Tag Archives: kashmiri pandits

A PLEA FOR THE SHIVAJI MAHARAJ MUSEUM OF (TRUE) INDIAN HISTORY, PUNE

I am a French journalist, correspondent for ten years of the largest French Daily, Le Figaro and the author of a dozen History books on India (latest: A History of India As It Happened, Har Anand, New Delhi). I was witness of the exodus of 3 lakhs Hindus from the valley of Kashmir & it so touched me that I mounted an exhibition on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, which was opened in 2005 in Delhi’s Habitat Center by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Followed a series of exhibitions on the Bangladesh minorities, Aurangzeb as he was according to his own records, Maharana Pratap, Ahiliyabai, etc.

At some point, we had so many exhibitions that the idea came to build a Museum of true Indian History. Sri Sri gave us five acres of land near the Pune airport and the project started in 2013. I have a great admiration for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, as he is the Napoleon of India, an incredible man, who with a few hundred men and his wits only, stood his ground against the  then  most powerful army in the world, that of Aurangzeb. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was much more than a warrior: he made laws, built the first Indian navy, was a staunch Hindu, yet donated to Sufi shrines and never harmed the wives and children of his enemies and had a vision of a unified India. Yet, his place in Indian history books is minimal and underrated. Thus we have chosen to honor him in this Museum.

Today we have eight Pavilions, each with a unique permanent exhibition, a Bharat Mata temple dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and a video room. The Museum is open from 9 to 6PM and entrance is free. I am in the process of erecting three new buildings, one for a Portuguese Inquisition exhibition, another for one on Tippu Sultan and one which will have a room with flat TV screens only, each one playing on a loop films, PPT’s, etc.

This is a sewa project as both my wife Namrita and myself continue with our respective jobs, she as a textile designer and myself as a journalist and writer. Thus we depend entirely on donations to move forward. We have a registered trust, FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism), which has FCRA, as well as Indian, US & UK tax exemption.

We would like to take the Museum to the next level and our architect, Sheetal Harpale of Pune, has designed a wonderful building in the shape of a swastika, which will cost about seven crores to make and would be on par with any Museum in the world. Thus we appeal to your generosity –  this is a unique project, but extremely diffcult, as History has remained a taboo subject in India, though it has been distorted first by the British and then by Marxist historians for their own purpose.
Corporates are wary of donating to a Museum of Indian History, as they are used to give to health and education, needed areas no doubt, but as Sri Sri said, “no nation can move forward, unless it faces its own history squarely”.

Thank you
Namrita & Francois Gautier

PLEASE VISIT FOR MORE INFO: https://milaap.org/campaigns/ShivajiMaharajMuseum

THE GOOD SIDE OF #ISLAM (VERSUS HINDUISM)

