Saturday, August 9, 2008

Kashmir that is forgotten!

They forget their history


Arif M. Khan

The Kashmir Valley people seems to have sacrificed their unique culture

at the altar of separatism

Kaabe mein budkade mein hai yeksan teri zia
Mein imtiaze dero haram mein phansa raha

(The divine light equally illuminates the Kaaba and the house of idols (temple), but woe to me that I remained obsessed with the differences and distinctions between the two)

(Allana Iqbal)

Jonaraja, the 15th century chronicler of Rajatarangini, has recorded an interesting dialogue between Sultan Shihabuddin (1354-73) of Kashmir and his Minister, Udaysri. The Minister had suggested to the King to melt a grand brass image of the Buddha and use the metal for minting coins. The infuriated Sultan remarked: "The past generations have set up images to obtain fame and even merit, and you propose to demolish them. Some have obtained renown by setting up images of Gods, others by worshipping them, some by duly maintaining them and some by demolishing them. How great is the enormity of such a deed."

The words were the Sultan's, but it was the soul of Kashmir speaking through him. It is a soul that is steeped in the ethos and morality of the Rishi Movement. Kashmiris, regardless of their religious affiliation, revere Lalleshwari (Lall Ded), the wandering Saivaite mystic woman, and Nund Rishi, (Sheikh Nuruddin) the Muslim saint. This Guru -- disciple duo of the 14th century have deeply impressed the collective Kashmiri psyche. Their sayings in simple Kashmiri language are short, sweet, inspiring and laden with moral and spiritual insights and are described as the 'pearls of Kashmiri literature'. Two small couplets could help us appreciate their life-long mission and the humanism they instilled in Kashmiris.

Lall Ded said:

Shiva abides in all that is, everywhere
Then discriminate not between a Hindu and Muslim.

Nund Rishi said:

We belong to the same parents
Then why this difference
Let Hindus and Muslims worship God alone
We came to this world like partners
We should share our joys and sorrows together.

This is the glorious heritage of Kashmir; a heritage rooted in the concept of fellowship of adherents of various religious traditions. It is true that the history of Kashmir mentions about the excesses of Suha Bhatt, an overzealous neo-Muslim minister of Sultan Sikandar, but same accounts show that Rishi Nuruddin boldly stood against 'forced conversions and orthodoxy'. Till date, the name of Rishi Nuruddin commands respect and inspires Kashmiris, whereas Suha Bhatt has been relegated to the dustbin of history.

The recent blooper by the J&K Government in the case of the Amarnath shrine, when viewed in historic perspective, clearly shows a stark contrast between the inanities of government and the sanity of public mind. The Muslim family of Buta Malik has been guarding the Shrine of Amarnath since 1850 and looking after the devout pilgrims. But the government of the state charged with the responsibility to look after the welfare of any visitor not just the pilgrims shamefully abdicated its duty in the face of threat from the divisive and separatist elements.

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1 comment:

Jayasree Saranathan said...

A leaf out of Kashmir's history...

This narration of the story of Kashmir from Neelmat puruna seems to depict the happenings of today...

by Narender Sehgal

Chapter 2
Kashyap - The Maker of Kashmir
First of all Kashyap, through rigorous penance, built Kashmir. According to a story in Neelmat Purana the entire area of India remained under water because of terrible inundation. With the passage of time all areas in India became worth habitation after the flood waters receded and after social systems were set up. But in the lap of Himalaya in north of India there was sprawling region which was still under water. This stagnant water assumed the shape of a big lake. After this a type of volcano eruption started taking place in the 1ake which caused cracks to the mountain peaks situated on the lake banks allowing drainage of the water. A lovely place took shape, the result of volcano eruption. As per the ancient convention the power of fire was called "S" and that is why the land was named by the experts as "satidesh".

After this Kashyap Rishi decided to make this area worth habitation for people. Alongwith labourers he started cutting mountains and levelling the land. Everything was completed successfully but there was need for a canal which could permanently siphon out water. Kashyap sought assistance from Shiva who sent immediately teams of experts. Kashyap requested Shiva to inaugurate digging. Shiva inaugurated the digging programme by striking the earth with his trident. A river flowed from the trident hit spot and it was named "Vitasta."
This way the river carved out its way by breaking and removing boulders. It flowed quenching thirst, irrigating and making cultivable many areas to join the river Indus.

When this area was fully levelled and banks of Vitasta (Jehlum) were completed Kashyap rishi sent a formal invitation to people in many areas of India requesting them to come and settle there. Accepting his invitation, people belonging to different castes and communities arrived. They included industrialists, farmers, workers, doctors, roads and buildings artisans. Everyone started efforts for reservation of plots. The Rishis allotted land to them as per their calibre and according to a system and rule. Those belonging to the Naag sect of Kashyap and others developed towns and villages and within a short period beautiful houses and temples were built.

