Tuesday, June 28, 2016

RSS Sarsanghchalak at Bhagyanagar ( Hyderabad)


Translation of Pu. Sarsanghachalak, Maa. Dr. Mohanji Bhagwatji’s speech during Bhagynagar Sambhag Sanghik
Maananeya Samavedam Shanmukha Sarmaji, Maa. Kshetra Sanghachalakji, Justice Parvatha Raoji Maa. Prantha Sanghachalak, Sri Deshmukhji, Maa. Vibhag Sanghachalak, Sri  

Dr.P.T.Chandramouliji, Mothers, elders and swayamsevaks bandhus,

After taking charge as Sarsanghachalak, I have been touring all the state headquarters to meet swayamsevaks and am in Bhagyanagar as part of the same. I have noticed that wherever I have gone, people know the name of Sangh, if not the full name atleast know it by its acronym, “RSS”. However, most of them do not know the work of Sangh. Even swayamsevaks need to put effort to understand Sangh.
The reason for this is that for centuries, this sort of work has not been done in the entire world. Whenever, we learn something, we learn it in comparison with something else and since there has not be an equivalent to Sangh work, it is difficult to understand it by comparison. Just as there is no equivalent to the sky, to the sea, to Rama-Ravana yudham (war), the same is the case with Sangh. There is no parallel to it.
Some advocates in Europe asked me, “Is Sangh a paramilitary organization ?” When I replied in the negative, they asked, “then what about the uniform & the military like drill etc..”I asked them, “Do you not have similar work in your schools, say the Boy scouts. Do you call it a para-military organization?” We exercise in Sangh, but it is not a gymnasium, we sing songs, but it is not a music college. We discuss here, but it is not a discussion forum. We cannot understand Sangh by reading about it. To understand Sangh, you must come into the Sangh. Join the RSS for 1-2 years and learn about it by experience. If you do not like it, you can leave at your will. If you like it, you can continue to work. Therefore, it is my belief that no matter what I say, you cannot understand the Sangh, except by experiencing it first hand. There is no fee to join. Why depend on 2nd hand information when you can experience it first hand. Then you can write about it. However, I will give some basic  information about our work.
Our chief guest said that the Sangh protects Hindu Dharma. Yes, the swayamsevak does take a pledge ( pratigya) to protect Hindu Dharma. However, the Sangh is not the sole caretaker of the Hindu Dharma. It does not want to play the role of the protector while the society looks on as bystanders. The Sangh’s organization goals are clearly stated in its Prarthana ( prayer) “ “Param Vaibhavam Netum etat Swarashtram”, which is to take our nation to its pristine glory by “Vidhaayaasya Dharmasya Samrakshanam”(protection of our Dharma). How? By Vijetri cha na samhata karyashaktir (by a strong & united society) and who are we, the swayamsevaks ? Vayam Hindurashtrangbhuta ( parts of the body of the Hindu society). Therefore, it is the Hindu society which will protect our Dharma, the swayamsevaks would act as the catalyst for this by creating awareness.
Today, the whole world requires the Hindu view of life. The world has experimented with various theories and failed and now is looking for a viable alternative.
A few thousand years back, in most parts of the world, there were only tribes and the king was treated as supreme power. This model failed and then they looked upon “their God” as the supreme. Taking this concept, they started spreading across the world to make people accept “their God”. They took to fraud by acting as if they are serving people selflessly and then tried to rope them into their faith. They used lure, force & went to the extent of extermination as well. All in the name of God, promising permanent heaven for the believers and permanent hell for the non-believers of their faith.
When this model failed, there emerged a new breed of scientists, who said that they will believe anything only if it is proved in their test tube. The scientific developments in modern world lead to the industrial revolution & to a situation of a few dominating the rest. As a reaction to this, communism started & an era of bloodshed was unleashed by the communists that is continuing to date.
The problem before the world is 4 fold :
  1. Fanaticism – People who say, Only my path is great and those who follow my path will go to heaven. These fanatics want to increase their flock by confusing, by fraud & by force. If all this fails, they even kill the other person. They want to have a uniform world because they do not know the concept of “Unity without Uniformity”. There is no spirituality in these faiths; only an external form which is packaged as spirituality.
