By Mohan Lal Koul
Dedicated to the three brilliant academics, Ashok Kumar Raina, M.Sc, Physics Sushil Kumar Bhat M.Sc, Zoology and Ravinder Kabu, M.Sc, Botany who were cruelly massacred on the hills of Jammu by the fundamentalist Muslim assassins chasing the goals of Muslim fundamentalism and Nizam-e-Mustafa.GYAN SAGAR PUBLICATIONS
Kashmir: Wail of a Valley is the heart rending tale of the people, popularly known as Kashmiri Pandits, the natives of Kashmir who by brutal force were reduced to a minority during a few centuries of Muslim rule.
Despite their immense contributions to all segments of human learning, they were persecuted, and discrimination continued even in post-independence era. The Islamisation of the entire Kashmir polity brought about by thousands of Madarsas cut at the very roots of Kashmiri ethos of liberalism and humanism. The alien gun-culture transformed the paradise into a veritable hell on the earth. Thousands were killed, butchered and tortured. Five lacks of them are in exile and Diaspora.
All this has been exposed in Kashmir: Wail of a Valley. It is the result of the hard labour of Prof. Mohan Lal Koul who has presented the gruesome tragedy of a minority with irrefutable evidence.
This is the second book of the author, first being Kashmir Past and Present: Unravelling the Mystique, which is now a reference book.
With a brilliant academic record which includes three post-graduate degrees in English, Hindi, Sanskrit and B.Ed from the University of Kashmir, Prof. Mohan Lal Koul served various academic colleges of Jammu & Kashmir State. As a student he was affiliated with the left-wing politics and zealously participated in cultural activities organised under the aegis of various cultural fora. He taught Kashmir Shaivism at Benars Hindu University as a visiting professor under U.G.C scheme. He also acted as an advisor of DAV Institutions in Delhi.
Apart from contributing articles to papers and journals on subjects related to history, culture, aesthetics and philosophy, Prof. Koul has authored a book on Kashmir crisis titled as "Kashmir-Past and Present, Unravelling the Mystique", which has been broadly appreciated for the documentation of facts and features about the fundamentalist developments in Kashmir.
In his brilliant foreword to the book Shri T.N. Chaturvedi, a scholar- politician, has put, "Shri Koul deserves all commendation for writing a book which helps to illumine many dark corners. It is a scholarly and documented work without being ponderous. It is a authentic in its composition and unsparing in its presentation of even unpalatable facts."
Kashmir known world over as "a garden of eternal beauty" is now a veritable hell-hole of violence, intimidation and terrorism. The cult of the gun introduced by the Muslim fundamentalists of indigenous vintage churned out from the madrasas and Quarnic schools has devastated the total fabric of Kashmir that had tolerance, cathelocity of outlook and humanism as its dominant weaves.
True to their cult, the fanatic Islamists fed on the fare of destruction, and bigotry wrought havoc not only on temples of learning and widely disseminated infrastructural base for human resource development but also targetted the talented and peace-loving Kashmiri Pandits as a specific ethno-religious group for their externment and subsequent Diaspora. Through their noxious and vile propaganda the Islamists rallied the Muslim majority for a religious war on the minority religious group which was charged with betrayal and called upon to justify itself.
While perpetrating murders on this religious minority the Muslim murderers have forged alibis and set themselves up as tin-pot judges. A farrago of canards, half-truths, accusations and distortions was concocted and set afloat against the miniscule minority with the sheer objective of effacing out the acts of foul murder. Crimes of barbarism and vandalism as the instrumentalities of genocide were committed on the members of the target group with a reckless abandon. The crimes were meticulously devised, programmed and executed in cold blood with the objective of scuttling their defences and finishing them off after bludgeoning and wounding them. The number of those who were mercilessly butchered loses significance but what assumes vital importance is the prior act of selection. The members of the religious group harbouring a non-Islamic faith were singled out from those who are to be preserved, thus eliminating a dissent, a difference with the sole motive of ensuring and preserving a homogenous unity. The annihilation of the Kashmiri Pandit community has been a camouflaged operation conducted by the Islamists convinced of the murderous crimes as the final condition for the emergence of a holy theocratic state for the ghettoised Muslims.
