Why Kashmiri Pandits May Never Return to Kashmir: Raju Moza

Guest post by RAJU MOZA

It was in the month of January in 1990 that the onset of militancy in Kashmir resulted in the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits to Jammu, Delhi and elsewhere. Every year since then, January brings back the question of their return to their homes, in the press and increasingly on the internet.

There was something different about it this year. Several recent incidents have given the question of return a new impetus.

In Kashmir, 25 local Sarpanchs (elected village council heads) met and discussed the return of Kashmiri Pandits to Kashmir. This was the first time when the return of Pandits was discussed amongst elected leaders, prospectively, departing from usual discussion of looking retrospectively with the prism of the Jagmohan “scripted exodus” theory. As per this theory, which has been rebuffed time and again by the Kashmiri Pandit community, the then Governor of state of Jammu Kashmir, Jagmohan, acting as the administrator under President’s rule, was the architect of their  exodus, who thought that he will get a ‘free hand’ to deal with militancy without the Pandit community being targeted by armed insurgents as a backlash, or as collateral damage by security forces in the course of their operations against militants.

In early January in Pune, a first of its kind youth conference of Kashmiri  Pandits, organised by Panun Kashmir. Panun Kashmir is Pandit organisation that demands  a separate homeland with union territory status, to be carved out of the present state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was the talk of the town. Nearly 1,500 people attended the conference, and another 3000 people were watching it online. A unanimously adopted resolution said that Kashmiri Pandits would work towards creating a homeland with “renewed vigour”.  While there is nothing new to the homeland idea, this is for the first time it has been adopted by such a wide-ranging representation of Pandits, including some who came from abroad, students in Maharashtra’s engineering colleges, and so on.

On 18 January, ‘Exodus’ and ‘Kashmiri Pandits’ were trending on Twitter India. A national news channel broadcasted a special program, a rare instance, to discuss only the issue of Kashmiri Pandits. A survey conducted at the behest of Ministry of Home Affairs, said 67% the youths of those surveyed (youths from the valley) were in favour of return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley .

Many Kashmiri Pandits have visited Kashmir off and on over the years, perhaps never did they do so in such large numbers as they did in the summer of 2011, which was considered to be “peaceful”. They went like tourists, many of them for the first time since the exodus.

However, the exodus has brought salient transformation in the demographic and economic status of the Kashmiri Pandit community. These changes could well mean that Kashmiri Pandits may never return to Kashmir, whether or not the situation in the Valley is conducive to their return. These key issues should also be taken into consideration by Panun Kashmir while they figure out whether and how a separate homeland for Pandits is possible.

Demographic change

Some years ago, an elderly Kashmiri Pandit, who had migrated to Udhampur, was on his deathbed. His last wish was that he wanted to go back to Kashmir. His family took him to Kud, a hill station not far from Udhampur. The family showed him pine trees from the car. I know this is not Kashmir, said the old man, let us go back.

His was a generation strongly connected to Kashmir. After 22 years of exile, three different generations of Kashmiris co-exist as a community. Kashmiri Pandit youth who grew up outside Kashmir do not connect, identify and relate to Kashmir in the same way.

Statistics related to the community are either disputed or simply not available. We will thus have to do with some crude deductions. One way to do this is to look at the obituaries published in the Jammu papers. On an average, 10-15 obituaries of Kashmiri Pandits are published every day. Assuming that these represent only half the actual deaths, we could take a figure of 20 per day. In the initial years of migration, deaths were also caused by sunstroke and stress, so the number was high. On the basis of such a crude (admittedly contestable) calculation, one could estimate that as many as 1,40,000 Kashmiri Pandits would have passed away since 1990.

Basis this calculation’s (which can be contested) ,the number of Kashmiri Pandits died since 1990 is some somewhere around 1,40,000 .Thus an entire generation , which always wanted to go back ,has been wiped out ,which perhaps could have returned to valley.

Economic change

Recently I participated in an event where 40 odd Kashmiri Pandit corporate leaders discussed everything from micro-finance to private equity but not Kashmir. There wasn’t even a word on Kashmir, let alone talk of return. Our parents’ generation composed predominantly of state government employees, the new one is largely in the private sector across India and the world. They are equipped with skill sets that are not in demand in the Valley’s economy.

The young Kashmiri Pandit is full of aspirations about his or her career, for which avenues are not available in Kashmir. That would have maintained a connection, just as it is for Kashmiri Muslims who leave Kashmir for work. The top priority in life for Kashmiri Pandit youth, as for anyone else, is new investments, a new car, a house. Perhaps it would have been possible, had the older generation been living in Kashmir, that these corporate Pandits would have been going back to Srinagar or Anantnag to be at home, to visit parents.


A Maharashtrian girl married to a Kashmiri Pandit from Anantnag loves to talk about Kashmir, Kashmiri food, rituals and has assimilated herself in Kashmiri culture. When asked if should would consider living in Kashmir, she said yes, but only during summer vacations.

Inter-community marriages like Yogita’s are widespread and rampant amongst Kashmiri Pandits. Marrying outside the community is now the rule rather than the exception. The community is spread across India and has adjusted itself to local conditions. For me this is the most critical aspect of the accentuation of the process of extinction of the Kashmiri Pandit community. Given that we face extinction as a community, the talk of return migration seems far-fetched.

These are only some issues. A host of other issues will have to be taken into account by anyone seriously considering the subject of Kashmiri Pandits returning to Kashmir.

(Raju Moza is a business professional based in Delhi. Contact: rajumoza at gmail dot com)

From Kafila archives:

75 thoughts on “Why Kashmiri Pandits May Never Return to Kashmir: Raju Moza”

  1. Really! Haven’t we realized yet that separation doesn’t solve much! That you cannot runaway from your people no matter what…instead of building public opinion in favour of separation the author should work on integration in a democratic manner, create models of them that can be followed all over the valley.


  2. Dear supporters of “The ‘Kashmiri’ peoples’ right to self determination”: pay attention, these people are just as bloody Kashmiri as the damn Muslims who are demanding a separate state!!
    How convenient it is to forget about Kashmiri Pandits whenever there’s any talk in favor of letting Kashmir secede!