  2. Imperialism & The Race for dominance: America has unleased its power by imposing its will over the world under the garb of globalisation. Today America which is 4% of the world wants control over all the natural resources of the world.
China wants to expand its land base. It has annexed Tibet, is laying its claim over Arunachal Pradesh, has influence in Burma, Nepal, Srilanka, Maldives and is extending its influence in Bharat throught the Maoists. This is China’s nature; that of expansion.
  1. Exploitation of Nature : The exploitation of nature is occurring because of the concept floated by the west & some other faiths that nature & human beings are separate. These faiths believe that God has created nature for enjoying. A movie called “ The Eleventh Hour” delves deeply on this subject and concludes that to save nature, we must feel that we are part of it. Milk nature and give back to it. Do not exploit it.
  2. Theory of Contract: The world is grappling with the problem of broken families. This is because of the same attitude of dealing things on the concept of contract and not relationships.
If we observe, these problems, we realize that there is only one idealogy which can provide succour & hope to the world, which talks about not giving pain to others, looking at nature as mother, belief in relationships and not contracts and giving space to each other to fulfil his/her life mission.  This is the Dharma of Bharat- Hindu Dharma.
This is the philosophy that talks about “isavasyam idam sarvam. yat kinca jagatyam jagat. tena tyaktena bhunjitha. ma grdhah kasya svid dhanam” – The whole universe is of Ishavara. This  philosophy looks at tulasi, ganga, ( plants & rivers) as mother. It is this view of life that promises protection to nature.
Well wishers across the world believe that Bharat should and will rise only on the basis of Hindutva. However, our political leaders lack the will to make things change. We must realize that we will rise not by trade but on the basis of our agriculture base and on the basis of technology which is driven by Swadeshi,viz, by the needs of the land. This cannot be achieved by gifting agricultural land to MNC’s for making the factories. This sort of development is lopsided and will give rise to clashes. Nowadays, even some political leaders are speaking this language and our Prime minister has also said that we must change our lifestyle. But, these words are only parroted & superficial but not being put into action.
We are discussing matters with Pakistan while it is engaged in terror. How can there be talks when they continue to attack us ? We must first silence them. Yes, it is true that Satya & Ahimsa are cardinal principles of our Dharma, however it is also true that the concept of Ahimsa can exist  only when the aggressor is silenced & vanquished. In Kashmir, there are talks of bringing people from the PoK. However, 3 lac Pandits languishing in the footpaths of Delhi for 20 years is not talked about. Their resettlement is not a priority. They are not involved in the talks regarding the future of Kashmir valley.  The reason is that they chose to remain as Hindus. Two generations of Pandits have lost their livelihood and future. The same is the case of the 1 lac Hindus who came into J&K from Pakistan after the 1948 war. They have not been given ration cards and are suffering till today.
Bharat is 85% Hindu, and yet the Hindu is unsafe. Hindus have taken up the movement for the Ram Mandir when in fact it is their right. There can be only be one birthplace & the birthplace of Ram should have been given to the Hindus without any issue. The Hindus have been fighting for this for decades. The government continues to put our patriots into jail and give biryani to traitors.
The country has faced problems whenever we have forgotten our Hindu values. If we survey the country on the problems it faces, you would find one of these factors as a primary reasons :
  1. Reduction in Hindu population
  2. Reduction in the feeling of Hinduness.
Wherever there are religious conversions, there is instability & the place becomes a hub for anti-national activity. The problem in  Kashmir has arosen only because the Hindu population decreased. Hindu Bhav ko jab jab bhule, aayi vipatti mahan. We lost our land which stand as Afghanistan, Pakistan & Bangladesh. Even after Pakistan split into Bangladesh on the basis of the language identity, Bangladesh did not merge into Bharat because the Hindu population was low in Bangladesh.
