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KPs Speak


by Dr Ameeta Koul, Activist - Youth for Panun Kashmir


प्रेम पत्र एवं प्रेम-कविता समाहित करने का समय समाप्त हुआ। अब तो जीवन लेख लिखने का समय है।  इस समय अंधकार अवश्य भयावह प्रतीत होता है और भविष्य भी दिखाई नहीं पड़ता।  यह केवल एक इसी क्षण पर निर्भर करता है की मेरा भविष्य कैसा होगा।
दो , केवल दो पथ हैं मेरे सामने … एक वो पथ है जिस पर सभी चल रहे हैं- और सब के पदचिह्न दूसरों के पदचिह्नों से दब रहे हैं, मिट रहे हैं। एक ही ढर्रा है, और जितनी दूर तक मेरी दृष्टि देख पाती है, उसी पर चलते जा रहे हैं ये लोग। वहीं जन्म लेना, चलना, गिरना, उठना,एड़ियां रगड़ना , मर जाना।
उसी एक जीवन चक्र में बहना।  न अपने माता पिता की जीवन लीला से कुछ सीखना , न ही किसी अन्य पुरुष के पौरुष को जागृत होते देखना , न ही अपनी संतति को जीवन का अर्थ समझा पाना।  केवल जन्म लेना, चलना, गिरना, उठना,एड़ियां रगड़ना , मर जाना।
प्रत्येक दिवस अपनी टीसों  को लिए हुए जीवन का बोझ ढोना, हर दिन किसी को नया उलाहना देना, प्रत्येक नए सूरज को अपनी शिकायतों से मलिन करना , अपने ही तुच्छ दुखों को हिमालय समझना, अपने मृतप्राय जीवन को मरुस्थल कहना, जन्म लेना, चलना, गिरना, उठना,एड़ियां रगड़ना , मर जाना।
हर किसी सह-यात्री को आलोचनात्मक दृष्टि से देखना, केवल अपने अर्ध-सत्य को अंतिम-सत्य समझना, सब को कपटी कहना, केवल अपने आप को सत्य का अगुआ समझना, परन्तु फिर भी उसी सत्य की रक्षा करने में असमर्थ पाना स्वयं को।  बस फिर वही जन्म लेना, चलना, गिरना, उठना,एड़ियां रगड़ना , मर जाना।
न समय की धारा को मोड़ने की अभिलाषा, न ही जीवन की पैनी धार पर खेलने की मंशा। न अपने सत्य को पहचानने का सामर्थ्य न ही अपने कपट से दो-दो हाथ करने की रीढ़।  न अपने अंदर के मनुष्य को जीने का अवसर देने का साहस, न ही अपने राक्षस को बाँधने का धैर्य।  न अपने मिथ्याभिमान की आँखों में आँखें  गढ़ा कर उसे परखने का पराक्रम, न ही अपने अंदर के विष को स्वयं में समाहित करने का प्रताप। सदा की तरह केवल जन्म लेना, चलना, गिरना, उठना,एड़ियां रगड़ना , मर जाना।
यही जीवन जी रहे हैं ये मनुष्य से दिख पड़ने वाले जंतु।  जीवन कह तो सकते हैं इसे, परन्तु क्या इसी को मृत्यु भी कहते हैं ?? जो जिया ही नहीं, उसकी कैसी मृत्यु?? जिसने कांटे चुभोए ही नहीं, उसको कैसी सुख की अनुभूति ?? जिसने जीवन को भेड़-चाल जिया, उसे  शूर होने का क्या अर्थ ?? जिसने स्वाधीनता के श्वास लिए ही नहीं , उसका कैसा अंत?? जिसने स्वच्छंदता से अपने ह्रदय को धड़कने का सम्मान नहीं दिया, उसका क्या हत्कम्पन ?? जिसकी आत्मा कभी जागृति का सूर्य देख ही नयी पायी , उसका कैसा सूर्यास्त ?? जिसकी जीवंत होने की कोई उत्कंठा ही नहीं,  उसका कैसा मोक्ष ?? जो अंधकार से भिड़ा ही नहीं , उसे प्रकाश की अनुभूति कैसी ??
ये सब व्यक्ति, ये सारी जातियां, ये सारे समाज, अपने अंधकारों से घिरे -घिरे ही चल रहे हैं।  बस चलते जा रहे हैं। इनमे साहस नहीं है की अपने अंधकारों से जूझ पाएं।  इनमे पराक्रम नहीं है की की अपने अंतर्मन के बीहड़ से अकेले निकलने का प्रताप दिखा पाएं। कितना सरल है , दूसरों पर निर्णय दे देना।  परन्तु कभी अपने आप को उसी तुलराशि में कोई तोलने का ह्रदय-विशाल तो दिखाए।
