The Pandit Question

Ramesh Tamiri

Girilal Jain, editor and scholar extraordinary, was the greatest well-wisher of Kashmiri Hindus. Not only his solidarity with my community was genuine but he was also seriously concerned on how to help community resettle back in Kashmir.

Ramnath Kao, founder of RAW and a Sanskrit scholar, was the greatest son of our community.

Singling out these two brilliant and honest sons of mother India here has a reason.

Compared to many others, who occasionally pay lip service to return of Kashmiri Hindus, these two great men offered real workable prescriptions.

In his historic address to Kashmiri Hindus in 1990 Girilal Jain asked Pandit community,” You should not appeal to the conscience of India because you are the conscience of India…Refugees build great civilisations..”

What Jain wanted to convey was that Kashmiri Hindus should play the role of a catalyst in building a strong India which is sensitive to military and ideological threats to country. He felt emergence of that India would help their return.

Coming to brasstacks, Jaim minced no words in saying on the issue of return:

“It is criminal to tell you to go back in such smaller numbers. Other people will have to accompany you.”

Ramnath Kao not only was concerned about survival problems of Kashmiri Hindu refugees but also seriously believed that only creation of Panun Kashmir can end perpetual homelessness of Kashmiri Hindus.

He told a Kashmiri Hindu Professor, “Even if you have to struggle for 100 years you must never give up the objective of Panun Kashmir.It is the only political anchor which can help you return.” That was vintage Ramnath Kao.

Anti-Hindu sections in bureaucracy and political class that danced to the tunes of half-separatist politicians in Srinagar were never serious about sustainable return of Kashmiri Hindus. Half-separatist politicians of Kashmir, who now stand exposed,would never allow such frameworks for return which had potentiality to enthuse Kashmiri Hindus to return.

The price of state apathy and callouness was paid by Kashmiri Hindus. Sangrampora, Telwani, Gool, Wandhama, Nadimarg,. etc. massacres were outcome of such short-sighted policies of authorities in Delhi.

At the end of the day only Girilal Jain and Ramnath Kao’s prescriptions will work because intentions behind these are not only genuine but are also based on taking cognisance of groundrealities. Rest is politics.


Ramesh Tamiri is a scholar and expert on Kashmir affairs

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