    1. hmmm… you may have inadvertently put the hammer on the nailhead – the kashmir pundits may actually be as bloody as the kashmiri muslims.

      i would like to propose an alternative history of the kashmiri peoples – maybe you remember Buddhism – yes at some time before the Muslim invasions circa 1000 AD. most of the non-brahmins in Kashmir converted to Buddhism and that is why the only Hindus who remained were the pundits. Then sometime after the muslim invasions most of the Buddhists converted to Islam till Ranjit Singhji the Sikh conquered Kashmir in the 18th century and left it to the Dogra’s who were his prime ministers to rule Kashmir. When the English took over the Sikh Kingdom, they left Kashmir to the Dogras who remained in power till Independence. The Dogras used the minority pundits as well as their brethren from the plains of Punjab to rule giving them large amounts of privilege while the majority Muslims were impoverished, some would say oppressed. The violence which erupted in the 1990s was an expression of vengeance against the oppressive pundits.

      That is not to say that all pundits were oppressors, just that an elite was fostered by the Dogras and the English which was dominated by the pundits and hindus from Punjab. And not all muslims were involved in the violence.

      Im not condoning or justifying the violence but just looking at history dispassionately. Any violence is an expression of some pent-up frustrations and unresolved conflicts and such forums allow one to delve into the issues – as they say – taali ek hath se nahi bajti.

      Of course, the muslims one-may-say ‘over-reacted’ in driving all pundits (not that actually all pundits have actually left, many do continue to live in Kashmir tho i dont have any figures). Anyway the pundits and hence all hindus in India are angry, and being angry they want revenge (against the earlier revenge but that has been forgotten) and being the majority in India, with most Indian politicians, bureaucracy and media in their favour, the undeclared ‘occupation’ of Kashmir by the Indian armed-forces continues. As long as the very issues which make the muslims angry are not resolved the pundits who were driven out will not be welcome back. So as long as the pundits and hindus are angry, they cant go back. Much tragedy has happened, many lives are lost, the entire region with its rich crafts and specialised agro-products has been impoverished, the beauty of the valley tarnished by military occupation. The only way things will get back to normal is when people get back to prosaic ends of actually living life rather than sentimental political posturing.
      But then that is not fun, is it?


      1. Cool story, bro. Now if only you chose to back it up with some hard facts, preferably from a reputed source and not yet another ill informed opinion on someone’s blog.


      2. what a shocking answer! how is this any different from the RSS asking for revenge against centuries of oppression by muslims


      3. I am sorry to say but the biggest help to Muslim Right has always come from ex-Hindu Leftists. I will explain : majority of Kashmiris for most part of its post-8th century history , have been followers of Trika Shaivism of Abhinavagupta.
        Majority of non-Brahmin Kashmiris are Rajputs (like Jarrals ,Maliks , Rathars etc.) , Khatris , Gujjars , Lones & most importantly the Dards .
        Have you heard of Sultan Butshikan , Shah Mir , Syed Hamadani etc. They played a crucial role in converting natives to Islam within a century or two.
        We are supposed to be critical of Hindus and Hinduism ; & defensive of Muslim & Islam . We by doing so , are doing the needful against Hindu-Right , but by over-doing it we are only feeding the Muslim-Right , who are quick to gobble up this attitude of the ex-Hindu Leftsist , like in the following :

        The question comes that why cannot Muslim Liberals of Muslim-dominated society be as much empathetic to even persecuted Hindus , as ex-Hindu Liberals are empathetic to Muslim society as whole ??


        1. The
          pandits were only bureaucrats under the dogras. All privelege, particularly, gifts of land were largely monopolised by the Dogras


  3. Raju Moza’s article is good reading, I agree with him that chances of return of KPs looks very bleak now, the generation which would have had a nostalgia about valley is now no more. I’m a punjabi who has lived in J&K for 4 years in a private sector assignment I can understand these facts well. KPs after their exodus from valley were not well received by local populace of Jammu region also as they saw them eating into their opportunities and were also angry with government’s distribution of grants to migrants; there were not much opportunities in Jammu region also & the pandits had no option but to fan out across India. As the original number was also small with this scattering of community, any concerted action by community is also impossible & also nowhere they make up a vote bank, so none of the politico is really bothered about this issue….very sad & disappointing.


  4. Besides, the new generation of the Kashmiri Muslims, during the last two decades, are totally unaware of the ethos of the Kashmiri Pandits, erstwhile neighbours of the parents of the migrant young KPs. Will this new generation of Kashmiri Muslims accept the KPs? in case the latter return to the Valley. Moreover, majority of the migrant KPs have sold their properties to the Kashmiri Muslims. How will they regain it? Therefore, the return of the KPs seem to be a distant reality.




  6. sir Raju Moza you have very logically given reasons for not returning back to kashmir,but it is not something unusual because after living 22 years in exile the exile itself has become home.So what we need now is land in kashmir(homeland) to have our roots in kashmir. To be more realistic we should think of having summer houses in Kashmir (Home Land)instead of return.


      1. Off-topic, I know, but couldn’t resist it. From the Tamil Purananuru, poem 192:

        Every city is your city. Everyone is your kin.
        Failure and prosperity do not come to you because others
        have sent them! Nor do suffering and the end of suffering.
        There is nothing new in death. Thinking that living is sweet
        we do not rejoice in it. Even less do we say,
        if something untoward happens, that to live is miserable!
        Through the vision of those who have understood we know
        that a life, with its hardship, makes its way like a raft
        riding the water of a huge and powerful river roaring
        without pause as it breaks against rocks because the clouds
        crowded with bolts of lightning pour down their cold
        drops of the rain, and so we are not amazed
        at those who are great, and even less do we despise the weak.

        Translation by George Hart and Hank Heifetz, from their book The Purananuru. The opening line of the poem “yaadum oore, yaavarum kelir” is very well-known to Tamils. The poet is given as Kaniyan Punkunranar.


  7. Kudos for such a lucid and matter-of-factly write-up coming from a KP himself. I am a third generation KP who was born in Srinagar but brought up in Delhi. So surely I don’t relate to the idea of going back to the Valley or a separate homeland.

