Kashmir: The Visoka’s Curse!
17 November, 2014
(The mythological curse seems to have stuck to Kashmiris over the ages!)
Sajjad Lone seems to be nearing his “Achievable Nationhood” after forgetting the unachievable part! From the vision of an independent sovereign Kashmir to dreaming to be the Chief Minister of the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir is a journey full of struggle and turmoil. Most of the so called Kashmiri leaders in recent times have travelled on this journey. The only certain thing in Kashmir otherwise plagued by uncertainty is the changing stance of people from all walks of life especially the politicians. They change their ideology, convictions and stances like changing of the t-shirts which some of them wear! This perennially changing attitude seems to be result of an ancient curse.
The Nilmat Purana verses 294-296 state, “O lord, then angry Visoka cursed Kasmira, "O wicked one, as I have been absorbed by you today by means of falsehood and you have informed Sati about my activities, so your people will be mostly liars, possessed of impurities, hired servants and dishonoured in the worlds"...........
Kashmir has a history of over 5,000 years. The earlier part is more mythological than realistic but last couple of thousand years till about 12th century A.D. have been more or less authenticated by Sir Aural Stein in the “Memoir on the Geography of Kashmir”, which forms the last part of his two volume translation of Kalhana’s Rajatarangini. Stein had visited all the archaeological sites and landmarks mentioned in the first ever written history in the entire sub-continent. It makes an interesting read and one is virtually transported mentally into those bygone eras, some of which were golden while others were terrible times, worse than the recent devastating flood of the century.
The way we Kashmiris have been suffering for over last four centuries makes one think that there is really a curse on this “Paradise on Earth”. Even in earlier times there have been many episodes of suffering due to natural calamities or man-made causes such as internecine wars. Another interesting but unproven theory is about Jewish incursions in Kashmir which claim Kashmiris to be part of the missing tribe of the Israelites who were dispersed all over the world after the destruction of the second temple by the Romans. Jews too as mentioned in holy Quran were cursed by God after their ignominious behaviour mentioned in sura Bakara. In either case, there seems to be a curse on Kashmir which refuses to go away! However, one thing is certain. We have brought on these curses by our own misdeeds!
Most of the earlier travellers visiting Kashmir have been critical of the character and the behaviour of Kashmiris. The reasons for this behaviour have been given as the endless persecution of the local people by outside rulers. One cannot expect a person being persecuted continuously to exhibit any traits of decency, honesty and integrity. A person whose very existence is threatened can be expected to go to any length to save his own self. The worst traits and failings become part of the character and the concerned person feels no compunction in professing these without any moral or psychological remorse. These things get ingrained in the human psyche and a person considers these to be the expected normal behaviour.
After the devastation and displacement caused by the recent flood, one would have expected people to remain under shock for a long time. However, the rallies for the forthcoming elections give an impression that nothing has changed and the people are behaving as they used to do. There has been no chastisement as one would have expected from such a natural disaster attributed by many to be the “Divine Retribution” for our misdeeds! People are on the path to usher in the same lot of so called leaders who turned Kashmir into a virtual den of corruption, dishonesty and immorality.
Incidentally, the first victims of the curse were Kashmiri Pandits who got thrown out en masse from the place where they had lived for centuries. The Muslims left behind had to go through the worst period. Over a hundred thousand were killed, thousands were maimed, hundreds of women were raped, and property worth crores was destroyed. Even such terrible happenings did not make them change their attitude! Then came the recent calamity like the “Great Flood” in the “Paradise Lost”! This should have a made a change but no, not at all. The same story continues endlessly. One wonders when and how will the “Visoka’s Curse” go off from the vale of Kashmir? Will it ever go? Only the sages can predict!
Mohammad Ashraf, I.A.S. (Retired) Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir),
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