CIRCULATED ENGLISH MONTHLY OF J&K
A News Magazine of Kashmiri Pandit Community
|| Home | December 1st-15th, 1999 ||
VOL. 5, NO: 21
But then whom and what does the Hurriat leadership represent. "Representative Character" has been thrust upon Hurriat by the countries waging proxy-war against India to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir. Only the other day a leading national daily brought out the details establishing its mercenary character.
Hurriat’s politics has nothing to do with the aspirations of Kashmiris. The bitter legacy this politics has left behind is political subversion, annihilation of any semblance of religious pluralism, violent mayhems, brutalization of society and denial of freedom of speech and political choice. The Hurriat leadership in also obsessed with pursuing the politics of personal aggrandisement.
Mr Abdul Gani Lone--the Hurriat leader has spoken about a ‘negotiated settlement’. He also has demanded dialogue with the ‘dissatisfied’ group. No sovereign nation can ever acquiesce to a settlement which leads to the dilution of sovereignty over its integral part. Autonomy or independence both are the variants of the same process.
The separatist ideologues look towards Autonomy
from two angles. One as a first effective step towards secession. And
secondly to gauge the political will of the Indian State. Also Hurriat’s
logic that the Centre is duty bound to talk to the ‘dissatisfied’
groups in the Valley is a misplaced one. Mere dissatisfaction does not
impart it the representative character. Dialogue does have a place in the
counter insurgency strategies. However the preconditions for such a
dialogue are that the back bone of the militancy should have been broken
first and law and order firmly established. And also the authorities
conducting dialogue should have a clear perspective of the stakes
involved. A premature dialogue will only strengthen the separatist agenda.
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
The hate India slogan of APHC is nothing short of history made by Abdul Hassan Bandey, who invited Afgans in 1753 to fight out Mugals from Kashmir. This very part of history is repeated now while all Hindus and Muslims are oppressed beyond measure. The devastation looming large on Kashmir then has redborn for which blood thirsty hounds are welcome. Here I would like to quote E.Darwin:-
"One who allows oppression shares the crime".
Last but not the least I conclude that separatists make a hole in the plate in which they eat. It is for the Muslims of Kashmir to beware of their geese when such forces preach.
UPROOTED KP AND CONCEPT OF HOMELAND
Omkar Nath Moza
There is no doubt that after exodus many trusts with socio-cultural, educational and religious objectives were floated by the community. It is good that people donate liberally to religious institutions-ASHRAMS and MANDIRS, but the community needs professional institutions for shaping future of the young generations.
The community shall give a serious thought to this need and carve out a trust of eminent personalities to identify, create and run such institutions.
The community members need to donate generously for such cause and other bodies trusts etc need to pool some funds from their resources for this larger objective besides running their institutions. Let us hope that community lives to the expectations of the younger generation.
SRINAGAR’S SCARRED SYMBOL
By Ikbal KaulAs I sat on the steps of the temple, my mind went back to the late ‘forties, when we, a bunch of school boys, often went up the Shankarcharya hill in Srinagar, adorned with the ancient Shiva shrine. To my ancestors, it was the Gopa Parvat, the Protector Hill. To me it was the symbol of Srinagar, where Adi Shankara had his penance in the ninth century. Hence the name. The ascent meandered through serpentine pathways. We had to foot-slog for an hour to reach the top, and savour the splendours of the dawn. Second after second the horizon extended and veil after veil lifted from the landscape. Gradually, the bright beams of the glowing Surya would jut out from behind the Mahadeva mountain. And within a few minutes the great orb would appear and majestically shine in full form.
Golden shafts of light gripped the Valley unveiling a magnificient panorama of mountains and the lake. The whole city was clothed in a garb of white and pink. Almond and apple, peach and pear, and a wide variety of fruit trees were in full bloom. The mud-roofed houses flaunted the colours of irises, tulips and daffodils. The snow-capped mountains, the sinuous Jhelum, the Chinar groves, the poplar avenues and the green fields interspersed with the pale-yellow mustard bloom added an ethereal charm to the view.
The Dal Lake with a girdling boulevard stole the show. Its shimmering surface of 32 sq.km blue as the sky looked into it, but white and opal when the ascending cumulus clouds threw their images upon it, was "like a sheet of burnished silver here, like an embroidered carpet there". Here and there it was dotted with the wonder of the Dal-the floating garden. These long and narrow strips of superimposed weed-mats and mud the triumph of human ingenuity, are the provenders of vegetables to the city. These are sometimes stolen, towed away by rustlers, setting off a great to-do. They are not unique or the monopoly of the Dalites. Huge man-made reed islets abound in the Titicaca lake, sprawling over the border of Bolivia and Peru. All available crooks and craines, niches and nooks of the river and lake were occupied by colourful houseboats and shikaras. Our roving eyes focussed now on the slumbering Nagin lake, Hazratbal, the fort-topped Hari Parbat, and Nasim Bagh, a faded relic of the Mughals. Not far were the Shalimar and Nishat, the Mughal Momentoes bequeathed for our pleasure, rising tier upon tier on the mountain-side.
Now 40 years later, all this had changed beyond recognition, TV and tourism having wrought havoc to the environment. The meandering pathway has been supplanted by a harsh black-topped road. The adventure of climbing and trekking is gone for ever. You now drive to the summit. The TV towers rises up anachronistically, like a male member.
The housetop hues have gone, replaced by the idiot-box antennae and corrugated roofings. Hotels and shops have encroached on the hillsides facing the lake. The houseboats and shikaras are moored cheek by jowl. No longer is the lake bed visible to the naked eye, pollution and weeds having made it opaque. The size of the lake has shrunk by 1/3, thanks to the reclamation in its periphery and mushrooming of the floating gardens. Human greed for pelf has taken a terrible toll.
As I reflected on the environmental damage during
the past 40 years, the daystar had climbed far up. It was time to call it
a day. With a heavy heart I rose and walked to the jeep which had
transported our family to the summit. The Shankaracharya hill in ancient
times was a mute witness to many a pitched battle fought from its vantage
points. Just a year later, the decade-long night of terror descended all
around, all due to Pak machinations. Now and then Pak mercenary guns are
booming behind the big boulders of the hill and bullets are richocheting
from its spurs and woodlands. Now it is a silent spectator to the unending
war between nature and man and a proxy war unleashed by Pakistan,
converting the happy valley into a living hell. *The writer is a veteran
Journalist based in Delhi. He is a regular contributor to the leading
WOMEN BEAR THE BRUNT
By P.K. KothariThe brunt of the decade-long terrorist violence is being borne by the Kashmiri Women. Atrocities on women have been one of the most glaring features of the armed fundamentalist movement in Kashmir. The gun of the separatist has become an instrument of abduction, rape and killing of innocent people. A decade back Kashmir was thought to be among the safest places for women.
Abduction And Rapes
Many people do not report simply out of fear of the militants. There are only stray cases of women and girls who were lucky enough to escape from the clutches of their abductors. A contemporary observer writes. "There was hardly an abducted woman who escaped rape or sometimes gang rape. Many were killed after being raped. All that the militants did was to brand them as ‘Mukhbirs’ (informers) and kill them mercilessly. Many got pregnant and were abandoned by their tormentors. Many were forced to unwilling marriages." These weddings came to be known as ‘command marriages’. In so many cases the parents had to shift their daughters from Kashmir to save them from such forced marriages. Hundreds of girls/women kidnapped by the militants simply disappeared.
The security forces came across the skeleton of one such girl, in a migrant Pandit’s house in Chota Bazaar Srinagar, two years after her abduction. She belonged to Acchabal Anantnag and had been gang raped for days together. Shakeela, a 25 year old woman, who was to get married within three days of her abduction, was burnt alive by her abductors. Shamima Akhtar, a TV artist’s body was recovered three days after her abduction. Before being killed she had also been raped repeatedly.