I have spoken so much against ‪#‎Islam‬ boys and girls, that I should say something good about it. I have also defended Hindus so much, that I may be allowed to criticize them too. So, here it is:
1) Contrary to Hindus, Muslims are proud to be Muslims and do no shy from flashing their identities and beliefs.
2) There is a universal brotherhood in Islam. When I came to India, I drove from Paris to Delhi in a a caravan of five cars, my best friend then (he died unfortunately) was Ahmed Mzali,a French Moroccan. In all the Muslim countries we crossed – Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan – he would say ‘Salaam Alikum’ and people would smile, open their doors, give us drinks, food, share their hookas.
‪#‎Hindus‬ however, must be some of the most selfish and individualistic people in the world. Rich Hindus never help their poorer brothers and sisters – thats why the Mother Teresa’s and Sonia Gandhis are able to flourish in India. A Hindu abroad never acknowledges another Hindu, but pretends he or she does not exist.
3) There are some boundaries in Islam – such as no alcohol, or smoking, which attracts new converts or even draws back Muslims who have strayed away from the path. Whereas in Hinduism, there are no such rules and drinking’s a huge problem for India – mostly by Hindus, rich and poor alike.
4) Muslims will die for their beliefs – in fact they will kill if they feel their God has been insulted, even in a mild way. You can insult Hindus and their Gods and Goddesses as much as you want and nothing will happen to you.
5) Muslims are very religious and pray five times a day towards the Mecca. Most Hindus don’t give a damn about their religion and will attend temple or pujas, once a year when their dear ones die.
6) Muslims feel for their brothers which they think are persecuted, in Palestine, Chechnya or Kashmir. A billion Hindus dont have not raised a finger about the 360.000 Kashmiri Pandits who became refugees in their own country after they were chased out by terror from the Valley of Kashmir in the 90’s.
7) Muslims make sure their kids learn bout the Koran, whether it is at home or in Madrasas. They also see to it that as soon as they can, they start praying. Hindus today don’t give a damn whether their children know about the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Bhagavad Gita, where every truth that needs to be known about life, after life, karma, dharma and soul is taught. Modern Hindu children do not go to temples, pray or know what is a puja.
8) Muslims have also learnt to compete with Christian College education by starting their own Colleges, with high academic standards, such as the Delhi Jamia Millia Islamia university, while making sure they are Islamic in their outlook, and structure.
Hindus do not care to have colleges where Hindu values are imparted. and the only one ever, the Benares Hindu University, should not be called ‘Hindu’ anymore, as nothing Hindu is taught there anymore.
8) Muslims love and cultivate a different language -Urdu for that matter. Sanskrit, the world’s oldest language, the most sophisticated and subtle, that could have a myriad uses such as programming, has totally fallen in disuse, as no Hindus cares to teach it to their children.
9) Muslims respect their historical heroes. Aurangzeb, for instance,whom many historians still consider as a stern but just emperor, though he was cruel even to his own family, is revered by most Muslims. In Pakistan, fathers still name their sons ‘Aurangzeb’. Compare this with the Hindus: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who alone with a few hundred men, stood his ground against the most powerful emperor of his times, has practically no place in Indian History books and is often described as a petty chieftain or even a plunderer. So is Maharana Pratap, the ONLY rajput who fought against the Moguls and actually defeated Akbar in Hadilgathi. Does Maharana Pratap have his rightful place in Indian History books. You tell me.
10) Muslims strive to preserve their identities and communities. they tend to live together in villages and towns, so that some bonding and common practices are kept. This is not true of Hindus who tend to merge and melt wherever they live – and in the process, lose some their identities and togetherness.
11) Mahatma Gandhi called Muslims ‘bullies ‘ and Hindus ‘cowards’. Was he far from the truth? It is true that Muslims will fight for their beliefs – albeit violently – and that Hindus at the least sign of trouble, go underground. (To be followed)
DO YOU AGREE WITH ME, GIRLS AND BOYS.? WE SHOULD ALSO RESPECT OUR ENEMIES, AS THE BHAGAWAD GITA TEACHES US. AFTER ALL, WE HAVE BEEN BORN TENS THOUSANDS OF TIMES AND WE MUST HAVE BEEN MUSLIMS TOO. AT LEAST I FEEL I WAS.

Aside

It is shameful that Farooq and Omar Abdullah, both elected members of the Indian Parliament, make such horrible comments, as asking the millions of Indians who are voting or going to vote for Mr Narendra Modi, to jump in the … Continue reading

ARE HINDUS COWARDS ?

“Muslims are bullies and Hindus cowards”, the Mahatma Gandhi once said. He may be right – at least about Hindus: there has been in the past 1400 years, since the first invasions started, very few Shivaji’s and Maharana Pratap’s to fight the bloody rule of the Moghuls, or hardly any Rani of Jhansi’s to stand against the humiliating colonial yoke of the British. If a nation’s soul is measured by the courage of its children, then India is definitely doomed: without the Sikhs, whose bravery is unparalleled in the more recent history of India, Hindus would have even lost additional land to the Muslim invaders and there would have been infinitely more massacres of Hindus by Muslims during the first weeks of Partition.

