BrownCast with Rahul Pandita on Kashmir, Delhi Riots, Maoism

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In this episode of Browncast Omar and I (Gaurav) talk to Rahul Pandita, the journalist and author. We spoke on a range of topics from Kashmir to Maoism. Rahul’s is a refreshingly insightful voice among the English speaking journalists based around Delhi – do check out his writings. His twitter bio is Rahul Pandita.

I would highly recommend his books – especially his memoirOur Moon Has Blood Clots

Below the fold here I am posting the transcript as well. This is auto-generated and unedited, so expect to see MANY errors, but it may help you jump to whatever part interests you, or give you at least a gist of the conversation.

Transcript (auto-generated)

Omar: Good morning, everyone and welcome to another episode of the Brownpundits browncast. Today we have with us a very special guest Rahul Pandita.  Rahul is a well-known journalist and writer who is most famous for his memoir of the Kashmiri pundit expulsion from Kashmir, “Our moon has blood clots” which I think a lot of people must have heard of by now but he has also written about his experience covering the Maoist insurgencies in India’s red corridor and his latest book last year was about the attack in Pulwama and the Jaish Mohammad in general called “The lover boy of Bahawalpur for. Ah, so we will start by asking Rahul to tell us a little about himself and who he is and why he does what he does.

 

00:57.87

Rahul Pandita

Hey, thank you so much for having me. um well you know um I was born in Kashmir valley in the late Seventy s um, um, in ah in a middle class family. Ah, um. And my family belongs to the Kashmiri pundit community a miniscule ah community which ah before ninety ninety formed less than five percent of Kashmir valley’s population. We must tell our readers that. Jamon Kashmir is the only state in India which is Muslim majority and it poses a very peculiar situation for India because India in general is a Hindu majority state. Um, but in Jamon Kashmir. Ah, the Kashmiri Hindus or the pundits as we call them ah were in Minority. So I was I was born in a Kashmiri pundit family. Um, you know my parents commitment to the idea of whom always frightened me as ah as a child. Um, because both my parents were government servants and no matter what after their office hours. They would return home and tend to whatever they had to um, but it was also a time. Ah when things were. Really changing from early eighty s onwards we could so you know even as young children. You know we could understand that something was not quite right? Um, and at homes we were. Very categorically told that if there is some clash in the school or if you see anything on the road just do not react come back and I guess it happens. Um I mean it was not unique in that sense. It happens to. Any minority community anywhere. Um, you know it was like something happens and then you know you become like a submarine you keep your head down and when things kind of normalize. Ah then you go out again and pretend that nothing has happened. Um, but in the Kashmir I grew up in the Kashmir in which my father grew up and was slightly different from the Kashmir I grew up in um, in Kashmir um, from 80 s onwards early 80 s 1 was very conscious.

 

03:50.70

Rahul Pandita

Of his or her identity as a Kashmiri Muslim or a Kashmiri pundit so that is the Kashmir I grew up in till it reached um the zenith really of fundamentalism when we were thrown out ah from. Ah, land where our ancestors had lived for thousands of years so that is that is my story and ah you know in you in the follow questions I would like to talk more about it. So in a matter of few days. Really, we became refugees in our own um in our own country and we like most of ah you know thousands of Kashmiri pundit families. We shifted to the Indian plains which most of us had no experience about. Um, and it was for the first time that the Indian summer as we know it now really hit us. Um and we had absolutely nothing. You know most of us became ah had to leave our home and hearth in a matter of few hours and you know. Cut nothing with us most of us so it was a terrible time from a house from a comfortable house where we lived and we had where we I had my sister and I had a very secure and safe and warm childhood. Um I. Became aware of the fact that you know now we were refuge refugees and the Indian state ah was not interested in protecting our interests. Um, and you know we stayed in Refugee camps. We stayed in. Ah, very small shabby 10 by 10 rooms so that became our life for several years till people of my generation kind of got themselves educated redined some of. But we had lost in Kashmir valley in terms of financial stability etc. and became what we are, but even 30 years later um there’s absolutely no certainty that we would ever return home so exile in that sense. Became permanent. Um, my family shifted to jamu city which is a part of the state. But ah, very different from ah Kashmir valley you know it resembles more like the Indian plain of Delhi or you know the.

