Monday, July 7, 2008
“Reading in Paris about Kashmiri Muslims rioting because of land transferred to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) and the People’s Democratic Party pulling out of the Jammu and Kashmir Government coalition, one feels a little bit surprised. The Amarnath pilgrimage is an ancient tradition
and after all, Kashmir, much before some of the inhabitants of the Valley were converted to Islam, is the seat of Shaivism, the place where thousands of yogis, sadhus, holy men, prayed, meditated and often attained realization, for at least
“Millions of devotees have flocked to Amarnath over the centuries—and Muslims from Kashmir should show them generosity, because in India, although Muslims have been a minority since the beginning, Hindus have always respected the religion of Islam. Indeed, Muslims in India have had a freedom that Hindus or Christians do not enjoy in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.
“Furthermore, Indian Muslims returning from the Gulf, have built, in the last 20 years, tens of thousands of mosques, thanks to the Gulf money, often with land donated by the Indian Government and without the Hindus ever protesting.
“Kashmir is also the land of Sufism, where the best of Islam and Vedanta blended, which allowed many generations of Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims to worship together in mosques and temples and attend each other’s festivals.
Unfortunately, after the creation of Pakistan, a hard Sunni fundamentalism has entered the Valley mainly with Pakistan and Afghan jihadis, and four lakh Kashmiri Hindus have been forced by death, terror and violence, to flee the valley of their ancestors, one of the biggest ethnic cleansings in human