Are Hindus more courageous since they have an independent nation? Not at all! Because of Nehru’s absurd and naïve “hindi-chini-bhai-bhai” policy, the Indian army was shamefully routed in 1962 by the Chinese, a humiliation which rankles even today. Beijing is still able to hoodwink Indian politicians, by pretending it has good intentions, while quietly keeping on giving nuclear know-how to Pakistan, as well as the missiles to carry their atomic warheads to Indian cities, arm separatists groups in the north-east and continuing to claim Arunachal Pradesh or Sikkim.

Today, we see that Indian politicians, instead of standing-up to Islamic militancy and Chinese bully, prefer to look the other way and speak of ‘Hindu terrorism’, an absurdity if there is one. Hindus are hounded, humiliated, routed, be it in Pakistan and Bangladesh, where Muslims indulge in pogroms against Hindus every time they want to vent their hunger against India (read Taslima Nasreen’s book “Lalja”). In Kashmir, the land of yogis, where Hindu sadhus and sages have meditated for 5000 years, Hindus have been chased out of their ancestral home by death, terror and intimidation: there were 25% of Hindus at the beginning of the century in the Kashmir valley… and hardly a handful today. And look how the US is treating India, refusing to hand over Headley, responsible for the planning of the horrible Mumbai attacks and continuing to prop-up Pakistan, knowing very well that when American troops will leave Afghanistan, Islamabad will make sure that a friendly Taliban regime is reinstalled, with dire consequences for India’s security

There is no point in playing cricket against Pakistan, as long as Islamabad is sending militants to kill and maim into Indian territory. Yet, Hindus continue to think that in the name of sportsmanship, or democracy, it’s the right thing to do. We keep hearing about Hindu ‘terrorism’. But since fourteen centuries, Muslims have always struck first against Hindus, And those who live in Indian cities which have important Muslim minorities, will tell you that every time there are Hindu-Muslims, it is the Muslims who start them, either by attacking the police, or by provoking the Hindus.

The truth is that there are two standards in India: one for the Hindus; and one for the Muslims. Did the “fanatic” Hindus who brought down Ayodhya (and brought shame onto secular India, according to the Indian media) kill or even injure anyone in the process? No. But Muslims do not have such qualms. When Gandhi said they were bullies, he was being very nice or very polite. For forget about the millions of Hindus killed during the ten centuries of Muslim invasions, probably the worst Holocaust in world history; forget about the hundreds of thousands of Hindu temples razed to the ground, whose destruction – whatever our “secular” Hindus of today say – was carefully recorded by the Muslims themselves, because they were proud of it (see Aurangzeb’s own chronicles); forget about the millions of Hindus forcibly converted to Islam, and who sadly are now rallying under a banner, a language, a scripture which have nothing to do with their own ethos and culture (*). Yesterday and also today, when the Muslim world feels it has been slighted, in even a small measure by Hindus, these Infidels, who submitted meekly to Muslim rule for ten centuries, it retaliates a hundred fold – this is the only way one intimidates cowards. After Ayodhya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia (at least in a passive way by giving shelter for a while to Tiger Memon) with the help of Indian Muslims, planted bombs in the heart of Bombay and killed a thousand innocent human beings, most of them, once more, Hindus.

This is no to say that all Muslims are fanatics; on the contrary, many of India’s Muslims are extremely gentle and their sense of hospitality unsurpassed. The same thing can be said about Pakistan: Pakistani politicians, for instance, are much more accessible than in India and Pakistan has its own identity, which cannot be wished away. No, the problem is not with Muslims, whether they are Indians or Pakistanis, the problem is with Islam, which teaches Indian Muslims from an early age, to look beyond their national identity to a country – the Mecca, in Saudi Arabia – which is not their country, to read a Scripture which is not written in their own language, to espouse a way of thinking, which is inimical to their own roots and indigenous culture. Indian Muslims, have to think of themselves first as Indians and secondly only as Muslims. Muslim soldiers fighting against Pakistan in Kargil, have shown the way.