 

06:35.21

Rahul Pandita

Hindi heartland as we call it. Um that city that small city to me as ah as a young boy ah became a symbol of exodus and exile and I remember the only thing I wanted to do. In those days was to somehow escape that city and I did manage to escape that city with utmost difficulty because like I said you know our family was facing a lot of financial difficulty like most of us. But I managed to get myself enrolled in a. Panjabi university in chhandan that is where I um studied and then then then then came to Delhi um in the in the late in the middle of Ninety s after my college um that is you know that is my. Story of my childhood and we can talk more about it if you want.

 

07:38.85

Omar

I wanted to when I read your book and it’s a very you know, very well written book I It is a really impressive book but I was struck by the fact that your description of how the exodus happened and the few months leading up to it. Ah. The Indian State is pretty much absent in that memoir and I was wondering if that is a fair description and why would the Indian State be like that is that a capacity issue is that sort of how the Indian state is everywhere.

 

08:01.23

Rahul Pandita

Both.

 

08:13.42

Omar

Or there was some other component to this why they were relative. You know I’m ineffectiveness in the face of insurgency something different but in effectiveness in very basic things like taking care of people moving them giving them refuge things like that is that just par for the course for That’s what happens in India or this was particularly bad and there was some ideological issue or something else involved.

 

08:38.80

Rahul Pandita

I think it was a mixture of many things and my understanding of um how the state failed us in Jamun Kashmir in 9080 Nine ninety has ah shaped my journalism in many many ways. Um, ah. You know in ah in a fairly polarized world when we are neatly divided into the binders of left and right both binders I really do not care about. Um I am of the understanding that you know I’m a big advocate of the State. Um. The state with its inherent weaknesses and biases is still much better. Um than a state of chaos and anarchy which we are witnessing in many parts of the world today. Um, and. I sincerely and very strongly believe that it is the weakness and absence of state which causes a lot of problems. Not the strength of it if the state if the Indian state was powerful and if it really cared for us. The exodus and the aftermath of what we faced would have never happened I say the same thing about the left-wing extremism or the extremism in the Northeastern part of India where an absent state has ensured that millions of. People are suffering every day. In fact, the first book which I wrote coauthored with a dear friend of mine e list mrrana the um Journalist ah in in many ways is called the absence State. Um, so coming back to coming back to Kashmir it was absolutely. You know. Um, the United front comment which had many components um was in power and they had absolutely no clue what they were dealing with from late 80 s onwards the intelligence bureau and other intelligence agencies were sending. Very strong um information about the fact that young you know men young men were crossing the line of control to Pakistan and returning with the arms and ammunition. Ah, but the then rajiga Gandhi government sat on it. And by the time united front comment came it was it was it was total chaos and I say this because I you know I studied this um in in full measure I think the Indian state absolutely lost its control in Kashmir in December of nineteen eighty nine. Um.

 

