinct' When the Media programmes are attacking the very roots of rural and traditional cutlure, can our folk culture and theatre survive' Yes mediocre writing for TV and Radio will attract the writers as long as money is readily available for writing. But writing for theatre will be a talk of the past end

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Kashmir--The Summer of 2000

By Sunil Bhat

This summer, first time after our exodus, I saw my homeland, Kashmir again. On 2nd of July, myself and my family left Jammu for Srinagar in a bus. I was quite apprehensive all along the journey. As we passed through the Jawahar tunnel, my elder son, feeling overawed by its length, asked fenagging questions dictated by curiosity, quite common at that age.

After we crossed the tunnel, I was overjoyed to see the picturesque Valley opening up before me once again. My children had only heard about Kashmir. They were born in Jammu. It thrilled me as I related the beauty of Kashmir to them.

Kashmir was before us in full bloom, with its orchards of Apple, Pear trees, Walnuts hanging down, majestic chinars offering their shadow, tall poplars and vast paddy fields. Kashmir's specific birds also appeared every now and then. I recalled how I was part of the same environ only a decade back.

It was evening time, when we touched the Indira Nagar locality of Srinagar. My brother-in-law had arranged house of one Mr Sultan for our stay. When I woke up the next morning, I felt even the sleep here was quite different. We visited Zeethiyar temple. It gave a unique feeling, which only comes at such holy places. In the afternoon we visited the Lal Chowk area.

In the evening, my friend Jiganji Goja and Ravi Sathoo, my brother-in-law accompanied us to Dal Lake for Shikara ride. The special session of State Assembly called by National Conference to discuss autonomy issue was on. People seemed indifferent. Nazir, our Shikarawala said, "Autonomy Watonomy Kus Haz Mangih, Ye Kamis Haz Zaroorart, Bah Khuda Agar Ameek Gam Kainse" (who will ask for autonomy, who wants it, I swear that nobody bothers about it)". Nazir talked against militants and violence. He added, "Look! It is already half past five, it is only the third Shikara which has got its number since morning. Dal is badly missing the rush of tourists".

Next we visited the Nishat Gardens. We were a group of four families. The gardener Mohd Ramzan plucked some roses to present us for some 'Bakshshish' (thanks giving). As he learnt that we were Kashmiris, he felt dismayed. Our children enjoyed the beauty of the garden. Suddenly my attention was drawn to two gun-wielding youths. I became tense but my apprehension was over when they revealed that they were Ikhwanis--the friendly pro-government militants.

Visit to the Shrine of Mata Khir Bhawani on Har Ashtmi Day will remain etched in my memory for ever. Our group, which comprised six families went a day before on Har Satam. I went to procure some blankets from stores of local Dharmarth Trust. The uncle of the notorious Hizb militant, Hamid Gadda, killed recently was at the helm of affairs there.

On Hara Ashtmi, Holy Mata gave her blissfful Darshan, when 'Om' of rose petals surfaced on the flowing waters of the Holy spring. It remained on the water surface for about seven minutes. I caught this unique spectacle in my camera. The same evening we went to Chakreshwar temple at Hari Parbat. A yagna was being performed there. We performed Puja and had Parikramas. After bowing our heads to the goddess in reverence and taking prasada, we moved on.

I had a keen desire to visit my home village Manghma in district Pulwama. Through the courtesy of an old friend, Mohd Ayub Mir I was able to fulfill my desire. He belonged to Ashminder. Everything about the village looked normal, except the houses of Pandits. There were no Pandits now. Their houses gave ghost looks. Some were half-burnt, while others stood in a dilapidated condition. Roofs (Talavs) lay on ground floors. My own house was burnt down in 1997. Some villagers assembled on seeing me and exchanged greetings.

We also visited Khrew-the abode of Mata Jwala Devi. When my kids poured water on the Lingam in the holy spring, the local Muslim children watching all this whispered among themselves. I could make out that they were saying, "Ba Khuda Hasa Yeman Vonih Panin Nishan Yaad (By God these people still remember their symbols).

Pahalgam trip was equally enjoyable. Enroute we had a bath in Nagbal (Anantnag). My family also visited the shrine of ReshiMol Sahib. We performed a Parikrama at Surya temple and holy spring of Mattan.

I had chance to visit a businessman at Rozbal, Khanyar. This man had business dealings with my friend. We went to see him and discussed the prevailing situation. He told us how his son was kidnapped by militants and let free after gruesome torture. He accompanied us to the fish market near Jama Masjid.

Whosever met me, I took the opportunity to know their assessment about the ongoing turmoil. My discussions took place with diverse people--milkman, meat-seller, vegetable vendor, shopkeeper, bus conductor etc. Politically Kashmiris are very articulate people. They are ever ready to discuss politics.

My stay in Srinagar extended over twenty-five days. I had some bad experiences as well. It was dismaying to see regular Army personnel directing traffic on the roads. This is not Army's task and it exposes them to civilian population unnecessarily.

When Hizb announced the declaration of cease-fire, I was there in Srinagar. To sum up my assessment of this brief sojourn in Valle, there are three broad indications. People are totally fed up with Dr Farooq Abdullah. Hurriyat too does not enjoy any popularity. And lastly the fatigue has started setting in among Kashmiris. A realisation seems to be dawning on them that "India in no way will leave Kashmir". They are gradually reconciling to this end

LETTERS

Puri's contradictions

Sir,

Mr Balraj Puri in his article "Many faces, one image" (Hindustan Times, 20 Sept 2K) says that Kashmiri Muslims are the only community of the sub-continent that has a recorded history of five thousand years. Had it been really so, the contemporary history of Kashmir would have been different. Muslims in general do not own pre-Islamic history of the region they live in.

Second contention of Mr Puri that their alienation is more as Kashmiris than as Muslims. If it were true, then what is prompting them to become a willing participant in Pakistan's proxy war.

Thirdly, Mr Puri has described the ongoing proxy war in Kashmir as a 'war of liberation' but no sooner did it spread to Jammu, then he described it as a patently communal struggle.

 --PN Koul

Talab Tillo. end

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My Dear

Aima Sahib,

I am herewith sending my original article "The Mahatma's Kashmir Mission" for favour of publication in August 15 special issue. It has not been published so far.

Aug 1, 1947 is an unlucky day for the Kashmiri Pandits. This was the black day when Mahatma Gandhi was humiliated publicly and the secular mission frustrated by the gang of three--the Maharaja, RC Kak and Swami Sant Dev--the dirty Troika. The gang of three harmed the whole of India, particularly the KPs.

Hope you would like it and use it in your special issue.

--Iqbal Koul

2136, Sec C/2 Vasant Kunj,

New Delhi-70 END

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My association with Saints

By Justice (Retd. JN Bhat)

Justice Janki Nath Bhat (retd.) was a member of the Legislative Assembly of the State twice; judge of the J&K High Court from 1963 to 1972; after his retirement held many prestigious assignments both inside and out-side the state. To mention a few: he was Member Services Selection Board of Reserve Bank of India; Chairman Suratgarh Evaluation Committee involving a dispute of 150 crore rupees between the Governments of India and that of Rajasthan; Chairman of Oil Selection Board, Chairman of IIIrd pay commission for State government employees; Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Board of J&K State. He has been also associated with many social and educational organisations. He has also written scores of articles published in leading newspapers of the state and also those of Delhi. - Editor

 
Come from an orthodox family. My parents observed all Hindu festivals and rituals-- fasting over a month at a time (Magh). My father taught me Sandhya when I was only ten years old. When I completed the tenth year (Primary Classes) in my native village school of Murran, I went for further studies to Srinagar, as there was no scope in my village. In Srinagar I regularly had Sandhya in the coldest months of winter with a bath in river Jhelum and performed puja in Batyar temple which I visited at least once a day and at times twice. My rigidly following the rituals, Sandhya and other things attracted the attention of some well-to-do Pandits of the locality who took a fancy for me and would invite me for dinners and associating their children with me so that they could imbibe religiosity and good manners from me.

This practice continued till I passed My BA Honours from SP College Srinagar and proceeded for further studies to Lucknow.

From my childhood I had a keen desire to meet saints of any religion and as a matter of fact at one stage or the other met them and paid them my respects. Whenever there was any discourse/meeting/conference I would invariably attend it. This keen desire made me to meet almost every saint outside Kashmir and even be close to him.

Now I turn to another aspect of it. Hinduism is a vast, complicated system with many schools of thoughts and ideology. Reincarnation is one of its first principles. Geeta Ji says in most emphatic terms that you change your physical body as you change your old garments and birth after death is an established formula. I have read so many books on life after death. But I cite examples of living persons both non-Hindus who caught with certainty their past lives. In Australia an Australian told me now he vividly remembered his past three lives. Justice Murtaza Fazal Ali, the then Chief Justice told me the following story more than once. His father Sir Fazal Ali was the Governor of Assam. Murtaza went to see his father when he reached Gauhati, he found everything familiar where he had lived. To the surprise of his escort he located certain place in Gauhati where his escort was astonished to find exactly what he had said. This experience he once repeated in an official party where besides me and himself Mr GM Sadiq then Chief Minister and Mir Qasim were present. When he narrated the story both scoffed at him. On those positive instances and the literature I had studied there is no doubt in my mind that I shall be born again about which indications have been already given by some seers.

With all these eminent seers and saints sometimes my doubt arises whether they or all of them have clairyance. I shall mention three instances, a rich Pandit of Shopian wanted to marry his daughter and perform the Yagnopaveet of his only son. They had a well known family saint who was respected by almost all Kashmiri Pandits. He was the person to grace the function and came to the house of the Pandit a week before this ceremony. He was shown utmost respect not only by the family of the Pandit but by others as well. The marriage of the daughter of the Pandit was performed. The barat left, but only at a distance of one or two furlong, the bus which was carrying the barat fell into a nullah where most of the passengers including the bride and the bridegroom were injured though not seriously. The father of the daughter wents to the spot of accident on a Khadewoon and sent the marriage party. As soon as he returned home he died of a heart attack within an hour. This created disappointment, in the family. Consequently the Yagneopavit ceremony was postponed. The Mahatma quietly made good his escape. In another case a saint of national importance is involved. A rich Kashmir Pandit stationed in Bombay wanted to marry his only daughter and he found a suitable match for her belonging to a very high placed Kashmiri Pandit family living in Gandhinagar. The Bombay gentleman hired a house in Jammu and drew up a plan of different functions in connection with the marriage. We knew each other from our boyhood and later improved our relations in Bombay where I was in the Reserve Bank of India. One evening at 10.30 PM this gentleman in a Taxi came to my residence and requested me to extend all the functions from Mehendirat and onwards. The bridegroom wallas had their own plans. They served a sumptuous lunch to hundreds of people, that evening was the Mehendirat function of the daughterwallas when the feast was being served in the premises of the boys. The would be bride went to the house of the would be father-in-law and called out the boy (her prospective husband) she plainly told him that she was not going to marry him, for she was not mentally sound, the whole thing should be called off. Even the intervention of the well-wishers failed to persuade her to change her decision. She straightway went to her father and they left immediately--giving out her father a heart attack. I was then the Chairman Pay Commission of the State government. I was informed on telephone, that the Mehandirat function had been cancelled and the party had left for Chandigarh as the father of the girl had a beart attack. In all this drama a famous saint was residing in the house of the bridegroom who was his cousin. A big question mark about both these functions--Could not these saints foresee what was going to happen and advise the parties accordingly. An unsolved question for me till date. On the other hand Swami Nand Lal Ji of Tikkar once went to a Pandit's house in Nagam to stay for a fortnight. Early next morning he left, against remonstances of the land lord. In the evening the daughter-in-law of the house owner gave birth to a child. The Swami intuitively knew this and wanted to leave the house to avoid the Hoonch and inconvenience to the parties.

I may mention the names of a few Sadhus and saints with whom I have remained closely associated. In Srinagar I was very closely associated with Swami (Nand Bab Ji) who had named me (Hari Singh) who was my God Father and directing my all spiritual and temporal activities. He would stay with me at my place in Srinagar and Jammu and made remarkable predictions about my family matters and others whom I took to him. Only that he was anxious and jealous that I or my family should not go to any other saint as I was under his banner (Alam). Sometimes the disregard of this dictum by my wife enraged him. All actions of ours or for that matter of the entire population at his back and without his knowledge were clear in the minutest details to him. In fact he had maximum contact and influence upon me. I need not mention any of his predictions and miracles but one incident I must relate. I was constructing a house for him at Nunar by raising money through subscriptions. A stage came when we required timber for the construction but were short of money. I went to him on a Sunday, he sat in our car and took us to Hari Ganiwan which place he often visited, a station at Kangan--Sonamarg road. There were big slabs of stones with sindoor quoted. He recited some mantras and we were near Vaiyal bridge. There were cars and vehicles standing because a live electric wire had fallen on the road. There was a vehicle carrying the then Chief Conservator of Forests. I was High Court Judge then. He noticed me and came to pay respects to me. Bab Jee was seated in the front seats of the car. As soon as he saw Bab Jee he fell at his feet. Bab began to talk in unintelligible language but he used the word timber once or twice. I at once took the hint and talked to the Chief Conservator that we were constructing house for Bab Jee at Nunar and we were short of Timber. The Chief Conservator showed all respect for Bab Jee and said that he owed his Chief Conservatorship to Bab Jee who physically lifted him from the Conservator's Chair and made him sit in the Chief Conservator's Chair (both the Conservator and Chief Conservator were absent) when I explained to him the quantity of timber required he promised to provide it within a week which he did and our task was simplified. There are thousands of predictions of Bab Jee in different people some of which I have recently published in a booklet 'Nand Bab' written by me.

Next came another important saint of Kashmir Swami Nand Lal Ji of Tikkar. When I first came in contact with him he had a deep look at me and asked a simple significant question "Are you Bhat Sahib'" Thereafter we became closer to him and he was so kind to us.

He loved me, because according to him I was so humble and gentle and I was entirely free from power intoxication. Sh Kashi Nath Bhat Advocate was very close to him, at the same time he was so kind to my wife that he asked her to carry him in our car to the Airport for his final adieu to the State. He gave me Rs 9.000 for constructing a small Dharmashala in the Ambphalla Kashmiri Pandit Sabha premises for stay of transit Sadhus in Jammu. I spent about Rs 19000, the rest were been raised by subscriptions and entrusted the construction to Pt Jaggar Nath Bhat, a noble soul then President of the Kashmiri Pandit Sabha Jammu. I am ashamed to state that the Sabha people gave the construction on rent thus the very object was defeated. He postponed his death two times to save him inconvenience to the host, but ultimately gave his mortal coil on Ist Feb, 1969. This saint left behind a number of devotees like Mastram, Kralabab, Vibhishan who have started so many Ashrams. Mastram has his Ashram at Haridwar, Jammu and Delhi, Kralbab at Udhampur so on and so forth.

Another Mahatma of name and fame was Swami Harikrishen, who according to reports had sat in Samadhi at Sheshnag for six winter months like an ice-berg--was brought to normal life by treatment, physical and mental, by officials headed by Pt Balkak Dhar--the then Wazir Wazarat. He was very kind to us and had special fascination for my wife, which was resented by Nand Bab.

I have met scores of saints of all religions outside the State. I shall mention only two outstanding saints. Mahesh Yogi, the world famous saint, came to Kashmir in 1968. In keeping with my quest for the saints, I met him, became close to him and was initiated by him. He had a proposal of constructing a nine storied 300 room building on an American style near Boulevard. We arranged 100 kanals of land from Dr Karan Singh near Pari Mahal. The eminent saint's ambition was that this building when completed should at once attract the attention of aeroplane passengers as soon as aeroplane crosses Banihal. This project required fabulous amount. When I told the Mahatma Jee that this construction would require fabulous amounts, his remark was "Bhat Ji money is no consideration, whatever you require, it will be placed at your disposal". He would call me in the evening and would keep me in his camp Bakshi Gh Mohd's house at Boulevard and let me off very late in the night. I had warned him that the government would not permit him to construct such a building and infact the government did not permit, leaving the saint angered who spent such a huge amount in Bangalore.