One would be tempted to say in conclusion : “Arise ô Hindus, stop being cowards, remember that a nation requires Kshatriyas, warriors, to defend Knowledge, to protect one’s women and children, to guard one’s borders from the Enemy”….
And do Indians need a Narendra Modi to remind them of that simple truth ?

FRANCOIS GAUTIER

Do you know the real history of Kashmir ?

Even after the mutilation of the two Indian soldiers by Pakistan, there is a lot of misconception in people’s mind, both Indian and western, that Kashmir did not always belong to India, or that it is a “disputed area”. This is why FACT (Forum Against Continuing Terrorism) chose to do an exhibition, which was shown with a great success all over the world, including to the US Congress in 2006 (http://refugees-in-their-own-country.blogspot.in/). Here are some of the facts we highlighted.

For two thousand years, the Himalayan valley of Kashmir in Northern India has been the home of Learning and Wisdom. From this small valley have issued masterpieces of history, poetry, romance, fable, and philosophy and many of the greatest Sanskrit scholars and poets were born and wrote in the valley. Kashmir flourished under some of India’s greatest rulers, such as Mauryan emperor Ashoka, who reigned between 273 and 233 BC and is recorded to have founded the old city of Srinagar. Under his sovereignty, many Buddhist scholars, missionaries, and intellectuals permanently settled in the valley. Or  the great Hindu King Harsha  (1089 to 1101 A. D) who was versed in many languages, a good poet, lover of music and art, making his court a centre of luxury, learning  and splendour.

Unfortunately In the beginning of 14th century, a ferocious Mongol warlord, Dulucha, invaded the valley through its northern side Zojila Pass, with an army of 60,000 men. His savage attack ended for all purposes the Hindu rule in Kashmi and he is said to have destroyed many temples and killed thousands of Hindus. Muslim rule was further tightened in 1389, during the rule of Sultan-Sikandar. He banned all celebrations and would not even listen to music. He imposed Jizia (tax on Infidels) upon Hindus and stopped them to use tilak. Almost all the Muslim chroniclers of that time speak of the wholesale destruction of Hindu shrines including the famed ‘Martand’ Temple, and forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam. Thousands of Hindus fled to India to save their religion and holy books, and also to escape the wrath of the Sultan

Then, after a period of relative tolerance and peace, came the rule of Afghans warlords till 1819, roughly a period of 67 years. The very first Afghan governor Abdullah Khan Aquasi, immediately after assuming powers, started a reign of terror. People were looted and killed indiscriminately, and even soldiers began to amass wealth beyond any imagination. Fortunately, in 1819, 30,000 soldiers of Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh attacked Kashmir, defeated the Pathans, and the state became a part of Ranjit Singh’s empire for nearly forty years, providing some relief to Hindus in Kashmir. But the British defeated the Sikhs and became undisputed masters of India. Not interested by Kashmir, they sold it in perpetuity for 75 lakhs of rupees (appr 150.000 $) to Maharaja Gulab Singh of the Doghra dynasty (what wonderful merchants the British, who sell something which does not even belong to them!).

By treaty, conquest, or inter-marriages, the Doghras created a state comprised of five major units, which are fundamentally very different from each other in terms of geography and ethnicity and have further complicated the problems of Kashmir: the territory around Gilgit (today in Pakistan), which belongs basically to Central Asia; Ladhak, which is an extension of Tibet and is peopled at 55% by Buddhists and 45% by Muslims; the area around Muzarrafad which is today under Pakistan control, comprised mostly of Punjabi Muslims; Jammu, which in essence belongs to Himachal Pradesh and is Hindu in majority; and the valley of Kashmir, of course, which was Indian Muslim at 95 % in 1947.