    As for the entire cause, I don’t see any sincerity in the way the issue has been brought up by the KPs. Had that been the case, things would have been much different. The hue and cry for the preservation of the community is shallow. Had that been the case, every household would have made efforts towards resurrecting what the KPs feel as endangered.

    We have a number of organisations mushrooming up for the same ‘CAUSE’ but has it really solved any purpose? Surely not. All I would say is let peace prevail in the Valley and that Humanity is way above community.

    Thank you Mr Moza, for bringing some sense and logic to what has been time and again over-spoken by our community-loving KPs who are sans passion and sincerity.


    1. raju moza and nidhi seem to be both third generation KP’s. i am a 68 year old KP, who was born in anantnaag, but since my parents (both KP’s) shifted to delhi, i had the privilege of the visits to the paradise only in school holidays and since later i was away studying and working abroad for 22 years returning to India in 1987 but not to kashmir, i did not keep in touch with my community except my family members in delhi and pune.

      i visited the valley in 1988 and after that only last year and this year i went there on my own and as a single woman. i can and love to speak kashmiri, eat kashmiri and sing songs in kashmiri. i feel deeply connected to my homeland, though i have lived the life of a gypsy, travelling all over and not having a home in the conventional sense.i am living and working in a small village in Andhra Pradesh since the last 20 years now!

      i am not in agreement with the strong words of nidhi against the Kashmiri Pundit community, suspecting their sincerities and the like. though i too used to be rather critical towards my community in their being apolitical and conservative (rather patriarchal) in general. however after visiting them i feel very impressed by the committement they have shown to their cause. i have been witness during my last 2 visits to jammu and kashmir and was so sorry to see (middle class mostly) KP’s living in Jammu camps in congested rooms with no water and electricity supply, no hospitals nearby, an inhuman environment and all their property (house, land, other items) lost or sold for pennys! and yet their children , particularly the girls, due to support from gujarat and maharashtra states, are doing very well. their good education was a high priority for their parents.

      I found also that the common kashmiri Muslims are very hospitable and well wishing towards the Pundits, whom they again want back as neighbours and as one put it “humare chaman ke phool or humare teacher/ guru etc.). but of course the matter is complicated at the moment. i trust however the various peace and reconciliation groups in the valley and elsewhere. inshah allah they will succeed.

      i suggest nidhi and others who are sceptic about the return of KP’s to the valley to read my reports at



      also i want to mention the following from omar abdullah himself, to be able to better understand the plight of KP’s.:

      “Omar Abdullah wrote a detailed post on his official blog blaming the local Muslim population to be ‘mute spectators’ to the forced exodus…On May 15th, 2008 Chief Minister of J& K Omar Abdullah, who back then was the president of the J& K National Conference, wrote in detail his views about the Kashmiri Pandits exodus. Excerpts:

      ” Its so easy to say that we will lay down our lives to bring Kashmiri Pandits back to the Valley and I appreciate the sentiment as I am sure the Kashmiri Pandits reading it will. Pity that sentiment was missing when our mosques were being used to drive these people out,”

      ” None of us was willing to stand up and be counted when it mattered. None of us grabbed the mikes ( microphones) in the mosques and said ‘this is wrong and the Kashmiri Pandits had every right to continue living in the valley’,” ” Our educated, well- to- do relatives and neighbours were spewing venom 24- hours a day and we were mute spectators either mute in agreement or mute in abject fear but mute nonetheless.'”

      (Aditya Raj Kaul, the India Editor of the monthly The Indian published from Australia.)


      1. Dear Asha ji ,
        Kashmir has compext perspectives in per se , here we are just talking of One them ; namely the current inherent aspects of Kashmiri Pandit community after 22 years of exodus . As far as your mentioning of What Omar Abdullah has said or other variables , it doesnt change the very characteristic of the Kashmiri pandit as community . Beside these 3 aspects of Demographics , Economics or inter community marraiges , which has become part and parcel of this community , there are myriad Issues which will be detrimental to the return . Rgds Raju MOZA


        1. While I agree to your concern over inter-community marriages being a detriment to KPs return , but just telling ; do not Kashmiri Muslims also marry non-Kashmiris particularly Punjabis . Does that make it difficult for them to stay in Kashmir?


  8. I wish Kashmiri Pandits demand right to self determination as fervently as Kashmiri Muslims do. That way the decades long conflict will have a resolution and Kashmiri Pandits will return with a huge responsibility of reconstruction Kashmir as an independent country. After so many years, Kashmiri Muslims have come to this realization that it is not Pakistan what they want, and it was never India they wanted, what actually is circulating in their bodies is the idea of freedom, a free independent state which a common Kashmiri Muslim has been aspiring since a very long time and Pandits like Prem Nath Bazaz envisioned and wrote about in his scholarly works. India must forgive Kashmiris and leave them, as they are not interested in the growing India and its economy.


    1. James,
      The kashmiri Pandits wouldn’t have been outside kashmir ,had they subscribed the secessionist ideology. The nuances of separatism is so complex more so its relationship exodus ,that this canvas is too small…


    2. I am very curious James, as to how you know about aspirations of common kashmiri. And I seriously doubt Pakistan will ever let the Azad Kashmir go. I do not think that when Indian armies came to defend Kashmir in 1947, they were thinking of annexing Kashmir (as is evident from many of Nehru’s speeches). And there are people in Jammu and Laddakh who want to be a part of India….so dream on.


  9. It is known who Raju Moza is and one has a some idea of his political ideology. It is therefore surprising that contrary to what one knows of Raju Moza, this article by him suggests as if it has been written by an apologist replicating the propaganda of the Islamist Separatists who give similar analyses and declarations about the return of Kashmiri Pandits.

    Not really about ‘return’ of KPs but the excuses proffered on behalf of and for KPs are for their Non-Return.

    The excuses for Non-Return are sought to be be justified by Raju Moza through reasons of ‘Demographic Change’ ; ‘Economic Change’; ‘Marriage’. At the same time a rosy picture is attempted to be painted about how much KPs are missed in Kashmir.