This eminent saint had a simple living. His body covered by a single white silk Dhoti. He would have three chapaties for a day with a glass of milk. All the time busy translating some religious books with the assistance of a Professor from London. He had five apartments for buildings in Rishi Kesh. I have not been there. He had 100 foreign disciples who had 3 months training in Kashmir, most of the time they spent in Pahalgam. There would be strict coaching, morning classes, tea break then lunch break then again at 4.30 tea break. The coaching would end at 7.30 PM in the evening. On the day when the party had to leave for Delhi he requisitioned five buses which came to Pahalgam to carry the devotees straight to Srinagar Airport as there was some disturbance in the city to save any mischief. He ordered five Ribbons of different colours and alongwith a English lady his secretary slipped from the ribbon to different persons and couples indicating the building they have to occupy at Rishi Kesh with room number on the slip. The different coloured ribbon pieces were given to different buses. The luggage the buses would carry to Srinagar Airport and at Delhi each bus having a particular colour would be unloaded and the luggage placed in the room in the particular building given on the ribbon piece cause least inconvenience to concerned. Himself he left Pahalgam at 11 PM in my car and reached his camp in Srinagar at 1 AM. The same car was requisitioned by him next day to the airport.

Another saint who had taken a fancy for me was Saint Kirpal Singh who was the President of "All World Religions". He had a big Ashram called "Bavan Ashram" worth crores of rupees with many structures used as office, tailoring house, laundry, kitchen, store and a number of other appartments. One fully furnished apartment was reserved for me and there was a plan of constructing a much better suit for me. The saint had proposed to make me the administrator of his vast estate and the Vice-Chancellor of a University which he proposed to start at Dehradun where he had acquired a large area which was being developed. High class ladies with costly sarees--worked as labourers.

In Delhi he had a number of buildings one fully furnished occupied by him. Whenever I would go to him and would sit on the carpet, the saint would either come down from the sofa and sit with me or would pull me upto the sofa. Inspite of lakhs of rupees in kind or cash that would come to the Ashram, he would live on his pension. He would make me share his meal with me on his table. This was a rare distinction. He celebrated his last birthday for a week in Ram Lila grounds where thousands of devotees were fed and looked after. Religious heads of different countries and 100 American disciples of Sant Kirpal Singh Ji came to Delhi. All lodged in costly hotels. There was absolute discipline in the camp and even scavenging was done by volunteers. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, was there for more than an hour listening to the melodious recitations from Granthji sung by American disciples. I was assisted by a dozen members of the Ashram. The president being the Sant Kirpal Singh Ji himself. His plans of making me the administrator and Vice-Chancellor of the University did not materialize because the Mahatma died just after a month of the whole show. I was in America with Sant Jee's permission to return soon to assume the charge of administrationship of his vast estate. On his death there was some dispute about his succession but ultimately his son Sant Darshan Singh Je ascended the throne, after Darshan Singh's death the son of Darshan Singh Jee Maharaja Rajinder Singh who is generally touring the world as head of the institution. Besides the huge property of 'Bavan Ashram' and Dehradun they have acquired 100 kanals of land in West Delhi where so many constructions for various purposes including a palace for the residence of Maharaj Jee having put up. Four years back Maharaj Rajinder Singh Jee invited half a dozen distinguished guests including myself to a nice dinner followed by Bajans. By my side there was a gentleman clad in White Kurta and Pyjama the Manager of the Organisation whispered in my ear that gentleman had donated Rs 11 lakhs cash to the Ashram only three days back.

A young aspirant, Vasudeva by name from outside the State started meditation in Kashmir first in Rainawari in a private house and then in Dharbagh near Harwan. He went on in a pursuit and spent a lot of time in the Himalayas wherefrom he returned a perfect Yogi changing his name to Yogeshwaranand. He got all India importance and visited the world four times. He has written a number of books. He established his ashrams in Germany, America, Toronto etc. In India he has a very big Ashram at Rishikesh another in Delhi, the third one in Brindaban and the fourth at Haridwar. He created a trust of which I was and am a member. We purchased a house in Pahalgam for the trust where Mahatmaji would stay during the summer months. He had devotees from all over the world some of whom would come to India and to Kashmir at Pahalgam they would stay in hotels but would regularly attend the meetings and the discourses regularly. We celebrated certain functions with great clad, in Pahalgam, Delhi and Rishikesh. I also had the honour to listen to his discourses. He was very kind to me.

A famous saint (Mahatma) from Bengal wanted to start a Langer at Baltal for Amarnath Yatris and tourists via Baltal road. He formed a trust of which I was the President and the renowned Dharmveer Batra the Vice-President and there were other members also. After a great struggle Sheikh Mohd Abdullah, the then Chief Minister of the State, was kind enough to grant some land (3 or 4 kanals) for storing things needed for the Langer. After his death his son, Farooq Abdullah, did not grant permission to put up a construction there. None-the-less we constructed a big room wherein articles for running the langer was stored. The Mahatma sent us truck loads of food grains and other eatables, edible oil, sugar, kerosene, rice, flour, spices and other things with full bags of fresh lemons. The free langer would be there for two months round about Rakshbandan and feed all and sundry, tourists, yatris, locals etc. I and other members were in-charge of the whole show for years together and after militancy I understand that the langer continues.

A young Muslim boy by name Sonaullah popularly known as Sonabab, resident of Vesu village near Qazigund came to be known as a clairvoyant saint. I came in contact with him and visited him a number of times. He also loved and respected me. He was Muslim by name but a Hindu by practice. He had kept a separate Hindu kitchen managed by wives of respectable High Class Hindus who would prepare and serve meals to Hindu visitors. He himself was very fond of and would recite Hindu Bhajans and locals, he was a pacca vegetarian. Scores of people would approach him for solution of their problem. He would grant some bodies request but to others he would clearly tell that he could do nothing for them. In our case, we only put him one question and his prediction came out to be true. I am told during the militancy he was brutally murdered by the militants.

An engineer in the telephone department by name Pramod Kumar for his predictive powers, I became friendly with him and in Delhi we would visit each other often living only at a distance of a furlong from each other. He had put up a large picture of Lord Shiva in his room and any person approaching him for solution of a problem would be taken before the picture of Lord Shiva and would be conveyed the saints reply. He used the expression "Bhole Teri Marzi".

I have mentioned saints with whom I had close contact and would trust me and love me. There is another class of saints with whom my association was short but very effective. In this behalf I must mention with utmost respect the holy name of Sant Gangeshwaranand a world famous saint. He was blind at the age of four but in later life made discourses of highest spiritual significance. He would Cite from memory different verses of four vedas to the astonishment of the audience. He made one Veda out of four and placed the new Veda in Delhi, Bombay, Brindaban managed by hundreds of his disciples. He died at the age of one hundred and ten. His birth anniversary was celebrated in Bombay for two weeks which was attended by thousands of people and saints from all over the world. I also spent a week there. He was very kind to me and would make enquiries about my health in my absence.

All the saints I met I would tell them that I had not come for any favour but to have their Darshan. This attitude of mine perhaps created a soft corner for me in their hearts.

Now-a-days I pay my respects to one Swami Chaityananda Vasudeva who has constructed a palace like ashram at Bohri where hundreds of devotees visit daily. Audiences are granted to devotees after two months giving them a pass for that date. Almost all IAS officers, Army Generals and other VIPs are at his door. He has a number of rooms well furnished where people of different sorts are accommodated. There is a room in the ground floor well furnished used by me when I go to him as I cannot ascend stairs in the first floor. All vehicles have to stop outside the premises but there is special permission for my car to reach the ashram and I have only to come out of the car and enter the room with a person waiting for my arrival. I have been entertained in that very room with lunch or tea with Dossa specially prepared for me on four festivals in the year. Thousands of devotees have their lunch at the Ashram but I get everything in any room. The Mahatma visiting me more than once from amongst thousands of his guests.

I must end this narration with a unresolved enigma a famous powerful doctor saint Dr K Krishna by name born in Katara often visits Jammu and gives long discourses on spiritualism preaching a novel interpretation to spiritualism. Huge gatherings with pin drop silence listen to his discourses each one of which extends for more than hour at a stretch. Some very close devotee takes me to attend to some of his discourses, being an old person suffering from old age ailments make me to take a chair in the last row without causing commotion in the congregations if I move out without causing any commotion. I was embarrassed one day when he paid a surprise visit to me at my place and presented me a nice memento in beautiful broad letters as a present from Spiritual Awareness Society of India of which he is the President. I had never met him face to face. He again embarrassed me by paying another surprise visit, ordinarily I am told he does not go to private residence of anybody. The disciple accompanying him both times told me that the Mahatma after coming out from his meditation directs the devotee to carry him to my place END

Sodaratiratha : Myth, Legend and History

By Dr. Ramesh Kumar

Background:

For Kashmiri Hindus all the images erected by the sages and all the great lakes in Kashmir are holy. Regular pilgrimmages to these places have formed an integral part of their socio-religious history.

Naran Nag, located at the foot of steep Butsher mountain leading to Gangabal pilgrimage, has from times immemorial remained a site of pilgrimmage, enjoying a very high degree of popular esteem. It is ten miles away from Kangan, the last major town on Srinagar-Sonamarg highway. In ancient times, it was called Sodaratiratha.

The sanctity of Naran Nag is derived from the existence of a large spring, Sodara Nag. Around it have been built two, actually three groups of temples in east and west directions. In terms of antiquity, these temples have been erected around the same time as Sankaracharya temple and Bumuzuv temple, near Mattan on Pahalgam road. Only the temple remains of Payech seem more ancient.

The importance of the pilgrimage to Sadaratiratha continues to the present times, but more as an extension of Gangabal pilgrimage. Pilgrims after consigning the ashes of their dead relatives to the Gangabal (Uttaramanasa) lake, make it a point to offer worship here, by staying overnight. The myth, legend and the history of Sodaratiratha indicates that it had an importance of its own, rivalled by few pilgrimages.

The Sodaranag has been lost in the tradition of Purohitas as well as in the religious lore of Kashmiri Pandits. Pandit Sahibram, that careful scholar on Kashmir's socio-religious history, in his monumental work Tirtha Samgraha, refers to the antiquity of Naran Nag. In his notes on Harmuktaganga pilgrimage, he writes.

Tatah (the Harmuktganga Lake) Pratyavrtya Vangatakhyapradese (Vangath) Prathamam Bhutesvara Pujam Vidhya Sodarnage Yastim (viz. the long stick used on the mountain pilgrimage) Ksiptra Visrjya Pratyayat.

Nilmatpurana mentions Sodaranaga in connection with the shrine of Bhutesvara (Buthsher) and Kankavahini river. Ablutions in the Sodara spring are recommended to the pilgrim visiting the tirathas of Bhutesvara, Jyesthesa and Nandin.

The particular region around the spring of Sodaranag was also known as Bhuteshvara or Shiva Bhutesha-the lord of beings. This entire area is clad by dense pine and fir forests. Roaring stream of Kanakvahini (present Kanaknai/Kankinaz or Karanknadi of Harmuktganga Mahatmya), flows to the south of Sodaratiratha. It is formed from the tributaries, which flow out from the sacred Nundkol (Kalodoka) and Gangabal lakes. Temple ruins are seen on the right bank of Kanak Vahini.

Wangat (Vangat), the nearest village with human habitation is five kms. away and gives the name to the temple ruins as "Wangat Temples". Wangat is ancient Vashisthasrama, named after sage Vashistha. He, as per tradition, stayed here while consecrating Linga called Jyesthesa at Naran Nag.

Sodaranag:

Sodara Nag spring lies to the north of the temple complex and is a oblong-rectangular structure. Its northern side is a rocky area and the original spring has been camouflaged with a drain chamber. The other three walls are built in dressed and polished masonry in a stepped fashion. In the rocky surface a few lingas are also carved in the rock face. RC Agarwal believes that these lingas date to fifth-sixth century AD. About the spring, he remarks that in the early historical period it was properly channelled and a tank was scooped out for storing the spring water. The tank is lined with ancient slabs.

The sanctity of the tank-spring has also aroused much interest among the archaeologists. RC Agarwal comments, "the sanctity of the tank or Pushkarni was so overwhelming that in the later period it was used for performing rituals and became a tirtha, which in subsequent historical writing came to be known as Sodaratiratha." In the opinion of Pandit RC Kak, the pioneer archeologist of Kashmir, "its cool, delicious water, perhaps contributed to some extent to its sanctity".

The spiritual merits of taking bath in Sodaranag have been enumerated at length in Nilmat, our principal source for studying significance of Sodaranag. It says that one may obtain prominence among the ganas by seeing Hara Bhutesvara, Jyesthesvara and Nandi after taking bath in the holy Sodara. The merits of taking bath in the Sodaranag and Uttarmanasa (Gangbal) lake are same i.e. one thousand cows. In fact, Uttaramanasa is believed to be the abode of Sodaranaga and the linga Jyethesa at Naran Nag is washed with water from Uttaramanasa lake. One can also attain the merit of performing Rajasuya and Asvamedha by taking a dip in the Sodaranag.

Sodara (Kashmiri) is derived from Sanskrit Samudra, meaning ocean. What expanse and depth of this spring impressed the ancient Kashmiris so much that they mistook it for Samudra' Kashmir being far away from the sea, the expanse and the depth of blue-coloured Gangabal lake reminded Kashmiris of sea. And possibly for those who could not withstand the hazardous mountain journey, mini-Gangabal was created as Sodaranag at Naran Nag.

Siva Bhutesha Worship:

Nandiksetra or Nandisaksetra refers to the whole sacred territory from the lakes on the Harmukta down to Bhutesvara. Sodaratiratha lies at the outermost limit of Nandiksetra. Nandisa is the designation of the Shiva worshipped in the Nund-Kol lake (Kalodaka lake). The inner portion of the lake showing blue colour is supposed to mark the residence of Kala or Siva. The outer portion having light green colour is the place where Nandin lives. There is a legendary description of how Siva came to take up his residence in this area in the form of Bhutesa, in Nilmatpurana. The mountain spur, which stretches south-east from Harmukh peaks marks the residence of Bhutesa. It bears to the present day the name of Buthsher i.e. Bhutesvara.

Both Kalhana and Sir Aurel Stein have commented eloquently about the religious significance of this region. Kalhana says, "there even to this day drops of Sandal ointment offered by the gods are to be seen at Nandiksetra, the permanent residence of Siva". Stein writes, "the worship of Siva Bhutesa, 'the lord of the beings' localised near the sacred sites of Mount Harmukh has played an important part in ancient religion of Kashmir". In the Nilmat, Siva says to Nandi, "you shall live in my company in a place at a distance of one Yojana from here towards the east. O best of the ganas, I in the form of Hara Bhutesvara, shall dwell in your company. O Nandi, the gifted sage Vasistha on the earth shall erect your image and also mine at that place."

At Naran Nag, there are temples erected in honour of Siva Bhutesa and Siva Ugresa. Bhairava together with a 'circle of mothers' (Matrachakra) is worshipped close to Bhutesa temple. As Bhairva is connected with bloody sacrifices, his shrines are kept some distance away from those of other deities. Matrachakra refers to the Saivite goddesses, the Sapta Matrka or seven mothers, representing Life and Death, radiant loveliness and hideous ugliness.

Jyestharudra Cult:

However, Sodaratiratha's fame rests on its being the original sanctuary of Siva Jyesthesa or Jyestharudra. As per legend, Siva liberated Parvati (Jyestha) from Daityas here and on marrying her took the name of Jyethesa. In the Jyesthesa temple at Naran Nag, Siva is worshipped as linga. Nilmat says that the consecration and first worship of the Jyestharudra linga is distinctly attributed to Rishivasistha. When Bishop Cowie visited Naran Nag in late nineteenth century, he found the base of a colossal linga at the South-West corner of the enclosure of Jyestharudra temple complex. Stein comments that this remnant of linga which Cowie found, "belonged perhaps to the very emblem of Jyesthesa." Linga was worshipped here under the name Svayambhuh i.e. natural stone and not sculptured symbol of god.

The similar lingas are worshipped at Sarikaparvat and Suresvari. There are basically three sites in Kashmir, where Siva Jyesthesa was worshipped under this name or its equivalents, Jyesthesvara and Jyestharudra. These are Mt. Harmukta in the sacred territory of Nandiksetra; near Tripuresvara (Modern Triphar) i.e. between Mahadev and Suresvar; and in the close neighbourhood of Srinagar.