Nighat Rasool of Bandipora after being abducted from her home was kept confined in a house in Srinagar. She was gangraped for several weeks and then killed. Before killing her, the separatists shaved off her head. Her dead body was subsequently thrown near a crossing at Hawal Chowk, in the interior of Srinagar.
In 1994 the daughter of a petty grocer of Rainawari was kidnapped by the militants and then hacked to death. Her dead body was thrown into the adjoining vegetable garden near Miskeen Bagh. She was accused of immoral behaviour. The lady had been working at the local spinning and carpet weaving centre. In the Dalgate area, a woman had obtained divorce from her husband and was staying with her mother. After sometime her mother arranged a new match for her. When her former husband came to know about it, he contacted militants. The poor lady had just stepped out of her home, when some militants appeared on the scene and whisked her away to a bylane. After sprinkling kerosene oil over her body she was put to flames.
Naveeda Tabassum, a security officer in the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIIMS) was branded as an informer and later done to death by the same person whom she helped secure release from custody. Naveeda was kidnapped from her Soura Hospital Residence on May 28, 1995 by some militants which included Fayaz Ahmad. All the militants were employees of SKIIMS. A day later her body was recovered from a down town locality. On October 26, 1998 an eighteen year old girl Saleema was kidnapped. She was raped before being killed. Later her seminaked body was thrown into the forest.
On Sept 10, 1999 a minor girl Mubeena of Srinagar was kidnapped by a militant. The militant took her to his sister’s house where she was sexually assaulted for three consective days. According to the victims the militant Yasin had let loose a reign of terror in the area and was extorting money from the locals.
One Abdul Majid Dar didn’t even spare a lady who had delivered a child some days back. The father of the girl had hid the militant in her bed to prevent him from falling into the hands of security forces. To the father’s shock the militant raped the convalescing lady. This lady rebuked her father lateron. Many women following regular sexual assaults on them are turning into active informers for the security forces. Recently a woman from Safakadal contacted an intelligence officer to reveal the militant links of a group of men who had raped and intimidated her into silence.
Reports also speak about the abduction of young
girls. These girls are kept in custody and forced to act as helpers and
courriers besides being sexually exploited by the militant leaders. If
girls decline they are harassed and done to death after being subjected to
rape. Many of these girls are kept in captivity for months together and
some are even taken to PoK. Mercenaries Target Women Sex starved Afgan
mercenaries have also let loose a reign of terror among Kashmiri Women.
They have added a new dimension to the sexual exploitation of women. They
often force local men especially the Gujjars in the hilly areas to divorce
their young wives. The mercenaries would enter into ‘Mutah’ (temporary
marriage) with these divorced but unwilling women. In some cases hardcore
fundamentalists have even offered their daughters in such marriages to the
mercanaries. An arrested Afgan mercenary Jamat-ul-Din told media that he
had sexually exploited thirty women, while he was operating in Anantnag.
J&K Newslines report ‘Abortion of unwanted pregnancies has become a
lucerative bussiness for many medical practitioners in Srinagar. There is
a large spill over to Udhampur and Jammu where hundreds of abortion cases
from Kashmir are handled.’ Unofficial reports put the number of these
forced pregnancies many times more.
In South Kashmir village a young Moulvi was kidnapped and asked to sign fake ‘Nikah Naamas’. The conscientious Moulvi refused to acquiesce. He was severely beaten by the young militant who threatened him by saying, "Do you think we won’t get a Moulvi?" There have been hundreds of cases like Dilshadaas in today’s Kashmir unmasking the real face of the "freedom movement". Not a single case of abuse by security forces has gone unreported, uninvestigated or unpunished particularly where women were involved. But as far as militants are concerned, all their horrendous sexual crimes have gone unpunished. The so-called ‘Human Rights Organisations’ of Kashmir and rest of India, feminist organisations/NGO’s of the country or elite groups of Kashmiri Muslim Society have taken no stand on such happenings and instead acted as propaganda cover fronts of the fundamentalist outfits. One has just to scan their propaganda and literature to see where their real sympathises lie.
Most of the parents who are financially sound are
sending their daughters to other parts of the country to pursue their
studies and also to be away from the evil eyes of the militants. Some
parents are also known to have found suitable matches for their daughters
and married them off earlier than the prevalent age of marriage among the
people in Kashmir only to save them from terrorists. Some years back when
the militants killed the family of Sohan Lal Braroo in a brutal manner it
invited large scale protestations from the local Muslim Women. Sohan
Lal’s daughter had been gang-raped before being killed. The strong
protest of the women was more a reaction against large scale sexual
As per media reports Dukhtaran-e-Milat which has reactivated after four years has drawn on elaborate agenda to defame the security forces by raising false allegations of atrocities on women. Another dimension of this campaign seems to secure immunity for women terrorists of Dukhtaran-e-Milaat. The Dukhtaran has openly welcomed the induction of foreign mercenaries and subtly condoned their sexual escapades. Aisa Andrabi, the Dukhtaran chief said that these mercenaries "have come to defend the dignity and honour of their sisters".
As part of the campaign to rake up the bogey of attoricities on women by security forces an attempt was made to reenact the frankanstein of Kunan-Poshpora. In the month of May this year an Army team conducted a search in the house of Subhan Dar in Kunan-Poshpora. The terrorist propaganda mill floated rumours that the Army had molested and raped the womenfolk in the house. The incident forced the Army to shift their post and the Civic Centre meant for the welfare of the local women. The canard was exposed as the medical examination of the women at the local civil hospital at Kupwara revealed no evidence of rape. The militants later raised the finger at a local lady doctor for shielding the Army. The villagers of Kunan-Poshpora are sore with the militants. Though raking up of false charges serves the terrorist interests but the stigma which gets attached to these village girls mars their marriage prospects. Dar in whose house the search was carried was quoted by media saying". The stigma attached to my family has now put a big question mark on the marriage prospects of my four daughters though the medical report says that no rape was committed."
In 1991 when terrorists forced the villagers to rake up false charges of rape, people of Kunan-Poshpora had to face the social stigma and ostracism of their women. The stigma bleaked the chances of several unmarried girls to even get married. What hell the terrorists have brought by using innocent Kashmiri women as "human rights shield" can be imagined that nobody from the surrounding villages is prepared to marry a girl from Kuman-Poshpora. Promiscuity Sudden affluence among sections of Kashmiri Society, free access to gun among the youth, induction of foreign mercenaries, regular violation of privacy and the high degree of internal stress have lead to an alarming phenomenon of aggressive promiscuity within Kashmiri Muslim society. There is no fear of family or elders or the neighbour. Many flesh trade rakets have been unearthed by police recently.
In May, Baramulla police identified 28 Kashmiri agents involved in abduction of girls. These agents operate in Sumbal, Pattan, Malmoh, Hanjiveera, Qauterbug, Malbuchan, Khampath and Tengpora areas. Girls from Bengal, UP and Bihar are brought to Srinagar for prostitution. One year old girl kidnapped from her home state was recovered from Baramulla. The police is also reported to have interrogated a doctor in Pulwama, following alleged abduction of four girls from the adjoining Rajpora village. In the high security areas there is flourishing of flesh trade involving girls from weaker sections who are being promised lucerative jobs with handsome salaries. Then these girls are being exploited and sold to elderly persons, double their age.