    Welcome resolutions of 25 or 2,500 Sarpanches is not what will get KPs back into Kashmir.

    Some survey concluding 67% of the Valley’s youth want their return will not send KPs into Kashmir.

    Quoting such examples (without doubting their sincerity) seek to convey the shallow impression that KPs have an extremely welcoming environment waiting for their return to Kashmir but have their own internal contradictions that prevent them from doing so.

    All the quoted ‘scenarios of excuses’ most certainly are contributors to why there will not be a 100% reversal of the internal displacement of Kashmir. They do not however bring into focus the main reasons why KPs are not ‘returning’ in droves or even in regular trickles.

    I call them excuses because while they are contributors deterring return, they are not the main contributors.

    That expectation of a 100% reversal would in any case be a foolish expectation in any scenario in any such displacement in any part of the globe where enclavement of 100% of the refugees has not taken place.

    In this case, even those KPs who for lack of resources were forced to live in Refugee Camps (enclaves), and continue to live in abysmal conditions without any glorious prospects for their own and the future of their kids are not forthcoming in participating in initiatives for ‘return’ of KPs.

    The main reasons lie elsewhere rather than what are highlighted in the article.

    Raju Moza does mention the Panun Kashmir (youth) Conference but glosses over the fact that the demand for Homeland is the demand for such a Homeland in Kashmir and not anywhere else. If one were to envison the bizzare possibility that such a Homeland becomes a fact, it would be the return of KPs to Kashmir. The Homeland demand is also a demand for ‘return to Kashmir’

    That though is fantasising over unlikely extremes. But to a large extent the rationale given for the Homeland demand also contains the articulations that are sentiments common to most KPs that the main deterrent in the ‘return of the natives’ has been and is:

    – the actual security environment and perhaps more importantly now the perception of the security environment

    – the perception that Kashmir does not feel to be India in the manner the Laws and Governance are institutionalised
    (Before the displacement similar perceptions did exist but did not weigh heavily on the minds of the KPs. It was a situation KPs had evolved into learning to live with and there was a banishing of those recognitions into the background of the conscious)

    – the perception (not without reason) that such blatant in-your-face Islamisation of the environment in Kashmir has taken place through the years that it is unnerving to even contemplate living in it

    I have listed out what I judge as the main reasons why KPs are not even contemplating seriously their ‘return’.

    Reasons for ‘NOT EVEN CONTEMPLATING’ I said. For now forget about the excuses that might come up in individual cases when a decision needs to be made about ‘return’.

    When an enabling environment for return is not perceived to exist in Kashmir where is the question of being faced with and taking difficult decisions on return.

    ‘ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR RETURN’; that is the crux.

    If it is Raju Moza’s contention that there will never be such an ‘enabling environment for return’ for the KPs that neutralises the reasons I gave for them not even contemplating ‘return’, then certainly Kashmiri Pandits may not return to Kashmir at all.


    1. Aalok ji you have mentioned “Quoting such examples (without doubting their sincerity) seek to convey the shallow impression that KPs have an extremely welcoming environment waiting for their return ” The objective was to show that several factors have taken this place this year ,which has provided Flip to this question . In fact , thats another aspect of the return of kashmir , which has to do with the present status of Kashmir , I havent touched about them , even the security aspect which is a prime consideration .

      Excuses _ I dont think Death is an excuse , a lost generation which connected with Kashmir is no more . I dont think ” Sustaining one self” is an excuse .


      1. i would like to give a bit of an advise from my long lived life, particularly keeping raju and aalok in mind:

        there is no final and everlasting truth! change and process are inherent part of life. no qualitative change takes place quickly and without sacrifices at some level. and most of all it is important to start with oneself and “be” rather than “have”. and utopias are always good to have in mind.

        so all i can suggest is to not give up as well as to not to get too sceptical either. though i too am quite disgusted with what the so-called freedom fighters and their islamic brothers have done to our sweet homeland, the only way out is to struggle to live together and create the peaceful and just environment in Kashmir that it has not been for ages. the whole valley and the rest of J&K has to again become Panun Kashmir! soruy koshur chu panun, asi kyaz dimav kehn ti kanssi?

        afterall we, the kashmiri pundits must also not forget, that we had the responsibility -being the privileged and educated kashmiris- but we did not bother about the plight of the masses of illiterate and poor muslim brothers and sisters, after we got independence. we were forced to think in hindu/muslim terms.of course the english played a major role in this.and we must not forget that we hindus and muslims as well as others did not have this kind of antipathy against each other before independence and even till 1980’s, as we have it now.

        love and respect for each other is the only ultimate and lasting way out!

        it is not due to caste and class reasons alone, but mostly due to religious parameters and the adopted backwardness, many Muslims are still very poor and in destitute condition in the valley. we, KP’s being a tolerant lot can create a change for positive growth in kashmir.

        inter-caste marriages are not negative for the growth of kashmiri culture. because then many other communities from all over India will get involved in kashmir. of course it would be good if Muslims too followed it.

        yes we have lost many of our ancestors, but so have the Muslims, if not more, even if due to their own doings.

        we being in a privileged situation also have a greater responsibility. let us create the change- starting with our own selves- and let the seed of islamic fundamentalism in the valley be demolished once for ever.

        my personal experience shows that we can do it. let us buy land in the
        valley as much as we can and let us start visiting it as often as we can.


        1. I do believe that it is not easy for kps to forget Kashmir as other people think,This Kashmir will hunt us throughout our life as long as we are away from valley, I do believe we shall hold negotiations with our muslim brothers to find a lasting and peaceful solution for the return of KPS.
          This Kashmir is in our blood and we have our roots in Kashmir how we can forget it. However we have to make efforts that the two communities which have got separated 23 years back shall get together once again. We shall forget our past, and we shall sort out the issues and differences between us.
          The number of organisation That KPs are running post migration, they have one common agenda that is the return of Kashmiri Pandits, despite having difference of opinion on other issues.

          I do not agree with Mr. Moza views.


    2. Aalok Aima’s inchoate reply to Raju Moza’s writeup is a squeaking rant, of a sort that guarantees to leave the most well meaning sympathising individuals aghast.