Shrines at Sodaranag have enjoyed liberal patronage from successive Kashmirian Kings. For their abiding faith, they often retired to this place for offering penance. Since royal citizenry frequently visited this place, the locality has also been called 'Rajdainabal'. Families of Asoka, and Kalhana had great reverence for the shrines of Nandiksetra. During Asoka's time, Kashmir was overrun by Mlecchas (Greeks). He offered austerities to Siva Bhutesa and obtained from him a son, later named as Jaluka, in order to exterminate mlecchas.

According to Rajatarangini, Jaluka (137 BC) erected a stone temple at Nandiksetra for Siva Bhutesa and offered to the god a sacrifice of precious stones with other treasures. The offering of flowers made of precious metals and stones is mentioned in various Saiva Paddhatis still in use in Kashmir. This temple has been identified with Siva Bhutesa temple at Naran Nag.

Jaluka vanquished the Mlecchas, by defeating them at Ujjhatadimba. Having done this, the King through his queen Isanadevi founded Matracakras all over the Valley, particularly in the frontier region. He began regular worship at Sodara and other places as vying with Nandisa. It is said Jaluka would attend every day to worship of tirathas so distant from each other as Vijayesvara and Sodaratiratha. The journey from Vijayesvara to Jyethesa in Nandiksetra is nearly 100 kms. To rationalise this, Kalhana writes, "A Naga out of kindness would not allow him to ride in stages (four marches) with horses kept ready from village to village, but carried him always himself".

Distance to Sodara made him uneasy. He created a shrine in Srinagar near Dal Lake, which rivalled Sodaratiratha. The shrine is located at Jyether village, adjoining the Sankaracharya hill. Fragments of a massive linga as big as ten feet in diameter have been found here.

While engaged in erecting Jyestharudra shrine at Jyether, Jaluka felt that without the Sodara spring, it could not rival Nandisa. There is a legendary account mentioned by Kalhana regarding the emergence and sanctity of Jyesthanaga (at Jyether), rivalling Sodaranag.

Once in his preoccupation with state affairs, he felt dismayed at not being able to take his bath in the waters of the far-off Sodara spring. He observed in a waterless spot water suddenly welling up which in colour, taste and other respects was indistinguishable from that of Sodara. After having a dip in this sacred bring, the King felt satisfied in his desire to vie Nandirudra (Nandisa). To test the identity of the new spring, he threw into the Sodara spring an empty golden cup, closed at its mouth with a lid. His doubts were removed, when the cup appeared two and a half days later in this new spring at Jyether. Kalhana magnifies importance of this miracle by saying, "It seems that the King was Nandisa himself, who had descended in an Avtara to enjoy the pleasures of the earth. Not otherwise could such a miraculous event take place before men's very eyes."

Patronage:

Sodaratirtha's sanctity invited the attention of Kings and nobility of Kashmir. They raised temples and gifted wealth to the shrine. Temples were endowed with extensive estates and the priests incharge seem to have been a particularly influential body. The earliest evidence about the royal contribution to the shrine goes back to 253 BC, when King Narendraditya I alias Khimkhila was ruling Kashmir. He consecrated shrines of Siva Bhutesvara and founded a permanent endowment for feeding of Brahmans. His guru Ugra constructed shrines of Siva Ugresa and a 'circle of mothers'.

In Jayendra's time (61 BC), the three most famous shrines of Siva worship were Bhutesa, Vardhamanesa (Ganpatyar) and Vijayeya (Bijbehara). King Sandhimati (24 BC) alias Aryaraja (Vikramaditya dynasty) also used to worship at Sodaratirtha. About his devotion, Kalhana writes, "when he went about to beg his food, he was welcomed with much respect as a follower of the observances ordained by Siva. The wives of the ascetics vied eagerly in every hermitage to give him alms. But as his alms-bowl was filled with choice fruits and blossoms by the trees he, who deserved respect, had not to suffer the humiliation of mendicancy even when he lived the life of renunciation".

The King had stood infront of the shrine of Siva Bhutesa at Sodaratirtha. In true fashion of ascetics he had covered himself with white ash, with his neatly arranged hair tied in a knot. He carried a rosary, marked with Rudraksa.

Lalitaditya (713-755) on return from his victorious expeditions presented huge sums (' eleven crores) of his war booty as an expiatory offering to the shrine. He erected a lofty stone temple of Siva Jyestharudra in close proximity to the shrine and also made a grant of land and villages.

Avantivarman (855-883), a man of wisdom and culture, made a pedestal with silver conduit for bathing of sacred image (snanadroni). He had similar conduits installed at Tripuresvara and Vijaysevara.

Jayasimha also consecrated a linga of Siva called Bhutesvara here. His Prime Minister Srngara, son of Sajjaka would spend great sums to make available at shrine ample provisions for celebration of full moon day of Asadha. This festival (Devas Vapana), mentioned in Nilmat, would be celebrated over ten days. Writing about Srngara's arrangements, Kalhana says, "in recent times even Kings could not have imitated. He had been directed there by Canpaka (Kalhana's Minister-father) and others. Thereby he obtained subsequently prosperity for five-six years".

Sumanas, brother of Rilhana, another minister of Jayasimha built a matha or congregation hall here. RC Kak says, "It is possible that the pillared hall is the same matha. Further excavations may throw light upon this question."

Nobility and Kings often desired to retire to Sodara tiratha. Queen Ratnadevi, after erecting matha at Ratnapora, retired to Nandiksetra. King Kalasa (1063-1089) is quoted by Kalhana as having said, "After completing the foundation of my town, I shall throw upon you the burden of the crown and go as an ascetic to Varnasi or Nandiksetra".

Kalhana's family was equally devoted to Sodaratirtha shrine. His father Canpaka paid frequent visits to the shrines of Nandiksetra i.e. Buthser and made rich endowments there. Every year he would spend seven days at this tiratha and utilise his entire sayings. Ultimately he retired to Nandiksetra. Kalhana's uncle Kanaka also used to frequent this shrine. In fact, the nearest town of Kangan (old name Kankanpora) is named after him.

The lavish gifts and treasures bestowed upon the shrine led to its plunder from time to time. A powerful Damara from Lahara (modern Lar), Dhanova in the time of Avantivarman plundered the villages attached to the shrine. Once Avantivarman had come to worship at Siva Bhutesvara. After having presented on his own behalf sacrificial apparatus, which was in keeping with his royal dignity, he noticed that the temple priests had placed on the base of the god's image as an offering a wild growing vegetable with a bitter estate, Utpalasaka (Wopal hakh). When King asked the priests the reason for such an offering, they threw themselves on the ground, and spoke with hands folded. The Purohitas of the shrine wanted to demonstrate to King the poverty to which they were reduced by placing before the image, instead of proper offerings, leaves of Utpalasaka i.e. a present of no value. The King left the worship, feigning colic, making it appear as if he had not heard what he had heard. His minister Sura understood and went to Bhairava temple near Bhutesa. He tactfully ordered off the assembled crowd. Having done this, when only few attendants remained, Sura asked Dhanova to present himself. He appeared after repeated calls from Sura. Minister's armed men were ordered to decapitate Dhanova near the image of Bhairava temple, located higher up to Sodaranag. The body of the Dhanova was thrown into the basin of Naran Nag, the pond close by. Kalhana writes, "the wise Sura, who had thus removed the King's displeasure, went outside after having the body, from which the blood was pouring forth, thrown into the tank close by".

Bhadreshvara, Minister of King Sangramraja (1003-28) also committed a similar hateful deed in plundering the treasury of Bhutesvara.

The shrine was burnt during the reign of Uccala (1101-11) by a sudden conflagration. The King rebuilt it a fresh, finer than before. During the rebellions under Jayasimha (1128-55), the temples were sacked by the marauding hillmen (Khasas) at the instigation of rebel baron Haya Vadana. Shrine of Bhutesvara seems to have escaped the sacrilegious confiscations of King Harsa. There are no records available which speak about vandalism or consecration of new temples at Naran Nag during the Sultanate rule or later Muslim period.

Post Script:

As pilgrims failed to reach distant Sodaratirtha, they created its replicas close to their homes. Near Hazratbal on the deep inlet of Dal (Sudrkhun) lies the village Sudrabal. Stein believes that both Sudrkhun and Sudarabal are linked to Sodara spring. There are also two pools fed by perennial springs near the lake shore and close to the mosque of Sudarabal. There is a definite tradition which says that these springs were visited by numerous pilgrims. Infact, a portion of Sudrabal village is called Battapor. This points to a former settlement of Pandits.

In North Kashmir, there is a village, Sudrkoth (Srivara mentions it as Samudrakota) near northeast shore of volur. Sudr'mar is the quarter in which lies Somatirtha of Rajatarangini, built by queen Samudra of King Ramadeva in 13th century. It was also called Samudramatha END

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Tara and The Dilemma Of Kashmir

By Shyam Kaul

The imam at the principal mosque at Safapur was concluding his address when a man walked in, went up to him and whispered something in his ear.

A shadow of grief fell over the imam's face. He turned to the congregation and broke the news of a death in the village. "You will be sorry to learn", he said, "of the death of Tarawati, Mokdambai (headwoman) of Kolpur, a little while ago. As there is no Pandit now here in the village, I call upon you to proceed to Kolpur, after offering your prayers, and arrange the last rites of the deceased in an appropriate manner".

It was early 1990, the heady days of the freshly-arrived cult of terrorist violence in Kashmir. The boom of guns, bomb blasts, grenade attacks and shootouts, had heralded the arrival of the new cult. Gun-wielding "mujahids" had appeared from nowhere, getting into the headlines straightaway. The attention of the whole world got focussed on them after they organised an unprecedented operation, the abduction of the daughter of the then Home Minister of India, Mufti Mohammed Sayed. This sent the entire population of Srinagar city into frenzied excitement by creating delusions of "Azadi", which, at that moment, appeared to be just round the corner.

Against the run of this torrent of all-pervading euphoria, the minuscule Pandit community was gripped by fear and panic, for the "mujahids" had practically launched their "liberation" struggle by selective killings of Pandits, beginning with a BJP leader, TL Taploo, a retired judge, NK Ganjoo and many others. They made it appear that the Jehad was not only against India, the very name of which became a malediction, but also against Pandits, who were inevitably identified with India, it was then that Pandits started fleeing the Valley. The wave of panic swept across the villages and hit Safapur with a powerful blast that damaged the house of Kauls, a well-known Pandit family of the paragana. In a couple of days the entire Pandit population of Safapur, not exceeding fifty souls, was on its way to Jammu, via Srinagar. Tarawati, the widowed headwoman of Kolpur, which formed part of the larger Safapur village, her son and daughter-in-law, were among these fleeing Pandits.

On reaching Srinagar, Tarawati's son left her and his wife behind, and proceeded to Delhi to explore whether he and his family could find shelter there, instead of any other place outside Kashmir.

Tarawati had been in Srinagar hardly for three days when homesickness started tormenting her. Then one morning she took a bus for Safapur, telling her daughter-in-law, that she would be back when her son returned from Delhi.

At that time Tarawati could not have imagined that those were the final hours of her life and that fate was drawing her to Safapur, perhaps only because of her life-long bonds with the soil and the people of her village, on the banks of picturesque Manasabal Lake.

Back at her home, Tarawati found a new life vibrating inside her, but she also found something ominous in the village ambience. It was taut with fear and tension, and spontaneity in people's behaviour was missing. This however did not prevent the old lady from mixing and mingling with her Muslim fellow villagers as she had always done before. But the joy of reunion was short-lived and only after three days she had a stroke and died peacefully in her home, with her neighbours by her side.

The prayers over, a large section of the congregation at the mosque, hurriedly made its way to Kolpur. By then, a large crowd, including women, had assembled at the headwoman's house. The village women took care of the last rites of the deceased, before menfolk carried the body to the cremation ghat at the banks of the lake. Some elderly villagers, who were fairly conversant with Pandit customs and rituals, helped cremate the octogenarian headwoman properly, as a large gathering stood by reverentially, praying for peace to the soul of the departed.

Tarawati had come to Safapur as a 13-year old bride, married into the nambardar family of Kolpur, and had spent all the 72 years of the rest of her life in the village, going out only occasionally. She would sometimes go to Srinagar, to attend some function of her relatives, or to her ancestral village, 20 kilometres away. She had once been to Jaipur where her son had served with the army.

Widowed at the young age of 40, Tarawati had not only brought up and educated her children, but had also discharged her functions with utmost responsibility as headwoman. Over the years, she had acquired a protective, motherly image, loved and respected by all.

In the evenings, during summers, flocks of children would come to play in the sprawling compound of Tarawati' house, under the shade of the big chinar tree that stood at the gate of the compound. She would call the chinar her mother-in-law, because, as she put it, "when I came here as a young bride, it was this chinar which greeted me before I stepped into my new home. Since then it has been an inseparable friend and a part of my life. I have rested under its balmy shade and watched and enjoyed children playing under it as mellifluous birds sang in its thick branches".

In her more ruminative moments Tarawati would recall, with traces of old grief in her eyes, how she had spent her lonely evenings, after the death of her husband, sitting against the supportive trunk of the chinar, and shedding silent tears.

To the frolicsome and noisy children, Tarawati had always something to offer by way of small eatables like a walnut, a pear, smoked corn, or whatever she found in the house. She also had always something to give to the small children of poor fishermen, who lived a little distance away on the fringes of the lake. They would often come in the mornings, asking for something to eat and she would never disappoint them. In fact every night she saw to it that some food was left over for the fishermen kids next morning. Some of these children would be so small that they could not even call out 'Tara' the fond name given to her by the villagers. They would call Tala or Taya.

Her older neighbours and other villagers were her frequent visitors too. They came to seek her advice, guidance and help in resolving disputes pertaining to lands, marriages and inheritances. She went all the way out to share their joys and sorrows.

Tarawati was an illiterate woman, but her close affinity with her fellow villagers and her deep understanding of their day to day problems, had made her into an institution, to which they always looked in their moments of distress and difficulty. Every villager mourned her death. Her departure created a feeling of emptiness that no one in her neighbourhood could easily reconcile with.

But those were the days of rapid changes in Kashmir. Militancy had gained phenomenal immensity and taken control of everything, including the lives of common people in cities and villages, who could not even talk and act as they would normally do. In fact when a woman neighbour of Tarawati wailed loudly over her friend's death, a gun-toting youth from a neighbouring village, walked into her home next morning and scolded her for shedding tears for a "Kafir".

The nineties in Kashmir, perhaps, marked the saddest era in the post-independence history of this ancient land of sages and rishis, known for its traditions of peace, amity, non-violence and tolerance. It witnessed not only the displacement and exodus of tens of thousands of people like Tarawati, but also the annihilation of the noble civilisational heritage they represented.

After Tarawati's departure, it was not long before her "mother-in-law" chinar fell to the axes of money-hungry militants. One morning a group of them came, followed by a team of axemen who immediately got down to their job. It took them several days to bring down the whole tree, limb by limb and branch by branch. It was sold right there, partly as timber and partly as firewood, fetching a fat price for its destroyers. It was not the only chinar that met this fate as gun culture thrived in Kashmir. Hundreds of chinars all over Kashmir, as also other trees in government plantations and forests, were felled in similar fashion for satisfying the greed of "liberators" of Kashmir, drunken with the power of newly-acquired guns.

It was also not long before the three-storey house of Tarawati was set ablaze and reduced to a mass of rubble. None of her neighbours came out to make an effort to put out the blaze. Perhaps not because they would not want to do so, but because times had changed. The writ of the gun-wielding insurgents ran supreme, and arson formed a part of their agenda which no one could defy. Those who had dared, though rarely, had paid a heavy price. Hundreds of Pandit houses, government buildings and schools went up in flames that way.

Some years later, in 1997, a grand nephew of Tarawati, who had also lived in Safapur and owned property there, visited his village. His house had once stood next to his grand aunt's. He found village dogs snoozing on the wreckage of Pandit houses, including Tarawati's imposing house of Maharaji bricks and deodar. The boundary walls of the large compound had disappeared. No children played there. Instead it had become a grazing ground for village cattle.

The gentleman who, as a boy and later as a youngman, had been a witness to the busy comings and goings in the headwoman's house, wondered whether the place where dogs lolled now, was the same where she had once spoken words of advice, counsel and comfort to her Muslim fellow villagers.