परन्तु यह पथ उन पंथियों का तो है ही नहीं जो साहस कर सकें या पराक्रम दिख सकें।  ये तो उन निरीहों का पथ है जो किसी के अवतरित होने की बाट जोहते रहते हैं , जो अपनी पीड़ा के भार को वहन  करने वाले को ढूँढ़ते रहते हैं, जो अपने पैरों से रिस्ते घावों पर मरहम लगाने वाले की कामना करते हैं।
यह मेरा पंथ नहीं है।  मेरा पंथ तो वो सुदूर उस बीहड़ के बीच का पंथ है, जहाँ वृक्षों के तने भी विष उगलते हैं, जहां पर बेलें  भी सर्पों के सामान दंश देती हैं, जहां पर विश्रांति केवल सत्य से प्राप्त होती है तथा हर कोई सह-यात्री अपने सत्य को खोजने वाला एक और पथिक होता है।
नीरवता का पथ नहीं है मेरा पथ, अविरोध का पथ नहीं है, सुख का पथ नहीं है - यह तो अनुभूति का पथ है।  वात्सल्य का पथ नहीं है - स्वयं के सत्य को खोजने की वासना का पथ है।  सुखों की, की जाने वाली पूजा नहीं है - अपने शरीर में, अपनी आत्मा में  प्रत्येक कंटक की आराधना का पथ है।  मेरे पथ पर कोई और पथिक गुरु नहीं है।  मेरे पथ पर कोई और पथिक शत्रु नहीं है।  मेरे पथ पर कोई और पथिक ईश्वर नहीं है।  मेरी आत्मा ही मेरी गुरु है।  मेरा अहंकार ही मेरा मित्र है। मेरा अंतर्मन ही मेरा साथी है।  मेरे शरीर में चुभ कर टूटने वाले विषैले बाण ही मेरे ईश्वर हैं।  मैं हर श्वास के साथ इनको ही पूजता हूँ।
मेरे पथ के बारे , मैंने देखा है भेड़ -चाल  वालों को, द्वेषपूर्ण साँसों से विष-वृक्षों को बीजते।  तानों-भरे   ईर्ष्यापूर्ण नेत्रों से, भेड़ -पथ वाले कहते हैं उलाहने भरे शब्द। दबी हुई , कुचली हुई, मरी हुई आत्मा से अपने आपको दोष-रहित और मुझे दोषी निर्णय देते  है। मेरे पथ पर चलने का कोई कलेजा नहीं दिखाता , पर अपने विष-बुझे बाण अवश्य चलाता है।
परन्तु सत्य का राही हूँ मैं। अधूरे जीवन को जीने की मेरी कोई महत्वाकांक्षा नहीं है।  यदि एक महत्वाकांक्षा है, एक आशा है, तो वह ये कि मेरी मृत्यु  जब मेरा वरण करने आये तो मैं खाट पर पड़े हुए न रहूँ।
मैं एक ऐसी मृत्यु का स्वप्न देखता हूँ, जो मेरे प्राणों  को एक ऐसे रतिक्षण की अनुभूति करवा दे , कि रुधिर की बहती हुई प्रत्येक धार, शरीर से टपकती  हुई  रक्त की हर बूँद को बंधन-मुक्त होने की संतुष्टि का अनुभव हो।
मैं अपने सत्य का अगुवा या अधिनायक नहीं हूँ।  मैं तो केवल अपने स्वप्नों का सिपाही हूँ।  कोई घुड़सवार नहीं, कोई बाण चलाने वाला नहीं, कोई महारथी या अतिरथी नहीं,  एक पैदल सैनिक हूँ।  मेरे पास कोई बख्तर नहीं , कोई पट नहीं।  मेरे पास मेरा सत्य है।  मेरा रक्त  नपुंसक नहीं है।  जब ये मेरे शरीर से  निकल कर अविरल बहेगा , तो कई अपुरुषों और अस्त्रियों को फिर युवा कर देगा।  सब मुर्दा संकल्पों का जीर्णोद्धार कर देगा। फिर वही युवा मेरे मृत शरीर की पताका बनाकर नयी क्रान्ति को जन्म देंगे। फिर वही युवा मेरे रक्त से तिलक लगाकर क्रांतिकारी बनेंगे।
मैं जानता हूँ, मेरी मृत्यु, मेरे शरीर की मृत्यु होगी , परन्तु, वही मृत्यु मेरे विचारों का नवचेतन होगी , मेरे स्वप्नों का सूर्योदय होगी , मेरी चिरंतन आकांक्षाओं का शिखर होगी, मेरी क्रान्ति की पहल होगी , मेरी आत्मा के मोक्ष का पहला पग होगी।
मेरी शरीर के मृत्यु के तत्क्षण वो सैंकड़ों युवा उसी पथ पर अग्रसर होकर मेरे जन्मस्थान में प्रविष्ट होंगे - जहाँ मेरे शरीर की अंत्येष्टि होगी और वितस्ता के गर्भ में समाहित होकर , मोक्ष पाएंगी मेरी अस्थियां।