On Nov 13 this year police in Kupwara unearthed a flesh trade gang that was also making blueprint videos. Three taxi drivers were arrested. They were running the racket by exploiting village girls. Some well connected people of the area were also involved in the racket. Police conducted a raid and recovered a young girl from the Wusul village. Impact Most of the women are suffering from major depression, anxiety neurosis, and post traumatic stress disorders because of the physical violence by the terrorists, the loss of their spouses, problems of rearing orphaned children and the perpetual fear of the terrorists. There are unreliable estimates of the number of widows during the last eleven years. A recent survey puts the figure at nine-thousand. Similarly the number of unmarried mothers who had to undergo abortion is as also substantial. Among the widows there are three categories-widows of people killed by the terrorists, widows whose spouses were killed in the cross-firing and widows of militants.
As per a recent survey conducted by the Sociology department of Kashmir University most of these widows feel totally insecure in an indifferent society. They have total dependence on others. 20% have been denied right to inherit property by their relations. 72% widows belong to villages, while 12% belong to Srinagar. This may also explain why city-based elite is indifferent to the disastrous impact of terrorists violence on Kashmiri society. More than 50% widows after the death of their spouses have not felt comfortable at their inlaws houses or parental homes. They live separately. 8.66% women have remarried and in many cases their children had to stay with grand maternal or paternal parents. The other problems faced by the widows include deterioration of family environment and declining social control over children. There is negative impact on personality growth of children.
Chances for getting good match for the children are also lesser. Many children drop out of school. 44% of the orphaned children who supplement family income complain of exploitation by their employees. 98% of these widows want peace in society to return. 65% want liberal non-fundamentalist society and 98% desire full entertainment. 74% demand honest dealings, while 91% want that equality in all fields should prevail Subdued Reaction Three years back a convent educated girl who was engaged to a person she did not like, ran away along with her two class fellows to Delhi. The girl belonged to an affluent family and her parents desired her to return. The girl wanted to stay in Delhi away from Kashmir but on her father’s insistence she even threatened to reveal her father’s militant links. During the last one year the college going and young girls are trying to assert their right by going for modern dresses and adopting fashionable styles.
In Rajawar forest area of Kupwara a highly
educated Kashmiri woman earned the wrath of terrorists for raising her
voice against the forcible recruitment of her brother and seventeen other
teenage boys by the terrorists. This lady said to media, "It is my
realisation of the futility of militancy and the fact that my brother
would be pitted in the killing fields of Kashmir that made me raise my
voice even though it is an isolated voice." Militants have been after
her since. The militancy is playing havoc with the social system of
Kashmir. There are public reactions to its impact but these are yet
subdued, perhaps waiting for proper outlet of expression.
CENTRE ESTABLISHES DIALOGUE WITH HURRIYAT
Diplomatic CorrespondentThe BJP-led NDA government has eastablished a line with the separatist conglomerate All Party Hurriyat Conference, overruling the reported opposition by the Union Home Minister, Mr LK Advani. Sources claimed that the talks are being monitored by the senior Cabinet Minister, Mr Ram Jethmalani. Mr Saif-ud-Din Soz, the expelled NC leader, Mr Shahabuddin, the former MP, Mr Kuldeep Nayyar, the well-known Journalist known for his proximity to the Kashmiri separatist leadership and a CPM leader are reportedly coordinating the dialogue. The political views of all these intermediaries are that the India should unilaterally dilute its sovereignity over Kashmir, by granting maximum autonomy to the Muslim-majority state of J&K.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the acting chairman of the APHC said that the ‘initiative (for talks) should come from the Central Government and we would respond positively. We have only one condition-treat us a party." He even went on to say, "the solution can be worked out in phases. Pakistan can be engaged at a later stage. In the first phase the negotiations can be held without their involvement".
Mr Abdul Ghani Lone’s statements also indicate that the Hurriyat is going for a tactical shift in its strategy. It had openly welcomed the intrusion of foreign mercenaries in Kashmir sometimes back. In his interview to a national daily, Mr Lone was eager to emphasise, "we are not miliants, ours is a "political" movement". It does not need reiteration that all along Hurriyat has served as the political and coordinating arm of the different terrorist groups.
Mr Lone asked for a negotiated settlement between the Govt of India and the "dissatsfied lot" (Hurriyat). He criticised Mr Advani for cautioning the government on talks with the militants. Lone said. "If Indian government can talk to rebels in the north-east, why not with Kashmiris". He also tried to play down Hurriyat’s vehement opposition to the recent parliamentary polls in the state. This and the direct incitement to violence by Hurriyat had forced the government to take the separatist leaders into custody. Lone said that the former Election Commissioner, GVG Krishnamurthy had himself acknowledged the democratic right to urge for the boycott of elections in his statement in Srinagar immediately before the polls. He added that the Assam opposition leaders had issued a similar boycott appeal in 1983 polls.Lone forgot that the Assamese boycott call was not as a matter of principle. They had only asked for deletion of foreigners’ (Bangladeshis) names in the voters lists. Assamese had been facing a demographic invasion for the last three decades.
Lone also relented on the anti-insurgency
campaign. He said, "we don’t expect the government to give up its
antiinsurgency campaign and go in for a unilateral ceasefire, but what we
expect is the security forces being ordered to treat innocent civilians
decently". So far the public stance of Hurriyat has been that the
only credible way was to hold "tripartite" talks with Pakistan
as the third party to the dispute and the third party mediation. Lone
said, "a solution could be found even without UN intervention."
He added Hurriyat can go to any extent in solving the dispute.
Mufti Syed is also trying to cash separatist sentiment for political gains. He called for a ceasefire between the government and militants to create the right conditions for an "unconditional and purposeful dialogue on Kashmir". Mufti even claimed that his party had not entered the fray to topple Dr Farooq Abdullah but to change the centre’s perception of the problem. He said PDP was an agent of neither India nor Pakistan and applauded the ‘sacrifices’ made by Kashmiri separatists. Mufti’s party had desperately tried to woo Hurriyat for support during elections but the separatist conglomerate did not agree. Abdul Ghani Lone had even snubbed him. The stand of NC towards dialogue with Hurriyat has been one of ambiguity.
Observers interpret Dr Farooq’s threat of
resignation as a signal to centre that it should not promote Hurriyat at
his cost. But a Cabinet Minister, Mr Ali Mohd Sagar said that if Hurriyat
agrees to participate in elections, NC was prepared to hold a mid-term
Hurriyat leadership is riven with disssensions,
jealousy and mistrust. Informed sources say that there is a latent feeling
among the followers of Gilani, Yaseen Malik, Prof Bhat and Maulana Abbas
Ansari that Mirwaiz Farooq has struck a deal with the J&K Chief
Minister. Massive bungling of funds has brought some disrepute to the
Hurriyat leadership. A rival front, Quomi Mushawarti Council is emerging
to compete with Hurriyat. The new front has, as per reports, direct
American backing and is trying to placate Western opinion through
posturing. It is said that the money supply to Hurriyat has also slowed
down and Hurriyat leadership nurses fears that Pakistan may promote a new
leadership at its cost. The extremely low turnout during recent elections
in Northern Areas in Pakistan has also knocked out the Hurriyat’s
argument on elections. In Kashmir it was the militant threat that
restrained people from voting, while in Northern Areas there was no such
It would be reading too much in that the "fatigue" and the Pakistan’s failure to deliver the desired results has forced Hurriyat to seek a direct dialogue. With the issue of Pan Islamist terrorism coming increasingly under international focus, Hurriyat is attempting to readjust its strategy. Religious militias, which patronise the different separatist groups in Kashmir would be coming under strain. APHC and the expatriate Kashmiri leaders in USA and UK feel that direct identification with Pan Islamism can affect international support. Hurriyat’s new stand on emphasizing its "political" and "indigenous" character is more playing to the western gallery than an act of real intention. In a situation, where the threshold for international intervention has got lowered, Hurriyat will try to increase its manoeuvribility vis-a-vis other separatists groups, in guiding the ultimate separatist agenda. Taking a position closer to Americans and feigning cosmetic distancing from Pakistan suit this approach. Initially Hurriyat leadership justified Kargil misadventure, but once Pakistan was censured, it showed tactical disapproval of Pakistan’s role. It brought out a brochure Kargil: A Short Review on Pakistan’s role, in which it attacked Clinton-Sharif statement. The Hurriyat brochure claimed, "During the last 51 years, weak policies of the Pakistan government and its parasitic character reduced the issue from the international level to a border issue between the two countries. The damage done by Tashkent and Shimla Agreements to the basic and international status of the Kashmir issue is irreparable. And now the ad nauseum repetition of the ‘Lahore Declaration’. Geelani even criticised OIC. While interacting with the Pakistani scribes in US, Abdul Ghani Lone had severely criticised the Pakistani government for its policies on Kashmir and said the Kargil operation undertaken by Islamabad was most damaging for the Kashmir cause. He told Pakistanis, "leave us alone" American Role American stance is equally interesting. In pushing its regional interests, particularly Kashmir, Americans feel a homogenised centralised decision making apparatus in Pakistan offers distinct advantages. Post-coup endorsement of Gen Mushraff’s regime is guided by this consideration. In American perception democratic process in Pakistan had become liability for two reasons. It increased the vulnerability of break-up and secondly for a political leadership it is difficult to sell a particular line on Kashmir to the people as well as other power centres. If the fundamentalist lobby in Pak Army escalates the situation in Kashmir without the consent of the Americans, then Americans can press for a negotiated settlement between Hurriyat and Indian government over dilution of sovereignity. US’s goading to Hurriyat for dialogue stems from this consideration. It pushes its real agenda on Kashmir and at the same time increases its leverage against the Pan Islamist lobby in Pak Army.