After all this work was completed, the question arose as to who should be entrusted with the task of running the government in the state. The son of Kashyap, Neel, was unanimously declared the ruler.

This way Neel is the first ruler of Kashmir. He handled the State's administration tactfully. The panoramic beauty of the state attracted many people to this place. People belonging to different religions and communities started living here. Neel ruler welcomed everyone. Many facilities were made available. It was peace all around and an atmosphere of delight.
When the fame of Kashmir spread far and wide, Lord Indra too came to Kashmir for a visit alongwith his wife Shachi. Neel ruler made fine arrangements for his stay and for his tour. One evening when Indra and his wife Shachi were busy in pleasant conversation, while walking with a cool breeze on the lake bank, a voluptuous demon attacked Indra to kidnap Shachi.

Then Indra killed him with his weapon. Indra and Shachi left for their state.
At that time a patrol party of Neel, while patrolling, passed by that side. It saw a child beside the body of the demon. The child was weeping beside the body of his father. The patrol party picked up the child and handedover him to Neel. Neel brought him up as his son and made him educated. Since the child had been lifted from the water-splashed bank of the lake, Neel named him Jalodbhav.

Neel tried fully to link him with Indian nationalism by merging him with the mainstream of Kashmir. But Jalodbhav would shun qualities of patriotism and social service. After all he was a demon. He could not get adjusted with the soil of Kashmir because of his demonic nature. Foreign powers encouraged his anti-national mental make-up. With his full strength he concentrated on destroying mutual love and culture of Kashmir. Kashmiris migrated to different areas of India out of fear of Neel and left behind their property.
People belonging to Gandhar, Abhisar, Juhundur, Shak, Khas, Tarang, Mandav, Madr, Antargiri and Bahigiri sects and areas were tyrannised by the group dancing to the tune of this sinner and foreigners.

The dance of destruction enacted by these antinational elements resulted in the destruction of the entire region from Madr to Kashmir. This part of Indis was bereft of Indianness because its original residents had been forced to migrate.

Neel faced this situation with all his strength but failed to control it. He tried to stop migration of the patriotic people of Kashmir but everybody thought it better to migrate to any part of India to escape death because of the dance of destruction started by Jalodbhav. That time Kashyap rishi had gone on a pilgrimage. When he came to know about it and about the antinational activities and foreign conspiracies in Kashmir, he returned immediately. After taking stock of the situation he announced that he would not be going on tour and on pilgrimage. Kashmir was to be handedover to the Army and he said "I would make arrangements for this. I shall call for an explanation from those who have destroyed the country, tyrannised people, raped women and indulged in killings". He also announced that arrangements would be made under which migrant patriotic people could return safely and honourably.

This way Kashyap encouraged Neel to handover Kashmir to the Army for its protection. Had there been the Congress Government in India at that stage the Prime Minister would have told Neel "First install Jalodbhav as the Chief Minister in Kashmir and then the talks can be initiated". Similarly it would have handedover power to Jalodbhav, the rebel, and directed king Neel, the nationalist, to migrate to Jammu. It would have given facilities to the antinational elements to hatch conspiracies under the garb of Article 370 which gives to the state a special position.
But Kashyap Rishi was not a Congressite. He had not to seek votes from any specific community. That is why he, instead of adopting a policy of appeasement, decided to root out the demonic band of Jalodbhav. As per his plan Lord Shiva and Vishnu reached Kashmir with their forces.

Jalodbhav and his followers hid themselves in hideouts from where they would adopt hit and run policy against the Army.
The Army cordoned off the entire area infested with terrorists belonging to Jalodbhav. Shiva, Vishnu, Kashyap and Vasuki commanded the troops on all the four corners. The Army action was launched from all the four sides. When Jalodbhav emerged from a pond the rain of sharp arrows killed him and his followers who too had come out of their hideouts to flee. Not a single soul survived. On seeing Jalodbhav Vishnu beheaded him with his Cross.

The death of Jalodbhav led to the end of antinational elements in Kashmir. King Neel occupied the throne again. The Kashmir issue registered a total end. All the displaced people returned to their houses. They were given full protection and honour. All of them expressed their gratitude to Kashyap Rishi who restarted his pilgrimage.

Come and learn a lesson from this saga, written in Neelmat Purana compiled several thousand years ago, connected with the birth, development, fall and reconstruction of Kashmir so that by bidding farewell to the politics of appeasement and vote an attempt is made to understand and solve the Kashmir problem in the interest of the nation.