He was 31 when he left in 1990. Now retired, he tells Outlook, “We lived in a tent at Udhampur for three years. Later, we moved into a room provided by the government at Battal Balian. We got another room, kitchen and bathroom constructed at our own expense. But in 2008 we had to shift to Purkhoo because of increasing industrial pollution.”
He has travelled once to the Valley to take a look at the house he left. And his experience was not pleasant. “The new generation of Kashmiris sees us as intruders; our land and property have been encroached. So what is the point of returning?” he asks.
Deepika Singh Rajawat, a lawyer and human rights activist, was 10 when her family left the Valley. “Return of the Pandits should be of a permanent nature and not a temporary trickle,” she emphasises.
Others do not see it as an option at all. They have nursed bitterness for too long. Some of them allege that the erstwhile Shankaracharya Temple has been made the Takht-e-Sulaiman. Others say Muslim scholars have questioned the existence of poet-saint Aranimal from Baramulla, whose songs are still sung. The sense of ‘otherness’ has grown, hardened. They would like a clean break from the past. Hence the popular support for Panun Kashmir’s longstanding demand for a separate homeland in the Valley. “What Panun Kashmir has been asking for a long time, a Union Territory for the Pandits, is the only permanent solution to the problem,” says Daya Krishan, even as others around him nod vigorously in agreement.
By Ashutosh Sharma in Jammu
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Jihadi posted 3 comments, and none of them are condemnation of the usurpation of Hindu property and religious places by Kashmiri Muslims.
Anwaar >> Instead of calling you a moron I shall call you a saffronite moron from now on
And you are a Wahabbi Zealot day dreaming about a non existent paradise with 72 virgins right?
The Demand for Union Territory For Kashmir Pandits is a Just demand. We need every right thinking Indian to make this demand a national or even an international movement.
So much shouting made about Palestininans and Gazans but what about our own Kashmir Pandits (and kashmir sikhs) who have been ethnically cleansed out of the valley by nazist islamofascists?
Bring the Union Territory right now , right in Modi Sarkar and show the middle finger to Wahabbi Extremists who are living their days dreaming about a non existent paradise called Wahabbi Theocracy.
This is what Muslims do when they are in a majority, drive the non-muslims out, demolish temples and forcibly convert the women into Islam. When they are in a minority, they cry for secularism.
>> "Is it a tacit admission of being a "CAIR weasel"?"
Your rushing in to assert that you are as low a person as Ram Lala is amusing!
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