11:30.99

Rahul Pandita

When in exchange of ah the abducted daughter of the then union home minister Mr. Mu thehammad sayh. They ah released five terrorists of the direct organization jamu and Kashmir liberation front. Um, and when these five men. Came out in December nineteen eighty nine. It led to a sort of jubilation in Kashmir valley because ah the Majority Kashmiri community in Bali thought that the Indian state has come to its Knees. We must also understand what was happening all around the world. Um. Ah, you know, ah, the soviet forces had taken a beating quality in Afghanistan um, there was there was a lot of chaos. Um in places like Azerbaijan which the Kashmiris were seeing every day. Ah. Ironically on national television. You know there was absolutely no understanding of what was happening in Kashmir and should they really be beaming ah visuals of what is happening in Azerbaijan in in those days. In fact, ah, you know the most difficult night of our lives. Um, the crystal north if I may for Kashmir rep pundance is the night of Nineteenth january ninety ninety when tens of thousands of people assembled in every nook and corner of kashmirwa in Mosques. And started shouting antiia slogans and also anti Pundit slogans. So the first slogan which was used in the form of a song um was something that picked up from um Afghanistan which was used by the so-called mujahidin there. Against the occupation of you know soviet forces and I’d like to ah recside it for you in in urdu it said K is shahida rangulaya mahabka partam laharaya. Jago jago subahui rus nebazi harihe hind the pillar za tarihe up Kashmir kibarihe jago jago subawi so when the Indian state was asked to bend in 9090? um it it crawled ah and then when the exodus really began from next year onwards from 20th january onwards by about september october of ninety ninety. The exodas was complete 7 hundred Kashmiri pundits were more than 700 Kashmiri pundits were brutally done to death.

 

14:24.54

Rahul Pandita

In their offices in their homes sometimes with the active participation of their neighbors colleagues friends um and a brutality of a level which you now see being committed by you know. Radical organizations like isis. Some of it. You know elements of it. We’ve already seen in 9090 in in in Kashmir valley so it was you know it was it. It became that difficult and the entire ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri pundits because you know they had to leave everything. Culture suffer and I must tell you that in the first few years after exodus from Kashmir valley thousands of ah elderly especially elderly Kashmiri banded men and women died because they did not know what. Future awaited them. They died of depression. They died of sunstrokes they died of snake and scorpion bites and the liberal intelligentsia of this country. Ah that raises a hue and cry about everything was. Completely oblivious to the plight of Kashmiri but it’s nothing. No agitation. No rally in the so-called port club in the heart of new Delhi no pamphlet no protest in Javaharah nehru university or any other. Ah. You know place? Ah absolutely whitewaed. Um, and that whitewash my friend ah really really continues. Um, even 30 years later that is why they hate my book which came out in 2013 because it speaks for the first time it. Journalistically puts a record of it’s a part memoir part reportage about what happened and they’ve not been able to target it in in any way on the facts that it mentions and suddenly.

 

16:32.49

Omar

So why? Why do you do this?

 

16:36.36

Rahul Pandita

And suddenly you have these people in the West. Ah, you know who have you know who know a lot about Kashmir Valley who know about baed virus and ramite soldiers of the Indian state but they have absolutely no idea that the so-called people who are you know who are now. Ah, reportedly brutalized by the Indian State also have brutalized another set of people 30 years ago who happened to be Kashmiri pundits.

 

17:05.40

Omar

Why do you think that is though ah from the why do you think the liberal or leftist intelligentsia in India is not sympathetic to you at all.

 

17:18.30

Rahul Pandita

I think it’s ah it’s multiple reasons. First of all, you know it’s um, it’s something that has happened to a minuscule population a Hindu population and the so-called you know it’s predominantly an upper caste population Brahmins. You know, um. And they must be part of the so-called brahminical patriarchy as they do not tire attire calling it? Um, ah and you know the media also ah for the media. Also it. It always remained a black and white story. Um. The romance of guns was always in in Kashmir valley. So the new York times the vapo all of them rushed to ah Kashmir to show a rebel gunman standing against. You know the might of the ancient State. Ah, and in this whole scenario. The Kashmiri pundit story did not even become a side note a footnote if I may um and the liberal intelligentsia absolutely remained. Ah, ah, blind to it because you know it does not. It does not fit into their scheme of things they want to portray a certain kind of India you know we were just talking about the riots in Northeast Delhi which I covered. Just before the covid pandemic now it’s ah it’s ah it’s a riot of course I know. Ah what ? the Hindu. Ah right? wing groups have done but to portray it as something which only happened on 1 side. Ah. Ah, not from the comfort of your offices but you have visited those sites and as Journalists you have completely ignored. Ah you know you have covered 1 shop and you have not chosen to show another shop. Because you have already gone with your narrative to that place and you are looking for facts which fit into that narrative and when I became a journalist my first my only oath ah to myself was. I will never report from Delhi I will never report about things which are happening far away and ah already make an impression of it and even if I then go ah you know I’ll be I’ll be ready to accept ah things even if they go against.