He could not exactly locate the spot where Tara's great chinar had once stood, in all its glory and grace, rising high into the sky. The place had been levelled into a barren patch.

When he came back from Safapur, all he got with him, as evidence of what once was a thriving Pandit locality, presided over by a grand old lady, were pictures of some obscure ruins that once had a name. He told his friends in Jammu that standing there, all by himself, and trying to paper into his past that lay at his feet in the shape of burnt bricks and charred wood, he felt like crying. But there were not tears in his eyes, for the tragedy was beyond all tears. Or perhaps the ever-blazing fire, from guns that never fell silent, that had engulfed his homeland, had also burnt up all his tears. Just as the ruins of Tara's properties had reduced to ashes also her identity and her presence in Kashmir's historical, cultural and social mosaic.

Tarawati is no more. Her children and grandchildren live in exile. Their identity in Kashmir is erased for all practical purposes. But in the new description of Kashmir, that has emerged after the rise of terrorist violence, who now is the real Kashmiri ' The one who raced from a mosque to a cremation ghat to ensure that a Panditani got a decent and dignified funeral' Or the one who later set her house on fire and felled her chinar, only to destroy her roots and wipe out her identity as a true Kashmiri' That precisely is the dilemma of Kashmir.

The diaspora of the children of Tara, and those of thousands of other Kashmiris like her, notwithstanding, the dilemma remains. And as long as it is there, Kashmir will continue to bleed.

Kashmiri Pandit has been the worst victim of this dilemma. The zealots of "azadi" refuse to see and accept him as a Kashmiri, before anything else. For them he is a symbol of India, an eyesore of Indian presence in Kashmir and therefore something to be got rid of. That has been the way of all zealots all over the world.

But destruction of symbols never destroys what they represent and stand for. If it were so, then this world would be bereft of many civilisations and cultures, and many religious beliefs and political ideologies.

During the course of its history, Kashmir has suffered too due to the baneful medieval peculiarity of destruction of symbols. Even now this outdated curse is being revived here and there, as happened in Kashmir, where the militants went after many symbols in a bid to destroy the entire past of the Valley. From the witch-hunt of Pandits and nationalist Muslims, to the siege of Hazratbal and the burning down of Chrar Sharif, there is a chain of instances of calculated attacks on the symbols of Kashmir and Kashmiriyat. The design behind these pre-meditated attacks, obviously, was to obliterate Kashmir's heritage of noble values based on human brotherhood, peace and non-violence, and foist on it an alien culture of violence, narrow-mindedness and religious fanaticism.

Perhaps that is the true concept of "azadi" which the zealots in Jammu and Kashmir have envisaged. The dilemma persists. Today the Kashmiri is a case of split personality, torn between religion, politics, regional aspirations, parochial complexes, sectarian loyalties, accession, de-accession, azadi, autonomy, India, Pakistan, et al. The muddle has been made worse by exploitative external interventions.

The Kashmiri has lost his way in the maze of India's mishandling of situations, Pakistan's instigations and phoney promises, dangling carrot of UN resolutions, machinations of self-serving politicians, and interference of foreign powers and other busybodies. All this has made him into a political schizophrenic. Time has now come for him to cure himself, rediscover himself and then judiciously choose and mark out his future course of action.

He has to decide whether he will remain a Kashmiri, true to his responsibility, his land of birth and his cultural heritage, or whether he will surrender to the zealot who has intruded into his personality and his individual and collective psyche.

Today's Kashmiri has to look back, as well as, ahead of him, to ensure that he is not wrenched away from his moorings, and also, that he is prepared to go along with forward-looking, universal and progressive visions of the twenty first century.

Unless the Kashmiri does that, he will continue to be bedevilled by dilemmasr

*The author is a veteran journalist. His writings on the social aspects of Kashmir insurgency have been widely appreciated.

'Wadi Ki Pahari Bastiyaan'

By Nazeer Masudi

District Kupwara

This district, reduced in territory, came into existence after 1947. Those areas of Neelam Valley and Tehsil Karnah, whose streams and nullahs carry waters into Neelam (Kishan Ganga) river and prior to 1947, formed part of Muzaffarabad district, now make Kupwara district. It includes the area of Machhil. The Kishen Ganga valley was completely inhabited by the Pahari speaking people, therefore, its area now under the control of JK government and in this side of LoC, form 25-30 percent of Pahari population of the district. The inner valleys of district Kupwara comprise Lolab valley, Kalarus valley, Haihama valley, Katchama valley and Chowkibal. From times immemorial the regions of Drav (Keran) and Karnah were accessible through numerous passes (gali), therefore, many Pahari (Hindko) speaking people crossed the comparatively less high mountains separating Kashmir valley from Neelam valley and settled down on this side of Kupwara.

At the same time many people left Kashmir valley and settled in the Neelam valley. For example there are a couple of Kashmiri speaking large villages in Khwajisiri, Dudhanyal, Keran, Tangdhar and Karnah. A few families of Kashmiris will also be found in some other villages.

The mountain range from Machhil upto Shamsbari is comparatively of low heights. It is rocky only from the west of nullah Kachahama upto Shamsbari near Nastachan Pass, or as it is called Raja Ram Ki Lari (Raja Ram's range). The road passes through Nastachan pass to enter Karnah valley. This range has many passes including Machhil pass and Nunwani pass which joins Kalarus with Machhil. From Kalarus, there is a passage that connects the valley with Sharadaji. It is known as Sinjli Gali. It is believed that during Buddhist period, it was this Sinjli pass that connected Kashmir valley with Kishenganga valley. After descending from Sinjli Gali one enters the Kishen Ganga valley. After reaching the river bank, one finds Khwajisiri village located on the other side of the river. May be the Khojas settled there during Buddhist period.

Among other important places is Mazhama Gali which connects Dudhanyali Gali with Kupwara and Trehgam. Two important passes called Markian (9200 feet) and Nastachhin (10200 feet) join Keran and Karnah areas respectively with the Valley.

Daradpura:

In the foothills of Chowkibal mountain, the habitats were once under the sway of the Rajas of Karnah. On both the sides of nullah Kehmil, there are the settlements of Pahari people as in Timnah, Marsari, Zooneh Reshi, Saffrooda. Chowkibal is the first stage on this side of Nastachhin pass. The distance from this place to Karnah is about 20 miles, but during snowfall the road remains closed. In olden days, this was a foot track. Around Nastachhin pass, we have many large pastures especially Buda Nambal and Bangas. Karnah herdsmen brought cattle to graze here. Bangas Bahak (pasture) is located to the east of Shamsbari. This has been the route of settlers in Uttarmachhi Pora.

'Karnah Valley'

By Shid Shujaat

On 75 kms long difficult mountain range to the north-east of Kupwara at a height of 10 thousand feet is situated Nastachhin Pass generally known to the locals as Sadhna Gali. After crossing the pass, there lies the small valley of Karnah (Karnav) situated on the foot of Shams Bari and Kranii mountains. Before partition this Valley comprised the valleys of Drav, Lipa and Karnah. Its borders reached ahead of Farkiyan to the east upto Damaar Gali and to nullah Qazi Nag to the west extending upto the confluence of Kishan Ganga and nullah Kaji nag at Jaradah. To the north it extended beyond Sharda to Talel.

During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, it was given the status of a tehsil with headquarter at Tithwal. Karnah valley suffered the most as a result of partition of state in the attack of 1947. Its fertile areas Drav, Sharda, Mirpur, Falakaan in the north and Lipa, Ashkot, Kaji Nag to the South were separated from the tehsil and are now known as Landi Patti meaning narrow strip. Thereafter the Keran valley was detached from it and finally Karnah valley shrunk to an area of just 11 sq miles comprising the Valley of Tithwal and Gabrah.

There are indications of human settlements in Karnah valley going back to 3000 years of history. Among the habitats of the Valley, the more known are Sharada, Shahkot, Phugi Raja, Helwaat, Ashkot, Falakan, and Mirpur. Excavations near Dildar village yielded lance, mace, sword and pick-axe which shows the local people were warriors.

All these weapons are made of stone. The ancient people of the locality are reported to be the sun-worshippers. About the people of Sharada, tradition has it that through a miracle they could raise a thick cloud behind which the sun would hid. These people were also reported to be the snake-worshippers.

Like the Sati Sar, Karnah valley is also said to be a large lake of water. The present day villages of Nichian, Kandi, Tangdar, Dildar and Khaworpara and many more villages adjoining these all remained submerged under water. In olden days Karnah valley was given the name of BOR. Among its areas, ZARLA was of much importance. Previously it was called Pathankot, situated at the foot of Sadhna Gali. As it was a vast lake, early human habitation took place along the mountain heights. Even today, excavation enterprise in the heights yields icons, stone statues, stone mill, stone weapons and utensils. A Raja named Karan dwelt on the mountain Karano located in the middle of Karnah valley, his palaces with its ruins still remaining. This mountain was 7500 feet above sea level.

Local people call the ruins as "Raja Karan Diyan Shaheriyan". Some water tanks were built on these heights reportedly with inside leather coating so that rain water could be preserved for longer duration in them. Some remains of these tanks are still visible. Again it is reported that Raja Karan had ordered a breach in the mountain at Ari Dal. So that the Valley of Karnah was desiccated. Ari Dal gradually degenerated into Hari Dal. A mere look at the aperture, shows as if the opening has been made with a carpenter's saw. Nullah Batamaej passes through this site today. Along the Batmaej nullah there still exists a rock with some inscription that has not been deciphered so far. Perhaps it dates back to the days of Sharada University or it could be an edifice related to Buddhism.

Karnah, therefore, assumes its name from the same Raja Karan and the mountain is called Karnav. Keran also derives its name from Raja Karan. Between Keran and Karnah lies a tract called Rangwor, a part of Karnah valley. In the middle of a large ground, an idol was installed under the orders of Raja Karan. Its delicate ruins are still visible. People called it "Mehandi Walla But" meaning the statue with heena-colour. As this is situated on some height the Raja might have used it as a signal tower in his own days. Although Raja. Karan's royal palace stood on the top of Krano mountain, Still his blood relations had settled royal household at the eastern foothill of Krano mountain. They were called "geubr" which meant fire-worshippers. Raja himself was a fire-worshipper. This is the reason why the area was given the name 'Gabra'.

To the north of the Valley of Drav, was situated the famous Sharda University. This place is situated at a height of 6500 feet above sea level. Today it is called Mai Sharada (Mother Sharada). A fort had been built close to this University which later on became a seat for the propagation of Buddhism. Its ruins and the statues of Buddha are still to be found at this site. These excavations invite the attention of the scholars.

Sharada University was rated one among the best and top universities of the country at this point of time, and this became the seat of Buddhist learning, scholars and students of Buddhist philosophy flocked to the place from various parts of the country (India). Thus owing to Sharada as the famous seat of learning, Karnah valley became known to scholars. After acquiring deep knowledge in Buddhism, scholars proceeded over mountains and through passes to adjoining lands carrying the message of Buddha.

Two routes used to be adopted, that continue to exist today. One route lay along the banks of Kishen Ganga through the Drav valley, passing by Sharada, and entered Tilel valley. The second route passed through Leepa valley and going along Nakot Hattian reached Uri and then to Baramulla and Kashmir valley. For these interacting routes Karnah valley remained a seat of different cultures-infact a melting pot of these cultures. Many scholars, after completing education and training at Sharada Univesity proceeded along these routes and chose to settle down at various destinations. This is the reason why the place names of many villages in Karnah valley go after different saints, for example Sadhupura (Sudh Poor), Bhat Pora, Kaltha (Kalath') Prada (Pradha') Dhani, Kahasala, Shilai, Gomal, Tud (Taad'). In most of these areas, Buddha statues have been excavated besides some plates. Only a few years ago a number of Buddhas small statues were found while digging for the compound wall of Tangdhar mini-secretariat.

We have also available to us traces of the arrival of Pandavas in Karnah valley in mythological times. On the nullah Kaji Nag, stands a bridge called Pandavpul (Pandav Bridge) connecting village Tad with Prada. The Pandavas had cut the stonebeam for use in building this bridge from Moji forests. But for some unknown reason, these beams could not be put to use and these still remain at Moji jungle. It is believed that during their stay in the Karnah valley, the Pandavas had made some arable land in the Pradah forest. These lands are still maintaining their Sanskrit names such as Awarav, Nadri, Thakri, Shakhri etc. It is also said that Lord Krishna visited this Valley once as he wanted to see the Pandavas. The place where he met with them is called Helmat. The river Kishen Ganga got its name thereafter. It as also believed that Ramchandra Ji also visited this place once. Along the Keran route, there is a place called "Raja Ramun Diyan Lariyan (Raja Ram's houses/buildings). There are some big and small caves and the legend goes that during this exile, Lord Rama spent some years in these caves.

The footpath connecting Kashmir valley to Karnah via Chowkibal, passes through the middle on Sadhana Gali. The legend says that two witches had taken their abode on Sadhna Gali (Pass) called "ANHI and DORI". Anhi means the blend, and Dori means the deaf. Both of them were carnivorous. Therefore people generally moved along this pass in large caravans. The fear continues in the mind of the people of Karnah upto this day. There is another legend related to these witches. It is said that Baba Abdullah Ghazi, accompanied by 370 of his disciples, crossed through this pass. One of the witches caught hold of the last person to cross the pass and devoured him. A loud cry was raised and the news was brought to Baba Abdullah Ghazi. He pierced the belly of the witch with his staff and bodily extracted the disciple out of it. His curse turned the witches into two boulders that can still be seen in Shamsbari mountains. Likewise according to another legend, this Baba Ghazi once stopped a raging flood that had engulfed Gabra village saving a part of it now called Kohneh Gabra (Old Gabra) and the new habitat that came up is called Navan Gabra.

For a long time Karnah valley was ruled by the Bamba Rajas. Raja Nasir Ali Khan, Raja Mansur Khan and Raja Sher Ahmed Khan were prominent among them. Their seat was in Karnav mountain foot in village Gabra. Their jagirsatrapy extended to the north upto Drava and Sharada, to the South upto Leepa Nakot upto Totmar Gali. To the east, it extended from Shamsbari mountain to Tithwal and Chelhena areas were included in it. First Hasan Khuihami and then Munshi Hargopal in Guldastae Kashmir have said that Sher Khan's relations with the Maharaja of Kashmir got strained and Raja Sher Khan fled towards Karnah. Raja Sher Ahmad Khan was reported to be sharp, bold and a self respecting person. He loved justice and order. So much so that he had allocated 10 kanals of land in his jagir to the crows. It produced corn that was boiled and served to the rooks. Even today, the rooks from different parts gather over this piece of land in the evening and raise noise. Thus it is called Kagan Bari a Garden of crowsr

(Source Urdu Journal SHAMS BARI Aug. 2000. Translated by Dr. K.N. Pandita)

Elephant fossils found in Pampore

KS Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Sep 6: The Department of Geology and Geophysics, Kashmir University, on August 31, during preliminary investigations came across an elephant fossil, believed to be at least 50,000 years old at Galandhar, Pampore. The fossil, a skull measures 5 feet x 4 feet with complete upper and lower jaws and a broken tusk 2 feet x 9 inches long measuring about 25 inches in girth at the proximal end and a vertebra.

The experts say it brings the Valley closer to the vertebrate fossil rich Shivalik hills in terms of ancient wildlife and climiate. This is not the first time that fossils of an elephant have been found in Kashmir. In 1931, the skeleton of a mammoth resembling elephant in a semi fossil form was excavated at Somber in Pampore and is preserved in Sri Pratap Museum. It includes full skull and bones that belong to an earlier period than the recently discovered fossil. Besides this at Wapzan, Bijbehara fossils comprising jaws of an elephant, believed to be at least one million year old were excavated.

These fossils point to the type of animal and vegetation before Kashmir was converted into Satisar lake, fifty thousand years ago. According to Mr Gulam Mohiuddin, Director Archeology, Archives and museums, karewas formation in Kashmir valley took place during glacial and interglacial eras in Valley. River jehlum was previously flowing through Banihal into chenab. Due to tectonic activities there was a blockadge in the mountains leading to a massive lake covering entire Valley. According to Mr Mohiuddin, the Valley remained under water for certain periods of history. Again tectonic activities followed leading to crack in the mountains at Khadanyar in Baramulla. The water receded in Valley and found a way out. The life existed even before this conversion, he added.