America’s present approach on Kashmir is guided
by two other considerations. It will not like to crystallise such a
regional alignment on Kashmir, which can upset the delicate regional
balance and alarm China, Russia, India and other Central Asian states.
Secondly media-hype built over "positive" US role during Kargil
has given a long awaited opportunity to Americans to intervene more
subtly. They would like to consolidate it further by getting a broader
endorsement of its agenda (dilution of sovereignity) among all effective
groups of the Kashmir political spectrum. Greater autonomy is being
projected as the first step towards dilution of sovereignity. Lobbyists
for American line among the Indian elite have been trying to plead that
the so-called third option or greater autonomy is the best card to cut
Pakistan. Infact, it is this very option that will give America and
Pakistan greater penetration in Kashmir. At the same time any climb down
by India will embolden the separatists and fuel more subversion.
FUNDAMENTALISTS TARGET QADIANIS
Special CorrespondentA state founded on hatred can only breed hatred. Pakistan has never given peace and equality to its ethnic and religious minorities. To those Hindus who remained behind in Pakistan it offered three choices-death, conversion or third-grade status.How Pakistan was denuded of its Hindu population through active state connivance is part of history. Subsequently reprisals started against ethnic minorities--Bengalis, Sindhis Balcuhis and Pushtoon. Next was the turn, of Ahmedias. To establish his regime’s legitimacy, Pakistan’s civilian Prime Minister, ZA Bhutto, declared Ahmedias a non-Muslim minority. During the last few years Christians and Shias have been caught in the grip of state sponsored sectarian violence. Pakistan has not even spared-Ahmedias and Muhajirs who took a leading part in the Pakistan Movement. The latest campaign against Ahmedias (Qadianis) has created strong scare among them. Recently speakers at a Khatam-e-Nabuwwat Conference in Chiniot, hosted by a Sunni extremist organisation called on the government to enforce the Islamic punishment for apostasy on Qadiani community. It accused them of not having accepted the prohibition on their faith by the Parliament. They demanded death as punishment for apostasy and complained that Qadianis were still occupying important posts in government and spreading their faith in Africa. Another extremist leader was quoted as saying in Lahore that district of Gurdaspur was lost to Pakistan during partition because of a Qadiani "conspiracy". Another funny allegation levelled against the Ahmeduja community was that a UK-based leader of the community in London was in the habit of drinking alochol in the company of mixed audience. The extremists also accused the Qadianis of receiving patronage from the West European governments.
The lid on the atrocities on Ahmediya community in Pakistan was lifted by Rashid Ahmad Choudhry, the spokesperson of the community. At the annual
convention at Tilford (UK) last year, he disclosed that hundreds of Ahmediya Muslims in Pakistan face death for espousing their faith. Three Ahmediyas given life imprisonment last December were the "lucky ones". "They were charged in 1988 with Tabligh (defending their faith) and sentenced last December", he added. Since then, a new Law under Section: 295-C had made the death sentence mandatory for what the Shariat courts might hold to be a challenge to Islam or consider un-Islamic. This law has hit the Ahmediya community hard. The leading Pakistani news paper The News reported that in 1995, a total of 2,432 persons-mostly Ahmadiyas-faced charges that could result in life imprisonment or the death sentence. The persons stood charged with offences like "pretending to be a Muslim", "using Islamci terminology".
Fifty Ahmadiyas were charged with reference to
"the prophecy of the lunar and solar eclipse". The present
leader of the Ahmadiya Muslims, Maulana Tahir Ahmad, has also been charged
in Pakistan under Section: 295-C for writing a letter to a Pakistani
minister with words praising Allah written on his letter head.
VDCS CAN PROVIDE THE CUTTING EDGE
Special CorrespondentThe two key elements in the proxy war waged by Pakistan are pushing more and more terrorists into J&K and demographic assault against minorities in the Muslim-majority districts of Doda, Poonch, Rajouri and parts of Udhampur-Kathua districts. Despite claims of tightening the security grid, the massive influx of terrorists, even in the Samba-Pathankot sector continues. During the last two years hundreds of militants have managed to cross easily into India and reach Doda district via Mansar. To redefine the role of
VDCs, it was at army’s insistence that the
state police constituted 17 VDCs in Chilla Danga and Mahore Garh areas to
check movement of militants. The army’s assessment proved correct when
recently, at Chilla Danga, VDC members laid an ambush at two places on the
infiltration route of militants and killed one of the militants, besides
For the government also this new role to VDCs has many advantages. Better armed and better trained VDCs can be more effective in the anti-militancy fight than security forces. They have the advantage of being locals, fully conversant with the people and the terrain. Since the Pakistan’s game is to draw more and more Indian security forces into J&K, both to seek international focus and bleed India, the creation of an effective civilian buffer will nail the Pakistani game.
VDCs actively involved in the fight against
militancy can also give a better protective umbrella to the members of the
minority community and other vulnerable sections. Lastly, the financial
costs of deploying more VDCs will be less, as the strength of the security
forces can be scaled down. Aware of the vast potential of the VDCs factor
in tackling the Pak designs, the separatists and their moles in media and
elsewhere have been desperately trying to create doubts about the role of
VDCs. The ISI-sponsored propaganda has been that the constituting of VDCs
has led to ‘brutalization and communalisation’. These mediamen have
been totally silent on the violent mayhems and communal hatred indulged in
by the separatists. A single particular incident was misrepresented and
blown out of proportions and demands were voiced for disbanding VDCs. With
security forces failing to protect the minority members in Doda and other
places, the government was left with little option except to strengthen
VDCs. The existence of these VDCs has held back the minority community in
their respective areas. There has been migration from those areas, where
these committees are either non-existent or ineffective. On July 19 this
year, terrorists killed 15 people in Lilote village of Doda. Reports said
that they had definite information about the obsolete weapons the VDCs
members had. The VDC members offered stiff resistance but fell to the
killers, when they exhausted their meagre ammunition.
