26 Yrs Later: Pandits, Politics and Perceptions



Kashmiri Pandits Praying for peace in this file image.
Kashmiri Pandits Praying for peace in this file image.

On the heels of 26th anniversary of Pandit migration from Kashmir Valley coinciding with the onset of political turbulence, many commentators took to TV and social media to vent their fury against perceived complicity of Muslim majority.

TV channels aired special programs while Op-Ed pages were inundated by the columns expressing compassion for the mass migration victims while chastising those who “drove them out.”

Chipping in to the debate, the erstwhile Chief Minister of J&K and patron of National Conference Farooq Abdullah said that onus was on Pandits to come back home. “They have to realize that nobody is going to come with a begging bowl and say come and stay with us. They have to make the move,” he said.

Abdullah said that several Pandits who had made their homes in Delhi had come to see him when the J&K government asked them to return to the valley.

“When the government made a move that the officers and doctors who are settled here should come back, they came to see me and said, look our children are now in schools here, our parents are ill and need medical care, we can’t leave them back. So for God’s sake let us live here,” he said.

“Don’t wait till the last guns stop firing. Come home!” he urged, adding “Who are you waiting for? Don’t wait. You think Farooq Abdullah will come, hold your hand and take you there.”

The statement is expected to raise hackles among the Pandit community who have so far made firm stand that Muslims are invariably to be blamed.

Following the suit, his son Omar issued statement saying that he understands the fear of not seeing his home again as his family had left Kashmir in similar circumstances.

“My family left under somewhat similar circumstances so I know the fear of not seeing home again, though mine was short lived,” he said

Far away from din, two members from the community decided to float above the web of accusations. Omkar Razdan and Vijay Bazaz Razdan decided to put their best foot forward on Tuesday after they moved into their newly constructed house near Humhama area on the city outskirts, a Chennai-based newspaper reported Wednesday.

“It was a conscious decision not to live in a separate settlement or colony, as it goes against the idea of Kashmiriyat,” media quoted Razdan saying. “Kashmir was an abode of communal harmony when the minorities were attacked in 1947 in other parts of India. Not a single Pandit was killed or displaced then.”

Raging against the stereotype of distrustful Kashmiris, the Pandit duo has announced that they will stay amongst Muslim neighbourhood, refusing the incentive under Prime Minister’s rehab package.

The dream to construct the house was realized after Ms. Razdan refused to sell her 10 marlas of land in the Valley, media reported. “One reason I stayed in the Muslim colony was my desire to relate with my youthful days,” Razdan was quoted having said. He is also planning to open up his house’s attic to a computer centre for the economically weaker sections.


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