CPM wants centre to stop operations against militants

KS Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Oct 7: At a time when there is sharp escalation in encounters between security and militants, CPM's top leadership would like the nation to believe that if Centre announces unconditional and unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir, the militancy would end. In other words it stops short of telling that it is India which is keeping alive the militancy. CPM Politburo member Sitaram Yechuri also repeated the harangue that hopes and aspirations of Kashmiris been played around with the successive governments in the centre and at Srinagar. CPM has been treating Kashmir as a Muslim problem and visualises solution in a perspective that fortifies the position of Kashmiri Muslims. It has been spreading all sorts of disinformation on ethnic-cleansing of Pandits, reorganisation of J&K state to appease Muslim communalism in Kashmir.

ISI trying to foment trouble in Ladakh

KS Correspondent

LEH: ISI under a definite design has been trying to extend terrorism to all parts of the state. For quite some its eyes have been focussed on Ladakh region. For the past decade, it had been using this region for infiltration and exfiltration of militants. Regular batches had been going across training in subversion. Police has also recovered lot of arms and ammunition from Turtuk region of Leh.

Recently, the killing of four Buddhist Monks at Ringdom at the hands of militants sent shock waves among Ladakhis. It indicated that ISI was up to some serious mischief in Ladakh. Two batches of saboteurs are believed to have already crossed over to Kargil. Police has also identified a senior advocate of Leh and some transporters, serving as key people for ISI in this region. Locals in Ringdom complain that militants are freely roaming in the area. Local police has identified seven villages as sensitive areas and constituted VDCs. The villages are Bogtang, Diashi, Turtuk, Saspol, Nemo, Lamayuru and Chesood. A special camp of STF, has been set up at Nubra.

The Home Ministry has taken serious exception to the role of JKAP in the region. It may be recalled that on September 28 the JKAP clashed with the Buddhists. The trouble started when JKAP constables objected to "wrong parking" of a Maruti van, carrying a Buddhist monk. The alleged threatening postures of the cops infuriated the Buddhists. Reports said the constable allegedly assaulted to Monk. This infuriated the people. As people were holding protests, two cops appeared on the road and handed over a severe thrashing to an old man, who was among the protestants. People then attacked the JKAP camp near bus stand. This led to communal tension in the town. Following violent protests, the police authorities ordered shifting of JKAP camp and suspension of cop responsible for opening fire on Buddhists' rally.

Prominent Buddhist leader, Lama Lobzang in a letter to Union Minister LK Advani alleged that the state police had been letting loose repression in Leh at a time when elections to LAHDC were round the corner.

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Anantnag produces hashish worth 60 crs annually

By ML Kotru

Narcotics-more precisely, trafficking in it--is the very life blood of terrorist movements the world over. The huge amounts of money generated in some of the narcotics producing countries far exceed of the country's GDP. The Burmese, the Thais, the Lao and even the distant Colombians will tell you of the mind boggling sums that accrue to the drug cartels annually. Nearer home in Afghanistan, it's the narco money that largely keeps the Taliban regime going. So much so that the fundamentalist Islamic clerics running the country encourage growing poppy and hashish. In Pakistan it's the narco mafias who call the shots from Torkhum on the Pak-Afghan border of Karachi.

Some Indians too, have lately taken, to cashing in on the narcotics boom. In Himachal Pradesh and even in parts of Uttar Pradesh farmers are now cultivating cash-rich narco crops. And Kashmir, by-all available accounts, is a jump or two ahead of the other two; not the poppy/hashish growing is new to the State. What's new is the spurt in is growth during the past two decades. That some of the Kashmiri product finds its way to Bombay and Kathmandu is the least worrying part of it. It has been an ongoing thing. The most disturbing part of hashish cultivation in Kashmir is that a large part of the money so generated is going to various militant outfits. To make the situation worse there has been a substantial increase in the consumption of hashish among the young.

Now, you would say this is a universal phenomenon, particularly in societies which are afflicted by political instability or are faced with a Kashmir like situation. The danger here, though is that the intake of small doses of charas in combination with religious fervour make the local youth, particularly in some parts of the Valley, more vulnerable to financial inducement to "fight the system", "break the shackles of occupation" or, at its worst, to "take to arms to fight the Indian security forces." Narcotics, as the dictionary has it, "are substances which when swallowed, inhaled or injected induce drowsiness, sleep, stupor or insensibility" all ingredients, which, in combination with deep religious motivation, make reckless killers out of youth rendered "insensible" by the intake of, say charas. So, it is with these thoughts at the back of my mind that I am retailing the tale that follows.

On my four visits to the Valley these past few months I visited Pahalgam thrice- before and after the massacre of Amarnath yatries. On all three occasions I remembered my host had chosen to take the longer route, via Anantnag town, avoiding as I learnt later, the shorter less congested by-pass which takes you directly from Bijbehara to Pahalgam-the road via Salur. The Salur road passes through some of the most beauteous terrains, the hills rising on one side and a host of streams, some off-shoots of the Lidder, on the other. The Salur by-pass built by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad also allows you moments of some carefree driving, that's when you are not passing through some congested villages. It's some 30 odd kilometers long and takes one to Langanbal, just short of Pahalgam. On none of my previous visits had it occurred to me ask why we were taking the longer, crowded route.

On my third visit earlier this month to Pahalgam, we once again left the by-pass and instead headed towards Anantnag and thence to Pahalgam. It was just before reaching Bijbehara that I suggested that we take the Salur road I was promptly ticked off. "No, not at all. Never. "But why don't we", I insisted somewhat meekly. It's shorter and more picturesque. "It's out of bounds," I was told. For a moment I thought the Security Forces might have put it out of bounds. Perhaps for the duration of an operation. No, it was not the Security Forces. I was told. They are there at a new place but the road stands barred to traffic, except to that emanating from the villages along the long stretch. By whom, I asked. By the Khan brothers.

The Khan brothers, two of them, I was soon to learn the self-styled militant commanders incharge of the area and it is their writ that runs here.

Why should they be interested in putting the road out of bonds to civilian, Pahalgam-bound traffic, I asked rather naively, "You don't know, this is the richest stretch of land in the Valley, right from the Bijbehara bridge to Salaur and beyond." How come, I asked. By now I had travelled back in time, to 1978.

It was in 1978 when I was writing on India for Sunday Times of London that I had my first encounter with this region. It was then part of the Anantnag district and I am not sure whether it continues to be that or is now part of some other newly created district or who knows, may be, even no man's land. The Sunday Times was doing an in-depth piece on hashish cultivation in the region extending from Afghanistan to the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan and to Kashmir and beyond. I had been asked to investigate the Kashmiri part of the story.

One of the first things that had struck me then was that as soon as you crossed the bridge from Bijbehara towards Salur the scene changed drastically. There was prosperity in the air. The mud and thatch structures of the past had made way for solid brick and mortar houses, with shining tin roofs. They ran along the length of the road, on both sides. The shops looked busier than in the neighbouring areas. The taxi driver-cum-guide had by then drawn my attention to the standing hashish crop, mile upon mile, in the orchards, in walnut groves and even in fields where normally they grow rice. The driver had informed that some cultivators had shifted from paddy cultivation to more rewarding hashish crop.

The then District Commissioner of Anantnag had confirmed that the district produced hashish worth Rs 60 crores annually. That was in 1978. He was helpless, he had confided, because political bosses had declared some sort of an amnesty. The other bit of information he parted with was that agricultural labour was hard to come by. The labour had turned to more remunerative hashish growers who paid between Rs 25 to 30 per head per day against the Rs 10 paid by the regular farmers. Additionally, the hashish labour would get one litre of milk a day to serve as an antidote as they went about rolling the green leaves in their palms and scrapping off the residue (charas) each time it was formed. A sip of milk between the rolling sessions helped. The charas thus produced was collected by buyers from the city acting on behalf of smugglers. I will leave my 1978 experience there and talk about what I learnt from a Srinagar English daily a fortnight back. That will also tell you why the Khan Brothers-Arbaz and Shahbaz (obviously assumed names) will not let go of their fief. The brothers, when not preaching secession are busy collecting the produce which, I don't have to tell you, has a ready market. And besides, with many local youngmen having taken to the drug, they are a handy prey to prop up the Khan's strength.

Hashish cultivation according to the report has now extended from the Salur-Bijbehara sector to Pulwama and a conservative estimates put the area under hashish cultivation in the two districts at over 20,000 acres involving over 50,000 people. The residents, have their own explanation for the boom in hashish growing. They will not say it brings them four or five times the money which a rice crop would. They blame recurring floods and dry spells and government's inability to help them to turn away from growing the contraband. They admit that it may be un-Islamic to grow hashish but they must, if only to keep the home fires burning. If in the process their old hamlets have made way for comfortable "bungalow type" houses it must be the will of Allah.

The Khan brothers for their part are encouraging them to continue growing the contraband. They offer them protection. In the ready availability of the contraband lies the key to the Khans own prosperity and of the cause which they seemingly espouse. If that means terrorising people into a life of crime, so be it.

The simple argument advanced in favour of hashish cultivation is that each villager can earn upto Rs 16,000 per kilogram of charas, the average yield from a kanal of land. "How much rice will you get from the same kanal; it won't last you and your family for even a month." They magic works. The result is that more and more land is going under hashish and what's more the local politician is there to help them out, that's if the two Khans somehow don't want a direct confrontation with authority. The local administration says it is determined to put an end to the contraband business but with little or no conviction. For, the gains from cultivating hashish far outweigh the risks of a confrontation. For one thing, the police is said to be hand in glove with the hashish growers. And besides, the local police is as much in awe of the two Khans as the villagers are happy with their presence which assures them of more prosperity. It's another matter altogether that ten per cent of the youth in district have become drug addicts. The Khan brothers meanwhile continue to rule the roost in this noman's land which suddenly finds itself in the midst of a boom, albeit an isolated one.

What has helped the Khans to establish their supremacy in the region is the relative isolation of the area, caused initially by the terrorists by blowing up a vital link bridge. The bridge brought movement from Salur side to Pahalgam to a halt. The bridge has since been rebuilt, but the time it took to be rebuilt gave the Khans the opportunity to consolidate their hold on the area, protected by its high ridges and deep gorges. The people could probably have stopped them from their depredations, but given their own taste for easy (hashish) money and tearful of the terrorist guns, they seem to have chosen to live and let live.
 

Kashmiri Pandits observe ASMITA Divas

Special Correspondent

JAMMU, Sep 14: Rich tributes were paid to the martyrs at a function organised jointly by Panun Kashmir and NS Kashmiri Research Institute at Abhinav Theatre, Jammu on the occasion of "Balidan Divas" on September 14. The day was observed as day of "ASMITA" to protect the identity and culture of Kashmiri Pandits, that is facing unprecedented challenges in the wake of genocide.

The galaxy of speakers, included Dr MK Teng, Dr SS Toshkhani, Mr CV Gopinath, a prolific scholar from Karnataka associated with "NSKRI", Prof ML Koul, Mr PN Kachroo, an eminent artist and Dr Ajay Chrungoo, Chairman Panun Kashmir. While paying tributes to the martyrs, the speakers chided the Indian establishment for its myopic policies vis-a-vis Kashmir. A miniature heritage exhibition was also organised and was inaugurated by Pandit Trilok Koul, an artist of eminence. The cultural programme, organised on the occasion, focussed on Pandit genocide, recalled the rich heritage of Kashmir and reaffirmed the strong will of the exiled community to return to its homeland.

The keynote address was delivered by Prof MK Teng, a political scientist of repute. He told the assembled gathering that Kashmiri Pandits have entered into a new phase of struggle and state of India needs to be told that the Muslim crusade cannot be fought without a civilisational force.

Dr Shashi Shekhar Toshkhani, reputed poet, associated with "NS KRI", in his presentation implored the need to fight the ongoing fundamentalist campaign at cultural distortion. Prof ML Koul, a keen scholar on the cultural tradition of Kashmir focussed on the Shaiva and Vaishnava heritage of Kashmir. He said that Pandits have been among pioneers in history-writing in India and recalled the contribution of historian Kalhana. Prof Koul added that the Pandits have all the ingredients of a rich cultural civilisation and emphasised the need to evolve a defence mechanism to preserve it. He lamented that rest of India remains ignorant about what is happening in Kashmir.

Sh CV Gopinath, known for his erudition and profound interest in Kashmiri Pandit heritage, held the audience spell bound by his scholarly presentation on close links between Kashmiri Hindus and Sarsawat Diaspora in India. There are rare occasions, when a non-Kashmiri scholar has spoken on Kashmir philosophy, with such authority and scholarship as Mr Gopinath did today. He spoke as an "insider", to use the cliche of sociologists and anthropologists. He described Kashmir as "Sharda Peetha"--the seat of learning. Shri Gopinath said that Indian civilisation was extension of Kashmiri civilisation and Kashmir was thus the crown of India. He referred to the common religious festivals like "Gauri Tritya", "Navreh" (new year day), "Pan" and said all these are celebrated in Kashmir as well as Karnataka.

Expressing solidarity with Pandits, he said that "I am you and you are me. If you are hurt, I am hurt too." He emphasised the need to develop a defence mechanism for preserving rich cultural heritage. Mr Gopinath added that when the identity is under threat, defence is needed and explained how Panun Kashmir was a weapon to preserve the socio-ethnic identity of Kashmiri Hindus. In this context he referred to the emergence of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra to protect the cultural identity of Maharashtrians.

Shri PN Kachroo, an artist of repute highlighted the contribution, the Kashmiris made to painting and other art forms. He said that hordes of artists went out in company of Kashmiri scholars like Hasuraj and lead their artistic movement as far as into Tibet and Central Asian regions.

Mr Virinder Bangroo, a musicologist presented an audio-visual capsule on the temple heritage of Kashmir. He decried Vandalisation of temples and made an appeal to preserve the rich cultural heritage.

Dr Ajay Chrungoo, Chairman Panun Kashmir made a scathing attack on Indian policy vis-a-vis Kashmir and said it lacked in vision. He alleged that present peace initiative was being held under the American shadow. Dr Chrungoo declared that the exiled Pandit community will not be a party to any such initiative that seeks to undermine Indian sovereignty over Kashmir and legitimizes communal and separatist politics in J&K. He said that PK's decision on election boycott stands vindicated, as the transfer of power to Farooq Abdullah has resulted in escalation of violence and deepening of siege around the Hindus of the state. Dr Chrungoo lambasted Central government for accepting Hizb cease-fire offer without examining its ramifications. He said this only resulted in death of more than hundred yatris during Amarnath yatra and Bihari labourers. Dr Chrungoo lamented that our government was using its citizens for experimentation and exhorted patriotic sections to oppose all such initiatives, which make Hindu citizens vulnerable.

Dr Chrungoo said there was no shift in US policy vis-a-vis Kashmir in favour of India. He quoted recent statements of David Bonior and Gen Musharraf, to substantiate his argument. He dwelt at length on the strategic significance of Panun Kashmir idea. He added it was a revolutionary idea that guarantees the preservation of community's distinct cultural identity and effective fight against communal-separatist politics in J&K state. He said there was increasing relevance of Panun Kashmir demand, as people who earlier debunked it have become its strong votaries now. Dr Chrungoo added that even RSS has made shift in its policy and it will not be far away when it will demand bifurcation of the Valley i.e. creation of Pandit homeland before the demand of trifurcation of the state.

Dr Chrungoo was severe on those Pandit leaders who have welcomed dialogue with separatists and militant groups in the name of so-called pragmatic politics. Stressing upon the need to pursue idealistic politics, he said it speaks for truth and works for truth. The PK chairman also pooh-poohed the so-called unity proposals. He said such proposals, as they are presented in essence reflect lack of unity of puprose. Concluding on a note of optimism, Dr Chrungoo said that Pandits were a healthy part of India and asked the nation to accept the challenge in Kashmir, by discarding the policy of appeasement. There were no soft options left, he added.