      His visceral hatred for kashmiri muslims is very much on show here. It looks like he doesnt know the facts on the ground.

      Raju Moza’s effort should have been lauded; he comes out as a well meaning individual who seems to have his ears firmly glued to the ground and knows his stuff well. These include the various dynamics that are at play within the pandit community vis a vis their desire and the realistic prospects of their return.leave aside the various polls done, where precisely do people who have suffered through over 20 years of trauma and direct threats to their slender lives want the pandit community to return?

      when a segment of stupid individuals–always the more vocally obtrusive– from Aima’s community have done everything to antagonise,deride and rub salt on the wounds of the kashmiri muslims at every instance and in every forum,every where. it’s the magnanimity of large numbers of kashmiri muslims that leads them to overlook that and still ask for the return of the kashmiri pandits.

      Aalok aima and his cohorts in PANUN KASHMIR have led themselves to believe they are to kashmir what muslims and the muslim league were once in the subcontinent. he and his cohorts should think it over: they have neither the political legitimacy nor the justification to seek what they call the rehabilitation of an oppressed group. They play the whiny politics of a minority within Kashmir when it suits them and they invoke the majority Hindu–especially in alliance with the most bigoted political voices among the latter–when and whenever it has suited them.

      While, at the same time, denying that they have historically abused their position of power under every political dispensation—all they are adept at doing is whining about their writing out of their region, as a result of the dynamics they themselves scripted over a period of the last 200 years. It’s time their mewling be recognised as such and given as short shrift as it deserves.


      1. How different are you behaving, Tariq Akhtar, to Aalok, by uttering:

        • “where precisely do people who have suffered through over 20 years of trauma and direct threats to their slender lives want the pandit community to return?” (to their usurped homes!)
        • “it’s the magnanimity of large numbers of kashmiri muslims that leads them to overlook that and still ask for the return of the kashmiri pandits.” (they could also move over to their brothers in POK)
        • “they have neither the political legitimacy nor the justification to seek what they call the rehabilitation of an oppressed group (in that case neither do the KM’s)”
        • “as a result of the dynamics they themselves scripted over a period of the last 200 years. It’s time their mewling be recognised as such and given as short shrift as it deserves (what about the history scripted by the Kashmiri Muslim rulers over the last 5-6oo years?)”

        and btw the KM’s are not behaving any more responsibly than the KP’s did earlier. look at the poor sweepers and sweepresses, the poor single women in the valley today. the rich and extraordinarily new rich Muslims damn bother about them.

        my cousin, who runs a computer college in the valley was complaining about his not being able to avail of the scholarships the Indian Govt. gives for the children of the SC community, becaause the privvileged Muslims harp on their religion not having any caste system, the poor chamaar children remain illiterate and discriminated.

        so dont you try to brainwash others as if all is well with the kashmiri Muslims.


    1. Talk about missing the point, Wozul Ponz. As I see it, Mr. Chib is talking about that other long “night” when Kashmiri Pandits not only forgot, but also participated in the exercise of the erasure of the rights of majority of their regional community, viz. the Muslims. If you really think this is a serious conversation, try not to be glib and, if you are capable of it, a little more responsible.


      1. I recently watched a programme on NDTV India (Hum Log, moderated by Ravish Kumar) in which, astonishingly, all we were allowed to hear (by self-avowed design of the news channel) were only the voices (what a joke–it was “one voice”) of SOME Kashmiri Pandits in exile.

        It was astounding to discover, once again, how these particular members of the KP community abnegate all responsibility for making possible their own excision from the larger community they “pretend” to belong to.

        Every speaker, in one way or the other, turned their larger numbers of Muslim co-regionalists into the “other”. As usual, there was a historical remembering that was warped in ways to turn themselves into “original” inhabitants and the power of the advent of Islam that turned numbers of their own community to the faith into a mindless narrative of forcible conversion. Ye so-called educated peoples, learn your history! But why bother to give you that injunction: you prefer to regurgitate myths that you spread around your separate tiramis.

        Most speakers on that programme referred to a 600 year history of “rehna nahin par sehna”. Agar aap 600 saal bas seh sahein they, naa reh rahey they, to phir aap wahaan key kabhee they hi nahin.

        Get how that works?

        You revel in strange myths about your necessity to that valley’s politics and society; and at the same time cannot recognize that you were suddenly not necessary anymore.

        You whinge about a lost regional identity–you blame your Muslim co-religionists for having destroyed it–and yet on that programme each of your so-called spokespersons could only emphasize (in over-the-top emotional language) that they were representatives of India and Indian-ness.

        Make up your minds. Or reconcile yourselves to the fate you have written up for yourselves.

        And if you are such raashtravaadis, think about the many Indians who — without having the negotiating tool of “loss of homeland”–suffer so much worse fates than you. Tell me how often you starve, how often you are driven to commit suicide to pay the dues of the state, how often you find even consuming a vegetable is luxury. If you are such great “Indians”, stop using it to your advantage alone. Show some responsibility — your victimhood is duly noted, but now join the queue.


  10. i agree with sakchulia that as privileged beings, we the KP’s (actually all of us Indians too), have to have a sense of responsibility towards those who dont even have the fundamental human rights in India, particulalry in rural and tribal areas. it is a shameful feeling for me as an Indian and i am desperately trying to undo it by living in a rural area and with rural peoples. just being there you can contribute at least something towards redistribution. most of my community members are just as selfish as most other Indians too. but i do also want to say that your words to the KP’s: “Make up your minds. Or reconcile yourselves to the fate you have written up for yourselves” applies to the KM’s -as well and to the Muslims(Minorities) in India too. actually we are ALL responsible to a major extent for what happens to us in our lives. i dont believe Ram or Allah can do anything in that.


    1. Asha Kachru, not every balancing act is necessarily a way to justice. Comparing chalk and cheese is just that. And not much sense. Before you compare your fate with that of the Muslims of Kashmir or indeed the rest of India, don’t forget to check on your privileged position. And it might be nicer to leave Ram and Allah alone: I doubt you occupy the place it requires to interpret them.


