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Pandits & Migrations

Ruins of Pandit Homes Migrations have been part and parcel of Kashmiri Pandits lives. During the migrations, large concentration of Kashmiri Pandits settled in Lahore, Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Hardoi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Gwalior, Jaipur and Jodhpur. Substantial numbers were also found in Shimla, Ambala, Multan, Ajmer, Dehradun, Ujjain, Indore, Bhopal and Cuttack.

First Migration:
When Shahmir ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1339AD he got Khutba and coins struck to his name and became the architect of Muslim rule in Kashmir. He called muslim missionaries, preachers, sayyid and saints in the valley who lived under royal protection and disseminated the message of Islam. It is said that during this period there was a set of rules issued for the Pandits which include:
1. Muslim ruler shall not allow fresh constructions of Hindu temples and shrines for image worship.
2. No repair shall be executed to the existing Hindu temples and shrines.
3.Pandits shall not proffer Muslim names.
4. Pandits shall not ride a harnessed horse.
5. Pandits shall not move about with arms.
6. Pandits shall not wear rings with diamonds.
7. Pandits shall not deal in or eat bacon.
8. Pandits shall not exhibit idolatrous images.
9. Pandits shall not built houses in the neighbourhood of Muslims.
Ruines of Kashmiri Pandit Homes
10. Pandits shall not dispose of their dead in the neighbourhood of Muslim graveyards, nor weep or wail over their dead.
11. Pandits shall not deal in or buy Muslim slaves.
12. No Muslim traveller shall be refused lodging in the Hindu temples and shrines where he shall be treated as a guest for three days by non-Muslims.
13. No non-Muslim shall act as a spy in the Muslim state.
14. No problem shall be created for those non-Muslims who, of their own will, show their readiness for Islam.
15. Non-Muslims shall honour Muslims and shall leave their assembly whenever the Muslims enter the premises.
16. The dress of non-Muslims shall be different from that of Muslims to distinguish themselves.
Although there was a rebellion from the Pandits but the King was easily able to supress it. In return to this rebel the Pandits had to pay a huge price which started of with the demolishing of the temples and making mosques from that material, destroying of the hindu god metal idols and using the melted metal to make coins and last but not the least imposing Jazia (religious tax) on the Pandits. The Pandits were being haunted with brutality, barbarism and vandalism. All the Hindu books and manuscripts were collected and buried in Dal Lake under a huge rock. Either the Pandit had to abandon their religion or their country else they could never escape the evil punishment which was death. It is said that six mauds of sacred thread called Janau was collected from the converted Pandits and seven mauds was collected from the assasinated Pandits. These thirteen mauds of the sacred thread were then burnt. Due to the fear of banishment a mamoth number of Pandits went into exile causing the first mass exodus.

Second Migration:
In the reign of Ali Shah (AD 1413-1430), son of Sikandar Butshikan, homicides, conversions, tyranny and enforced jazia became the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. 

Ruines of Kashmiri Pandit Homes

Suha Bhatta, a converted kashmiri Pandit, became envious to the Brahmans who decided not to change their caste and thus participated with Ali Shah in his draconian reign against Pandits. He was aware that in order to protect their caste the Pandits are fled to different parts of the country, therefore he ordered the squads to be posted on the roads and kill any Pandit who is found crossing by. The country was now filled with hatered against the Pandits. Thus now the Pandits had no other option other than running from the bye roads as the main roads has been closed by the army men. While their exodus Pandits were oppressed by clamities, encounter with enemies, snakes, heat and scanty food. This was the second miserable exodus. This was also called "Chandh - Dandh" - a voilent, brutal and horrible punishment for abandoned and vulnerable Kashmiri Pandits.

Third Migration:
It was in AD 1477 when Mir Shams-ud-din Iraqi, the founder of the Shia sect visited Kashmir. His main aim was propogation of Inslamic faith in Kashmir. He with Malik Musa Raina another convertee, applied all sorts of voilent methods to convert people into Shia sect. Not only Pandits but the people of Sunni sect were also not spared.It is said that about 24000 Pandis were converted using murderous techniques. Every day 1000-1500 pandits were bought to the doorsteps of Mir and they were forcibly asked to remove their Janau, read Kalima and eat beef. Thousands of Pandits killed themselves and thousands migrated to other parts of the world. Those who did not convert or did not leave were forced to pay Jazia and their nose and ears were chopped off.