The programme started with "PUSHPANJALI" to martyrs by Sh Omkar Nath Shastri and homage to the martyrs by Jammu Joint Students Federation (JJSF) spokesman, Hari Dutt Shishu. The children of Abhay High School and reputed artists of the community, Ravi Bhan, Deepali Wattal, Vijay Sopori, Suchitra Sopori presented cultural items, eulogizing martyrs and depicting pain and agony of exodus. There was also rendering of Bhajan Sandhya in memory of Krishn Joo Razdan, famous religious poet of Kashmir end

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JN Koul demands homeland for Pandits

KS Correspondent

JAMMU, Nov 4: A realisation, though belated is dawning on the Diaspora Kashmiri Pandit leaders that homeland in Kashmir is the only way out for preserving the social cohesion and ethnic identity of the exiled community. At a function organised at Gole Gujral by Jyotshi Karyalya, AIKS chief Padma Shree JN Koul said homeland was the only viable option to all the problems being faced by the community at present. He told the assembled audience that in view of the trifurcation demand gaining ground in Jammu and Ladakh regions, the Kashmiri Pandits should also project their demand before the Govt. He added that now was the opportune time to put forth the homeland demand vigorously before the government. Mr Koul demanded that the Pandit community should hold debates on the issue and mobilise the opinion in its favour. He added that Pandits have been suffering continued persecution for the la past six centuries, despite the fact that they are the original inhabitants of Kashmir.

Leh elections

Congress maintains its sway

KS Correspondent

LEH, Nov 4: Congress (I) for the second time swept the Hill Development Council elections, winning 20 out of 26 seats, the elections for which were held on October 28. NC won five seats, while one seat went to an independent. BJP drew a blank. Mr Thupstan Chhewang was re-elected as the chairman of the Hill Council. Mr Chhewang attributed the Congress victory to the great influence of Kushak Bakula. He added that Bakula's service to the people of Ladakh is lasting. He also appealed the State government to release the funds in time to enable the Council to function smoothly.

Mr Tsering Samphel, the President of the Ladakhi Buddhist Association (LBA), while lauding the victory, expressed fears that the State government would adopt every mean to undermine the importance of LAHDC. He said the first LAHDC had to wage a constant fight with the State government to hold up its prestige, sanctity, and dignity. Mr Samphel alleged that State government had tried every trick in the book to undermine its importance. He urged the Governor of the State, being the sole representative of the Union government, to ensure that the Council is allowed to function freely end

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Aga Syed Mehdi killed in landmine blast

ISI targets Shia leadership

KS Correspondent

SRINAGAR: Political circles and security officials in Srinagar are baffled over the latest attempts by Pak-sponsored groups to target the top Shia leadership of Kashmir. Aga Syed Mehdi, the staunchly pro-Indian leader and grandson of the Shia patriarch, late Aga Syed Yusuf Al-Moosavi, was killed in a landmine blast, near Mazhama village on Srinagar-Magam highway, on Novemeber 3. Defence Ministry has blamed Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad outfits for the killing. Both these outfits are under the strong influence of anti-Shia Pakistani terrorist outfit, Sipah-e-Sahaba. A newly named outfit "Lashkar-e-Karbala" claimed responsibility for the blast. Attempts by subversive elements to create doubts about the identity of the killers failed when two rabidly fundamentalist outfits, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen and Dukhtaran-e-Millat publicly praised the killers of Aga Mehdi. In the wake of Pathribal report, mischievous elements have been trying to implicate security forces for the various massacres involving minority communities. This is the third attack on a Shia leader in recent months by militants. Earlier, another Shia leader Moulvi Iftikhar Ansari had miraculous escape, when two assassination attempts in June and September failed against him.

42 year old Aga Syed Mehdi was on way to attend a Friday congregation at Imambara Magam. When the bullet-proof Gypsy carrying the late Shia leader crossed the Baba Rishi Flour Mills, near Mazhama village at 1420 hours, there was a deafening landmine blast. The Gypsy was blown to pieces, alongwith Aga Mehdi and his four police guards. People and police at Magam had no idea for three hours as to who had been eliminated in the blast.

Scion of the illustrious Aga family of Budgam, which has provided spiritual leadership to Shias for over four centuries, Aga Mehdi was cast in a different mould. He was among the few Shia leaders, who genuinely felt over the lack of political empowerment of his community. In his death, common Shia believes that they have become politically orphaned.

Staunch rival of his maternal uncle, Aga Syed Mehmood, he first came into active politics in March 1987 assembly elections. Aga Mehdi fought these elections unsuccessfully as an independent. He later joined Congress and his efforts pushed Mir Magami to victory in April 1996 Parliamentary elections. Though Aga Mehdi fought elections again in Sept 1996, February 1998 and October 1999, the sharp polarization thwarted his victory attempts. Aga Mehdi, distanced from Mufti Syed when Mufti nominated his daughter for Srinagar Parliamentary seat. The new Congress chief Shafi Qureishi also failed to inspire him and Aga Mehdi announced his resignation from Congress in August this year. Aga Mehdi's lelder brother Aga Syed Hassan is a senior leader in Hurriyat.

When the news about the killing of Aga Mehdi was confirmed, the entire Shia community of Kashmir was plunged into grief. Thick crowds assembled in Budgam, Srinagar and Baramulla districts and shouted anti-Pakistani slogans while holding militants responsible for the explosion. There were cases of stone pelting also and the protestors brought the vehicular traffic to a standstill. Total shutdown was reported from Budgam, Magam, Pattan, Sonawari, Zadibal, Hassanabad, Dal Lake, Shalimar, Chattergam, Khanda and other Shia localities. At Hassanabad exchange of stone-pelting took place leading to rise of communal tension. At Hartrath village near Singhpora, demonstrators set ablaze six residential houses and reportedly lynched one person, namely Meraj-ud-Din Dar to death. On the third day also in Rainawari and Saidakadal localities, curfew remained in force, following sectarian clashes. There was also tension in Beerwah and Budgam.

The Shia leader was laid to rest on November 4, with nearly 50-70 thousand people attending his funeral. Never before with the exception of Sheikh Abdullah, the funeral of a political leader has been attended by so many people

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Gurunatha-Paramarsa (of Madhuraja)

By Prof. M.L.Koul

Acharya Abhinavagupta, the great Kashmiri Shaivite philosopher of Tenth Century A.D. was a multi-faceted genius. He made extraordinary contributions to the domain of philosophy and aesthetics. His two commentaries on Isvarpratyabijjna of Utpaldeva are vital to the understanding of Kashmir Shaiva monism, centering round Shiva as an absolute. The Acarya perfected the theory and praxis of Trika as a part of Kashmir Shaiva monism. Many a scholar has nomenclatured Shaiva monism as Trika Philosophy in recognition of his stature as an expositor of Trika. Acarya's many works have been lost as a result of intolerant Vandalism and ravages of time. We still have his numerous works, commentaries and devotional hymns, which establish him as an incomparable Shaiva master.

Abhinavagupta's fame, in his own life time, had spread beyond the purlieux of Kashmir. Many outstanding students and practitioners of Shaivism flocked to Kashmir to learn from him. Madhuraja, the great practitioner of Khandana (:smashing false wisdom) and mandana (:establishing truth), in his 74th year came to Kashmir to become Acaryas disciple. Madhuraja, who belonged to Madhura (Modern Madurai, Tamil Nadu), was a yogi of the Pasupata Sampradaya. In his quest for knowledge, he moved from place to place, carrying no personal belongings except a staff (Dandah), a water vessel (Kamanduluh), an earthen vessel (Karpar) and a patch-work blanket (Kantha).

Madhuraja, author of a number of works, was proficient in prose as well as verse. He was deeply impressed by the Acarya's exposition of Utpala's Sivadrsti, perhaps presented by him in the (now lost) Siva drsti-locana. Two other works of Abhinavagupta, lost to us now, are mentioned by Madhuraja, namely: Pancasika and Kathamukha Mahatilaka. Of these the latter is referred to by Acarya himself in his Paratrimsika, while the former is a new name. Dr. V. Raghavan, to whom we owe the credit for retrieving one of the manuscripts of Gurunatha Parmarsa, identifies it with Paryanta-Pancasika.

Madhuraja looked upon Acarya Abhinavagupta as Daksinamurthi reborn in Kashmir. He has paid a poetic tribute to his guru, Abhinavagupta. His panegyric, Gurunatha Paramarsa, was published by the Research and Publications Department, J&K Govt. in 1960, when late Prof. PN Pushp was its director. Commenting on the forte of the Paramarsa, Prof Pushp wrote, "The pen-portrait of Abhinavaguptacarya in the arcadian milieu of his asrama lit up by his spiritual radiance is so vivid and superb, and gives a convincing peep into the integrated personality of the great Acarya".

The text of Gurunatha Paramarsa, as established by the Research Department is based on two manuscripts -- a) Swami Lakshmana Joo of Ishbar, who copied out the manuscript in 1925 from a Devanagari transcript belonging to a grahasti mahatma of Madras (46 verses) b) Manuscript D. No: 15323 of the Sanskrit College, Tripunittura, Cochin, as utilised by Dr. V. Raghavan in his edition of the work, published in the JOR, Madras (47 verses).

In the two manuscripts, only twenty eight verses are common. Out of the nineteen verses peculiar to manuscript mentioned in (b), only 1-9 verses refer to Abhinava-Bharati, Acarya's celebrated commentary on Natyasastra of Bharata. May be the other ten verses have been drawn from some other works of Madhuraja. Prof. Mohan Lal Koul, who holds deep insights into Kashmir Saivism and cultural tradition of Kashmir has translated 'Gurunatha Paramarsa' from original Sanskrit into English for the readers of Kashmir Sentinel. Below is the English translation -- (The Editor)

The actual name of our village was Khirman Tilak Chand. One day, some Muslims from Wadipora came to us and sad, "we will remove your household goods to show to the raiders that Pandits had already been looted". We objected and said how was it possible to recover these later one. They replied, "we shall make Tapsil". Our ladies started weeping over this "advise". This plan of them was foiled by Muslims from other villages--Lachipora and Dudipora. We had very good relations with them. Abdul Ghani Bhat, working in Forest department and his brother-in-law Abdul Gaffar Dar led a crowd of 50-60 people. He challenged the Wadipora villagers and declared, "we shall see who will dare enter Pandit houses. We will not allow this at any cost. If such an eventuality rose later on, we shall try to counter that also, if possible". The looters felt discouraged at the stand of Ghani Bhat and Gaffar Dar.

Our village had substantial (250) Pandit population. Many Pandit employees from Handwara had shifted to Wadipora. They included Shridhar Joo Dhar, SHO, Sham Lal Handoo, Tehsildar etc. Wadipora gained 'notoricity' for raiders since the treasury from Handwara was also shifted here.

Some locals who bore enimity against Shridhar Dhar were planning to kill him. A Muslim milkman had overhead the conversation going on in this context. He went to Dhar, who was in hiding in his house, at village Badhaer. The milkman apprised him about the conspiracy and asked to him to remain ready for shifting to another safe place during night. Around 2.30 AM in the night, the milk man got Dhar out from the rear window of his house and made him reach Wadipora safely after crossing the plateau. One Khatri trader, Brij Lal Khatri, who ran a shop in Rajawar also shifted to Wadipora, along with some other Khatri traders. Brij Lal, who came during night was waylaid on the way and looted. Local Muslims did not resent the migration of other non-Muslims to Wadipora. They had also a feeling that India may retake Kashmir. We kept vigil during the night against the outsiders entering the our villages. Muslim villagers also joined us in this.

After the massacre of Sikhs at Dudipora, our confidence was shattered. If Sikhs, who had weapons for self-defence could meet this fate, what would be our fate-this haunted us. On the eve of, the completion of one month after father's death (Masvar), we sent our one of the Kardars to fetch meat. He returned just after ten minutes and cried 'Aya Hasah' (they have come) we tried to escape but our uncle restrained us. He said that this was not the time for running and asked us to keep doors open for any eventuality. The doors of four rooms were opened and also unlocked the boxes containing beddings and other items for the raiders. While ladies were asked to go to the nearby Khal/Khirvan, we stationed ourselves at the main door. Gold ornaments were concealed us under earthern chulahs (fire pots) in the kitchen. Ours was a joint family and four uncles of mine lived in 3 houses complex. My aunt, Tarachand Trisal' wife, was restrained by her mother-in-law (the two had got stuck up at Wadipora) from keeping ornaments under Chulha. They took out the ornament, and dug out a pit in the earth on the open ground and kept it there. They preeved wiser.

Thirty-two tribal raiders had come in a truck bearing plate--No: 555, Hazara Bus Service. Sixteen raiders armed with .303 rifles entered the courtyard of our housing complex. Rest of them divided themselves into small parties to prey other victims. Four went to Dudipora, another four raiders went to Bahadurpura to hunt Mohd Mukthar Bhat a teacher with strong pro-India leanings. Villagers from the adjoining villages came shortly after, to watch the scene and loot the left-over goods.

While raiders were cleaning our house of the household items, they did not allow locals to touch the looted goods. They themselves filled the bags with looted goods and carried these to the truck lory parked nearby. A raider in Pushto asked me to hand over my watch. I had hid it and pretended that I had none. Another raider demanded my shoes. I politely told him, "Mai Kya Pahne Ga" (What I shall wear).

Meanwhile a smartly dressed raider, wear Khakhi Shelwar, with revolver under his belt climbed up the staircase and was face to face with him. He had robust body and was wearing till dar Kula. The raider who asked me for shoes left immediately after he saw this raider entering the room. Other raiders were Khaki dress and grass shoes. They invariably took our shoes, leaving their grass shoes behind. Metal items were particular attraction for the raiders. The hookah in our house hade pipe made from silver. The raiders licked it with tongue to "confirm" this. The Sardar who had entered my room stood motionless before the portrait of my father. This hand-made portrait, 2 feet x 2 feet, made in colour was prepared by Ramchand Bhan of Bana Mohalla. The potrait depicted my father studying a pothi (book). The Sardar of raiders stared at it for nearly five minutes. In turban and firan (gown), the raider took my father to be a pir. I was standing at the door in fear. Two raiders, who passed by were quite abusive and told me "Lao Sab Kuch Varna Mai Goli Mar Donga" (Get everything, otherwise I will shoot you). Another raider was foolishly packing up a carpet in a pashmina shawls (Dussa-Kashmiri), thinking that carpet was costslier. Those who saw this simply laughed.

Khan--the Sardar ordered me in Urdu, 'Darwaza Bandh Karo, Sangal Bandh Karo" (Close the door. Bolt it). I closed my eyes, praying for the last moment. While entering my room, Khan had loaded the revolver. Then he entered my uncle's room and asked for a coat. I got two overcoats and presented to him. He said, "Tera Nahin Loonga" (I won't take yours). Because of father's death, all the bedding and clothes were kept in the big room (Watu) on ground-floor. Khan asked me to put other items in bags, while the bags were taken down by his subordinates.

While coming down the staircase, I saw Arsalan, a notorious thief from Kulfaqir tribe of Drugmullar. He closely resembled raiders. Arsalan asked my uncle to hand over the entire cash saying, "Is Gar Me Teen Lakh Rupiya Hai, Woh Pesh Karo" (In this house there are three lakh rupees. Hand these over to us. My uncle replied, "Jitna Tha Woh Aapne Liya Ab Jan Bachi Hai" (whatever we had you have taken that, only our bodies remain now). Uncle worked in Revenue department and knew Arsalan well. My uncle was taken away by the raiders to the village shop, where their lorry was standing nearby. As an eagle crossed the sky, the raiders mistook its had now as that of an IAF plane and crouched themselves on the ground.

The coats we wore, were taken away by the raiders. They called 'Dejhor' as 'Sone Ka Anda' (golden egg). I had earlier handed over 'Dejhor' of my wife to uncle Dina Nath. As raiders matched his coat, the 'dejhor' was lost for ever. My mother's 'Dezhor' was also in my pocket but before raiders took my coat, I had handed it over to our Muslim Kardar. Away from the watchful eyes of raiders, he had very tactfully taken it out from my pocket.

Thief Arsala kept on insisting to raiders in pushto that my uncle was very rich. They threatened to kill my uncle. He broke down and disclosed where he had gold and cash. He led them to the kitchen, where raiders dug out the gold with big iron rods (sambals). From the "safe place" in the wall, raiders got the booty of Rs fifty thousand in cash. Raiders were extremely, happy. We asked them 'Aab Khush Ho Gaya: (are you happy now). They replied in affirmative.

