KP Dilemma after defanging of Art 370

Our Genetic trait is pushing us to neutral spaces as always.

  • Our community in general seems to have no choice but to move on inspite of historical adversities in the past and the last one in causing our uprooting and dispersion in 1989. How do we make sense of these historical tragic events in the lives of Kashmiri Pandits that have not been caused by their own actions?
  • Adversity has perhaps stimulated us to refine our character , ennoble us and bestowed immense success to us as individuals.
  • On the other hand ,it might have lead to coarsening of our moral fiber and make us self-centered, narrow, envious, unjust and uncharitable as a community.
  • We have lived with this paradox from time immemorial. We continue to live with this paradox as it has apparently not affected our survival instinct .
  • The impact of this trait on our future generations is the core issue. We can see that so far the Kashmiri Pandit has stood up to these challenges and come out victorious at least as individuals if not as a community.
  • This trait has assumed a proportion which can be termed as a crisis at this point of time . We are at the nadir of our social behavior as a community.

Why taking a stand is critical at this hour?

  • Survival has been the common and most dominant factor in all our lives now and in the past. Exodus in 1989 has been a turning point in our lives in more ways than one imagined. It has put our survival instinct to test once again with more severity than anytime before. When we as individuals started to think about our roots , we find that the environment has changed so drastically- Islamization of Kashmir and Aazadi movement continue to be deterrents for this to fructify. National politics has also changed after 2014.Hindu Nationalistic forces ruling currently have their own agendas which run contrary to Kashmiriyat – our refuge to live as minorities with majority Muslims as a dignified compromise. Kashmiriyat was a choice of Raliv from the legendary options of Raliv,Chaliv ya Galiv.
  • The tone and tenor of Raliv changed in 1980’s as it started to acquire a different connotation - conversion to Islam. No amount of Kashmiriyat could buffer our apprehensions on this score especially after Militancy took roots and the concept of Sufi Islam was buried to make way for fundamentalist mindset.
  • The changed circumstance after defanging of Art 370 demand KP’s to take a stand as now our homeland is a UT and the power in the Centre will have to involve in future of our UT in a decisive way.
  • We can no longer linger on to stick to victimhood or restrict our ambitions to Relief and Rehabilitation. The choices as Individuals have receded and time has come to take a decision as a Community.

What Options are before us?

  • In the last 30 years, we have perhaps emerged victorious as always, as Individuals inspite of the adversities faced by us. At the same time we have not invested any significant amount of energies to get our community organizations on a firm footing to take our cause forward.

    The efforts by varied groups has created various narratives .The tragedy is that none of them qualifies as a CONSENSUS view of KP Community.

  • We can sum up some of the options that have emerged. :
    • Return to a specially carved out place in Kashmir for KP’s ( Panun Kashmir).This perhaps is popular with idealists who may not be too excited to return in near future. Some have termed it as DOA (Dead On Arrival).This may also be a “no go” option with GOI.
    • Return to homeland and reside the way we were doing before the exodus in 1989.This will necessitate creating an environment where the majority also comes around to stay with us without mutual hatred. This initiative received a strong support ( over 400 families as reported by a group) by people who are seriously wanting to return. With Art 370 defanging , wonder what response will this option receive from BJP led government as it tends to be laced with “Secular” tradition of INC and also finds favor with proponents of “Kashmiriyat”.
    • Return to homeland by totally aligning with BJP and its ideology. The return thus is linked to the larger Hindutva agenda. Perhaps it also covers our predominant narrative of “victimhood “and “justice” by putting our so called tormentors -the known perpetrators from muslim community, to justice. If this option meets all the demands of this narrative of our community , why is it not a straightforward option?

What is in our interest as Individuals & as a Community ?

  • We must reorganize our community organizations to persue our demands zealously .
  • While it may be easy to negotiate for the land belonging to India legally or militarily, it is a different ball game if you want the people residing in their native place to be taken along. If Kashmiri Pandit’s return is factored in the plans for demographic change ,the issue of our return will become that much difficult. We should resist our plight being used to settle scores. We must avoid merging our narratives with extreme right wing ideology. We must understand that this is followed by only those who may not have to live there like us. Muscularity as a narrative and as a policy are different issues altogether. We must also understand that ‘voting for Modi’ in the past or future and adopting ‘Hindutva’ can be kept separate.
  • ‘Truth and Reconciliation ‘now becomes an important part of healing of both communities who have to live together. We have to be empathetic to the issues of Muslims which have arisen on account of sustained militancy . We must help the Centre to provide a healing touch for bringing in normalcy . That is a big part of our return dynamics.
  • We must also bear in mind that it has been almost 30 years – two generations have moved on after our exodus. We have to deal with a new generation who are not at all familiar with KP’s. They have seen the homeland shattered with the militancy and its after effects. The people who grew with us , have grown old and may have acquired a different narrative in our absence.
  • The change in paradigms in J&K UT will call for participation in re-building out homeland. We must take active part in this endeavor . Bystander option will not bring us to live happily everafter.

A pragmatic and non partisan narrative is the only Way Forward.