A REPORT says that in the election conducted in Kashmir none of the candidates representing the Kashmiri Pundits were elected. It seems that their alienation from their heartland, Kashmir is complete now.The Pundits were the original settlers of Kashmir, many,many centuries ago. They are said to be from the original Aryan descent. The Pundits were all over there in the valley and the period before 14th century were their glorious age. After that Muslim kings ruled Kashmir and they were not tolerant of Hindus and especially the Pundits.
There was also a time when all religious people,the Hindus,Budhists and Muslims lived peacefully in Kashmir attending each others' religious festivals and functions.But that was before 14th century A.D.The alienation happened when the rulers became fanatics.
The decline of Pundit community started from 14th century onward and hundreds of thousands of Pundits fled from Kashmir to other parts of the country.Some others were converted into islam. The total displaced population of Pundits and other Hindus are estimated to run into several lakhs
The recent militancy too had contributed very well to the plight of Pundits. In the1989-1990 riots the remaining Pundits too left Kashmir.
The displaced Pundits are scattered in Jammu region, Delhi and some other parts of the country.They live in make shift sheds, often a family of four or five living in a single room.They have not even got the status of refugees, instead they are classified as migrants.
The Kashmiri Pundits have contributed to the Indian culture in various fields.The "Pundit" title comes to Nehru as he was a Kashmir Pundit. The Bollywood actor Anupam Kher is a Pundit. As their very existence was in danger it had affected the individual excellence sprouting up from the community. The founder of Ayurveda, Charaka was from Kashmir, Kalidasan is suspected to be from Kashmir and Sanskrit scholars like Bilhana and Mahimbhatta were pundits.Since the pundits were under persecution from very early period neither the community could grow naturally nor its history could be properly preserved.
It is also to be mentioned that those person who became influential and prominent did little for their community. For example, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister for many years could have saved them from their plight. He did very little.
Let us hope that the wheel of fortune might place them again in glory in an unknown future.
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