Finally, India gained its independence from in 1947 and was disastrously divided by the British, against the advice of saints and seers, such as Sri Aurobindo, along religious lines into India and Pakistan. Although many Muslims chose to stay in India, knowing that they would be granted the freedom of practicing their own religion, most Hindus had to flee Pakistan as they were being slaughtered mercilessly. Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir decided to attach his state to free and secular India. Furious, the Pakistan Government invaded Kashmir, and encouraged the Muslim tribal people to carry loot, plunder, death and destruction into the hearths and homes of innocent Kashmiris in general and among Hindus in particular.

Since 1947, Pakistan, aided by China, which also claims parts of Indian territory, has initiated three wars to regain Indian Kashmir, four, if you include the Kargil war fought in the icy reaches of upper Kashmir. Worse, the proxy war which they are waging on India today, by arming, training and financing not only Kashmiri separatists, but also Islamic militants coming from Afghanistan, or even faraway Sudan, has cost the lives of nearly 60.000 innocent people, both Hindus and Muslims. It should be added that Pakistan decided in the late eighties that it would be easier to regain Kashmir if all the Hindus were pushed out by a campaign of terror, both in the valley, where they are a tiny minority and in Jammu where they still have a thin majority. Thus 450,000 Kashmiri Pandits, constituting 99% of the total population of Hindus living in the Kashmir Valley, have been forcibly pushed out of the Valley by terrorists. Since 1989, they have been forced to live the life of exiles in their own country.

 People should also be reminded that terrorism in Kashmir is not about separatism only, it is also an ideological struggle with specific fundamentalist and communal Agenda. Terrorist violence aims at the disengagement of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from India and its annexation to Pakistan. It is a continuation of the Islamic fundamentalist struggle.

 François Gautier

 FACT is building in Pune, amongst the 5 acres, of the Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History (fact-india.com), a special building to permanently house our Kashmiri Pandits exhibition. If you wish to help contribute to this very important endeavor, you may contact me at francoisgautier26@gmail.com. FACT is a registered Trust, which has FCRA, Indian, US and UK tax exemption

 

REMEMBERING THE KASHMIRI PANDITS: THE ROLE OF BENAZIR BHUTTO

When Benazir Bhutto died  in December 2007, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described her as “one of the outstanding leaders of our sub-continent, who always looked for reconciliation between India and Pakistan.” Most magazines did cover stories on her and Benazir Bhutto became a “martyr of democracy”.

It is a sad that a mother of three children was so brutally killed and we all mouredn her terrible death. Nevertheless, truth must be told. For, as usual, what the press says is not exactly what happened. Firstly, under Bhutto, anti-Indian terrorism in the Kashmir region was fostered and increased. Benazir was also directly responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Kashmir. “She was instrumental in sponsoring jihad, openly inciting militants to intensify terrorism in India,” says Ajai Sahni, the executive director of the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management. “I find it very difficult to discover a single element with her relationship to India that is positive and for the betterment of her country or the region”, he adds. Remember how she was shouting her slogans of azaadi, and exhorting the people of Kashmir to cut Jagmohan, then governor of the state, into pieces, as in “jag-jag, mo-mo, han-han”. She would say this while making chopping motions with her right hand as it moved from her left wrist to the elbow, leaving nobody in any doubt as to what she meant.
Secondly, under Benazir Bhutto, the Taliban formed and, helped by Pakistan’s intelligence service, swept across Afghanistan and later hosted Osama bin Laden. It is a bit of an irony that she may have been killed by the very people she helped foster if at all she was murdered.
Thirdly, she deliberately increased tension levels and then threatened India with a pre-emptive nuclear strike. The tension peaked when Benazir repeated her late father’s immortal boast of waging a thousand-year war against India and even Rajiv Gandhi was forced to mock her in Parliament, asking if those who talked of a thousand-year war could last even a thousand hours.

And fourthly, in her last speech before she died, she alluded to India as one of the threats Pakistan had to face, implying that if she was elected she would deal firmly with it. Then why is it that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called her a friend of India and that Indians still remember
affectionately ?