 

20:04.83

Rahul Pandita

What I think of them that has shaved my entire careers. So I do not go to any place with a preconceived notion about what I’ll find there. Ah I’m ready to accept. Ah what I see there. And I’m willing to write about it without any bias I’ve done that from Kashmir valley even as I remain a victim there I’ve done that from the ah ah red corridor as we call it I’ve done it from. Ah um, I’ve done it from. Kokrajhar and Assam in Northeast India where hundreds of Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants were slaughtered by the bodos I have reported absolutely truthfully about what I saw so that remains my. That remains my commitment to the idea of truth and no binary of left and right um I pray to god is ever going to change that.

 

21:13.11

Omar

So this let me ask you and more uncomfortable question. Maybe that if you lead to your book and how things were how they became in the nineteen ninety s is of course the extreme version.

 

21:13.37

Gaurav

Yeah.

 

21:17.93

Rahul Pandita

Not a problem.

 

21:30.20

Omar

Ah, but even prior to that there was this tension that existed and you have described what happened in 1947 for example in the tribal invasion. Ah the it is obviously a Muslim majority region and there is or was. Strong support among that Muslim majority for separating from India and as part of that process. But as it happened in West Pakistan and to a somewhat incomplete extent in East Pakistan it also involved ethnic cleansing right? It involves. Ah, creating a more sort of pure Islamic state. Ah, but the if the if this process sort of goes to its natural or logical conclusion. Ah, what happens to the Muslims of India itself where they are not in a majority? And do you think that there is something short of that sort of logical conclusion is still Possible. So my my question is that there is a Hindu Muslim division that you can see in that in your Book. Also.

 

22:35.78

Rahul Pandita

I’m sorry I don’t understand your person can you can you kind of right right.

 

22:45.86

Omar

And that division in the eyes of the Muslim community. There were obviously exceptions even even even at that time when it was sort of at its speak. There were exceptions that you’ve mentioned in the book. Also most of those exceptions ended up being brutally Killed. Ah, but other than that there was also widespread support right? The whole description in your poulwama book as Well. You can see there are people somebody’s a cook in the hospital somebody’s an engineer. They’re all sympathizers who hide terrorists move them around. Give them money. Whatever. All this cannot Happen. You know it’s the sea in which you swim has to be sympathetic. Otherwise it’s not possible to have a successful or near successful insurgency. But if that is the position and that’s how things have evolved within Kashmir and still hasn’t been solved suppose this.

 

23:22.12

Rahul Pandita

Yeah, yes, yes.

 

23:39.31

Omar

Goes to its logical conclusion. Ah, what is the what do you see as the future of India as a whole is it that there is no point at which it can be stopped short of having completely separate Muslim and Hindu countries in the subcontinent.

 