Despite repeated requests for better weaponry and communication equipment, the authorities remained unmoved. Even then, VDCs have performed remarkably well in repulsing the terrorists’ attacks. VDC members are being given financial assistance of Rs 1500 each per month. Earlier it was Rs 700, but Mr Murli Manohar Joshi during 13-day tenure of BJP ministry got it raised to Rs 1500. Even this amount is not paid regularly. For instance, VDCs members were not paid the honorarium for one full year in 1998 in Rajouri district. The term of each SPO heading a VDC is renewed every year to monitor his performance and remove him in case of complaint from the general public.
Unfortunately, such renewals are not done in time
and VDCs remain ineffective during this period. Presently there are 1462
VDCs operational in the state, with a force of over 7000 SPOs. In the past
one year alone the VDCs have repulsed as many as 103 attacks and lost
seventeen members in the process. The maximum VDCs are in the Doda
district (over 400), followed by Jammu (328), Kathua (160), Udhampur (77),
Poonch (12), Rajouri (30).
Many times militants have attacked VDCs in an
attempt to snatch their weapons. It would be better if non-VDC villagers
are also given arms training. They can step in as replacement for regular
VDC members in case of need. This can help in organising effective
patrolling and circulating the weapons among the villagers. It would be
difficult for militants to know which VDC members had weapons at a
particular time and target them. Given the vast hilly terrain, the number
of sanctioned VDCs is far less than the actual requirement. In Doda alone,
the minimum requirement is 1200. Only 400 VDCs have been given arms.
Arming of villagers can lead to occasional criminal acts in settling personal scores. By bringing VDCs under the direct command of local commander, there will be no scope for such misadventures. Social elders and responsible politicians can also help in maintaining discipline in the VDCs. The Prospect The pro-active role of VDCs can aid thinning of security forces. VDC members can also be engaged in escorting passenger buses and gathering intelligence. Presence of large number of ex-servicemen has proved immensely useful in the functioning of VDCs.
The Union Home Ministry has done well in
recognising the role of VDCs. It has sanctioned 4,700 new posts of SPOs
for new VDCs. The honorarium has been raised from Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 from
January next year. It has also approved the upgradation of VDCs with
modern weaponry and communication facilities. In this connection 3500
AK-47 rifles and about 1200 wireless sets have been sanctioned for
distribution among VDCs on need basis. Most of these VDCs and SPOs will
now be attached with security forces. Presently Rs 23 lakh arrears are
pending for disbursal to the SPOs. These are expected to be released soon.
NC BUILDS PRESSURES, CENTRE RELENTS
SGPC REFUSES JATHA TO PAK
KS CorrespondentAMRITSAR, Nov 17: Shiromani Akali Dal (SGPC) President Bibi Jagir Kaur has vowed that no Sikh from India will visit Pakistan on ‘Gurpurub’ day unless Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (PGPC) is dissolved. It may be recalled that Nawaz Sharief government constituted PGPC headed by a Muslim which was strongly opposed by the Sikhs residing in India and Pakistan.
BENAZIR SUGGESTS OPEN BORDERS
KS CorrespondentJAMMU, Nov 18: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Ms Benazir Bhutoo has suggested military government in Pakistan to mitigate New Delhi’s concerns on cross border terrorism and work for open border in Kashmir in the interest of South Asia. She said that such a move will have her support. She also said that military government will posture friendship with neighbouring countries including India to secure the borders. But, if the internal crisis multiply, there will be diversion. Ms Bhutoo expressed these views in an interview broadcast on All India Radio.
ATTEMPT TO KIDNAP A KP YOUTH
KS CorrespondentSRINAGAR, Nov 19: Militants today reportedly made an attempt to kidnap a KP youth Pintoo Ji S/o Janki Nath from Chandrigam, Pahalgam in Anantnag district. However, this attempt was foiled by the police forces deployed for protection of minorities.
The state government under the directions of
National Human Rights Commission installed security pickets to protect
minorities in the Valley after the carnage at Wandhama. However, these
posts were targetted by the militants several times and had even snatched
their weaponary Earlier militants had forced KPs to prevail on state
administration to remove away these posts as they (militants) found them
as obstacle in their movement. In a village in Anantnag, militants forced
the KPs to migrate to Jammu to get rid of these pickets. After migration
of these Pandits, the police pickets were wound up. Subsequently, the
houses of migrants occupied by forces were torched by the militants.
RSS BLAMES NEHRU
KS CorrespondentJAMMU, Nov 21: The Rashtriya Swayam Savak Sang (RSS) today squarely blamed Jawahir Lal Nehru for the creation of Kashmir problem and accused him for sacrificing national interest.
All India Sah-Prachar Pramukh RSS, Mr Suresh Soni, addressing a Sammelan at Parade Ground Jammu, accused that Nehru adopted a dilly-dally policy at the time of Pakistani invasion on Kashmir though the nation’s sovergnity was in danger. He recalled how Nehru behaved to help Sheikh Abdullah to score personal grudge with Maharaja Hari Singh. He said that the situation would have been alltogether different if Nnehru would have acted promptly and not rushed to United Nations (UN) before vacating the entire J&K from invaders. Paying rich tributes to Shama Prasad Mukherjee for his supreme sacrifice, he said that nation wants to know real cause of his death. He accused BJP for silence over the issue of ‘abrogation of Article 370’ for political compulsions and exhorted RSS workers to work for the abrogation of this temporary article.
Praising Sardar Patel, he said that had he been
allowed to deal with Kashmir, the situation would have been different and
regretted commitment of repeated blunders by Pt Nehru. He also payed rich
tributes to the armyman who sacrificed their lives for the protection of
"motherland". Mr Soni asked Muslims to locate their roots and
work to strengthen their motherland-India.
SEMINAR ON "KASHMIR UNDERGROUND"
KS CorrespondentJAMMU, Nov 21: A seminar cum discussion was organised by Institute of Public Administration to review the book "Kashmir Underground", authored by Mr Satpal Sahani. Mr Satpal is a vetran journalist and former Director General of State Information Department.
The book which was recently released at Delhi
includes topics on militancy, Pak aggression and other Kashmir related
issues. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sahni said that Kashmir problem
started on the day Pak came into existance. VC Jammu University Prof RR
Sharma who was the chief guest and former Director of South Asia Studies
Prof KN Pandita who was the guest of honour also spoke on the occasion.
BSF-RANGERS AGREE TO EASE TENSION
KS CorrespondentJAMMU, Nov 21: The four day bi-annual meeting of BSF and Pak Rangers concluded at Lahore with the resolve to ease tension on international border and stop unprovoked firing on the civilian population. IG BSF Punjab frontier, Avtar Singh Aulak, who led Indian delegation, said that the two sides agreed to ease tensions on the border though there were opposite perceptions of tension on border. The two sides agreed to solve problems through "flag meetings". It was first official delegation of India to visit Pakistan after resumption of power by Parvez Musharraf.
WATER CRISES: NO RESPITE INSPITE OF SAGAR’S ASSURANCE
Recently, PHE Minister Ali Mohd Sagar alongwith Parliamentary Secretary Gh Hassan Bhat and other officials of the department toured localities of Muthi, Bantalab, Durganagar etc. These localities are facing worst ever drinking water crisis. The minister assured the residents that the crises will be over by the end of March 2000 and asked PHE authorities to provide, at least, water-supply to these localities on alternate days.
This correspondent visited many of these localities and people complained that the supply has not improved and even some alleged that the supply has deteriorated after minister’s assurance.
"We used to get water supply after every two
days; now that gap has also widened to four days’, says Makhan Lal of
Barnai. Similar views were exprssed by the people at Muthi, Sharika Vihar,
Roop Nagar, Durganagar and Banatalab. "The taps remain dry for days
together and we are forced to purchase even drinking water after 50 years
of independence. What a tragedy!" says SK Kitchloo of Durganagar. We
have experience that these assurances are hollow. Last year Parliamentary
Secretary Ghulam Hassan Bhat visited our locality. He assured improvement
in water supply and ordered change of pipes. Water supply never improved
and pipes are allowed to rust", alleged an agitated lady of same
locality. This correspondent saw that the pressure of water is very low
and even a bucket of water is filled in not less than 10 minutes at Kral
Babnagar, Banatalab. It was the general complaint in other localities
also. One more aspect that has crippled normal activity of the people of
these localities is the irregular supply. It is not sure that on what day
and at what time the taps will pour out water. Therefore, people are
forced to remain indoors in hope of water.
