The text of the message issued by Panun Kashmir on the 20th Martyrs’ Day for the community
Since 1990, the first year of our forced exile, we have been observing 14 September as Kashmiri Hindu Martyr’s Day (Balidan Divas). On this day in 1989 the Kashmir Hindu leader Swg. Tika Lal Taploo was felled by the terrorist bullets. For all of us it is a day of remembrance and resolve.
On the Matryr’s Day we pledge ourselves to remember what we were, what has happened to us and what we are.
Today we dedicate ourselves to Collective Memory as the highest value to be preserved and perpetuated so that we are able to improve our present and endeavour to create a new future without a sense of fear or failure.
We have to realise that our collective Memory is our strength as it nourishes our wisdom and power of perseverance. These attributes help us to find the ways even where we encounter dead ends and blind alleys.
All these years in exile we have stood up to the forces of exclusion and persecution. Despite odds we have pursued dignity, honour and excellence in exile. We have created a vision to reverse our exile completely and permanently.
To build a future we have to set goals. For setting goals we have to understand the areas where we are defficient. Let us get focused this year to address the following areas:-
1. Our population:
The percentage of families amongst us with only one child is growing at an alarming rate.
The Irony is that economically well-off couples are resorting to one child norm. So, this trend is adopted less as a result of economic destituation or hardship which all of us have experienced during exile. This attitude is suicidal for the community.
We need to adopt a three child norm for our families. Those who have one child have to be counselled and encouraged to have two and those who have two have to be instilled with the confidence of having three. Three child norm was a dominant feature of our families in 60’s and 70’s of the previous century in educated middle class families. This can be ideal for us even now.
Also, our youth need to be educated and counselled to marry earlier. Our young men delay marriage till mid thirties or more and our young ladies wait till they are in their thirties. They seek a comfortable carreer settlement before marriage.
The concept of comfortable carreer settlement is misleading. Marriage at an age of youthfulness is always better than marriage at the beginning of one’s middle age. Our youth have to realise that marriage is a stabilising factor and contributes more decisively towards understanding our carreer expectations.
2. Our Society:
In exile we have built our life not in an aimless way. We have consciously chosen to live in clusters and localities where we can nourish our community life. We have built temples and shrines of our deities and gurus. We observe our traditions and festivals with intensity, gaiety and religious fervour.
The stronger linkages we have built amongst ourselves and with our rituals, folk lore and tradition has reinforced our identity and created in us a ‘consciousness of exile’. In this consciousness Kashmir is a central feature. There are certain issues of our social life about which our level of awareness should increase.
i) Living together is a strength. This has contributed to creation of Kashmiri Hindu localities and residential clusters. It helps us to rebuild our community life and preserve identity. Families living outside Jammu, especially who can afford, should consider having a residential accommodation in Jammu.
ii) Building temples and shrines of our deities and gurus are our cultural anchors in exile. They helps us to build and preserve our culture and perpetuate our traditions in exile. We should, therefore, consider such activities as responses to genocide and not merely acts driven by nostalgia of Kashmir.
iii). Family cohesiveness is a source of sustainable happiness. It has to be inculcated as a value frame in our children. Remaining nearer to the family should be an integral part of the carrier counselling of our children. Blind carreer pursuits carry seeds of disintegration.
iv) Let us resist diaspora: Diaspora has been forced upon us. There is a scattering of our population. We should resist scattering as for as possible. And when we cannot we should convert Diaspora into our strength. As a small community we may not be able to solely defeat the forces of genocide. But we can transform the opinion of the whole nation.
A mobile population of half a million Kashmir Hindus can transform and influence the opinion of 1 billion population. Let us translate the compulsion of diaspora into our strength.
3. Our Education:
Encourage educational Diversification
Our children have been mainly pursuing educational formats which will make them eligible for technical training. Technical training is a quicker way to find jobs and self reliance. It has been a necessity to fight economic destitution caused by displacement.
However, we have to be aware that pursuit of only technical lines entraps the best of our human resource. Economically more stable families amongst us should encourage their children to go for educational diversification.
We should encourage our children to go to the fields of Arts. Pursuing studies in History, Political Sciences, Language and literature, Law and Sociology, Anthropology and Archeology, International Studies and mass communication, art and fashion etc. will make us more creative, enterprising and self reliant. Our pool of human resources in these fields is drying up. Our society is almost mono-chromic at present.
Pursuing only technical courses will not give us the required human resources to reverse our genocide and contribute to the progress of the nation as a whole. We have also to realise that pursuing the fields of Arts is economically viable as there is a lot of demand for the proficient persons in these fields.
4. Our Ritual Tradition:
Our ritual Traditions form the skeleton of our identity. We have preserved our rituals through the worst epochs of our history. We have a civilizational responsibility to perpetuate this tradition.
To ward off effete superstitious practices and superfluous influences on our ritual tradition we have to discover and restate the aesthetics of our rituals.
Rediscovering the aesthetics of our rituals will make them refreshing and economically sustainable.
We have to be very sensitive to the fact that rituals form the boundaries of our social and cultural identity. Tampering with them for convenience will break these boundaries and lead us towards social disorganisation.
Imagine what would have happened to us in exile after being thrown out if we would not have held on to each other in marriage. birth and death through our ritual tradition?
5. Our Politics:
Culture without politics does not survive. Politics is most crucial when communities have been subjected to genocide.
It is now beyond doubt to everybody that Panun Kashmir is our politics. Struggle for reclaiming our homeland is the life blood of our survival. It has given us purpose in exile. It has given us respect in exile. It has forced the establishment to provide us sustenance in exile.
Panun Kashmir is a response to Jihad and fundamentalism of any nature. Panun Kashmir is a response to exclusivism. It is a response of a civilisation under assault to stand on its own.
Panun Kashmir is a clarion call to the nation of India to desist from abandoning its civilisational and political frontiers. Panun Kashmir is a movement to stop the nation state from the pursuit of compromises with communalism in the hope of peace.
Panun Kashmir is an appraisal that only secularism guaranteeing the right of equality to the citizens of this nation can bring lasting peace and not otherwise.
Panun Kashmir is a caution to the nation that if a genocide is ignored it only duplicates. The answer to the genocide of a community is not to ignore it or fudge it or trivialise it. The answer to genocide is to reverse it.
Hindu habitat has been destroyed in the Valley. Panun Kashmir is a struggle to recreate it:
All of us pledge today once again to mobilise all our resources, material and human, our imagination and creativity, to the task of reclaiming our homeland in the Valley.
Jai Bharat Jai Panun Kashmir