November 11 · Edited ·
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Meet the Bhuttos
by Dr. Vivek Kaul
On Sunday gone , my friend Rinchan sb Of Oxford Pakistani Students Union invited me to join him in a select gathering to meet & listen to the children of Benazir Bhutto. It was a book launch on life & times of Benazir Bhutto written by an 18 year old Pakistani student who also calls herself Benazir.
All three kids of Benazir were there. Bilawal & his two sisters Baktawar & Asifa.
They have obviously been groomed into this role by Benazir herself. It was self evident from their demeanour & beaming faces for the audience & cameras.
They have very much the passion of their Grandfather Zulfikar in them. He was a turbo charged personality which we used to regularly see on PTV channels in 1970's in Kashmir.
I was not around the time when Pt. Nehru was in full flow. Nehru is considered to be the architect of the modern Indian nation-state: a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was larger than life personality of Pakistan. A flawed Genius but definitely an Architect of Modern Pakistan in the mould of our Pt.Nehru. But flawed
He was definitely Pakstan's Nehru in vision & stature notwithstanding some very foolish decisions like Operation Gibraltar of 1965 & severe & brutal Crackdown on Peaceful East Pakistanis in 1971.
A brilliant lawyer, an astute, ruthless political intriguer, a remarkable nation-builder, driven by ambition and ability not many post-Partition politicians have been endowed with in the subcontinent.
And yet, on the other, grimier side of the coin, he is a psychopathic egomaniac, avid womaniser , Scotch Whiskey lover and liar so consummate and convincing to learn to believe his own lies and pay for it by marching to the gallows in the Rawalpindi prison in the early hours of April 4, 1979.
He was a flawed super patriot !
His intellectual brilliance & patriotic zest was easily balanced by his visceral hatred of Secular India.
His relentless diatribe against India at UNO during Bangladesh war is still fresh in my mind.
Even his brilliant performance at World's biggest stage could not prevent the creation of Bangladesh & surrender of 93,000 Pakistani forces in East Pakistan.
He was brilliant in blaming others for his country's debacle.
In 1965 war it was not his fault but Gen Ayub's
In 1971 despite being brutal to East Pakistanis ESP it's Hindu Minorities as a State Policy he blamed Chronic Alcoholism & womanising of Gen Yaya Khan for Pakistan's worst humiliation !
He would do all this accusing very openly on TV ! He had no diplomatic charm.
Post 1971 defeat & division of Pakistan he managed to convince demoralised & shocked Pakistanis that he was their man of the hour.
He grabbed power & promised a fair society based on merit & not sefarish.
He promised a lot but delivered very less !
He was ultimately put to gallows by the Army.
Benazir his daughter was ably tutored by his father in the Art of realpolitik
He wanted her to study in Oxford like him & then go to Harvard Uni .
Benazir excelled at Oxford & became its first Woman President.
She was a Star debating champion in the same hall I was invited to on Sunday !
It is very important to listen to your opponents to gauge their mind especially in a select audience where they always speak very unlike they do to their electorate.
I did a good thing by attending this function.
Under free speech & among friends & well wishers , Bilawal was able to talk about Radical Islam & its dangers !
He mentioned Radical Islam as World's number one enemy bar none !
He quoted Franklin D Roosevelt famous line " Nothing to fear but fear itself" many times to drive the point that it is the fear of small motley group of Jehadis who have taken Decent world as their hostage including silent peace loving Muslims.
He even mentioned the ridiculous logic of These Jehadis wanting 70 Hoores ( I thought it was 72 ) after their foolish martyrdom !
He said world would be failing in their duty if these ISIS like ideology is not put to an end !
He did not mention Kashmir even once & neither did any of other speakers including Asifa Bhutto his articulate sister.
Victoria Schofield an author of many books and a personal friend & Oxford mate of Benazir mentioned the dubious role of Pakistan's Army in thwarting democratic institutions in Pakistan.
George Gallawy MP blamed US admin of encouraging Pakistans Army since very beginning & giving lip service to Democracy overseas incl in Pakistan.
I have met many Ordinary Indians who have visited Pakistan & taken aback by the hospitality of ordinary unknown folks there.
Whether it be a small gesture of waving a Cab fare or even a restaurant bill.
People to people contact should not be the preserve of Politicians or bureaucrats but ordinary people from both sides should make an effort to understand each other & thus deescalate the tension between the two countries.
By conservative estimates a total of 80 million people died in 2 World Wars in Europe & they were smart enough to realise that peace was the only way forwards & laid the foundation stone of one of the most altruistic Welfare Based Society in the World , bar none called the European Union !
Why not India & Pakistan including other SAARC countries go on to emulate European Union.
Only ordinary Citizens of both countries can force them to think this way !