  11. Asha Kachru:

    Since when did Kashmiri Pandits like you, those who celebrate without embarrassment their upper caste Hindu status in every other forum — emphasizing indeed, through the voices of their “historians” and “sociologists” to anyone who will hear it, that they are the one entirely “Brahmin” community in a region in this “blessed” nation-state of ours — begin to care for the ill-fortunes of the least privileged dalit members of this country?

    Spare your crocodile tears for anyone who might be in the market for them.


  12. Asha Kachru,your line of argument is daft and obtuse,as sakchulia has pointed out, borne out of the schizoid understanding you and your ilk have of your predicament.
    Between KMs and you,don’t you get the difference.KMs refused to leave their homes and hearths in those cycles of violence which cost them dearly in lives and property, unlike you.and you really think that you mean anything to them in the bigger picture.You are exiled not them.
    how long did most of your community survive living in the vale once they ignored you as a part and parcel of their society .Goodwill and magnanimity is not a permanent thing,Have you given a thought if tomorrow they decide they don’t want you there at all what options you have on your hands?


  13. sachkulia and tariq, do you really expect an answer from me? your patriarchal and victimhood approach will never get you anywhere.


    1. Asha Kachru, frankly I couldn’t care one bit whether you replied or not. Your patronizing self-righteousness is on full display anyway.


      1. Sakchulia,can you believe this stupid sense of entitlement on display here by these guys,as if they are owed something by everyone for their sense of victimhood.


  14. Asha Kachru, can one be Patriarchal and smack of victimhood at the same time?
    impossible in this world. but in your skewed understanding of things of course anything is possible.


  15. Asha Kachru,why dont you do some introspection instead of quoting a ””trying hard to be humorist’s;;; piece.why dont you delve deeper into yourself and put some realism through your absurd thinking and do your community and yourself some good.


  16. If this is Ms. Kachru’s idea of “a good read”, she needs to take herself out of the childrens’ section of bookstores and veer towards slightly more challenging stuff.

    In any case, who is she calling a Muslim bigot here? Perhaps it’s Tariq Akhtar Chib? In which, case, I condemn thee, Chib! Take yourself off to a Kashmiri Pandit gathering of their bigots — Ms. Kachru tells us in one of her so-called “reports” posted somewhere above that “tolerance” is their forte.

    (I suggest one preferably presided over by Mr. Aalok Aima and/or Aditya Raj Kaul — oh! heck! did I just call Hindu bigots bigots again? Woe is to you, Mr. Chib!)


    1. ok sakchulia, have the courage to come out with your real name first. second why are you going on writing to me, when you dont care for my replies anyway, so who is patronising and whose self-righteousness is on full display here? why dont you do the introspection, since you seem to be totally skewed dear. your knowledge about dalit and muslim issues can be guessed from how much a mind and body filled with hatred towards other human beings can contain at all. your solidarity with your muslim friend reaches only as far as you both are part of a totally patriarchal mind set plus you both behave like true victims, one of being inferior to brahmans and the other tariq – who can not even understand that one can be a patriarch as well as a victim both at the same time- is a victim of being a minority. sorry but as i said earlier you will never get ahead with this attitude you have internalised. i cannot help you either. fact is however that women in both your communities are more exploited and/or raped by your own kind and you go about teaching others what is good for them. one knows enough of double standards amongst your own folk.it is you both and not me, who needs to come out of your skewed underestanding of things and read some more challanging stuff, for example Mary Daly’s Gyn/ecology,


  17. How do you assume Sakchulia is not my real name? Now you are really hurting my feelings.

    And I wonder what community you assume I belong to. Or, for that matter, what you think my gender is.

    As for the recommendation for readings, I thank you, of course, but still find you’re only dipping shallowly into the Pyrrhean spring.

    Anyway, this conversation is getting utterly unedifying so I am out of here. Enjoy living in your simplified world of angels and demons.


  18. sakchulia sir/madam, if i had really wanted to live a simplified world of angels and demons, i would have continued with my permanent job as a scientist in germany (like so many other Indians there) and not have to face every moment of my life in a small village in south india, most horrible challanges: like this morning, a very young relative of my neighbors, who went to hyderabad for a job and got killed in an accident this night, leaving behind his very young wife and 2 children. this has been happening here in the past so often, young people dying in road accidents and due to heart attacks or some horrible rivalry about land or women involved etc. etc. besides of course the shameful situation of roads, schools and hospitals. nobody seems to damn care about our rural people. i can tell you how in just being here one can contribute, but you should be wanting to know it.

    dont forget it is you who have hurt my feelings in being born in a brahmin family and being named by some i dont know a kashmiri pundit. what can one do about the family one is born in and then you both (tariq and you) use such a sophisticated english language,Pyrrhean spring, unedifying,daft and obtuse,glib, rant etc. etc. that i dont understand. you both seem to have visited english medium schools, which i did not, i was in a municipality school and so my english is not as fine as you both, though i am a Brahmin and per se privileged being, according to you. come on stop simplifying human beings and their behaviour. just think why have all the great socio-cult-pol-econ ideologies of lenin/marx/ ambedkar etc. not been successful, except for inciting human beings to more and more violent methods. we need love and respect and more of spiritual level coomonality amongst ALL humans as a tool to come to some solution at all… asha


  19. agreed that return of pandits is a rare possibility but living in jammu i.e part of j&k and having no political rights is a shame. what youth of community is doing in india & abroad is remarkable . being sensitive about our culture is more important than our return. we will create many panun kashmirs in world by being togehther and being proud of our culture.
    historicaly minorities have suffered in all parts of the world. our return to kashmir is not possible because of the current economic realities but we will always go back whenever we want.time will prove that kashmir is safe in indian hands and kashmiriat is safe within india. sooner this reality is understood by the leaders of kashmir, better it is. we will always be close to our kashmiri muslim friends as long as he or she is not having issues regarding the fact of kashmir as an integral part of india.


  20. If a community has been driven from their homes, they need to be back. How hard is this to work out? What does their ‘Brahmin’ status have to do with anything? Only a leftist is capable of justifying an atrocity like that.

    Muslim kings ruled over India for many centuries. Shall we drive the Muslims out of India then?