Leaders say that the country can be united only by emotional integration. But what is this emotion? This emotion cannot be achieved by language, there are more than 3800 dialects. This emotion can neither be achieved by caste or regionalism. It can be achieved only the basis of the Hindutva, the feeling that we are all Hindus.
There is a lot of politics that is being played around statehood. This is a simple issue which is being politicized. The size of a state must be determined on the following factors:
Ø      Administrative convenience,
Ø      Developmental convenience,
Ø      Aspirations of the people & peace
Ø      Security of the country
The size of the state can be big or small based on the above factors. But, politicians are playing with the lives of students on this. The state of Madhya Pradesh was carved into Chattisgarh & MP because they understood each others aspirations.
We must realize that Akhand Bharat from Himalayas to Sri Lanka, from Kabul to the east of Chindwin river must be realized and the demarcation of states is a matter subservient to that aspiration. Forget your division and work for the same.
We are the children of the same forefathers, we have the same Hindu heritage. Scientists have established that for the last 40,000 years the same DNA is prevalent among all people in the Indo- Iranian plateau. The difference of caste, state are superfluous before our bigger goal of seeing the glory of Bharat Mata & ensuring that Akhand Bharat is once again established. The country can be made great on the basis of our culture and that is what the basis of the greatness of our country will be. Live and Die for the country.
In our country, the Muslims and Christians are also from the same Hindu forefathers. They must realize this and work for the glory of Bharat. Therefore, the only source of “emotional integration” of Bharat is Hindutva. All great patriots who have worked, spoke or written regarding how to take the country forward have written on these lines only. They may not have used the word Hindu, but the message remains the same.
The Sangh’s work is not based on opposition to anybody. It is based on pure love for the motherland and for our Dharma. Sangh’s work is to fulfil not to oppose, not to destroy.  This is the same concept articulated by many patriots irrespective of their faith.
Dr.Abdul Kalam in his various speeches and books has talked about 3 factors to take the country forward
 Worship Shakti ( strength) : He mentions that India was attacked by aggressors and ruled by invaders for 1000 years only because we stopped worshipping Shakti. When he says invaders ruled us for 1000 years, he does also include the Muslim invaders.
  1. People’s strength : The strength of the country is not determined by its police or army. It is the strength of the people & their unity. This can be achieved only by spreading awareness and building the feeling of oneness.
  2. Shed selfishness and work towards the glory of the country.
Similarly, a person like Dr.Verghese Kurien, a devout Catholic Christian says that the country can progress only when sufficient work is done in educating the masses & not by elitist education.
Therefore, I appeal to you, do not hand over your future to others. Political parties, policies, leaders, philosophers can only assist you, but the prime responsibility of building the future of the country is dependent on the common Hindu. Sangh is working towards creating this environment and swayamsevaks have entered various streams of national life where they are rendering yeomen service. Swayamsevaks work in remote locations to serve the deprived and depressed classes. More than 1,57,000 service activities are run by swayamsevaks with the aid of common society & not by government funding.
Each of the swayamsevaks who came for this program today has purchased his own ganavesh and paid Rs.100/- towards fund for organizing the program. The sole driving force being “ Tan Samarpit, man Samarpit aur yeh jeevan samarpit, chahata hun deshki dharti tujhko kuch aur bhi dun” ( to devote my all to this motherland) and with the belief that we may last for a few days, but O Mother, your glory should remain for ever! ( tera vaibhav sada rahen maa, hum din chaar rahen na rahen).
I invite you to join this great movement of nation building and not remain only as sympathizers. The men can join the RSS shaka and the women can join Rashtra Sevika Samiti.  This is the proven way to the glory of the motherland and I wish all of you devote your time and energy in taking our country to its pristine glory.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hindu View of Parenthood