MEDICAL RELIEF FOR MIGRANTS
KS CorrespondentJAMMU, Nov 25: A high level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Ashok Jaitley and attended by other high officials was convened to discuss the problems of Kashmiri migrants residing in various camps in Jammu. The meeting laid down process for obtaining medical assistance by migrants for various ailments the displaced who have no source of income, and an employment drive for the displaced youth.
It was decided that ailing migrants can apply to
Relief Commissioner or Advisor toChief Minister on minorities, Mr Satish
Raina for medical assistance. To absorb migrant youth in police, a drive
will be launched in camps. The meeting also discussed improvement of water
supply, and electricity etc. in the camps. The meeting was informed that
from 5870 exgratia cases, 5156 cases have been completed and others are in
the process of completion. Rs 37.90 crore payment has already been made
while Rs 3.30 crore is yet to be made.
Meet to discuss diabetes in KPs
KS CorrespondentJAMMU, Nov 27: The millennium meet on diabetes to be held at Bubneshwar in February 2000 will discuss the menace of diabetes among KP migrants. Dr Jatendra Singh, a prominent diabetologist and columnist from Jammu, drew the attention of world towards the unprecedented diabetes among KPs after migration which lead to serious discussions on the issue among national and international diabetologist fora.
PAK COUP MAY ESCALATS VIOLENCE
KS CorrespondentNEW DELHI, Nov 24: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today apprehended that army coup in Pakistan may escalate Pak-sponsored proxy war in J&K and assured the army to fulfill all their needs.
Addressing commander’s conference of Army, Navy
and Airforce, Mr Vajpayee asked troops to remain vigilant. He assured that
shortage of funds will not be allowed to come in the way of defence
preparedness. The previous day the Union Home Minister LK Advani had
warned Pakistan of Kargil like reply if it does not stop cross-border
terrorism in J&K.
MILITANTS TARGET NC HQRS
KS CorrespondentSRINAGAR, Nov 23: Militants today targetted heavily guarded ruling National Conference at Nawai-Subha Complex, Srinagar by exploding a bomb out side it. The site of blast was few yards far from Doordarshan Srinagar Kendra. The bomb, reportedly put in a scooter, exploded at a time when NC provincial President GN Shaheen was in the office alongwith other leaders. Five persons including a NC block president were injured in the incident. The blast came close on the heels of sensational militant attacks on Civil Secretariat twice, followed by attack on Badami Bagh Army Cantonment. The militancy graph in Srinagar city has been showing upward trend since the police claimed of having almost liberated the capital city of militants. Last year, IGP Kashmir PS Gill claimed to have eliminated all militants from the Srinagar city and said that only 20 militants--10 HM and 10 Harkat-ul-Ansar were active in the city. The subsequent events proved these claims hollow as militants struck in the city at regular intervals and many encounters took place in and around capital city.
GMC SALARY CASE
KS CorrespondentJAMMU, Nov 22: Justice TS Dobia of the State High Court has directed Commissioner Secretary Higher Education Mr Kapoor for personal appearance on Dec 17, 1999 in a case filed by migrant staff of Gandhi Memorial College Srinagar, Camp Jammu., The court has up held the demand of applicants to be at par with that of Islamic College Srinagar. However, on Oct 19, 1999, Mr Chauhan, who appeared on behalf of respondents, said that the requisite funds are being released and sought some time. Today, no one appeared on behalf of respondents forcing court to seek personal appearance of Mr Kapoor.
TADA CASES TRANSFERRED
KS CorrespondentJAMMU, Nov 15: TADA Court Jammu Presiding officer Mir Abdul Hamid transferred the cases of JKLF supremo Yasin Malik and other six JKLF militants to Srinagar. The militants through their counsel had appealed that in changed security scenario the cases could be taken up at Srinagar.
BIN LADEN RESPONSIBLE
KS CorrespondentNEW DELHI, Nov 17: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah held Saudi fugitive Osama Bin Laden responsible for present spurt of militancy in J&K and added that ISI is seeking to avenge Kargil humiliation. He said that State government will submit "Autonomy Report" to centre for action and said that the centre was in the process of framing policy for return of Kashmiri migrants.
BJP SEEKS WHITE PAPER
KS CorrespondentJAMMU, Nov 18: The state unit of BJP has demanded a white paper on the assets of ministers and legislators alleging rampant corruption. Addressing a press conference, state BJP President Daya Krishan Kotwal alleged that ministers are amassing huge wealth and assets are disproportionate to their known sources of income. Demanding a white paper on the issue, he said that Governor’s rule was better as the ministers are looting the public money.
BJP Vice President Kuldip Raj Gupta said that
militancy was on rise in the twin districts of Rajouri-Poonch and demanded
to crush it with iron hand.
DR KOUL PASSES AWAY
KS CorrespondentPandit Dwarka Nath Kaul (Kotha) a prominent member of Kashmiri Pandit Biradari at Amritsar passed away on 5th of Nov. 1999. He was founder member of Kashmiri Pandit Sabha Amritsar. Later on he was Secretary and President of the Pandit Saba. Under his presidentship the Pandit Sabha added a sprawling commercial complex to the Kashmir Temple at Katra Sher Singh. He was also associated with Hindu College Amritsar. Born at Bagh-Jogi Lankar Srinagar he LATER on shifted to Amritsar. All his life he worked for the upliftment of the needy and the poor. He is survived by his widow two sons and two daughters.
Chronology of Events
Nov. 16th to Nov. 30th, 1999Nov 16: Militants attacked an army camp killing one RR jawan at Magram, Handwara. Security forces smashed a militant hideout in Kupwara while militants looted Rs 62,000 from a petrol pump at Shopian. A woman was killed and her husband injured in a grenade attack at their house in Doda district.
Nov 17: 2 SOG Cops, 1 militant and a civilian were killed in a fierce encounter in Hyderpora, outskirts of Srinagar. A woman was killed and brother injured including 2 BSF personnel in a grenade attack in down town Srinagar. One person was shot at by militants at Parimpora. An army jawan was killed in a blast in Rajouri while 2 SPO’s were killed in different encounters in Udhampur and Doda districts. Kathua police claimed to have busted a militant network by arresting a Pakistani ISI agent.
Nov 18: The police claimed that the militant killed in Hyderpora was Lashker chief Abu Talha. The other killed, who was earlier reported to be a civilian, is the launching chief of the LET. 6 persons including 3 brothers and 2 children were injured in a blast in a shop at Latti (Udhampur).
Nov 19: Security forces eliminated a HM platoon commander in Bijbehara while militants attacked residence of a NC activist in Kokernag. Security forces recovered huge quantity of ammunition including 6 pistols in Samba area.
Nov 20: SSP Baramulla survived an attempt on his life as militants targetted his motor cade at Delima. 4 guards were injured in the attack. Security forces eliminated 3 militants while a civilian was killed by militants in Kashmir valley. 8 persons-6 army and 2 civilian were injured in 2 IED blasts in the Valley. A woman was injured by militants at Faridabad while a VDC member committed suicide.
Nov 21: 6 persons-3 militants, 1 civilian, 2 army men were killed in different militancy related incidents in Kashmir valley. Militants also attacked 2 cable operators. A militant hide out was smashed by troops in Badhum, Rajouri.