Raiders asked Habib Rawa to make tea for them, as they waited for the party which had gone to Wadipora. Two to five Sikh families from Dudipora had not gone to Devnal and stayed behind. They started fleeing as the news about the entry of raiders to Wadipora reached them. But about 8-10 Sikh males were killed. However, ladies were not touched. These ladies stayed with Raja Enayatullah till police came. There was total anarchy-neither any political party nor any government existed.

A raider's group had gone to kill Mukhtar Bhat. They looted his house and grappled with raiders. From the top storey of his house, he pushed down a raider who fell into the big stone pestel (Kanz) below. There was no firing. Raiders panicked and beat a retreat. As raiders entered his house, around two hundred local Muslims had reached there to protect him. This also unnerved the raiders. Mukhtar was later on recruited in policy by Maulana Masoodi. He played a notable role in flushing out raiders during the second raid and guided Indian Army from Handwara to Chowkibal.

While the raiders took tea, they had put their rifles down. After the raiders left, Muslims told us that they could overpower raiders while they kept their rifles down but were afraid of other raiders' party. The truck carrying looted, goods reached Sopore, where to stall raider's advance, local Hindus and Muslims had burnt down the main bridge. Raiders returned to Handwara, where four of them remained to guard their booty, while others left. During night they moved to Sagipora on Sopore-Handwara road. Subsequently they left for Sopore.

At Sopore, raiders exchanged looted carpet for food from the local hanjis. They ferried across the truck with looted goods. While in Handwara, these very raiders had looted the treasury and decamped with cash.

Raiders' truck was advancing towards. Army had reached Baramulla the same day. At Delina an army patrol killed two raiders, while arresting one. Another one escaped. The truck was seized and taken to Srinagar. What happened to our looted goods remains a mystery.

We had strange thoughts that if raiders come again they would kill us since they had nothing to loot from us. As we went for ablutions next morning, we learnt that 8-10 raiders had stayed in the house of Daulat Khan's house. Daulat Khan, originally a pathan lived at Nagrad Naag, 2 kms away from our house. He was a rich landlord and supplemented his income by transporting timber of a forest contractor in his bullock-cart. His son, Sadiq was a famous wrestler. He had won a truck in Jammu in a wrestling competition. Later Sadiq emerged as a big transporter. We related our apprehensions to Daulat. He said, "why are you anxious. Those men stayed with me. I gave them a meal of chickens. Later in the morning, somebody came and whispered something to them. They hurriedly left towards Bungus Nowgam, on the looted horses of Pandits. They had misbehaved with my daughter-in-law. I felt relieved at their going back".

During the period, when we had converted, some local Muslims asked us to interdine with them. They probably wanted to ascertain whether our 'conversion' was genuine. Myself and Shamboo Nath, to allay their apprehensions took Kahwa from Habibullah's shop. But Habibullah Rawa scolded them saying, "unless their heart accepts it why do you force them." Majority of the Muslims were against coercion.

Meanwhile, Srinagar-Baramulla road had re-opened. We refurnished our house and wore scared thread again. My aunty and her mother-in-law were eager to return home. I had also to join my duties. We arranged a tonga and reached Sopore. Tonga was ferried across in Sopore, by disjoint its wheels for just Rs 10. As we crossed the Patan nursery, the horse was galloping furiously in apprehension. The corpses of the raiders, gunned won by the Army lay littered all over the road. Army had buried the bodies in groups on either side of the road but dogs had dug these out. Scene was repeated of and on. At Parimpora, Chattabal, a house was shown to us where "1200" raiders were hiding in preparation to the capture of airport. Army moved under camouflage and killed them in bombardment.

In Srinagar, both Pandits and Muslim neighbours came to greet my aunty. I went to T.T. College, where teacher Kashi Nath could asked me to change my dress of Romi top and Shelwar immediately. He also advised me to meet Pandit Gopi Krishan, veteran educationist and SL Seru, a teacher at Shivala. As I narrated my agonizing tale, Pandit GOpi Krishan sobbed. It took me no persuasion to become member of his Sudhar Samiti.

My training phase was over uncles refused to shift the family to Srinagar as demanded by my relatives in Srinagar. My final examinations were to take place in March after winter vacations were over. Back home in Wadipora, evening meet of the community became a routine for us. Keshav Bayu, the venerated head priest of the Bhadrakali Shrine passed a word to every family in and around Wadipora to observe special fast on Shavchaturdashi festival. He argued, "Since we had become Brasht and Shavchaturdashi was approaching, we should observe fast on 10th, 11th and 12th day of the fortnight.

We had taken the 'fasting' meal at 4 PM on 10th day, and were relaxing on the verandah. A Muslim neighbour came and in an apprehension tone wished us "Salam". We asked him, "what happened'" He replied, "Chuv Na Bozaan Kabaili Vaith Trehgam" (Are you aware that raiders have reached Trehgam). He added that Dr SL Koul had suffered frostbite while fleeing and was resting in Keshav Bayu's house we rushed to meet him. Dr Koul said, "I was in my residential quarter, when raiders ransacked the house. I jumped from the rear window over snow".

Immediately, Pandits of the village called a meeting and asked me and Shamboo Nath Koul to gather latest information from Handwara. At 4 AM in the night, I called at Shivjee's house and Shamboo Nath and myself left Wadipora. We walked over frozen snow, which had accumulated to a height of one and a half foot. I was in full "battle-dress", wearing long boots, goggles and pilot cap. In Handwara, shops were open but all the goods had been hoarded. Pandits of Handwara had left the previous night. Only the family of Pandit Kashi Nath Kaw, the brother of my younger aunty had stayed behind. Pandit Kashi Nath told me that he had been waiting for our decision. Meanwhile Shamboo Nath had disappeared without informing me.

I rushed back home, where Pandits of the village had been waiting for me in the courtyard. I told them that we should leave for safety. Local Muslims told us to reconsider the decision. Prithvi Nath Zaildar asked them, "what did you do for our safety. When the raiders came first time." Our caravan of sixty souls left soon after. Families of Vishn Bhat, Ganjoos and Panditas left the next day. Two of our servants-tenants, including Wali Bhat proved their loyalty by making our march less tiresome.

We reached Handwara. There also local Muslims told us to stay back and said they would provide full ration for us. They added that the army would not allow us to move.

We managed to leave via Langate. The night was spent by us at Ujr, village from where Justice Makhan Lal Koul hails. His father Sham Lal was Zaildar Prithvi Nath's cousin. Pandit Sham Lal said, "I can provide you everything tea, pickles etc but no salt" I had carried two kgs of salt with me and gave them some salt. His wife prepared Sheerchai (salt tea) and maize bread for sixty people. Same evening we arranged two Khochas (country boats). Ujr Pandits also joined us for the onward journey. Three of us-Gandesh Dass Kar forest guard, Radha Krishan Koul and myself left on foot. Pandit Radha Krishan, who was a teacher, was elder brother of Pandit Sham Lal. We soon touched Kupwara-Sopore road. Armoured jeeps with chains tied to the wheels were moving on. Few soldiers shouted at us, "Dushman Kidar Hai" (where is the enemy). We replied fifteen kilometres away. Apprehension gripped us that armymen may ask us to accompany them. We shifted our track and went through fields overladen with snow.

My uncle who was in Sopore had been misinformed that his family after leaving Wadipora has been liquidated by the Pak army. After hearing this news, he had suffered a breakdown. Uncle had been staying as a tenant in the house of Dina Nath, serving as post-master. Immediately on arrival I contacted Dina Nath and told him that uncle's family was safe. The family was on way to Sopore.

In Sopore our group got separated. Pandits of Sopore charged no rent for the houses they rented to us. They provided us free rations for one month, till government undertook relief measures. We stayed in Sopore for six months.

After a weak I and Sona Lal Thusu, of Lidderwan went to Wadipora and brought eight-horse loads of rice, oil and spices etc. Some locals had pilfered our paddy and other left-over items. Till then army was still in Kulangam and Handwara had no effective security. Our tenants helped us in loading the rations.

When we left Wadipora, my uncle Nilakanth's family was held up in Gushi. His wife hailed from this village. He, GOpi Nath, Serjeant in Police, a Sikh peon and his brother had been taken hostage by Pak army. They had been lodged in Tehsildar Mohamed Amin's quarter located in the tehsil complex. Nilakanth was serving in Gushi as Patwari. These hostages before being taken as hostage, had been desperately looking for some Pandit families of Handwara, who had stayed behind. These families were not traceable as they feared their own security. Two hundred raiders under the command of Sanhi of Karnah had descended down to Handwara. Gopi Nath tricked raiders by telling them he was a mukhrir in the local police station. He was asked to take attendance of raiders. Nilakanth described himself as a Makhtab Moulvi. Tehsildar Mohd Amin played a positive role. Two Sikhs were killed, while Gopi Nath and Nilakanth were released. They located a Pandit family and stayed with them. Meanwhile uncle's family reached from Gushi and left for Sopore.

Another raiders' group went to Gushi and massacred Malla family members. Only one male, who lay among the corpses survived. He stayed in the cowshed and had sustained bullet injury in the neck.

We returned finally in May-June 1948. Locals cooperated with us. Leaders-Sofi Akbar and Pandit Kashyap Bandhu visited our village to rebuild the inter-communal relations and asked the practise our religion of without any fear.

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THOSE WHO LEFT US

Kashmir Sentinel and Panun Kashmir Foundation mourn their sad demise and pray for the peace to the departed souls.

1. Sh. Anand Ji Raina, R/o Trichal Pulwama; presently at 422 Vinayak Nagar, Sec-2 Upper Muthi, Jammu. 28/8/2000

2. Mataji Shobawati Koul W/o Lt. Pt. Sham Lal Koul, R/o Ufroo Kupwara; presently at 5, Mohinder Nagar Canal Jammu. 30/8/2000

3. Ms Bhawna Kachroo D/o Sh. Jawaharl Lal Kachroo, R/o Chanapora, Sgr; presently at Qt. No: 165 Muthi Camp, Phase-I Jammu. 31/9/2000

4. Smt. Sheela Dhar W/o Sh. PN Dhar, R/o Nawakadal Sgr; presently at 55/1, Vivek Vihar Paloura, Jammu. 1/9/2000

5. Sh. Mohan Lal Warikoo, R/o Drabiyar Habakadal; presently at Q.No: 584/2 Indrani Darshni Dehu Road, Pune. 2/9/2000

6. Smt. Shobawati Bhat W/o Late Sh Lassa Bhat R/o Delina Baramulla; presently at Barnai near St. Xeiver School Bantalab, Jammu. 3/9/2000

7. Sh. Bansi Lal Bindroo, R/o Zainakadal Sgr; presently at 214, Prem Nagar New Plot, Jammu. 3/9/2000

8. Sh. Chaman Lal Koul, R/o Jawahar Nagar Sgr; presently at A-14 SR. No: 129/1, Chandanand Housing Society Soos Road Pashan Pune. 3/9/200

9. Sh. Kashi Nath Pandit, R/o Chillipora Anantnag; presently at H.No: 302, Sector-2, Gangyal Garden Jammu. 3/9/200

10. Sh. Balbadar Zadoo, R/o Gundi Ahanuar Nai Sarak; presently at Opp. Govt. Dispensary Ploura, Jammu. 5/9/2000

11. Sh. Jagar Nath Bhan, R/o Sagam Anantnag; presently at Bharatnagar Lane-2 Bantalab Jammu. 7/9/2000

12. Sh. Makhan Lal Dhar R/o Kanth Paristan Safakadal; presently at Near Panchpeer Gole Pully, Talab Tillo, Jammu. 8/9/2000

13. Sh. Triloki Nath Zutshi, R/o Zaina Kadal; presently at Qt. No: D-88 Jyoti Puram, Jammu. 8/9/2000

14. Prof. BN Thussu; presently at 415, Shastri Nagar, Jammu. 8/9/2000

15. Smt. Sheela Wati Bhat W/o Sh PN Bhat, R/o Tailwani Anantnag; presently at Jakhani Udhampur. 9/9/2000

16. Sh. Veerji Bhat S/o Sh Brij Nath Bhat; presently at 241-A, Sanjay Chowk, Shastri Nagar, Jammu. 10/9/2000

17. Sh. Radha Krishan Koul, R/o Dangarpora Pulwama; presently at H.No: 93, Sector-D, Bharat Nagar Talab Tillo, Jammu. 11/9/2000

18. Smt. Soomawati (Zapri) W/o late Janki Nath Dhar, R/o Chogal Handwara; presently at 54, Lane-2 Anand Nagar Borhi, Jammu. 11/9/2000

19. Sh. Mohan Lal Koul, R/o Jogi Lanker Rainwari; presently at Company Bagh, Jammu. 11/9/2000

20. Sh Radha Krishan Bhat, R/o Gund Gushi Kupwara; presently at H.No: 165, Lane No: 6, Kabir Nagar Poonch House, Talab Tillo, Jammu. 12/9/2000

21. Smt. Mohni Khurdi W/o Sh Shamboo Nath Khurdi; presently at Patel Nagar Talab Tillo, Jammu. 12/9/2000

22. Miss Sunita Raina D/o Sh KL Raina; presently at Janki Niwas Bhour Camp Ward No:2, Jammu 12/9/2000

23. Sh Shamboo Nath Kak, R/o Jawahar Nagar; presently at B-22, Pamposh Enclave, Greater Kailash-I, New Delhi. 12/9/2000

24. Smt. Dura Koul W/o Sh Makhan Lal Kaul, R/o Natipora; presently A/504, Jagat Appts. Ravi Nagar, Nagpur. 12/9/2000

25. Smt. Arandati W/o late Gobind Ram, R/o Ram Ghat Baramulla; presently at Sector-1, Durga Nagar Bantalab, Jammu. 13/9/2000

26. Sh. JN Garoo, R/o Batapora Sopore; presently at Roop Nagar Govt. Colony, H.No: 43 Sect-3, Jammu. 13/9/2000

27. Smt. Arandati Sharma, R/o Baramulla; presently at Sect-1, H.No: 21, Kabir Nagar, Talab Tillo Jmu. 13/9/2000

28. Smt. Raj Dulari Kak W/o late Sh AN Kak; presently at 50 Indra Colony Camp Road, Talab Tillo, Jammu. 13/9/2000

29. Sh. Radha Krishan Kak, R/o Sathu Barbar Shah; presently at Gurah Bakshi Nagar near Chaman Dairy, Jammu. 14/9/2000

30. Smt. Shobawati Raina W/o late Sh Hira Lal Razdan; presently at 521 Gangyal Garden, Gangyal Jammu. 14/9/2000

31. Sh. Janki Nath Koul, R/o Purshyar; presently at Miran Sahib Jammu. 14/9/2000

32. Sh. Jagan Nath Fotedar, R/o Alikadal Sgr; presently at A-591 Palam Vihar Gurgaon. 15/9/2000

33. Sh. Avtar Krishen Sopore, R/o Jamia Qadeem Sopore; presently at 582, Sector-9, Faridabad. 16/9/2000

34. Sh Asha Razdan (Mother) & Ms Neha Razdan (Daughter) Wife & Daughter respectively of Sh SL Razdan (Saraf), R/o Kanali Bagh Baramulla; presently at 42-Indra Colony, Talab Tillo, Jammu. 18/9/2000

35. Smt. Raj Laxmi W/o Sh BN Kaul; presently at Lane-6, H.No: 44 Turner Road, Clamant Town Dehradun. 19/9/2000

36. Sh. Prem Nath Bhat, R/o Delina; presently at H.No: 47, Lane-3 Bharat Nagar Barnai Road, Bantalab Jammu. 19/9/2000

37. Smt. Kamlaji Jala W/o late Prof AD Jala, R/o Motiyar Rainawari; presently at 182/1 Devashish SI Lines Bhopal. 20/9/2000

38. Sh. Niranjan Nath Koul (Vakil), R/o Fateh Kadal Sgr; presently at 321, Lane No: 11, Talab Tillo, Jammu. 20/9/2000

39. Sh Giradhari Lal Raina, R/o Wazir Bagh, Sgr; presently at H.No: 178-A/D Gandhi Nagar, Jammu. 21/9/2000

40. Smt. Soomawati Mam W/o Sh Soomnath Mam, R/o Pushyar Sgr; presently at Roop Nagar Enclave Block-B, Jammu. 21/9/2000

41. Sh. Soom Nath Tikoo, R/o Shalla Kadal Sgr; presently at H.No: 4, Sector-2 Roop Nagar (JDA), Jammu. 22/9/2000

42. Smt. Lalita Shori W/o Lt. Sh Nanak Chand, R/o Kathsoo Anantnag; presently at Prem Nagar New Plots, Jammu. 22/9/2000

43. Sh. Aftab Bhat (Dhar) presently at Sector-B/1 Lakshmi Puran Chinoor Jammu. 23/9/2000

44. Sh. Ramesh Kr. Bhat S/o Pt. Jaggar Nath Bhat, R/o Gulgam Kupwara; presently at A/P Qt. No: 338 Migrant Camp Mishriwala Jammu.