Mentoring the Youth
By Amita Raina

Every generation is like a torchbearer of a community and the only way we can let this torch go further is by passing it onto our next generation. 

Kashmiri Pandits have had to migrate to different parts of the world, and they took with them their Culture as love for their culture is an integral part of the community.

One of the key things in our culture is the importance of knowledge, and knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied.

In a lot of traditional societies like native Americans / Eskimos / Africans the whole community was involved in a joint effort to share skills or mentor their young adults which raised strong, responsible young adults. One of the sources of knowledge is Experiences.

Our KP Professional Conclave supports this model which will act like a Knowledge bank wherein the various experienced professionals from our community get together to become mentors and lead by example for our future generations.

Kheer Bhawani Mela in London organised by KPCS UK
by: Tejas Kotwal (16 years)

On Saturday the 28th of June, I had the pleasure of attending the first Kheer Bhawani mela along with the rest of my family.I have visited Kheerbhawani with my parents in 2008 and I know that the place holds deep religious significance for the Kashmiri pandit community to which I belong.This event was the result of weeks of meticulous planning by the Kashmiri Pandit cultural society group members and I was really looking forward to seeing the fruits of their labour and enjoying the day.

With my parents being two of the organisers, I arrived at the Southall mandir (the venue) considerably earlier than the majority of people, to help set up. Some of my personal jobs included preparing the canopy of flowers for the goddess, helping to set up the area where the havan would take place and generally getting the venue ready for the guests.A few days prior I had been asked by my mum to research brief descriptions for the Kashmiri artefacts that would be on display on the day.I enjoyed this quite a lot and I learnt quite a bit about traditional Kashmiri articles like kangri,tumbakhnaer etc. As more and more people arrived at the temple on the day I soon realised how large a function this would be, with hundreds attending.I believe close to 300 people attended on the day the highest number I have seen at any Kashmiri Pandit gathering in this country (and I have attended quite a few).

A number of events took place throughout the day, with the highlight of the day in my opinion being the speeches by our esteemed guests (everyone except my dad’s!). They all spoke with true passion and their vast knowledge on Kashmir is something that greatly inspired me personally.

The main havan, despite the immense heat and humidity in the room, was a huge success. At the beginning I watched in confusion, as this is something I have not seen up close before, but as time passed I became more familiar with it and started to fully understand what was taking place. Finishing the pooja with aarti and the medley of devotional songs, known as Bhajans was something that I particularly enjoyed.

There was a general atmosphere of devotion and camaraderie amongst the participants that was very noticeable and inspiring.



Overall, the day I spent at the Southall Mandir is one that I will remember for years to come, and I hope this event takes place annually at the very least. I look forward to attending many more such KP community events with my family and friends.



***************

Who would have thought?By Mridula Kaul



Who would have thought that a seemingly passing conversation on Whatsapp would result in something so spectacular and so special that it would surpass every expectation in every way!

Who would have thought that we would be able to meet Maej Ragnya in Tulmul without a long distance flight on the day,
Who would have thought that we could find time from busy jobs, keeping-us-on-our-toes kids and unending chores to roam,
Who would have thought that the Vishwa Hindu Mandir would become for some, a second home!

