An open letter from a helpless Indian to the Kashmiri Pandits

I was casually browsing my Facebook account last night. What caught my sudden attention was the yelling of a lady.  Filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra was at the receiving end. He has made a film titled “Shikara”, which was supposed to portray the plights of the Kashmiri Pandits, who were uprooted from their land exactly three decades ago.

Shikara” was released last Friday. On the original poster, released a few days ago, the tagline of the film was “The Untold Story of Kashmiri Pandits”. But by the time the film was actually released, it had changed to “A Timeless Love Story in the Worst of Times”. The film blames the Politicians and believe it or not, the USA, for the happenings of 1990 – the exodus of the Kashmiri Hindus. 

According to reports, viewers have alleged that Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s film secularises the pain and sufferings of the Kashmiri Pandits and blames everyone else other than Islamic hegemony. This is simply white-washing of the crimes of the militant and rapacious Muslims of Kashmir, who rode piggyback on the crimes of our neighbouring terrorist country and tried every trick in the book to rid the land of Kashmir of the Hindu populace. For them, it was simply Ghazwa-e-Hind. For us, it was one of the countless attempts to wipe out our Identity. And as is our won’t, we will protest and fight tooth and nail to see to it that the Genocide perpetrated on Kashmiri Hindus will not be wiped off from our collective memories.  

Well, for my Pandit fellow citizens of the country I would like to draw their attention to a few happenings and their narratives as witnessed and perceived by me. If you go through my earlier blog posts, I have time and again disowned the secularism nursed by the pseudo-intellectuals of the country. Mr Chopra is also one of them.

No, do not listen to his bluff that he and his mother fled the valley in the turbulent times. 19th January 1990 was the day of the holocaust. Vidhu and his team were busy celebrating his blockbuster classic Parinda released on 3rd November 1989. He was probably in Mumbai, erstwhile Bombay. I am not very sure. But he never faced the same hostilities presumably. He was well off as a film producer. He didn’t have to spend countless nights in refugee camps. It is most unlikely that he will empathize with you all. I am an admirer of his works. Yes, you got it right. I loved all his films and yes I have watched them all. I look forward to any film that he is even remotely associated with. The way he gave RD Burman a deserving farewell in 1942 A Love Story has to be appreciated. Even that film also didn’t have much to do with Quit India Movement. His other film Mission Kashmir was termed Missing Kashmir by critics.

So his disconnect with expectations is nothing new. I didn’t expect him to show anything that questions his secular credentials as he has produced PK, a film based on ridiculing of Hindu Gods and customs. He belongs to an industry where secularism has got a new dimension over the recent past. It is quite obvious that apart from being a creative person he is also a businessman. I don’t blame him entirely. He isn’t the only Kashmiri Hindu who has ignored their clan. All of you must be aware of Nidhi Razdan, a blot on the profession of journalism. Even she has also never raked up the issue of Kashmiri exodus and acts more like a stooge of the anti-BJP parties.

So is BJP going to be your real saviour? Only time will tell. With the abrogation of Article 370, I am hopeful that they can. But do not forget that they were supporting the National Front government at the centre during the ethnic cleansing of your brethren. What deterred them from putting pressure on the VP Singh government? They could have easily taken Mufti Mohammad Sayed into confidence and at least indulged in some damage control. But they didn’t. So do not nurse your blind faith on BJP even.

What was I doing? I was a 15-year-old school going student in Kolkata, whose only source of information was the newspaper “The Statesman”. What they used to publish was about the hostilities of Pakistan and the militant groups that they support. They are treating pro-India Kashmiris antagonistically. There wasn’t any mention of the brutal experiences you people faced. Rather the Indian media diplomatically tried to erase it from public memory.

Almost a year back I was astounded by the courage Nikita Kaul had displayed. Most of us have forgotten her. She is the widow of Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, the Army officer who was martyred in the Pulwama encounter with Jaish e Mohammed (JeM) terrorists. What stuff is she made of? No tears rolling down her cheeks and yet her firmness and determination was full of valour. Her family had suffered the genocide during her childhood and she lost her loving husband in her youth. Yet she was undeterred in front of her slain husband’s funeral and chanted Jai Hind. This is true patriotism for me and it isn’t jingoism as termed by the so-called liberals of this country.

Hats off and kudos to you people. You all are real heroes who all have braved all the adversities and have established yourselves in your respective fields. Today with the evolution of social media, the rest of the country is getting to know what you people had gone through. It is indescribable. You all never blamed anyone for your misery. Our country has failed you. But you all are still loyal to the nation. Please accept my salute. Apart from that I also apologize for not being able to do anything for you in any capacity. I am a middle-class family man who has been rendered helpless by societal norms. But one thing I can assure you that before I take my last breath, I will do something for your community and it is a promise. Do not expect anything from the rest of our fellow citizens, except a few. People don’t empathize in this era. No one will ever fight for your justice. You have to do it on your own. No Vidhu Vinod Chopra or Nidhi Razdan or Markandeya Katju or Manav Kaul will ever emotionally connect with you. They have tasted success on the secular plank. Despite being Kashmiri Hindus, they can only let you down. You all have traitors within you. Identify them and isolate them from your struggle. The only wish I have for you is “All the Best”.

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