45. Smt. Raj Dulari Bhat W/o Sh Brij Nath Bhat, R/o Chandipora; presently at D-10, Patel Garden Kakrola Mode New Delhi. 23/9/2000

46. Smt. Gunwati Tikoo W/o late Sh Raghav Ram, R/o Bhagwanpora Verinag; presently at Leh Ladakh. 24/9/2000

47. Mrs Nirmala Koul W/o Sh NN Kaul, R/o Rajbagh; presently at 48, Lane-2 Adarsh Nagar Banatalab, Jammu. 25/9/2000

48. Smt. Dulari Warikoo W/o Sh Poshkar Nath Warikoo, R/o Drabyar Sgr; presently at A-2, Ashok Vatika Lajjat Nagar Sahibabad Ghaziabad. 25/9/2000

49. Smt. Janki Rani W/o late Janki Nath Raina, R/o Areh Kulgam; presently at Community Hall Mishriwalla Jammu. 26/9/2000

50. Sh. Nila Kanth Kotha, R/o Rainawari; presently at 140-C Pocket-A, Mayur Vihar, New Delhi. 26/9/2000

51. Sh Damodhar Kaul, R/o Wazir Bagh, Sgr; presently at 301-A Street No: 11 Shakti Nagar, Jammu. 27/9/2000

52. Smt. Leelawati Dhar W/o late Vedlal Dhar (Vakil) and M/o Dr. VP Dhar, R/o Zandar Mohalla; presently at V-305, AWHO Flats, Mansa Devi Complex Street-4 Panchkula Chandigarh. 26/9/2000

53. Pt. Neel Kanth Kotha, R/o Jogi Lankar Rainawari; presently at 140-C Pocket A, Mayur Vihar-II New Delhi. 26/9/2000

54. Sh. Pushkar Nath Pandita, R/o Harduchanam Sopore; presently at Omkar Niwas H.No: LIG Housing Colony Udhampur. 27/9/2000

55. Pt. Triloki Nath Kaul, R/o Gurgari Mohalla, Natipora; presently at Near Govt. Dispensary Bohri Camp Ward 2 Chatha Jammu. 27/9/2000

56. Sh. Prem Nath Koul (RIAS) R/o Nazuk Mohalla Anantnag; presently at 94, Lane 2 Block-A Roop Nagar Jammu. 30/9/2000

57. Sh Badri Nath Kaul, R/o 86-Banamohalla Sgr; presently at Shiv Nagar, Jammu. 1/10/2000

58. Smt. Leelawati Pandita W/o Lt Akalal Pandita R/o Khaiyar Anantnag; presently at 29-A Sector-2, Laxmi Nagar, Muthi, Jammu. 1/10/2000

59. Sh. Rakesh Koul S/o Sh. GL Koul, R/o Razdan Kotcha Banamohalla; presentlya t C-5/35 Sector-15 Rohni Delhi. 2/10/2000

60. Smt Durga Ji Raina (Ganhar), R/o Drussu Pulwama; presently at Kaccha Talab Bahu Fort, Jammu. 3/10/2000

61. Brig IM Dhar, R/o Kashmir; presently at Care Century Rayons Shahad Distt. Thane Maharashtra. 3/10/2000

62. Smt Rani Koul W/o late Janki Nath Koul, R/o Rainawari; presently at 417-Tumal Jattan Bohri, Jammu. 4/10/2000

63. Sh. Makhan Lal Bhat, R/o Upper Sathu Sgr; presently at K-85, Jal Vidhyut Aptts. Sec-21C Part-III Faridabad. 4/10/2000

64. Sh Mohan K.Khushoo S/o Dr GN Thusoo, R/o Ali Kadal, Qazigund; presently at C-2 Gandhi Nagar, Jammu. 6/10/2000

65. Sh Arjan Nath Raina, R/o Abalwana Shopian; presently at Tulsi Ashram Sec-I Durga Nagar, Jammu. 7/10/2000

66. Sh. Dwarika Nath Bhat, R/o Darbagh Harwan; presently at 56-A Rampura, Last Morh Gandhi Nagar, Jammu. 8/10/2000

67. Sh Poshkar Nath Talashi, R/o Kunjgam Pahalgam; presently at 125, Surya Vihar Tomal Bohri, Jammu. 9.10.2000

68. Master Sameer Raina S/o Sh Suresh Raina, R/o Jawahar Nagar; presently at 119/2-A, Roop Nagar Enclave Jammu. 13/10/2000

69. Smt. Teja Bhat W/o Sh Pran Nath Kilan, R/o Anantnag; presently at Near Agri Workshop Gole Pulley, Talab Tillo, Jammu. 13/10/2000

70. Smt Gunwati Qasba W/o late Janki Nath Qasba, R/o Kashmir; presently at H.No: 15/232 Behind Dablle High School Indira Nagar Lucknow. 13/10/2000

71. Smt Shanti Devi Fotedar W/o late Sh DN Fotedar; presently at HM 29 Phase-III, B-1, Mohali Chandigarh. 14/10/2000

72. Smt Niramal Hakoo W/o late Niranjan Nath Hakoo, R/o Chanapora Sgr; presently at Chanderpur, Maharashtra. 15/10/2000

73. Sh Prathvi Nath Bhat, R/o Noorpora (Gairoo) Tral Kashmir. 16/10/2000

74. Sh. Arjun Nath Kaul, R/o Zainakadal; presently at A-39, Shivam Apparrtments, Block-D, Vikas Puri, New Delhi. 16/10/2000

75. Sh. Prem Nath Pandita, R/o Bragam Doru; presently at Military Doury Farm Qtrs., Supply More Udhampur. 18/10/2000

76. Pt. Shyam Lal Sultan, R/o Shivpora; presently at Koul Niwas Lower Mast Garh, Jammu. 20/10/2000

77. Smt. Raj Rani Bundroo W/o Lt. RK Bindroo, R/o Hari Singh Street; presently at near H.No: 465, Police Post, Digiana Jammu. 22/10/2000

78. Sh Rugh Nath, R/o Lalpora Lolab; presently at Amm. Morh Garhi Udhampur. 22/10/2000

79. Smt Kushlawati Pandita W/o Hakim Prithvi Nath, R/o Baramulla; presently at 37, Ajit Colony, Camp Gol Gujral Talab Tillo, Jammu. 23/10/2000

80. Sh Sham Lal Bhat, R/o Uttersoo; presently at 172 Janipur Colony, Opp. SBI Lane, Jammu. 23/10/2000

81. Smt. Kamjigri W/o Sh Gona Joo Bhat, R/o Khrew; presently at F-132, Mall Appts., Mall Road Delhi. 23/10/2000

82. Sh Roshan Lal Raina, R/o Habba Kadal; presently at 20-A, Tirath Nagar, Talab Tillo, Jammu. 24/10/2000

83. Sh Neel Kanth Raina, R/o Drrussu Pulwama; presently at 155-F Durga Nagar Sector-2, Jammu. 24/10/2000

84. Sh Peyari Lal Koul, R/o DG Colony Channapora; presently at Luxmi Puram, B-I Lan, Chinnore Bantalab, Jammu. 25/10/2000

85. Smt. Prabhawati Wali W/o late Prem Nath Wali, R/o Zaindar Mohalla; presently at 15E, CPWD Qtrs, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi. 25/10/2000

86. Sh. Prem Nath Raina, R/o Zaindar Mohalla; presently at 247, Lane-10, Kabir Nagar Poonch House, Talab Tillo, Jammu. 26/10/2000

87. Smt Leelawati Dhar W/o late Prem Nath Dhar, R/o Karan Nagar, Sgr; presently at H-71, Block-R, Dilshad Garden Delhi. 27/10/2000

88. Smt Laxmi Shori W/o Sh Kashi Nath Koul, R/o Ram Nagri Shopian; presently at 127, Ravi Niwas, Kallar, Udhampur. 27/10/2000

89. Smt Rupa Kaderoo W/o Sh Mohan Lal Kachroo, R/o Sathu; presently at near H.No: 37, Neelam Colony, Top Morh Jammu. 29/10/2000

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Chronology of Events (Oct. 5- Oct. 31)

Oct 5: One dreaded foreign militant and a Deputy Commandant of LET was shot dead by security forces in Budhal. Security forces recovered a large consignment of arms and ammunition in Samba area. One militant, 2 civilians and 1 BSF head constable were killed in different militancy related incidents in Kashmir.

Oct 7: One LET militant, an army jawan and a civilian were killed and a jawan injured in two separate encounter in Rajouri district. One jawan was injured in a bomb blast. One militants was among 5 persons killed in separate incidents and militants attacked house of a protected person in Kashmir valley.

Oct 8: Four militants and and Army jawan were killed in 2 gun battles in Poonch district. Security forces recovered huge quanlity of arms and explosives from hideout in Surankote. Security forces gunned down one top militant of HUJI and smashed 1 hideout in separate incidents across Doda district.

Oct 9: An NC worker 3 militants and village head were killed in separate incidents in Kashmir. Security forces gunned down 2 Pak militants in Chareel and 1 militant at Seelban Dhar in Doda district. Three BSF jawans were killed 4 injured when militants blasted a security vehicle with IED on National Highway. One militant was shot dead in Mandhi sector. Pak troops opened fire on marriage party near LoC in Arnia sector killing 1 person and wounding 20 others.

Oct 10: Three jawan of IRP including a head constable and 2 constables were killed were kidnapped along with arms by militants from the House of a NC leader in Surankote tehsil. Eight rockets and mortars were fired by militants in Rajouri town. Security forces killed 4 militants in 2 separate encounters in Banihal. AJCO of army was injured and 1 IRP jawan died in other incident Delhi police arrested an MBBS student turned militant of TUM and seized Rs 10 lakhs and an IED of 3 kg RDX from him. BSF gunned down 1 Pak infiltrator in Samba sector police nabbed 6 HM militants, 3 civilians, SPO, aired 1 militant were killed in Valley.

Oct 11: 6-8 rockets were fired by militants in Rajouri town armed at Army divisions. One militant was killed and 1 was apprehended in Rajouri district. One IED was neutralised on Jammu Srinagar highway. Two CRPF men and 11 civilians were injured in a grenade blast on Residency Road Srinagar. Six militants, 2 civilians killed in Valley one HM militant was killed in Kalakote. 50 kgs PETN explosive was seized in Mendhar.

Oct 12: 6 hardcore militants of a JEM and Al Badar, one army were killed and one injured in Mahore. Three militants were killed in Kirni, 2 militants were killed in Banihal. Bodies of kidnapped cops was recovered. One militant was arrested in Rajouri district. Three members of family were massacred in Baramulla, 2 soldiers were injured in IED blast at Patan.

Oct 13: Two Pak commandos were shot dead in Nowshera. Army recovered arms and explosives in Poonch. One IED was recovered in Hiranagar. Security forces killed 2 militants in Surankote tehsil. One IED was defused on Sangla-Nandeyali back. Militants killed one civilin in Surankote tehsil. One HM militant was killed his wife injured in an encounter in Banihal tehsil. Three Pak militants, and 1 soldiers got killed in Valley. 6 BSF, ITBP personnel injured in different operations in Valley.

Oct 14: Two jawans, 1 SPO and 2 militants were killed in Mahore area. One sub-inspector and 5 soldiers were killed by militants in Kashmir. IED was blasted near Pattan.

Oct 15: 5 hardcore militants were shot dead in Mahore Udhampur and arms and ammunition recovered 2 top militants were shot dead at Thandi Karsi Rajouri. Three army jawans were killed by militants at Dadwali Rajouri. BSF gunned down 2 Pak infilitrators on IB in Rangarh, 1 army jawan was injured in Pak firing on LoC in Rajouri. Delhi police seized huge arms and ammunition including 30 kg RDX from Delhi.

Oct 16: Six militants of LET were killed and arms and ammunition recovered in a fierce gun battle in Kokernag Kishtwar 1 militant was killed in Bandipora and 2 others of HM were killed in Pulwama. A blast occured at the private residence in Budgam. Eight shops were gutted in Budhal Rajouri. Two top militants were killed and 2 hideouts busted in Rajouri disitrict.

Oct 17: 2 militants and militant were killed in Bandipora and Tangdar. One boy dead another got injured in landmine blast in Keran. Security forces eliminated a dreaded militant COBRA in Pattan. 11 militants will surrender in Surankote tomorrow. An SPO was killed in an encounter. In Surankote police busted a hideout in Mandi sector.

Oct 18: 13 top LET militants were shot dead in Mahore. 4 militants sneak into Hiranagar from border. 8 civilians injured in Sopore mine blast 2 militants, 2 civilians, 2 civilians were killed in Valley.

Oct 20: 20 kgs RDX, and explosives were recovered from Surankote. Romeo forces kill 4 militants and lost 2

jawans in encounterin Rajouri. A divisional comma-

nder of Al-Badar was killed by SOG, in Kishtwar. 8 Pak soldier and 2 civilians troops were killed in LOC death in Nowgam sector.

Oct 21: Two civilians got hurt in Pak shelling. Poonch brigade nabbed 2 fresh militants from Sabjian forests in Poonch. Army and police smash 4 hideouts of militants in Rajouri. Two militants were killed in Valley.

Oct 22:

Oct 23: Forces gunned down 2 dreaded militants of LeT and recovered large quantity of arms and ammunition in Rajouri. Police have busted a flesh trade racket in Srinagar involving women cops. SOG killed a militant in Hiranagar tehsil. One soldier, women and 2 militants were killed in Kashmir valley.

Oct 24: One militant escaped from the custody of police station in Nowshera. Militants caused serious injuries to 2 civilians at Pululian. One militant was killed in Thanna Mandi, 2 hideouts were smashed in Mendhar and Sabjian areas. One hideout of LeT was smashed by SOG at Nagal Gali in Mendhar. One militant was killed by forces in Tral.

Oct 25: Four civilians were injured in Pak shelling in Jhalas Poonch border. Unidentified person shot at a child injuring him critically near Pattan. Militants lobbed a hand grenade towards BSF in Bandipora. IED blasted in Mattan. Two LeT militants were gunned down by forces in Banihal. Three militants surrendered before army in Poonch.

Oct 26

Oct 27: Nine militants were among 11 killed in Valley. One youth died in Pak firing in Akhnoor tehsil. IODC member killed one militant in Rajouri. Forces gunned down 3 militants in Budhal encounter 2 jawans also got killed.

Oct 28: One Saudi Arabia militant was killed for the first time while trying to storm, as suicide squad, SOG HQ at Surnakote, 1 CRPF jawan also lost his life. Two top LeT ultras were gunned down in Rajouri district. Five army jawans were injured, 2 seriously and 12 Pak commandos were killed in Nowshera sector at LoC. Militants cut a civilian in 3 pieces in Banihal tehsil. Three militants were killed in Ganderbal and Gurez and 3 BSF soldiers, 1 civilian injured in these encounters.

Oct 29: Forces eliminated 7 militants including 5 foreign militants in Banihal tehsil. One army jawan was killed and one woman injured in this encounter. Forces thwarted attempt by suicide squad of LeT to attack forces, camp in Surankote by killing 1 militant and apprehending another. Two local militant guides were arrested in Rajouri, 2 more militants were killed in Rajouri, 7 militants and 1 youth block president of NC and 1 constable were killed in Kashmir valley. Two civilians and 6 others were injured in Pak shelling in Uri.

Oct 30: One top militant was killed and another captured in RS Pura tehsil, arms and ammunitions including 8 kgs RDX were also recovered from them forces killed 3 militants in Surankote. Three militants were killedi n Banihal whereas the injured women and havaldar in Banihal encounter yesterday also succumbed. Forces eliminated 2 militants in different encounters in Kashmir. Militants caused 2 grenade attacks in Srinagar.

 
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