I interviewed Benazir Bhutto twice, the last one as she was campaigning to be re-elected for a second term.
The first question I asked, was about Kashmir, as she was the one who had called for ‘Azad Kashmir’, a Kashmir free from India, which had triggered the ethnic cleansing of most Hindus of the Valley of Kashmir, 400.000 of them having to flee their ancestral land.
–    – You know, she answered, you have to understand the Pakistani point of view on Kashmir. If one goes by the logic of Partition, then at least the Kashmir valley, which is in great majority Muslim – and it should be emphasised that for long the Hindus Pandits in Kashmir exploited and dominated the Muslims, who are getting back at them today – should have reverted to Pakistan. But let us say that officially we want to help grant Kashmiris their right to self-determination
–    – That’s the only reason, I continued ?
–    – No, answered Benazir, it should be clear also that Pakistan never forgot the humiliating loss of Bangladesh at the hands of India, although India claims it only helped Bangladesh to gain its freedom in the face of what the Bangladeshis say was Pakistani genocide. Zia’s emergence was a result of that humiliation.
–    – But Zia hanged your father, I interrupted…
–    – Yes and I hate him, and God the Almighty already punished him for that, said Benazir (alluding to Zia’s death in a plane crash). But Zia did one thing right, he started the whole policy of proxy war by supporting the separatist movements in Punjab and Kashmir, as a way of getting back at India.
–    – What about Pakistan’ nuclear bomb, I asked?
–    -That’s my father’s work she said proudly. He realized, after having lost the 1965 and 1971wars with India, that both numerically and strategically, we can never beat India in a conventional conflict. Thus he initiated the programme by saying that “we will get the nuclear bomb, even if we have to eat grass”.
–    – But is it not a dangerous weapon if it falls in the hands of the fundamentalists of your country, I asked?
–    No such danger, Benazir answered. Anyway, it is not only a deterrent against India’s military conventional superiority and an answer to India’s own nuclear capability, but also the ultimate weapon to reassert Islam’s moral superiority.
–    – We in Europe have united in a Common Market, why don’t Pakistan and India forget their differences and form some kind of confederation with other South Asia countries, instead of killing each other?
–    – Pakistan and India were never one country, answered the imperious lady. They were only kept together by force, whether by Mauryan, Moghul or British rule. Hindus have recognised the reality of Islam, and we needed our own country to feel free.

I was flabbergasted: here was a lady educated in Oxford and Harvard, who mouthed such irrational statements. She spoke good English, was pretty, articulate and appealed to the Press. But when in power, she had to resort to anti -Indianism to please her voters, her husband, now President of Pakistan, was known as Mr 10%, and she was hounded out of power twice for incompetence and corruption. Is she then a martyr of democracy ? History will tell. But today we see that her niece, Fatima Bhutto, as pretty as Benazir was, is the toast of the Indian Media, every time she comes to the Literary Festival of Jaipur, to sell her books! If one day Fatima becomes PM,as Pakistan have also their favorite dynasty, for sure, she will tread in her aunt’s footprints, for the only way to please the Pakistani voters, is to called for Azad Kashmir…

François Gautier

A UNIQUE EXHIBITION ON TERRORISM UNLEASHED

 

François Gautier

Source: Kashmir herald

 

Do you know the FACTS about Kashmir?

Over 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits, constituting 99% of the total population of Hindus living in the Kashmir Valley, have been forcibly pushed out of the Valley by terrorists. Since 1989, they have been forced to live the life of exiles in their own country. Terrorism has unleashed in Kashmir a systematic campaign of terror, murder, loot, arson and rape against Hindus in Kashmir. About 70,000 of them still languish in makeshift refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi. Scores of temples in Kashmir have been desecrated, destroyed, looted. More than 900 educational institutions have been attacked by terrorists. Properties of Pandits have been vandalized, businesses destroyed or taken over, even hospitals have not been spared.

Did you know that this huge human tragedy is taking place in Free India?

Kashmir was known as “Sharda Peeth” , the abode of learning. Now the Pandits, the original inhabitants, have been forced to flee. 5000 years of civilization is at stake. 

