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Kashmiri Pandits From The Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir Are Losing Their Culture, Language, And Traditions.

by Adrian Page 1. May 2010 08:19

This report investigates;

‘Plight of the Kashmiri Pandits – Their Paradise Lost’

For centuries writers and poets have waxed lyrical about the Kashmir Valley, considered the ‘Jewel in India’s Crown’.
This fertile land and invigorating clean crisp air generated by the snow capped Himalayan Mountains captivated Mogul Emperor Jehangir to the point he exclaimed when he first set eyes on the Valley, ‘If there is paradise anywhere on earth it is here!’

This ‘Paradise on Earth’, Kashmir has many distinct facets one being the people – the Kashmiri ‘Pandits’

‘Pandits’ are Hindus who are considered wise, learned people, 100% literate and their field of expertise is boundless from art, literature, religion, science and more.

Hindu’s ruled Kashmir up until the 14th century and history shows that during this period their contribution particularly in the fields of archaeology, literature and philosophy have been embraced by Indian society as a whole.

This investigation reveals what has occurred to the Kashmiri Pandits, a minority group, in recent decades.

Why over 350 000 men, women and children ‘where hounded’ out of their beloved Kashmir Valley leaving behind all they owned apart from what they managed to carry.

To take up refuge in makeshift camps in Jammu

That was almost twenty years ago.

Today thousands of men, women and children still remain ‘living’ in the squalid camps.

Camps can best be described as being ‘worse than living in refugee
camps’ - unbelievably so ‘refugees’ living in their own country!

Just one room to accommodate the whole family where husband, wife and children all eat, sleep and entertain, whilst outside are the squalid communal toilet and bathing facilities.

The environment of the compounds that these people have to endure leaves much to be desired. Their clean fertile Kashmir Valley has given way to open drains, dirt and stones where the Pandits attempt to grow vegetables in the baron soil.
Many of these children were born in these camps and know no other lifestyle.
Cramped unhygienic living conditions have given rise to a variety of diseases and with the death rate rapidly out pacing a declining birth rate it is little wonder that those Kashmiri’s who remain surviving in the camps view their future as being very bleak.

Just like the Tibetans, Kashmiri Pandits greatest fear is the loss of their language, their culture and traditions, but unlike the Tibetans the world knows little if anything of their plight.

They may be a minority group with little voice, but the voice of one Kashmiri Pandit clad in traditional attire spoke out for many exclaiming, ‘I can not understand why the world doesn’t care about us!’


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