This righteous way is much more than training the child in good manners and cleanliness, and helping him/her to succeed materially in the world. It also includes enabling the child to develop control over his life (via the senses), grow into a strong & healthy individual, understand and realize the existence of a higher consciousness, perform his duties on becoming an adult. The parents are not only obliged to impart worldly and materialistic education to their children, but also to impart Dharmic and spiritual education. This way ensures that the children contribute back to their family, the society, and the nation, while retaining their individuality of thought and simultaneously working towards Self-Actualization. Thus, the Hindu view of upbringing children not only concentrates on facilitating the child to attain Artha- wealth and material prosperity, but also focusses on enabling children to work towards attaining all the four goals of life- Dharma (righteous duties), Artha (wealth), Kama (material desires), and Moksha (liberation).
To understand the role of children and the duties of parenthood in Hindu culture and tradition, one must study the Hindu concept of Grihasta Ashrama and Samskaras.
Hindu scriptures recognize four stages of life: Brahmacharya (student stage), Grihasta (marriage stage), Vanaprasta (retired), and Sannyasa (renunciation). After a person finishes his student life, he enters Grihasta stage by getting married. Hinduism recognizes marriage or Vivaha as resting on three pillars: Rati (desire), Praja (offspring), and Dharma (marital duties, including parenthood). That is, having children and upbringing them, are an intrinsic part of marriage and a righteous duty enjoined on the parents. Thus, there is a nuanced recognition of the fact that people desire to have children and that children enrich love and strengthen bonds within a family. The importance of children in a family can be gauged by the fact that the term for son in Sanskrit is ‘Putra’ and for daughter it is ‘Putri’. The words are derived from the word ‘Put’ and they means a person, who frees the parents from the clutches of a realm of suffering named ‘Put’. Thus, children are recognized as those who will save their parents from suffering and instead impart happiness and joy to them. For this reason, the scriptures (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.5.17) state that a couple can live a fulfilling life on earth only by having children.
Therefore, unlike certain prevalent notions regarding children, Hinduism does not view children as a burden (especially in case of a girl), or as a commodity to gain profit from (especially in case of boys). Instead, Hindu scriptures ask people to perceive children as bringers of happiness and deliverers from suffering, and hence it makes it a righteous duty on the part of parents to give such children a proper education and upbringing.
Regarding the duty of the parents towards their children, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (1.5.17), states that parents should impart education to the children and help them understand their SvaDharma (duties in life). Though the verse actually imparts a highly contextualized instruction, applicable to Brahmana Varna, a generalized essence can be derived from it. In essence, the verse asks parents to make their children aware that once they grow up to become adults, then it becomes their SvaDharma to study the scriptures (to develop proper Vivekam to discriminate between right and wrong), perform duties according to Guna and station in life, and practice of devotion (for purification of mind and spiritual progress.). In other words, the teaching of the Upanishad is that the parents should not only impart secular and materialistic education, but should impart a wholesome education that facilitates children to understand their Dharmas (righteous duties) and attain self-actualization.
The extent of responsibility towards children in Hinduism is further demonstrated by the number of Vedic sacraments (called Samskaras) that Hindus have for children, which are supposed to be performed by parents not only outwardly, but with complete dedication and devotion. Shabara Bhashya on Jaimini Sutra (Verse 3.1.3) defines a Samskara as “an act, which makes a certain thing or person fit for a certain purpose.” Thus, it is an act of ritual purification, which intends to facilitate individuals become competent to perform Svadharma, by purifying their mind.
Of course, nothing is compulsorily imposed on today’s parents. There are about 40 Samskara ceremonies, of which 16 are followed commonly and half of them are done for the wellbeing of the child at different stages of life. For example, the Garbhadhana Samskara (rites when you want to conceive a child) imparts a notion of devotion and sacredness to the whole act of sexual intimacy. It involves chanting of mantras and invoking various deities for the purpose of preparing the womb of the mother, for the proper formation of frame (fetus) of the child upon conception, for the healthy and potent sperm that can cause conception and finally for successfully causing the conception respectively (Hiranyakeshin Grihya Sutra
Then, you have Pumsavana Samskara, for the physical growth of the fetus, especially for having a male child, and Simantonnayana, for protection of the mother and a proper physical and mental growth of the fetus. These three are the pre-natal Samskaras, whose purpose is ensuring proper conception, protection of the fetus and the safe birth of the child.
After the birth of the child, there are many Samskaras like Jatakarma (performed just before the umbilical cord is cut, and imparts long life, intelligence, strength, and character to the child), Namakarana (officially naming the child), Anna Praasanam (first feeding of solid food), Chudakarma (removal of hairs for the first time), Upanayana (ritual of initiation into Vedic study), Vivaha (marriage), etc. till the death of the person.
These Samskaras are primarily done by parents under the guidance of a Hindu priest and the child participates in them. The purpose of these rituals is to remove the faults (both biological and Karmic faults) that the child may have inherited from its parents and thus ensure the child is born and develops into a physically, mentally and spiritually healthy individual (Manu Smriti 2.27). The Samskaras further intends to impart values like compassion towards all creatures, forbearance/patience, freedom from jealousy, cleanliness, mental-calmness, auspiciousness, generosity and freedom from desires (Gautama Dharma Sutras 8.23). The scriptures go a step further and declare that it is better to perform few Samskaras by ensuring the development of the above mentioned values, than performing all the Samskaras mechanically, without development of inner values; since, only the former is beneficial and not the latter (Gautama Dharma Sutras 8.24-25). No other culture covers the growing stages of a child in such detail in terms of invoking positive energies, imparting positive values, along with the constant remembrance of duties.