Who could imagine that Ishita could stitch and make rangoli to perfection
That Anisha could cover Maej Deevi with such exquisite decoration
That Anupama and Lakshmi could emcee with such panache
While Rinku’s heartfelt words took us to Tulmul in a dash
Who would have known that Meenakshi was saakshat Saraswati at the havan
While our darling yajmaans Shafalica and Chandanji sat with smiles and such lagan

How could one miss our vuzmall Neetu effortlessly managing the beautiful display and the kiddie brigade
Or Sarchana, Anju, Sanjla and countless others running around like there had been a raid
It would have been hard not to notice the ever smiling Sunny bhaiya being a handy boy for every chore
Or Vivek with his camera making sure not a moment was a bore
And what can one say about the dynamic Vinod and Ashutosh
Who between them made sure we never felt like we were under the cosh
Would you have guessed that Pretaish was blissfully in the kitchen toiling and wife, Monica managed the Reception desk
Whilst Sunanda and Shivani kept the kehwas rolling
The older kids - Tejas, Tanishq, Sharika, Shivani and many others need a special mention
With smiling faces they served whilst themselves observing “anshan”

Oh what a day, what a hallowed day it was
The most magical of experiences and one with nature’s laws
Who would have thought that a small dream could become so big
A tree had been born from what was once, a twig!!



And here are special lines for Mridula Kaul by Anupama Handoo:

Who would have thought that Ruby's mesmerising voice over
Would transport all guests to Tulmul aangan and parisar!

**************


Tulmul 

By Dr. Vivek Kaul





These 2 words evoke a strange lump in the throat response among exiled Kashmiri Pundits.

A small sleepy village of Tul Mul is home to a Temple devoted to Goddess Ragyna. She is placed in centre of a Nag/Pond surrounded by smooth stoned compound which has huge Chinar trees! Every generation of Kashmiri pundits have been going to this Shrine , which is situated about 14 miles from Srinagar.
The distance looks much more when you are a kid as looks the shrine which looks much larger. Kashmiri Pundits visit it multiple time a year since their childhood and Tul Mul seems your second home or first spiritual home!
Mata Kheer BhawaniThe journey stories taken by successive generation also become part of your family stories. We hear how our parents & Grand parents used to make this Pilgrimage on Horse back , Tongas and even via waterways on a floating house boat like Doonga via Lake Anchar !

Tul Mul is a gene which gets attached to KP gene n never lets it go away !


During forced exile Kashmiri Pundits may not have visited their Kashmiri half burnt or abandoned homes but they would have travelled to Tul Mul to relive their past memories. The memories are very sweet. Every KP family used to have their Khandani Halvai who would make huge diametered Poorees called Luchees. They were consumed with halvah or washed down with badami Kehvah chai !
The routine was Surgical! 


You arrived took a dip in the stream adjoining the outer perimeter of temple , went to your Khandani Halvai took your thali of Pooja ingredients & in you went to look for your family purohit aka Gore.

Gore ji had a routine in Pidgin Sanskrit of Sholakas which the elder male of the family with towel covered head had to recite. Rest had to touch the elder with different sided hand for men n women. The elder also used to wear a temporary grass ring on a particular finger. Half way in the prayer all had to get up n throw sugar candy like lolly in the spring! Camphor burning in the thali had a peculiar smell The Chant of Gauri Amba used to reverberate in our minds for ages n still does!


When Kashmiri Pundits in Greater London area wanted to celebrate Kheer bhawani mela I was very happy as it evoked childhood memories but was not overjoyed by the fact that Tul Mul was called Kheer Bhawani a word used seldom by Kashmiri Pundits. 
But organisers must have realised that among 1000 average messages generated per day on Whstapp many called it Tul Mul!

Shakespeare said whats' in a name -Rose with any other name would sound as sweet ! but he was no Kashmiri Pundit !

Tul Mul name was restored and Virtual fb n Whstapp friends became the driving force behind this Tul Mul Mela! Start to finish took only 8 gruelling weeks for core group of selfless n egoless volunteers!
Apart from generating 1000 plus messages per day the volunteers were 2/3 times a week on Conference video chat!

All in all a commendable job !

You will understand from the photos & videos how so many arrangements were finely choreographed to present an outstanding finished product!


Many thanks to the team of super volunteers!

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