    Does Kashmir belong to Muslims any more than the rest of India belongs to Hindus?



  21. I have to agree to the essence of the thought which is some what resting between two lines in the article and do knock at my celebrum with pitting force as I scratch my left shoulder. Blade . Borun Identity needs to recall and revisit the place in a shelf where an old book is often caught eating dust and mites smiling on the thought of new addition being released every bright night of the chitra month of the lunar calender. Since Engagements are the only way out to be happy and living in this world , it is good and economical to visit the place of birth of ancestors as tourist than staking the morality of secularism for a game of chess where in the sukunai mama shall be playing with all fair rules and the Yudishitra having to tease his mind by having to play fair only under the condition that his sight must read the same rules in a mirror. Business is itself a religion so is the computer science , mechanical engineering and simply visiting KFC in a Maruti model car having Hundui tyers. Kuldeep – 09839853637 /34


  22. @Raju , it is surprising to see you counting Marriages , demographic changes and economic as the only reasons. How conveniently have you ignored the fact that the main reason for KP not going to Kashmir will be the “Islamic Kashmir”. What about ethnic Indians settled abroad who are coming in hordes back to India now, why they are defying all these factors of demography , economics and marriages .? I have heard this propaganda enough from Aazadiwalas , please don’t repeat them .


    1. @rajesh Pandit – I have quite clearly written “These are only some issues. A host of other issues will have to be taken into account by anyone seriously considering the subject of Kashmiri Pandits returning to Kashmir” – Kashmir has witnessed a metamorphic change in these last 23 years , that aspect itself needs seperate treatment and which is a large canvas . Have i ever written that , Situation is conducive in kashmir and its because of the of the changes in certain aspects of Kashmiri pandit ,the they cannot go . ?? I have no where written that . There are myriad number of issues before a return is thought off , I have just enunciated one 3 aspects of the same . rgds Raju Moza


  23. @Raju Ji , If you look at your writeup , you have termed them as ” Key issues” , have a look at this …”These key issues should also be taken into consideration by Panun Kashmir while they figure out whether and how a separate homeland for Pandits is possible” . The title ” Why Kashmiri Pandits May Never Return to Kashmir:” and below are your reasons for the title , isn’t it clear what you want to convey .


    1. I agree with Rajesh ji.. also I think Raju forget that many KP’s land and house has been taken up by Muslims and KP’s are afraid of the situation, it can change any time and it is just like ” doodh ka jalla, chach fuuk fuuk ke pita hai “..

      I guess if we start giving these kind of logics thanMulsims demand for Kashrmir to merge with Pakistan is right ??????????????????????????


  24. Roja,
    Your article is biased and not true.. Many of my KP friends, who were forced to run from there.. One whose father was killed, told me all stories. there land and house has been taken away by the Muslims and when they went home, they are treated like outsiders.. Please go and do some research.. Don’t write any article by just using your imagination…
    Also, many of my friends are afraid to go because because they don’t know what may happen next morning, just like it happened that time and just like Kargil happen…..

    I think soon you will start justify the demand of Pakistan…

    Sorry to say, you are a big biased writer.. Please do some other constructive work…



  25. It is horrifying to see nations and groups do sectarian politics with what can only be termed as the collective tragedy for the people of Kashmir irrespective of their religion or race. How does it matter what spin you put on it or whether you hold governments or particular political groups responsible? It does not ease the pain of separation nor help arrive at a just and amicable political solution.


  26. “In Kashmir, 25 local Sarpanchs (elected village council heads) met and discussed the return of Kashmiri Pandits to Kashmir. This was the first time when the return of Pandits was discussed amongst elected leaders, prospectively, departing from usual discussion of looking retrospectively with the prism of the Jagmohan “scripted exodus” theory.”

    ‘This was the first time when the return of pandits was discussed’……TOTALLY wrong…The elections took place in 1996,at the end of Governor’s rule,and members of the Assembly–no doubt seen as a dummy by the population—discussed the issue since then….No separatist or mainstream politician ,has ever said that they must not return….

    And how many times did these Pandit heads sit down and discuss ,how to end the misery inflicted on Muslims by a PREDOMINANTLY Hindu army…?

    Ever since the Dogra Raj ,the tiny minority community ,except for some luminous odd ones,has played the role of quiet collaborators of oppression on the,until recently, illiterate and generally poor majority community…Just a measure of the grossly skewed situation,by 1989, around 70-80 percent first class officers in the administration
    were from this 2-3 percent population.

    I agree with a few other points in the essay….


    1. this is in reply to mr javaid. i agree that majority of kashmiri muslims are secular and wish the return of pandits. pandits left kashmir not because of any religious diffrences with majority community but our diffrences on our patriotic front. kashmiri pandits will go back to kashmir when the tri-color will be hoisted freely in lal chowk and other parts of kashmir. we love kasmir and we love the people of kashmir. we wish majority of kashmiris understand that kashmir and kashmiriat is safe being with india then with pakistan or with likes of ali shah gilani.
      as regards the %age of first class officers in government , it was because of education of these 2-3% people not because of any favour. when muslims got educated they also got acess to high offices and no body is against that.
      even now in the 1.2billion population of india ,kashmiri pandits are holding high possitions because of their education and their hard work. we beleive in education , liberal thinking , secularism and opportunity to all and that is what makes us diffrent.


  27. In general, every act of ethnic cleansing in modern times has been irreversible. The forced migration of the Kashmiri Hindus will be no exception.


  28. Only the determined ones succeed. While there is lot of external and internal propaganda preventing many KPs from returining, the determined ones will return and are returing. to their beloved Kashmir. Kashmir is the future of India and will blossom soon. See what happens many will return.


  29. its tragic how we talk about KPs todays.. “Why KPs may not want to return??? ” 22 years of exile must have done this.. but does that mean they shouldn’t get what they rightly deserve… Do a crime against one person, drive him away from his home.. let him stay at a unhomely place for three generation and then instead of undoing the mistakes.. starts talking about things like “LOOK! they dnt want to return, they dnt even talk about it”
    If this is the argument one holds about the refugees in their own country… I would request Indian Govt to follow the same attitude for the trouble causing separatist population in Kashmir. PLease drive them Across LoC and dnt Let them Come BAck for 25 years cuz by then either the third generation would loose interest in their roots… its really pathetic…
    their generation can forget the wrong but we who were mere bystander must not!!!