What differs from western events of communion and baby shower, is the understanding that a human birth has much more capabilities, than a mere animal birth and the amount of restraint & sacrifice that Hindu parents assume in bringing up the children with this understanding. The importance of human birth has been beautifully brought out by Adi Shakaracharya in his Vivekachudamani, wherein he states: “Very rare indeed are these three things and happen only due to the utmost Grace of God—a human birth, a burning desire for liberation, and the blessed refuge of an illuminated sage.” It is this understand, which makes Hindu scriptures to enjoin having offsprings as one of the righteous duties of married couple; it is this understanding, which makes Hindu parents to celebrate each and every event in a child’s life; and it is this understanding, which makes Hindu scriptures recognize that parents have a duty towards ensuring that children not only get worldly education and material successes, but also get a Dharmic education and attain Spiritual Self-actualization.
The role of parents is vital in the education of children. A child learns the most from the mother, especially in the beginning years of life. The father’s role has always been that of a facilitator and a role model. A teacher only comes into picture at a later phase of childhood. In fact, both the parents are the best guide, teacher, and a friend to children. Thus, the famous Hindu saying from Taittiriya Upanishad (1.11.2) states: ‘maatru devo bhava, pitru devo bhava’, recognizing how parents are the very manifestation of divinity. But, the role of a mother towards her children goes beyond imparting education. She pours all her love and care towards her child, all her activities become directed towards her children, and in many a sense she dedicates her life itself to nurturing her children. Thus, many Hindu texts, including Ayurvedic texts speak about various modes of life (Paricharyas) exclusively for women, designed to ensure physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of the mothers.
In the Vedic times, it seems that the whole society was living with a great deal of spiritual understanding. In spite of obvious attachment of children towards parents, there was a certain amount of detachment that lead to living more responsible lives. There were Gurukulas, which not only imparted worldly education, but also took care to ensure that children did not develop excessive attachment to worldly pleasures. Parents sacrificed their love and affection towards their children, so that their children could develop values like detachment, self-control, etc. in the Gurukulas, without any disturbance.
In today’s world, this is very hard to practice. While the typically good western parents totally focus on things like good manners, grooming, etc., still the essentials of parenthood stay limited to ensuring the wellbeing on the physical plane, and thus making children a slave of their minds and desires. Though, many Hindu parents are not following much of the tenets of parenthood advised in the Hindu texts, they still seem to have affinity towards sacrificing for children. For example, unlike the West, leaving little children alone at home and going for parties was never a norm for Hindu parents. And even today it is not a norm. Many Hindu parents still live together, in spite of serious differences for the sake of giving better lives to their children. This is because the Hindu culture tells people to live by their duties, to put duties before personal comforts. After all, it is obvious that what two people can do for a child effortlessly, would take much more effort for a single parent to achieve.
With the number of divorces and single parent families increasing in the West, children will learn the same, to move on into the emptiness of worldly reasons. However, this should not be misconstrued as an endorsement of toleration of abuse within a marriage. In fact, abuse within a marriage causes as much trauma to the children as to the spouses and in such cases, divorce remains the only option. The point is, divorce should stay as an exception and not become a norm. Add to this, the universalization of the latest western view that all unpaid domestic work is of no value, since it does not add to GDP. Under these emerging ‘modern’ worldviews, sustaining families will become even more difficult. The patience to tolerate small differences is decreasing day by day. On the one hand, we have Islamic society, which appears to limit the role of parenthood to a mere numbers game of controlling religious narratives. On the other hand, we have many people, including Hindus, who are increasingly giving birth to children, without the conscious resolve to give anything back to society and civilization.
In the current society, the role of a parent has been reduced to teaching the child to bring wealth and success back home. This is not a Hindu view. Hindu view of parenthood ensures a strong, healthy, spiritual and dutiful offspring, while prescribing equal amounts of sacrifices for the mother and the father. Restraint in sex, diet, and lifestyle for the benefit of children is still accepted quite normally by many practicing Hindus. Parenthood is all about leading by example. It is the duty of every parent to let the children know that there is a deep spiritual potential in everyone, that there are duties that each individual must perform, that there are values that must be cultivated and that a human being must give back to the society and the cosmos itself in some way. There is a lot of happiness and contentment in this Dharmic way of parenting, which rises beyond the quick moments of pleasures that the materialistic world offers. Both the parents should ensure support to each other in raising the children, in spite of whatever differences they may have. They must let their children question, collect knowledge, discover their own inner tendencies and choose their path of life accordingly.
Unlike the West, parents earn a lot of respect in Hindu Dharma, because our governments don’t yet calculate the extent of unpaid work of parenting. Once calculations happen, the superior values like love, sacrifice, etc. attached to parenthood will disappear, and only laws will control the relationships. This is not to suggest that there are no good parents or happy families in the West or elsewhere. Nor is it being suggested that all families within the Hindu society are good and perfect. Instead, when certain modern trends in parenting, especially those inspired from the West, are compared to the ideal Hindu view, the later seems to be more meaningful, wholesome, and imparts a deeper meaning to life itself.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