The Kashmiri Pandits are the Tutsis of Rwanda and Jews of Germany. They are in absolute ruins and ashes. Wherever they be, they are a horrendous prospect of pathetic people who are destructed not by plagues but by bigotry and intolerance. The storms of (manipulative have been ignored as non-events which did not happen because they do not suit) history. When massacred in groups, they have been cremated and in some cases buried in all dishonour and ignominy. Their habitations that they had assiduously built up are all in charred remnants. The places of their worship and cultural symbols specifying their faith and spiritual yearnings are in shambles. As victims to cruel forces of pan-Islamism, they are bereft of their territory, their material possessions, their roots and their identity as a distinct historical and cultural group with a background setting of a gargantuan culture and civilisation. A well-defined and co-ordinated aggression was launched against every characteristic of the indigenous group to destroy it and impose on the last outpost of the community in the natural abode the pattern of the oppressor.
As people externed from their natural abode, and milieu, the Kashmiri Pandits have been dumped as refuse in camps and one-room tenements with the pre-thought intent of breaking their resistance and facilitating their wholesale destruction investing it with the veneer of natural death. De-recognising their identities as purposeful and creative individuals, they have been lumped together under a doomed and dubious label of "migrants" which rubs salt into their bleeding wounds. The callous rulers and their buddies without a goulp of shame are at pains to dish out theories to legitimise their expulsion and diaspora with a view to managing the effect of genocide.
And now a word of indebtedness. I feel highly indebted to my colleagues and friends inside academe who have appreciated my efforts to delineate and highlight the genocide of my small community which has been forced to live an ugly life in squalid camps and rented slums.
I am extremely thankful to P.N. Kachru, Onkar Kachru, D.N.Dhar, B.L.Handoo, Prof. M.L.Raina, S.K.Koul, Shyam Koul, Pitambar Singh Bali and C.L. Chrangoo for their assitance and precious suggestions to put the genocide of a distinct ethno-religious community in proper perspective and focus.
I must express my sincere thanks to the bunch of dedicated workers of the Vir Bhawan, Raghunath Pora, Jammu who provided me photographs and biographical sketches of the Kashmiri Pandits who have been tortured and mercilessly killed and butchered. I have to offer special thanks to H.N. Revoo, my school friend and play mate, who has culled lots of material relevant to the devastation that the minority community of Kashmiri Pandits has suffered for its patriotism and positive thought.
My thanks are also due for Ramesh Haku who not only went through the whole mansuscript but also prepared a computerised version of it.
I also thank my wife Mrs Mohini Koul who has been prodding me to write about the community that is in ruins and while fleeing from the terror created by the Muslim terrorists she did not care two hoots for the materials stuffed in our home but brought all my notes and jottings that I had made about the developing situation. Those notes and jottings were profusely used in my first book, Kashmir: Past and Present - Unravelling the Mystique, which was published in 1996, by Sehyog Prakashan, a Delhi based coperative venture in publishing.
Last but not the least I must convey my sincere thanks to the Managing Director, the Gyan Sagar Publications, Dariya Ganj, New Delhi for publishing the book.
Mohan Lal Koul
Rented slum, a migrant
Forewordby Dr. K. L. Chowdhary
(Professor of Medicine, Government Medical College, Srinagar and Political Director of the Apex Committee of the Kashmiri Pandit Organisations)
There is a plethora of newspaper and pamphlet print about the travails
faced by Kashmiri Pandits during the acme of the ongoing militancy in Kashmir and subsequent to their mass exodus in 1989-90 but only a couple of organised attempts to put it down in a book format. A lot of disinformation and canard spinning on the genesis of the exodus has been whipped up by the very people who engineered it, reinforced in no small measure by the militant and secessionist-friendly press and the prevarication and pusillanimity of the state administration and the central government. Many distortions and misrepresentations are still rife as to the causes of the uprising in Kashmir which led to the taking up of sophisticated and lethal weapons of destruction by what were perceived to be docile and peace loving Muslims of the Kashmir about whom it was believed that their worst indulgence in violence was to hurl the Kangris (fire-pot) on the adversary or use one's head to band that of the opponent m the manner of fighting rams locking horns. Even more flagrant defacement of truth is to paint the Kashmiri Pandit as the schemer, the snatcher and the tyrant even while this community with an ample fund of historical and cultural contribution with 5000-year habitation in the valley has been forced repeatedly to abandon its homeland in the face of brutal Violence and religious persecution for the past six hundred years.