Nov 22: Security forces eliminated a militant in Baramulla forests while militants killed a NC activist in Ganderbal. The militants attacked residence of Editor Afaaq a Urdu daily. Militants fired five morter shells on security camps in Darhal Rajouri which missed the targets. A militant’s body was recovered from Rathal in the same district. An army subedar was killed in a blast in Gandho, Doda.
Nov 23: A powerful blast took place outside NC headquarters at Srinagar injuring five persons and damaging many vehicles. In other incident a militant and a security jawan were killed and a militant arrested by the security forces in Kashmir valley.
Nov 24: 10 militants and a SPO were killed in different militancy related incidents in Anantnag-Pulwama districts while an injured former militant succumbed to injuries in Srinagar. Security forces eliminated 2 LET militants in Hari Budha, Poonch while 3 policemen were injured in the encounter. There was an encounter with militants in Mahore, Udhampur but they managed their escape. BSF claimed to have wiped out Al-Fateh outfit with arrest of all its top functionaries.
Nov 25: A Captain was killed in yesterdays encounter in Qazigund area. 11 militants were today eliminated in different operations in Anantnag-Pulwama districts. In other militancy related militants in Kashmir valley, forces eliminated a militant. Militants killed two civilians including a NC activist and targetted an Army convoy killing two jawans and injuring five others. Two militants were killed in Doda while a civilian was shot dead by militants in Darhal, Rajouri.
Nov 26: 3 militants were killed in Dooru while militants caused an explosion in chicken seller Pritam Singh’s shop near Police Control Room, Srinagar injuring 2 civilians. Two militant hideouts were smashed in Mahore, Udhampur and Rajouri.
Nov 27: Militants today attacked the residence of a prominent Awami League leader Anwar Sheikh and killed twopolice men and injured wife and daughter-in-law of the leader; Anwar Sheikh and some of his guards were missing. In other militancy related incidents militants gunned down two cops in capital city, a counter-insurgents in Sumbal and an army source at Chogal. Militants today attacked a security post at Sakul, Surankote. Security forces retaliated but the militants manage to escape. Army jawans escaped unhurt in an IED blast near Jatian, Rajouri.
Nov 28: Charred body of Anwar Sheikh was recovered from debris of his residence. NC block President Kapran had a narrow escape as he was saved from militants by civilians. The body of a mentally daranged person was recovered from Batmaloo, Srinagar.
Nov 29: Militants killed a NC block president in Budgam district and a police cop at Lal Bazar, Srinagar. Security forces eliminated a militant at Saderkote, Baramulla while a civilian injured in a blast at Dailgam, Anantnag succumbed to injuries. Police smashed a militant hideout in Sudhmahadev, Udhampur while the militants managed to escape towards Doda forests.
Nov 30: 3 army jawans were injured when their
vehicle was blown up by militants near Surankote, a civilian was injured
in a landmine explosion at Bhagial Dhara, Poonch. Army recovered arms and
explosives near Samba.
TEJ NARAYAN KAK--AN APPRAISAL
Translated by M.L. KoulTEJ NARYAN KAK who was a writer, poet and deft story writer practically died unwept, unsung and unhonoured. His death on 14th December, 1998 at the ripe age of 84 in the city of Jodhpur failed to earn media attention. Even the literary circles perhaps not acquainted with his trend-setting contributions to the domain of Hindi prose did not moot a simple resolution to condole his demise. In fact, the new generation writers are totally unaware of Tej Naryan Kak who commenced his literary career in post-Dwedi era and made a mark as a pioneer in the evolution of poetic prose as a specific genre.
Prose alone was not his forte. Tej Narayan possessed a variegated genius which found prolific expression in the delicacies of poetry, in the subtle drawal of characters struggling in tangled situations and more than most in the incisive analysis of issues of criticism. His contributions to the manifold forms of literature were published in the contemporary journals and magazines like Saraswati, Madhuri and Sudha. The famous personalities of the stature of Ram Chander Shukla, Shyam Sunder Das, Maithili Sharan Gupta and Prem Chand were unanimous in recognising the prolific genius and tremendous creative faculities of Tej Narayan Kak.
The ancestors of Tej Narayan Kak had migrated to the heat and dust of plains during the tyrannical rule of Afghans in Kashmir. An ancestor of the family, Shiva Narayan Kak, had migrated from the lust-green valley with a view to saving his skin and faith and had settled in the desert lands of Marwar in Rajasthan. The grand-father of Tej Narayan Kak was a man of high degree status who strutted the corridors of power in Jaipur and Udaipur. His uncle. Pandit Dharam Narayan Kak, was the Deputy Chief Miinister of the State of Jodhpur and continued to hold the position till 1946. Having been born in such an aristocratic family, Tej Narayan was well looked after and put to educative processes in the reputed schools and colleges of Allahabad, Lucknow and Nagpur. In addition to a degree in Law, he assiduously earned post-graduate degrees in English and Hindi. With such educational endowments he joined the administrative services of the state of Jodhpur and retired as an IAS officer in 1972.
Tej Narayan took to writing prose right from his student days. He wrote poetic prose which had taken birth in the Dwedi era and flowered as an independent genre during the romantic period. In the domain of poetic prose.
Tej Narayan Kak enjoyed an equal footing with the pioneers of the genre namely Rai Krishan Das, Chatur Sen Shastri, Dr Raghunath Singh and Mrs Dinesh Dalmia. Poetic prose is characterized by the predominance of Rasa and sensibility and can be differentiated from simple prose by its attributes of music, ornamentation and Rasa. ‘Madira’ as his first collection of poetic prose was published in 1935. Two more collections titled as ‘Nirjar’ and ‘Pashan’ were published in 1943 and earned tremendous appreciation from scholarly cricles. Acharya Ram Chander Shukla fully appreciated and lauded the musical prose that Tej Narayan Kak wrote with absolute finesse. Dr Shaym Sunder Das as an erudite scholar and dojen of Hindi literature placed his ‘prose songs’ in an incomparable category, much superior to those who wrote the same type of prose. In his introduction to one of his poetic prose collections Dr Amar Nath Jha candidly appreciated the beauty, ornamentation and subtlety of his writings. Dilating on some samples of his prose Dr Jha lavished all praise on the author for the lucidity of his expression and enrobement of his prose with romantic sentiments and nuances. Tej Narayan Kak started writing short-stories in a period dominated by the awe-inspiring personality of Prem Chand who was a skilled craftsman none to excel him. He won full-throated appreciation as a story writer. His story ‘Myna’ was rated as the best at a short-story session held at the Prayag University Campus in 1935. The Sudha, Saraswati, Madhuri and other journals and magazines went on publishing his short stories till the fourth decade of this century. He was also a master translator. He translated the short stories of Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe and O’Henry. Tej Narayan was also a poet who had a full feel of his timers. He wrote the patriotic poems after the pattern of poets following the trend set by the prime mover of the era. He also wrote poems pervading with romantic sentiments. Till 1947 his three poetry collections titled as ‘Bansuri’,
‘Mukhti Ki Mashal’ and ‘Jeewan Jwala’ had been published and had drawn attention and appreciation on the part of literary masters. ‘Rakhta Kamal’ contains poems that are replete with patriotic, zeal and fervour. The poet sticks fast to the view that freedom does not come on mere asking but has to be earned with the spilling of blood.
Sat Samandar par!
Tere liye layega
Anupam swatantrata uphar!
Kabi kisi ne kutch paya hai
Anunany kar kar hath pasar!
Mukhti milegee tuje hath mai
Tere jag hogi talwar!
Who bothes to come to you
across the seven oceans.
Who minds to come to you
with the unique gift of freedom
Has anyone achieved anything
with hands spread outlike a beggar?
You will gain freedom
when you wield a sword fearlessly.