J&K: Jehad, Genocide and the Refugee Crisis

by Shailendra Aima   on 22 Jun 2016
The British left India in 1947 and before giving up the control of the subcontinent they gave to the Muslims and Hindus a parity to decide and determine about the very character, form and contours of a Hindu India and a Muslim India, perpetually divided and hostile to each other’s existence.

A Muslim India, called Pakistan, was created to the East and West of a Hindu India. Strangely, this Hindu India has not reconciled to its Hindu identity. For the Hindu India, being Hindu remains a parochial and prejudicial affair and a matter of perpetual inferiority.  This India laments being called a Hindu India. It seeks a composite, secular identity, an identity that would comfortably reconcile the Vedic stotras with the Suras of Quran and Hadith; an identity wherein the endemic existential jehad would seek a war within and between the rights and wrongs of a subliminal human heart. 

Jammu and Kashmir at the time of India’s independence was a Muslim majority Princely State, governed by a Hindu Maharaja. The terms of Partition Plan (called India Independence Act) mandated and authorized the Rulers of States to join either of the dominions - Muslim Pakistan or Hindu India. Considering the then prevailing situation and while facing a tribal invasion from Pakistan, the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir joined India; a Hindu India that had yet to take a final call about its character, form and contours of its polity.

Between 20 October 1947, when Tribal Raiders marched into Jammu and Kashmir, and March 1948, India had virtually decided to surrender about 1/3rd of the territory of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan, now called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. In the process, the Indian State also legitimized the grand game of genocide of Hindus at the hands of the Muslim Tribesmen of North Waziristan, who since then have acted as the jehadi arm of the Pakistan army.