It is a historical truth that only eleven families of Pandits survived in the valley after the first major exodus but that was during the despotic rule of Sultan Sikander, the iconoclast, who was driven by extreme religious frenzy to convert, kill or drive away the Hindus. The fact that nearly ninety-nine per cent of the Pandits have now been again driven into exile and remaining remnants are living a life of mental and physical siege is a colossal tragedy and a living shame on humanity because we are talking of the last decade of the 20th century, of secular, democratic Republic of India, of Naya Kashmir conceived on the principles and ideals of equality and liberty and fed on the principles of religious harmony. The present exodus assumes gargantuan proportions because the largest democracy in the world could not rescue a small Hindu minority of Kashmir from ethnic cleansing, genocide and exodus. The greater tragedy of the nation is that we don't find many academicians, historians, votaries of freedom and champions of human rights losing sleep either trying to analyst the causes or grasping the portents of the tragic developments in Kashmir. That Kashmir has turned into alchemist's laboratory for transmuting peace-loving youth into gun-wielding militants cannot be denied. That it can be-come a role-model for fundamentalist and religious bigots for ethnic cleansing of minorities in other regions of the sub-continent is a warning which we can ill-afford to ignore. That the demon of terrorism and secession if not crushed and defeated will threaten the very survival of India as a multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-ethnic republic is a bitter truth that Indians will have to grapple with in all seriousness.
A studio of tragic history of the Kashmiri Pandits could be one approach in trying to understand some facts of the Kashmir problem. Towards this Mohan Lal Kaul's book "Kashmir - Wail of the Valley" is a bold and sincere attempt which traces the turbulence right from the times Islam opened its history in Kashmir. The author is well rooted in history and like all of us has gone through the harrowing experiences of being at the receiving end of a craftily conceived and carefully orchestrated creed of Muslim hegemony thriving on the elimination, deprivation and subjugation of Hindus in the valley of Kashmir leading not only to the invisible exodus from the year 1947 onwards but also to spurts of violence, loot and plunder (like Wanpuh and Luka Bawan in 1986) culminating in ethnic cleansing and mass exodus of 1989-90. A single-minded pursuit in unravelling the contours of a Pan-Islamic crusade with its epi-centre in Pakistan and its clinical laboratory in Kashmir. In the process he exposes the fabrication of lies and canards let loose by Islamic zealots and pulls the veil off secularism from the visages of some terrorist organizations and their apologists, many of whom masquerade as Human Rights champions. He ridicules the fast growing clan of pseudo-secularists in India and compulsive Hindu baiters who denigrate their own religion and distort their own glorious history with all impunity. He does not spare the state administration for conniving with the insurgents nor does he spare the central government for concealing and deriding the forced exodus and down-playing the atrocities perpetrated on the Pandits.
In essence the book of Mr. M.L. Koul is a litany of human rights violations against Pandits and the running theme is that of loot, plunder and persecution. He prepares the ground from the days of Bulbul Shah and Mir Ali Hamadani, the ace proselytizer, to the tyrannical rule of Sultan Sikander, Chaks, Mughals, Afghans et al right into the reign of Dogras when the Muslims after a brief interlude in history reorganised themselves against Hindus dur-ing the hey-day of freedom movement in the Indian Sub-continent and organised their wrath against them in the loot of 1931. He moves on in the laying process, as he calls it, to the loot of landed properties by the popular government of Sheikh Abdullah (1947) to the loot of a Pandit girl (1967) and the dress rehearsal of ethnic cleansing in the loot and plunder of 1986. The narrative enters the phase of armed terrorism with intimate details of the massacre of Pandits, their exodus, the loot, the arson and the forcible occupation and annexation of their left-over properties and the desecration and destruction of their religious and cultural signs and symbols.