Fourth Migration:
The reign of Akbar was a golden period for Kashmiri Pandits as he believed in religious tolerance. However his successors Jahangir and Shah Jahan were not so tolerant, but still they were not fanatics and allowed brahmans to perform religious ceremonies afetr paying some tribute to the king.

Ruines of Kashmiri Pandit Homes

 But the whole scenario changed when Aurangzed occupied the throne. With his fanatic and dogmatic approach he again made the lives of Kashmiri Pandits vulnerable. Pandits were so much so horrified that they approached Guru Teg Bahadur and requested his intervention with the emporer. This ultimately led to the Guru’s martyrdom and made Guru Gobid Singh to create the Khalsa to fight the oppressors. Hence the Pandits again were ferociously terrorized and these scapegoats again had to leave the country.

Fifth Migration:
Again during the reign of Mullah Abdul Nabi, who was appointed as Shaikhul Islam in AD 1720, same rules (as mentioned in first Migration) were imposed. He started his implementation of his evil plans with starting a campaign of persecution of Kafirs or Kashmiri Pandits. He assumed the high seat in the mosque and excited the Islam followers against Pandits. Hundreds of Brahmans were killed, prostrated, maimed and humiliated. They began to run away in large numbers and hide themselves in mountainous terrain. This was the fifth dreadful mass exodus of the legendary Kashmiri Pandits from their mystic motherland. Those who remained behind lived in the most horrific and terrible conditions generated by the Mullah and his gang.

Sixth Migration:
It was the time when Kashmir fell into the hands of the Afgan rulers (AD 1753 - 1819). This was the period of cruelty, homicide and anarchy. The barbarous Afghans employed every wild, inhuman, primitive, ferocious, cruel and brutal method to suppress the Kashmiri Pandit. A pitcher filled with ordure was placed on the head of a Pandit and stones were pelt on it, till it broke and the unfortunate Brahman become wet with filth. Their brutality and atrocity crossed the extreme limits when Hindus were tied up in grass sacks, two and two, and drowned in the Dal Lake. The victimized Hindu were forced to flee the country or were killed or converted to Islam. 

Ruines of Kashmiri Pandit Homes

There was horrible mass exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits, sixth one, to far away places like Delhi, Allahabad, etc. Many covered the long distances on foot. Hindu parents shaved off their daughters and cut their noses to save them from being abused. An ordeal was passed that there should be the use of the leather bags and not grass bags while drowing a Pandit. This period is rememberd more as their period of cutting heads than of plucking flowers.

Seventh Migration:
With the formation of Jammu & Kashmir state in 1846 and establishment of Dogra rule, the Pandits were now able to enjoy religious freedom and social emancipation; however the social rights of the Pandits were still confined as they became the victims of intrigue and suspicions. There was also a communal wrath against them. In July, 1931, during the major communal disturbance, Pandits were the main sufferers. Their shops and houses were not only looted but they were also killed.
Gradually after independence, in the administration of Shaikh Abdullah, article 370 was imposed to cipher and liquidate their population. The Pandits were again pushed to the Afghan era. Hindu temples were looted and girls were asked to forcibly marry Muslim youth and convert into Islam. As discussed in the "History" page Shaikh adopted malicious and pernicious approach towards Pandits. From 1947-1986 about four lac Kashmiri Pandits silently migrated from Kashmir. 

Ruines of Kashmiri Pandit Homes

Hypocritical atrocities and criminal ignorances of political leaders were responsible for these development. Pakistan, to avenge the defeat of Bangladesh, blatantly sponsored the violence and terrorism in the Valley, resulting in the turmoil of 1989-90. Final assault on Kashmiri Pandts started off with these slogans:
“Aay Zalimu, Aay Kafiroo,Kashmir Hamara Choudh Dou”
“Bharat Kay Aiwanu Ko, Aag Lagado, Aag Lagado”
Brutal and wild techniques were employed to hound and kill Kashmiri Pandits. Helpless ladies were gang raped infront of their husbands and then killed. The murder of hundreds of innocent Pandits marked the seventh and the final mass exodus from the valley. This was not enough, still the ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits is being carried in the valley. The mass massacres at Sangrampora (1997), Udhampore (1997), Prankot (1998), Wandhama (1998) and Nadimarg (2003) were the results of these cleansing operations. Its been 22 years now, but still the government has failed to express any serious concern at this Human Tragedy.