The Indian State did go to the UN, but never registered a complaint or even spoke of the killings, maimings, rapes and abductions of 200,000 of its men and women in the occupied territories in Jammu and Kashmir by the invading Pakistani army and its Lashkars. The town of Mirpur alone on 25 November 1947 witnessed killings, rapes and abduction of 25,000+ souls. Prior to that Baramullah, Uri, Muzzafrabad and adjoining areas had been subjected to a similar genocidal attrition by these Pak-backed Lashkars, who had come to ‘liberate’ the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir from a Hindu Prince.

These marauding gangs of killers were hailed in Pakistan as Mujahideen and liberators. Their wanton acts, killings of innocent civilians, rapes and abduction of women and their subsequent auctions in tribal bazaars were never a subject of condemnation in Pakistan. The Indian State too preferred to remain silent on the issue.

In these intervening six months between autumn 1947 and spring 1948, the Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir was cleansed of nearly 700,000 Hindus and Sikhs. About 200,000 were captured, killed and abducted; the rest moved to the Indian side for safety as refugees. Another batch of refugees, around 40,000 souls, arrived in Jammu from adjoining areas of what is now Pakistan. The first set of these refugees of 1947 is called POJK Refugees and the second as West Pakistani Refugees. Today, their collective numbers are anywhere between 12 to 15 lakhs.

These refugees were housed in temporary camps and assured of early return home. Almost seven decades on, the majority of these POJK refugees are still in camps scattered across the districts of Jammu, Kathua, Rajouri, Poonch and Udhampur. These camps consist of cramped one-room units that offer their inhabitants very little protection and security. Sanitation and drainage is almost nonexistent in these camps, which also lack access to basic healthcare services. 

The POJK refugees in the camps have been ghettoized now for three generations. Most schools in localities where children from camps enroll are understaffed and lack adequate infrastructure. Deprived of quality education, youngsters from the camps find it impossible to get employment in a competitive work environment.

The official status of these Refugees is peculiar. Since India considers POJK an integral part of its territory, POJK refugees are not accorded official Refugee Status as the government maintains that only people who migrate from foreign territory can be classified as refugees. In the process, the POJK refugees are deprived of all benefits accorded to refugees under national and international law. There is no compensation for property left behind by them in POJK.

The case of Refugees from West Pakistan is even worse. While living in Jammu & Kashmir, they are not entitled to any citizenship rights in the State. They take part in Parliamentary elections, but can’t elect a representative for State legislature or local bodies; their children can’t seek admissions in professional colleges or colleges of Higher education in the State of J&K; they can’t buy properties in the State or be considered for any State government jobs. They are also not entitled to Bank loan facility. They are virtually a Stateless people.

It is understandable that in 1947 victims moved out from territories run over by invaders and took refuge in Jammu; but that in 1990, persecuted Hindus had to flee from Kashmir, a territory not yet fallen, is bizarre and defies commonsense. And while the earlier two sets of refugees were confronting their pathetic plight as victims of state apathy and as abandoned dredges of 1947, 1990 brought in yet another stream of refugees from the valley of Kashmir into Jammu. Another 3.5 lakh victims of religious cleansing, targeted by those claiming to be the true followers of their creed, arrived in Jammu from Kashmir.

Added to 15 lakh refugees of 1947, the arrival of 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Hindu refugees in Jammu in 1990 further swelled the refugee crisis of Jammu & Kashmir. The State and the Central Governments did their best to deny the phenomenon of this displacement caused by a spurt in jihadi agenda of an ideology seeking separation from India.

This refugee stream was euphemistically named “migration” and the refugees given the name of “Kashmiri Migrants”. It is now 27 years, almost three decades, and the victims of an Islamist jehad in Jammu & Kashmir are “migrants”, birds of a “self-imposed flight.”  

