Kashmiri Pandit presence in the Kashmir valley is synonymous with its 5,000-year history and culture. With the advent of Islam in the 13th century, geo-political existence of the Kashmiri Pandit community within Kashmir has always remained under a shadow of the majority community, but Kashmiri Pandits in their individual capacity have always tried to adjust with broader segments of the local society, and done it with relative ease due to their personal intellect and cultural outlook. In this page we are not going to discuss the origin of Kashmiri Pandits or their ancient civilization and culture, but we will turn the pages of history to a more recent time and start from January 1990, when the latest paradigm shift occurred with uprooting of a significant number of Pandits from their homes and hearths. Today, after a lapse of over two decades, Kashmiri Pandit community within the valley is nearly on the verge of extinction due to number of reasons. The main focus of this project is to highlight the suffering of those who stayed back in Kashmir and their trials and tribulations.
Today everyone from the state government to the majority community in Kashmir is trying to call back the Kashmiri Pandits who left Valley due to militancy. Even the Government is duty bound to provide rehabilitation to those who wish to return back to the valley. Unfortunately, the plight of Kashmiri Pandits who stayed back and never left the valley are totally ignored by every one. No meaningful gestures - whether financial or psychological relief, or rehabilitation, or a job package have been offered to the miniscule minority community that kept feel of “Reshi-ism” alive by putting themselves in the harm's way. The left outs, who always maintained the sense of collectiveness in Kashmir, have laid the foundation that makes the return of Kashmiri Pandits possible, and yet is never recognized by those who manage and dispense political power in the state.
The purpose of this platform to showcase the past two decades of suffering of the valley based Kashmiri Pandits that have turned into "political outcastes", who are living as rejected and dejected minority within the Kashmir valley. Sadly, their fate even while living in their native place is worse than being in exile.
The Kashmiri Pandits living in valley have tried their best to raise issues surrounding their plight, isolation, and their declining existence from time to time. In the last two decades, some sane voices of community in Kashmir offered their moral support and safe guard the life and livelihood of Pandits who clinged to their feeble presence in the valley. In early 1990’s, when fear and distress overcastted this miniscule minority, an organization came into existence named as the “HINDU FORUM”, headed by Late Shri. H. N. Wanchoo, Dr. T. N. Ganjoo, Dr. Brij Mohan Bhan, Shri Kanhya Lal Wali, Shri Bushan Lal Mattoo, Ramesh Bhat and others. Later this organization was renamed as “HINDU WELFARE FORUM” to give it a pure social look. The primary aim and objective of this organization was to provide honourable last rites of deceased Kashmiri Pandits during the early period of militancy. But, after the cold blooded murder of Late Shri. H. N. Wanchoo, the group could not function, having lost its moral standing, and the noble work that was started by the organization had a major set back. Later in 1997-98, FORUM was again re-united under the Chairmanship of Dr. T. N. Ganjoo, Shri. Sanjay K. Tickoo, Shri. Kumar Ji Wanchoo , Shri Kanhya Lal Wali , Shri Bushan Lal Shah, Dr. Brij Mohan Bhan and others. It was due to the “HINDU WELFARE FORUM”, the Shamshan Ghat at Karan Nagar was maintained and donations were collected to provide fire wood for the pyre at the Shamshan Bhoomi, relieving the mourning families of the deceased from such worries. Even such a modest gesture was a break through considering the size and security threats to the minority.
To broaden the spectrum of the HINDU WELFARE FORUM, in the year JUNE 2001 an NGO was created by Shri. M.L. Bhat (President), Shri. Sanjay K. Tickoo (General Secretary), Shri. Kamal Krishan Ticku, Shri Bushan Lal Shah ,Shri Chuni Lal Bhat, Shri Chaman Lal Pandita and was named as the HINDU WELFARE SOCIETY KASHMIR. This NGO made considerable progress in raising the unheard voices of valley based Kashmiri Pandits in the corridors of power where it mattered the most. In this process some prominent Kashmiri Pandits from outside the valley, namely, Dr. Vijay Sazawal (USA), Shri. Moti Kaul (Mumbai), Late Shri. Shiban Dudha (New Delhi) and Shri M. K. Kaw (New Delhi), and others helped a lot with political, moral and financial support.
The HINDU WELFARE SOCIETY KASHMIR continues to work for the valley based Kashmiri Pandits on socio-political grounds. In due course, it was felt that the need of the time was to have an organization which would be the political voice of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley. So in the year January 2005, the KASHMIRI PANDIT SANGARSH SAMITI was created and since its creation, it has charted an original course by creating an effective political voice from Kashmir which purely works for Kashmiri Pandits who continue to live within the valley and withstood the pressures of militancy by remaining tethered to the land of their ancestors.