There is a brief mention of two twilight periods during the rule of Zaina-ul-Abidin and the Dogras in the otherwise dark history of Pandits since the advent of Islam in Kashmir. Mr. Koul debunks the myth of voluntary conver-sions perpetrated by some historians of his own community. He also has a dig at those who extol the Sufi tradition and claims that it was mainly patterned for proselytization. While we are not aware of forcible conversions in post-independence era in the valley, we cannot discount the subtle moral, psychological and socio-economic pressures on the Pandits generated by the ruthless campaign of hatred and discrimination in all State-owned and private institutions and loudly proclaimed and propagated from the psychology of siege under which a Pandit took birth and grew up but also for some of what looked like voluntary conversions. While I believe all Sufis were not proselytizers, we have the striking example of the sage of Charar-i-Sharief, Nund Rishi. We cannot but agree that the forces of fanaticism and fundamentalism did have a great sway in Kashmir all through the last five decades and always found easy victims in Pandits. We all have faced genie of Muslim bigotry let loose from the corked bottle at one time or the other and I still remember with horror the hail of stones on my car from a rampaging mob of the fateful evening when Zia-ul-Haq met his nemesis in an air-crash back home in Pakistan, as if I was responsible for the accident. All sanity, was thrown to the winds during real or imagined provocation to the Muslim sentiments and the non-Muslims found themselves the butt of their ire in vio-lent demonstration against alleged blasphemy in a book titled, "The Book of Knowledge". A foreign tourist once found himself inadvertently in the eye of the storm of shouting hooligans who forced him to join their slogan "Ban Book of Knowledge". In absolute frustration he shouted, "Ban All Knowledge".
Mr. Mohan Lal Koul deftly unwinds the conspiracy re-plete with details and backed up by references to push the Pandits to the wall and throttle his efforts for an honourable survival wherein the ruling elite, the political, the bureaucracy, the judiciary and the religious institutions made a concerted effort where "all the norms were violated and normlessness was stuck to as a norm". This happened right since the popular government induced and implemented the so-called land reforms followed up with the weaning away of Pandits from important positions in administrative governance, denying them educational op-portunities and discriminating them in recruitment and promotions. The loot continues even today through a perfidious scheme to buy off the left-over properties of the harried, harassed and left-over Pandits.
The theory of proxy war by Pakistan as the primary event is again being questioned and it is argued that the seeds of violence and hatred were sown right from 1931 and nursed in madrasas, maktahas and mosques from where it mushroomed into other religious and secular institutions of the land. Pakistan was also waiting in the wings for its chance to throw in support, material, moral and physical. It is a different matter, an aberration to which all violent uprisings are condemned, that like the Frankenstein monster they consume the very architects of violence. That is how the "The tidal wave of Jehad and religious bigotry unleashed by the JKLF flowed at the cesspool of rape, murder, loot and plunder," and after finishing the task of banishing Pandits into exile it barged into moderate Muslim sections of the valley for whom yesterday's "Mujahids and heroes" became today's tormentors. This phenomenon has received scant attention from Mr. M. L. Koul, as also the phenomenon of militants turned informers, turned pro-India and anti-militant militants or 'renegade militants'. The process of recruiting these 'reformed' militants into the security forces and getting them elected to the State Legislature is a unique experiment the usefulness of which are hard to fathom as yet.I bow to you my countryApart from putting the facts in their proper perspective which yet might seem as an eye-opener to a common man as well as the conscientious intellectual in India. This book is bound to kindle the "race memory" of persecution of the Kashmiri Pandits which may to a large extent shape the strategy to re-claim their ancestral "Home Land" which they have lost.
that a militant who took up arms against you
and gunned down innocent citizens
looted, arsoned, raped
is today taking the salute
for the Republic Day parade
while his victims
shiver in refugee camps.
C-143, Preet Vihar
All Rights Reserved
© 1999, M.L. Kaul
First Published 1999
Gyan Sagar Publications
Laser Typeset at
West Zone 391, Madipur, New Delhi-110 063
Ram Printograph (India),