“Kashmiri Pandits belong to the Kathak School of the Krishna Yajurveda”, Dr.Shashi Shekher Toshkhani.
Prakash- a Panun Kashmir initiative for the promotion of Kashmiri Art,Science and History organized a day long interactive session at the Press club, Jammu with the eminent scholar Dr.Shashi Shekher Toshkhani and a renowned writer and poet Sh.Maharaj Krishen Santoshi. The focus of the interactive session was the book titled “Rites and Rituals of Kashmiri Brahmins” written by Dr.Shashi Shekher Toshkhani and the short story collection of Sh.Maharaj Krishen Santoshi titled “Hamare Ishwar Ko Tairna Nahi Aata”.
Prakash has been organizing intellectually stimulating events ranging from book releases to discussions with wide ranging implications as far as the literary, cultural and civilisational moorings of the exiled kashmiri Pandits are concerned .Prakash has been able to dispel the misconceptions created by the biased history and interpretations engineered by the vested interests who are responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits from their homeland, Kashmir.
The interaction with the authors organized by Prakash was yet another milestone in this direction by sensitizing the society about the reality about the origin and evolution of the Kashmiri Pandit community in the Kashmir valley.
Dr. Shashi Shekher Toshkahni set the ball rolling by reading a detailed research paper on the cultural and civilisational moorings of the Kashmiri Pandits and their contribution to the development of the Sanskrit culture in the Himalayas and the Kashmir valley. He touched every sphere of life and activity of the Kashmiri Pandit community ranging from birth to death, highlighting the importance of rites and rituals that form the core of the community activity.
While explaining the rationale behind writing his book titled “Rites and Rituals of Kashmiri Brahmins “he explained the contents of the book chapter wise and talked about the Sanskritisation of the Himalayas in Jammu and Kashmir in which the Kashmiri Pandits played the pioneering role.
Providing an insight into his book Dr.Shashi Shekher Toshkhani explained in detail the origin, effect and significance of the rituals of the Kashmiri pundits .He revealed the sanskritic origin of the Kashmiri Pandits and established with facts based on his primary research that “Kashmir is the inclusive part of the Sanskrit Civilization of the Indian nation having Vedic origins and there has been a systematic process to delink the Kashmir from the national mainstream by the bogus research being carried out the behest of those forces who are hell bent to dismantle the Himalayan frontiers of the Indian nation”. He said,”the ideological war launched by the forces who engineered our genocide is the basis for the ethno-religious conflict with an aim to de sanskritise the Himalayas and exclude J and K from the Indian nation”.
He highlighted that “the Kashmiri Pandit community is the seed of this Sanskrit civilization” and said that “the Kashmiri Pandit community has absolute Vedic roots and it belongs to the ‘Kathak School of the Krishna Yajurveda’.”
Sh.Maharaj Krishen Santoshi’s short story collection depicting the various facets of the socio-cultural activities of the Kashmiri Pandit community was reviewed by the eminent scholar and educationist Prof. M.L.Kaul. While reviewing the short story collection of the writer titled “Hamare Ishwar ko Tairna Nahi Aata” Prof.M.L.Kaul said that the writer writes on the broader canvas and has a keen eye that captures the subtle aspects of the Kashmiri Pandit society. He reviewed 13 short stories contained in the collection and praised the writer for connecting the characters with their roots and hailed him for making them speak in first person about the ethnic cleansing and the pain of exile. He appreciated the writer for maintaining the standard and meter.
Sh.Upinder Ambardar, a keen researcher and general secretary of Prakash provided a deep insight into Sh.Maharaj Krishen Santoshi’s mindset as a writer and his sensitivity in dealing with the situation that arised due to the exile.He said,” the writer is essentially a poet and being a poet he has done justice to the meter as well which adds clarity to the short stories.”
While speaking on the occasion and explaining the contents of his work Sh.Maharaj krishen Santoshi said “ the persecuted communities should speak the truth and exile for me is the journey to the roots as in Kashmir I was not aware of the richness of my culture, in exile I became conscious of my culture”.
Eminent political scientist Prof.Mohan Krishen Teng praised both the writers in his address for their pioneering work .He said,” These are the works in continuity.”He said “the Sanskrit Vedic culture of which the Kashmiri Pandits are the torch bearers is continuous and there is no conflict in it. While the Semitic civilizations have an inherent conflict which led to the genocide of the Kashmiri Pandits”.
Expressing his views on the occasion, Dr.Ajay Chrungoo, chairman, Panun Kashmir said,” the persecuted communities have a responsibility and that responsibility is to speak the truth and writers belonging to the persecuted communities have a responsibility as well and that responsibility is to speak the truth and the writers belonging to the persecuted communities like that of Kashmiri pundits should not write as spectators when they are victims but as the participants. And for the Kashmiri Pandit community memory of the holocaust is the shield and it assumes more importance when we are still in the process of continuous genocide”.
The session was presided over by Prof. B.L.Fotedar, convener, Prakash and eminent educationist. He informed the audience that in the due course of time, Prakash will organize more programmes that will cover important aspects related to the social, cultural, literary and historical aspects of the Kashmiri Pandit community from different perspectives. The day long interactive session was attended by a galaxy of writers, thinkers, intellectuals, scholars and members of the civil society.