Aaisi lag rahi hai mano
Jeene megui ke aavaran mai
Chippi huee vidut-lata-ya
Neel sarowar kee lahriyi mai bal khati hui kamal naal!
In these garments lies hidden
& appears as if the lightning-creeper
is hidden in a thin covering of clouds
Looks like a lotus-stalk
moving to and fro in the blue waters of a lake.
He has seen the rapturous joy of man-woman relationships in the background setting of nature and its sights and sound and he writes-
I am a man
I yearn for the company of a woman.
See that tree
It has entwined a vine, slend and thin,
round its burning bosom.
See that vast expanse of an ocean
it hides numerous youth-bubbling
streams in its lap.
is colourful like your love
but has the potential to burn.
and this night
is intense dark like your hair-locks.
Tej Narayan Kak made successful attempts at
translating poems and metaphors into Hindi from their originals in
regional languages. He translated the ‘Nasidiya Sukta’ into Hindi and
also the hymns addressed to ‘Indra’, ‘Agni’, ‘Usha’s’ &
‘Surya’. He was deft at translating poems from European languages into
Hindi. George Russel, Robert Frost and Davis are some of the European
poets whom he has translated into Hindi, thus enriching the native
languages through such translations. He was highly enamoured of Rabindra
Nath Tagore whom he has profusely translated. He was also influenced by
Urdu poetry which gets reflected in some of his dohas written in Hindi or
Braj. Tej Narayan Kak is known for his experiments in the field of
essay-writing and critical appreciation. His essays are collected in a
work titled ‘Indradanush’. He has also evaluated four prose-writers of
Hindi in a work published in 1983. He was fully aware of the tools that
make one a successful critic of literature. Kak lived his life away from
public gaze. That is how his death did not get splashed in the media.
AIKS TRUST-STORY OF A QUIET CATALYST
By Dwarka Nath MunshiIn the chaos of the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from our homes and hearths in the Valley in 1990 one thing that stood out was that we defeated an important objective of the enemy to create panic and demoralise the community. Facing the sudden tragedy with grit and courage we accepted the challenge and almost immediately set about the task to turn it into an opportunity. Several new community organisations were born or revised, each getting down to help each other to build and live a new, albeit hard life.
The Jaipur convention of AIKS in early 1991 marked a distinct and crucial stage in its life in a new incarnation. The three days convention was attended by large numbers young and old, women and men. washing out the notions of ‘nayey’ and ‘puraney’ and other egos and negative distinctions. Elections were held and the present writer was unanimously and enthusiastically elected with a new zestful executive.
The general body of the new AIKS adopted a momentous resolution, delineating various areas of activities needing immediate and forceful action. The watchword was that we shall develop a programme of dignified self-help and struggle for our rights as a purposeful ‘movement’.
The first step was the setting up of the AIKS
Advisory Council composed of eminent, experienced members of the community
from different walks of life-intellectuals, administrators, defence top
brass, diplomats, legal luminaries, writers and so on. The council
attracted instant respect, recognition and positive influence at the
The AIKS Trust
The Board has since been further widened and strengthened with the induction of Dr TN Khushoo Padma Bhushan (Scientist and Ex-Secretary Government of India), Dr Raj Nath Kar, eminent engineer and industrialist, Brig R Madan (a former AIKS President) and Dr SN Kaul, (widely known physician and professor of medicine, Kashmiri University).
I must record here, to the credit of our senior members and general Baradari of our community who came forward with warmth and anticipation to help to build up the trust. Within a short time the trust had 90 founder members and a corpus of Rs 2 lakhs which has steadily been augmented as we shall see.
Within a few weeks of its birth, the trust formulated a programme of imparting employment oriented training and preparing the displaced youth to stand up on their own and go out to meet the world in the employment market with dignity and self confidence. The most promising direction was training the computer application, programming etc in which there was and continues to be a ready and expanding employment potential.
It was at this juncture that by a stroke of happy
chance I met my childhood friend Shri JN Kaul (SOS). We discussed the
programmes pros and cons and arrived at positive proposal. What was more.
Shri Kaul promised to obtain substantial help from the SOS the repurted
woldwide organisation engaged in helping the resourceless youth to lead
independent lives. The help offered in diverse ways was indeed an
important factor in achieving our objectives smoothly and in a relatively
short time. It enabled us to put the necessary faculty and the
infrastructure for the training programme with expedition at the SOS
complex at Faridabad, Haryana.
The trust issued newspaper advertisements, combed the camps in Jammu and offered extraordinary incentives. It promised free boarding, lodging and no tuition fee. The students would have to spend almost nothing of their own. Even so only a few turned up about a dozen for the first course and the programme commenced with just this number.
In the inaugural address, I President of the AIKS and the orignator of the Trust, explained to them the compulsions of the changing times where special skills and technical training and experience alone mattered. I assured and encouraged them that while "you run after jobs now, the jobs will run after you, when you have completed your course. By Gods’ grace that is what actually happened. While they were still in the final stage of their training, they started getting enquiries and offers. A social revolution of sorts had commenced.
There was no looking back thereafter.
For each session now, we get on an average 30 students who must be exclusively from the displaced families and must satisfy certain minimum educational qualifications and proficiency.
So far about 150 students, girls and boys, have received the training. Happily they have also found good employment (some selected even while the course was still on and nearing completion) and are looking forward to still better opportunities, which translates into that many families rehabilitated. Another batch is about to complete the course while preparations are on for selecting candidates the new one commencing in August, 1999. As stated above, the entire expenses were borne by the AIKS Trust subsiding a part and SOS completing the picture by a much larger share in this noble task. Recently the students are required to make a fixed payment of roughly Rs 300 in the overall expenses of per student per month of say a thousand rupees of the post subsidy expenses.
Where does this money and other resources come from?
As I have said the SOS with Shri JN Kaul as President has been bearing a large portion of the expenses. Then the biggest single source of donations comes from Mrs Shanta Kar Trust. This trust has been bearing full expenses of 9 to 10 students in each session and continues to do so. But for this, the programme would not have achieved the present measure of success. In the initial stages the Trust received donation KOA and Indo Kashmir Forum of $5000 or around Rs 55,000 in 1993.
Besides, Shri TN Kaul (ex-Ambassador) General Hriday Kaul (retd.) Shri SL Shakdher and the present writer made special efforts and used their personal influence in collecting major amounts of donations.
As you read this, the trust has a corpus of Rs 10 lakhs invested in government and approved institutions, earning a yield of about Rs 10,000 a month. This of course is not enough to run the training and other assistance programmes (such as financial aid to resourceless displaced people). In 1994, I completed my 3 years term of President of AIKS and relinquished the office in the face of insisent demands from people for me to continue for another term. One reason of my decision was to set up a precedence.
Another and more important was that I had persuaded Shri JN Kaul to take my place. I was sure this would be giving the AIKS into very competent hands to grow further in diverse directions. He is also a Trust Board Member and the Treasurer of the Trust. With his experience and sincerity. I was confident that this was the best choice. Happily he was elected unopposed and continued to carry the burden for a second term. He is no doubt burdened with heavy pre-occupation of SOS. Yet he strives to find time for service to the community.
I must end with an appeal to you having deep interest the welfare of the suffering community to lend a hand in strengthening the Trust to make it more effective and worthy of the Trust our community reposes in it. Besides the computer training programme at Faridabad, the Trust provides financial assistance to the needy. In 1997-98 and 1998-99 the assistance totalled over Rs 2.3 lakhs. This was made up of assistance given to indigent senior citizens sick and infirm (Rs 60,700), for vocational training programmes organised at Jammu (Rs 60,700), another Rs 42,900 given direct to deserving students pursuing vocational and professional courses donation to AIKS towards payment of enhanced rent for office premises (Rs 63,300) and sundry expenses (Rs 3000).