  30. Many forces do not want the KPs to go back in bulk. But this community has survived in harder circumstances in the past thus this determined community is returning and will return and no one can stop this process. Few who are materialistic might not return. The Center must genuinely encourage this process of return.


  31. Very true. Kashmiri pandits return is not a
    Only way pandits can preserve their
    Is by keeping tradition alive in their individual household .


  32. Another thing I do not understand what Javed means by taking about Sarpanch meeting. It is very clear what Kashmiri Muslims wanted…Nizam-e-Mustafa, wherein there is no place for any other culture.That is the reason why they killed so many kashmiri Pandits when their so called “thareek” started. I haven’t forgotten anything.
    We Pandits like fools thought that Govt. of India will bring heaven down to earth if we were to leave Kashmir… I hope by now that misconception in cleared… we don’t matter neither for kashmiri Muslims nor for India Govt.
    I believe we made a right choice by forgoing the Valley and it is better we go with Indian mainstream and stop these cultural moorings/lamentations.
    Their is nothing like kashmiri culture …. what KM’s claim kashmiri culture has been imported from Persia, Arab & Turkey.
    As for Pandits the lesser said the better it is. Most of the time they don’t know what they are doing.
    So please put an end to this drama and live in present world.


    1. what has happened to kashmir and kashmiris is very sad and bad. no one can justify what pandits faced and what peace loving muslims also faced.
      but in todays time when people from around the globe are extending their hand of frienship vis social media. we kashmiris should forget the past and move forward to build good relations on individual and collective level. hate begets hate . let us talk what is good in both the communities. this will help us push the conservative/ fundamentalist thinking of some members of both communities to low levels.
      please live to love not to hate.


  33. Other piece of advice is for my Indian friends. Please stop living in a fools paradise.
    More than significant majority of KM’s will go with Pakistan, irrespective of their educational background or economic status, were a plebsite held now. 100% KM’s hate India from the depth of their heart. No amount of appeasement can change that. All this talk of independence is a decoy.
    Let me make it very clear… it is only assimilation with Pakistan and Pakistan what they want.


  34. Chib Sahib, Please get your facts right. Those KMs who were under threat also moved out. And then KMs want aazadi. No country in the world has gained “Freedom” without sacrificing a lot. Regarding KPs, they have moved on and in the long run it has been a blessing for them. Now the whole world is their playfield.

    Could it be plain professional or a personal hurt at some point in life that has Sakchulia up in arms KPs as a community? Or do we have another “EXPERT” on Kashmir like Arundhati Roy, Gautam Navlakha etc. etc.

    Asha Kachru, chill lady chill – It is very obvious that Sackchulia has something personal against KPs in particular and Brahmins in general.

    Panun Kashmir is another bunch of jokers, asking for 33% of the valley area as our homeland whereas we formed about maybe 4% of the population. Their useful achievement/contribution to the displaced KPs in the last 22 years is a naught.

    New gen of KPs have moved on in life who don’t give damn about this so called home land. What homeland and roots do all the migrants of 1947 have? Home is where you make it.


  35. The highlights of this discourse apart from two separate viewpoints of Mr Moza and Mr Alok are the bilious outpourings of Mr Chib, Mr (?) Sakluchi. I doubt they are Kashmiri Muslims who are too polished and too refined to talk like these two gentlemen have. If they really are Kashmiri Muslims and they represent a common KMs thought process then that confirms and validates the deep suspicions many KPs entertain about their fellow Kashmiris. It is a slap in the face of many KPs like me who loved their homeland, their language, culture and the shared values of Kashmiriat. Ultimately, home is where you can earn your livelihood feeling freedom, security and honour. It is not necessarily a piece of land but a piece of land that guarantees these essentials. A homeland for KPs looks too ideal but leaves me skeptical for a number of reasons. The shear problem of critical mass for a functioning governing unit, the vague demographics, the scale of oppositionthat will be faced make this idea a non-starter. If Government of a billion strong nation could not protect KPs against an orchestrated mass hysteria how can it secure a homeland even if it were desirable and feasiblepolitically, economically and militarily .Though Mr Moza has been dispassionate in his analysis and his reasoning is sound but his question is hypothetical. If Mr Chib and Sakluchia are the inner voices of the valley the question of returning too soon is ruled out–at least till such feverish minds cool down. Too much has changed in Kashmir. One is often encouraged by our Muslim friends and neighbours to ‘visit’. Nobody has said ‘come back and live here’–not to me. Even if it happens it will need a huge political backing and acceptance by larger numbers of Kashmiri Muslims in the valley. The ‘conference of Sarpanches’ and other such noises are juat noises. It needs a ‘Budshah’ to achieve that. It needs a miracle and the economic cake of Kashmir to be so large that it can satisfy the aspirations of all Kashmiris.


  36. Roza’s article is good reading & throws light on a perspective that Jagmohan may have been an architect of the KP exodus, more so for ulterior motives.
    The Kashmiri Pandit community has always been a peaceful one, & perhaps the only minority (globally) that has not resorted to violence even after decades of persecution. Their role in Nation Building has been paramount.
    More than the culture & language, it is paramount that the philosophy of peaceful co-existence & education so much represented by this community, is transferred to youth all over the country & the world.
    As for the political solution to the issue, I will leave it for political experts. Return of the Pandits to the valley would be a welcome phenomenon.


  37. How come the entire Hindu population of Kashmir is KP’s ? There are hardly other castes if at all any. Did they willingly convert due to oppressive casteism ?


  38. Indian State should do the needful for KPs. Closet Majoritarianism can’t be expected to restore the rights of Pandits.


  39. A naive person not exposed to the world. We ruled this state. These are a determined people and survived with dignity during worse times. In my opinion if the Modi government wakes ups and provides them with jobs and security most will return. This is easy to do now. Who would not like to live in Kashmir.


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