Kashmir is known as ‘Heaven On Earth’ by its rich natural beauty, culture, heritage, unique art and by resplendent Chinar tree which turn the valley into yellow and red on commencement of the autun season.  Kashmir is named after the Rishi Kashyap and has been mentioned in various religious scriptures like Puranas, Brihatsamhita, Mahabharata and Ashtadhyai.  Kashmir has also been a confluence of various religions such as Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism.  Kashmir has been centre for the intellectuals where transcendental objectives were debated and spread over the entire area. The history of Kashmiri Pandits’ exists for the past 5,000 years. They relate to their society, culture, civilization, ceremonial traditions, mythologies and truths. Kashmiri Hindus, prevalently known as Kashmiri Pandits, are considered a distinct class of their own and exemplar of the ancient Aryan settlers of the valley. In course of time, these people came to be known as ‘Bhatt’ in Kashmir. Same are now known as Kashmiri Pandits or Aryan Saraswat Brahmins of Kashmir, who believe in a spiritual combination of Shaivism, Kali Bhakti and Shakta worship.

Milchaar of Valley

            In an atmosphere of cultural harmony and unity, hindus and muslims in Kashmir, well known as Milchaar or Baichara, shared common social practices and followed equal codes of conduct that assured and bound them into an independent social collective. Although both communities follow their respective religions in letter and spirit, they never hesitate to live together in peaceful co-existence and speak the same language, Kausher and also use the same clothing. The Kashmir valley was home to the sages or rishis, ascetics and were ‘Sublime in Simplicity’, little concerned with worldly power and gloryfying in bliss and divine love, choosing to live on one side or the other of a line of minimal discernment.

Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits

            Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits was a significant & painful chapter for the Kashmir Valley in the 1990s. In 1989, an unprecedented insurgency broke out in Kashmir by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and their terrorist org. The execution of militant leader Maqbool Bhatt in 1984 heightened the sense of threats, where there were a series of attacks on Hindu temples, shops and properties of Kashmiri Pandits and they were allegedly harassed by terrorists. The JKLF launched an armed insurgency with the full support of the ISI. According to reports, posters and mosques issued notices asking Kashmiri Pandits to leave Kashmir. On the night of 19 January 1990, the valley echoed with the war cries of terrorists and pro-Pak slogans elevated by a huge crowd through megaphones. Frightened, the helpless Pandits had no choice but to leave their ancestral homeland, properties, jobs, farms and temples. According to several researchers, the Kashmiri Pandit population was around 1,40,000 during their migration.  A few muslims and sikhs also migrated out of the valley.

Kashmiriyat is A Reality

            Kashmiriyat is believed to be an expression of solidarity, firmness and patriotism irrespective of religious differences. It is believed to be the philosophy of harmony and will for the survival of the people and their heritage. For many Kashmiris, Kashmiriyat sought religious, social harmony and brotherhood. Naya Kashmir, which emerged later,is more honest about its history. The youth who envisage ‘Naya Kashmir’ are very keen and wants to align with the development like the rest of the country. Therefore, it is decisive to reject those who obstruct the progress of Kashmir. This paradigm shift in Kashmir would not have been possible without the government’s tireless efforts and its conviction to overcome some of the most daunting challenges.

Welcoming Kashmiri Hindus to the Valley : An Imperative.

            The ‘Naya Kashmir’ is inviting the Kashmiri Pandits back to their ancestral home. The government has addressed various problems of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits living in various migrant camps. The state and central government has provided various relief measures including cash relief, ration, shelter, free medical facilities, etc. The Government had set up a Relief Organization in 1990 to look after internally displaced Kashmiri Pandits. Central and State governments have announced various schemes to promote the return and resettlement of Kashmiri refugees. With normalcy setting in the state and the positive apch of the Hurriyat leaders in assuring full security to the Kashmiri Pandits and emphasized about Pandits as a part of Kashmiri culture and  history. The people of Kashmir showed their liberal nature by electing a pandit woman from Wussan, a small village in North Kashmir where 98% of the voters are muslim, as Panchyat member. Even the Pandits sensed such changes as they returned to the valley. A significant number of Kashmiri Pandits filled out forms agreeing to return to their hometowns in the valley. The authorities of the valley also said that the time is not far for them to return and start living in the old tradition of mutual brotherhood and peaceful coexistence.


            It is believed by the people of Naya Kashmir, that  ‘The Kashmiri Pandits’ are a very significant part of Kashmiriyat. Their culture is different from Hindus in other parts of India that they find themselves as strangers outside the valley. The development and prosperity of such a future can only take place through the promotion of Hindu-Muslim reconciliation and welcoming the return of Kashmiri Pandits to safe environment.

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