The meeting of Indian politicians like Sita Ram Yechury, Manishankar Aiyer prompted me to write this Article. For the last few decades, Kashmiri Politicians like the Abdullahs, Muftis and Kashmiri origin Congress leaders have been spouting the term Kashmiriat along with Jamooriyat( democracy) as paradigms of the solution.
Like secularism, Kashmiriat too has been distorted to represent a certain section of Kashmiris, Kashmiri pandits who converted to Islam,Kashmiriat reduces the Kashmir issue to the valley area in Kashmir,along with the pak occupied area of the valley,and creates an artificial construct of Kashmiris being ethnically,culturally different from India,denies any historical connect,reduces the time frame to era after Sikandar Butshikan–and legitimises the false idea of an autonomous Kashmiri state.
In my article I argue -Kashmiriat is a Pan India idea, every Indian has a cultural, religious,historica
Amaranth Yatra to the Kashmir has been an Ancient Unbroken Ritual undertaken by Hindus throughout centuries- Amarnath Cave situated in Anantnag is a part of Kashmiriat in every Hindu and Indian.
For centuries Kashmir was ruled by Indian Hindu kings whose kingdoms stretched throughout the land, not restricted to only the Kashmir valley-historically Kashmir consisted of Kandahar ( gandhar) ,Dardar (Gilgit) Balti –and not only the valley Kashmir is the fountain head that nurtured Shaivism, Vaishnaivism, Buddhism.
In 2nd Century BC Ashoka, Maurayan Emperor, constructed a Buddha Vihar now known as Srinagar- so Kashmir was a part of the Mauraya Empire whose capital was Patliputra. Kanishka held the fourth Mahayana Buddhist Conference in Srinagar where the great Scholar-King Nagarjuna from Andhra attended and stayed for 6 months.
In 740 AD Lalitaditya, a Kashmiri King with Capital in Srinagar conquered Kannauj in UP. His Kingdom extended to Kaveri basin in south, Kabul in West, Brahmaputra basin in the east with Ujjain in centre paying it tribute- Lalitaditya was a Vaishnavite- But he requested the Great Saivite scholar Atrigupta to shift to Srinagar. Atrigupta’s descendent was the Abhinavgupta, one of the greatest scholars Kashmir has produced. He had 9 gurus, one of them lived in Jalandhar in present day Punjab. In his reign Lalitaditya sent 64 Dwarapalas to Kerela and Konkani coast .The manuscripts of Abhinavgupta’s work are found in Kerala -signifying there was movement between Kashmir and kerela for centuries.
In 8 century, Adi Shankarachaya left Kerala and Reached Sharada Peeth in present day Swat Valley. He entered through the South Gate and studied there and Entered into Great Sastrartha( religious/philosophical debates) and was annointed Shankarachaya there and established on the Peeth. The four Shankarachaya mutts in four corners are a living testimony to the Kashmiriat alive through out India.
Guru Tegh Bahadur vowed to protect Kashmiri Hindus and Pandits and sacrificed his life when he was Beheaded by Aurangzeb on November 24, 1675. Sheeshganj in Delhi is an Example of Kashmiriat that is was behind Guru Tegh Bahadur’s Ultimate sacrifice.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh attacked the Afghan rulers who had captured Kashmir on appeal of Kashmiri Pandits and won Kashmir on 15 July 1819 -So Kashmir was even a part of the Punjab Kingdom.
At the time of Independence, 1 August 1947 the British returned Kashmir to Maharaja Hari Singh. The princely state of Kashmir was the largest state with an area of 2,22,000 km which consisted of Jammu, Ladakh, Gilgit Baltistan and the State acceded to Indian Union on 26 Oct 1947.
To conclude- Kashmir and Kashmiriyat is a heritage of every Indian. The Bond of Kashmir to every Indian has been forged through our ancestors. Great writers like Panini, Pantanjali, Kalhan were born in Kashmir. The ‘Kashmiriyat’ propagated by seperatists and valley based parties is distorted- it reduces a great cultural and historical landscape to a narrow 8% of the valley, 15% of population and a time period from mid 13 AD to early 18 AD.
Kashmiriyat as a Pan Indian Construct mandates we get back POK and re-establish Sharada Peeth and ensure dignified and safe return of all Kashmiri Hindus.
Picture Credit: YouTube