Monday, April 12, 2021
 
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Pandit Return In The Pipeline ?


B L Saraf




Coming at the time when a mood of despondency is overwhelming them - for being consistently neglected by the powers that be- a heartwarming news has come for the displaced Pandits. Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has given them a hope . A few days back he said “ a proper rehabilitation plan for migrant Kashmiri Pandits may be in the pipeline. As lot has been thought about the community and soon something is going to happen which you haven’t even imagined .” He further said “ we are talking about 6000 jobs and equal number of residential accommodation for migrant KPs in the Valley .This is a minute part of rehabilitation of the community in the Valley .”

Very comforting words ,indeed , for which LG needs to be complimented . More so for his describing the employment component a small part of the package for overall rehabilitation of the displaced Pandits in Kashmir . However, having past experience in this regard one has to keep fingers crossed whether the assurance will translate into realty . With regular intervals , the displaced Pandits have been hearing such words over the period of time , with no movement to redeem them .

In the situation Ghalib comes to the mind :

Teeri waade par jieye hum, tau yeh jaan jhoot jaana

Ke khushi se mar na jaate ,aghar aiatbaar hota

The return of the Pandits has , unfortunately, become far too complex than may appear on the face of it . Circumstances have created so many stakes and the stakeholders that those who really matter have been relegated to the margins . Many experts have sprung up to speak for them, unsolicited . Some say , no Pandit will return because his child is minting money in some god forsaken country . Others say the displaced have developed a skin so soft to bear the cold .

We trust that this government will do its job now . But before building the ‘ Return Narrative ‘ few things need to be put in a perspective . Foremost among them is that the unfortunate exodus of the Pandits is one of the great tragedies ; it is story of human sufferings where no one should claim victory . Here , we all are the losers . Kashmiri Pandits ( KPs ) have lost everything . But Kashmiri Muslim (KM ) is no richer , either . Among many thins lost by the KM is his face in the civilized world , where he is often asked “ Why have you turned out KP ?” We are all victims of the circumstances . So , return of Pandits is neither victory for some nor defeat for the others . This is not the game of victors and the vanquished .

In the ‘ Return Narrative ‘ certain assumptions have to be discarded . First , it makes no sense to equate return of aborigines to their rightful habitat with the settlement of ‘ aliens ‘ to change the demography . True logic of the argument is that absence of Pandits from the Valley has inflicted a demographic impairment .

Pandits are told to live at their old places . Pray , where are those places ? They are lost not only to the Pandits but also to their , once up on a time , Muslim neighbors . Dwelling houses stand raised to the ground . Lands encroached up on. And in some cases taken over by the government on the , unimaginatively , invoked ‘ public interest ‘ . This statement may let in an unwarranted and unacceptable conditionality to the return move . Once , some ex legislators had temerity to say that no Pandit will return . We do not know on what empirical evidence is it being said ,so . Such statements help no body’s cause . It is also said that Pandits will not return because their wards are ‘lucratively’ placed over the globe and that they will not find such placements in the Valley . To put the issue in proper perspective we will have to understand that , even in normal times , who amongst us had not to leave his home to earn a livelihood . But we retain an in alienable right to live there as and when we like . Every human being has a right to have a “ choice “. In the given context “ choice “ has a great role to play . He must have a right of ingress and egress to exercise the choice . It can be exercised positively or in a negative manner .

More than emphasizing on a person’s physical presence at a place, his right to live or not to live at that place should be insisted on . Restitution of home will, automatically ,fall in a place . However , we must remember that restoration of that right demands an environment which , apart from providing a feeling of physical security , is rich in spiritual and social content . Having lived far away , Pandits need social and spiritual comfort . So, they must have near and dear ones close by , as indeed they need locals to strengthen that comfort . Administrative convenience , logistics and the security feasibly have to be factored in .

We do not have the hint as to what is governments’ mind about places Pandits would return to . Pandits need a landing place to rediscover the moorings and get sufficiently acclimatized to revert back to the old places : or , live at some other place of convenience, though in a pluralistic culture .

Pandis are told that RSS has taken upon itself to see them return to Kashmir and get rehabilitated there . It is a laudable sentiment .But in the present situation such an open stance of the Sangh may prove counterproductive . The inimical elements in the Valley may be down but, certainly are not out . Their potential to derail the process has not diminished . RSS is a red rag to many in Kashmir . The Sangh can help Pandit’s cause by insisting upon the GOI to fast rack thing s ,and also impress upon it to have a legislation for protection of Hindu Temples and Shrines in the Valley which are in a pathetic condition , presently . L G Sinha may also act on this unanimous demand of the displaced Hindus if he wants them to have confidence in his endeavor to see them back in Kashmir .

Pandits believe the LG and GOI that something good which they “have not even imagined ” is on their way . But at the same time they are apprehensive that it may not be a yet another trial balloon floated to keep them in good humor , caring less for the real business . To keep Pandits faith , Excellency may act in good time to redeem the promise . Or else , they will be compelled to recall Ghalib once again :

Aah koe chaaheye ik umer asar hone tak

Kaun jeeta hai teri zulf kea sar hone tak




(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge)



(Disclaimer: The views, observations and opinions expressed in above write up of Scoop News are strictly author's own. Scoop News does not take any onus or liability for the veracity, accuracy, validity, completeness, suitability of any of information in the above given write up. The information, facts or figures appearing in the write up in no way manifest the position, standpoint or stance of Scoop News and the Scoop News does not assume any encumbrance or answerability of the same. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent Courts and Forums in Jammu City Only)



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