THE ROLE OF PAKISTAN IN KASHMIRI TERROR is clear: Terrorism in Kashmir is an ideological struggle with specific fundamentalist and communal Agenda.

Terrorist violence aims at the disengagement of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from India and its annexation to Pakistan. It is a continuation of the Islamic fundamentalist struggle. The major dimension of terrorist violence in Kashmir is the terrorists’ commitment to the extermination and subjugation of the Hindus in the state, because Hindus do not subscribe to the idea of separation from India, nor will they allow governance by the tenets of Islam. Kashmiri Pandits have always been in the forefront of the struggle against secessionism, communalism and fundamentalism. Hence this peace loving minority with a progressive outlook became the main victim of terrorist violence.  

The strategies involved in the terrorists’ operation against the Hindus in Kashmir are simple:

– The extermination of Hindus, i.e., subjecting Hindus to brutal torture, to instill fear among them in order to achieve their submission.

To engineer a forced mass exodus of Hindus from the land of their ancestors by way of issuing threatening letters, kidnappings and torture deaths on non-compliance of the terrorists’ dictates and ensure the destruction of the secular and pluralistic character of Kashmiri Society.

Attacks, molestations, kidnappings, gang rapes of the women folk of the Hindu Pandits to instill fear and humiliation.

Destruction and burning of residential houses of the Hindus who have been compelled to abandon their homes.

Looting of their properties and appropriation of their business establishments are undertaken to ensure that they do not return.

Attachment of the ancestral and landed property of Pandits. Destruction of the social and religious institutions of the Hindus by the desecration and destruction of their places of worship.

Appropriation of the property of the Hindu shrines.

BURNING BOOKS, LOOTING OF CULTURE is also a very important part of the plan. Kashmir was the crucible of Knowledge, Spirituality, a hallowed centre of learning and the cradle of Shivaism. Kashmiri Pandits excelled in philosophy, aesthetics, poetics, sculpture, architecture, mathematics, astronomy and astrology. Sanskrit was studied, propagated and spoken by women and men. Scholars and saints such as Kalhan, Jonraj, Srivar, Abhinavgupta, Somanand, Utpaldev, Somdev and Kshemendra created here an intellectual centre of unrivalled repute. Fundamentalism and terrorism have been ruthless in their assault on “Sharda Peeth”, zealous in ravaging its heritage, and consistent only in bloodthirsty intolerance. The destruction of Hindu places of worship, forced conversions of Pandits and death and ignominy to those who resisted, were accompanied by a savage assault on literary activity. This process has been going on since centuries.

Commencing 1998, the assault on learning began afresh. How else to erase 5000 years of civilization? The Jammaat-i-Islami, a fundamentalist organization, launched a campaign to ransack libraries in the educational institutions and flared ban on books which did not correspond to their ideas about man, world and God. The Kashmir university funded by the University Grants Commission and headed by the Governor of the state was denuded of two thousand books including the works of Milton, G.B. Shaw, Shakespeare, H.G. Wells and tomes on Hindu Philosophy. Book-shops were looted in broad daylight at Batamaloo, Srinagar. The library of the Information Centre run by Government of India was looted and set on fire.

As a correspondent covering India for more than 20 years, I have witnessed the terrible damage that terrorism in Kashmir has inflicted upon people’s lives, their family, their culture, the very fabric of society, not only of the Kashmiri Pandits, but also of the Muslims of the Valley, who after all, are the victims too of Pakistan’s bloody designs.

Hence, with two journalist friends, we started a Foundation: FACT – Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism. The first task of FACT has been to mount an exhibition on terrorism, focusing on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, so that the people of India who do not suffer directly from terrorism understand what it does to others.

We need your support and we invite all of you, whatever your class, caste, religion, or ethnic origin, to come and witness it. Come and see the FACTS. Later, we would like this exhibition to travel not only to all major India cities, but also to the United States, England, France and Switzerland, so that the world understands what India has been going through in the last fifty years.