Their plight is no better than that of the previous refugees. Ghettoized now for three decades, they are forced into camps on the outskirts of Jammu. Many with better avenues and by dint of their education and ability have moved out to cosmopolitans and even abroad. Schools in camps where children enroll lack basic infrastructure. There is little in terms of regular water supply and power; and inmates find mobility and access to health care meagre.

But it is not the Jammu province alone which has absorbed an inflow of Refugees since1947; even the Kashmir region has accommodated an influx of refugees from the Xinjiang province of China in 1952 and from Tibet in 1959. These refugees constituting Uyghur Muslims and Tibetan Muslims were not only settled in Idgah area of Srinagar City but were bestowed full citizenship rights by the same State, which has prevaricated on the issue of settling the Hindu refugees from POJK and West Pakistan.

It refuses to accord to Hindus from POJK and West Pakistan any rights and dispense justice in their favour. Any demand to accord them citizenship of the State has been met with stiff resistance from the Kashmiri rulers of the valley, for the past seven decades.

What does this suggest? Why two different yardsticks for Hindu and Muslim refugees? The State Government and its dominant leadership from Kashmir have often referred to the “Special Status of Jammu and Kashmir” to justify the apparent dichotomy and discriminatory policy towards Hindu Refugees and the issue of their rehabilitation.

The Special Status of Jammu & Kashmir is bestowed by virtue of the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which is a Temporary Provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir and it limits the powers of Indian Parliament to make laws with respect of Jammu and Kashmir State. By virtue of this Special Status, Jammu and Kashmir has its own Constitution to govern its affairs with New Delhi having a very limited jurisdiction.

The State Constitution was adopted by the State’s Constituent Assembly in 1956. Any laws and provisions of the Indian Constitution that have been made applicable to Jammu & Kashmir have been condemned and decried by the political parties of Kashmir. The separatists also find them highly objectionable. This Kashmir-centric political class, which together acts as custodians of an Islamic Jammu and Kashmir, holds the Indian Constitutional Provisions as an assault on Kashmir’s autonomy and cause of Kashmiri’s alienation.

These parties want the Provisions of the Indian Constitution withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir and the State’s autonomy to be restored. But they have utterly failed to pin-point any malevolent impact of these provisions on the State’s health. In fact, these provisions protect citizens of Jammu and Kashmir against any arbitrary and anti-democratic acts of the State, as the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir does not provide any Fundamental Rights to its “State Subjects”. It is unfortunate that even the national political class represented by the Congress and the BJP has also been seen standing along with this Kashmir-centric Islamic agenda of Autonomy and self-rule.

“Autonomy & Self-Rule”, the defining politics of the Kashmir-centric political parties and demand for “Freedom or Pakistan” by the separatist constituency in Jammu and Kashmir, are primarily a reflection of the Kashmiri Muslims’ intent at the exclusivity of an Islamic State. When Muslim refugees from China and Tibet are quickly absorbed and bestowed citizenship and basic rights, and Hindu Refugees shown ambivalence while decrying their absorption in the State as a demographic assault, it’s again the Jehadist mindset at work, seeking well-being and protection of the Ummah and destruction and deprivation of the “other”.

That the State of Jammu & Kashmir is a Jihadi State is no exaggeration. It follows the Jihadist principles of demographic assault, cultural invasion and squeeze on minorities. Hindus, Sikhs and other minority groups in the State are victims of this Jihadist syndrome. Hence, to expect justice for Hindu Refugees from such a Jehadist State would be in vain.

It is imperative for all these groups of Hindu Refugees of 1947 to 1990 to close ranks and work out a strategy to get justice. It is imperative to understand that they are the victims of an ideological movement that seeks the destruction of the “other”, the “non-believer” and his permanent inferior status. The Hindu Refugees shall have to use all means and instruments which put their case in perspective in an internationally recognized framework. They have to challenge all such euphemisms and policies of the State that have kept them embroiled in a situation of confusion and helplessness for almost seventy years. There is an urgent need to wake up to the reality and call a spade a spade.

The author is an educationist and social activist