23:58.60

Rahul Pandita

I think the situation in one forty seven was slightly different. You know when Jamun Kashmir was still a princely state. Um, and you know it had the option of either joining Pakistan or joining India but like any other. Ruler who wants to have it for ah as long as possible maharajah hari singh dili dalied a bit by the time in hindsight we know from documents that much before this had happened. Um, you know the pakistani state already had. Um, plans of ahcend these troops and these were trained by Pakistan yami regularulars and at that point in time. Um, ah you know, no matter what the Muslim majority many among the Muslim majority. In in in Kashmir thought about it. The fact remains that at that point in time kashmir’s tallest ah leader who happened to be a Muslim sheikh mahma abdullah chose to be ah along with Mr. nehru and chose to be part of the Indian dominion. It is only after that that India sent its forces and and you know Kashmir whatever remained of it um became became a part of the ah Indian dominion. But right afterwards you know from Fifty s onwards. Um. You see Mr. abdullah ah developing a sort of double mind about it whether he has done the right thing or not um and that confusion. Ah really begins from there and that confusion unfortunately has percolated down this you know I often say um. That it is because of the policies of new Delhi. You know the the way they encouraged the mainstream political leadership in Jamun Kashmir from the time. Mr. Sheikh mama abdullah was released from the prison and made the chief minister of ah that that that State. Ah. Where you enabled the Mainstream Kashmir leaders um to sing a different tune in new Delhi when they come for funds etc. from the earthwhile planning commission and ah sing a entirely different tune which is empty India. Ah, when they go back to Kashmir and I use this word very carefully. It has you know it has really really created a sort of schizophrenia in the minds of Kashmiri muslims you know they do not know, um, whether they should become a part of Pakistan whether they should become.

 

26:48.40

Rahul Pandita

Remain a part of India or whether they should become free and you know the last 30 years of insurgents here have have only has only taught us 1 lesson that the Kashmiris stay with. Ah, party which they think has the upper hand in this conflict whenever they thought that the Indian state ah had ah you know and had had an upper hand. They gradually began shifting towards that hand. Ah, when they thought. The power. The real power was in the hands of these young, um, ah pakistanis who came with their long hair and ah ah card mine rifles. Um, you know you know they kind of they can kind of swung towards that. But having said that you know I I sincerely believe that the failure to carcall a spade a spade in Kashmir valley has led in many ways ah to the kind of polarization we are now experiencing. Um. In in in in in entire India and you know we often say on social media on Twitter sometimes um when you talk about any atrocity committed on ah on a Muslim in India anywhere. Um, there are hundreds of people. You know who will. Come to the immediate. What? Ah what about about re as they call it about what happened to Kashmiri partners so but it’s not only restricted to what aboutre. It’s also something which ah the the the current party the bahathia janaha party has um, made. A plank and has injected it in the minds of the rest of India for a very very long time and I say this that the bahathia agendaha party became a national party. Um, keeping its foot really on 2 things 1 um. Is the ah you know, ah not Kashmiri pundits but Kashmir you know, um, the Slogan let’s remember those mango geok hiing a Kashmir mango way to cheering me and and the idea of ram temple in Iodia. This is these are 2 plans on which the baharia janita party catapulted itself into the into the national national consciousness and I am witnessing something very um, very surprising.

 

29:35.29

Rahul Pandita

Ah, not surprising but you know it’s it’s something significant which I’ve um I now witnessing in the past few years. Um, ah when I earliest spoke ah to to to the Muslim intelligence here or. You know in general in in the rest of India you you know they would always keep themselves aloof separate from what was happening in Kashmir there. You know it’s a you know it’s a problem and you know this is what has happened to Kashmiri pundits and you know there’s that is. This problem of terrorism that we understand this we have nothing got to do with it and you know we are part of the so-called gangla jamaniha has e etc., etc., etc. You know they would go on and go on but in the last few years what I What I see is there are um. There are many voices who have ah um, some of them are genuine but you know there are generally many voices who have suddenly become um, interested in in Kashmir um, and they’re kind of of connecting it. Ah, with the developments in the rest of India um I think that is very dangerous and if it continues to be like this. We’ll have more and more polarization. Ah, where this polarization will lead us. Um.

 

30:50.32

Gaurav

Right.

 

31:06.12

Rahul Pandita

I Really shudder to think about it.

 

31:07.74

Gaurav

Right? So yeah, so about that um, would you say that like what has been the situation in last year or 2 because since the article 3 seventy was ah to certain extent and that we could not hear. Ah, lot of news coming out of the valley either of violence or of oppress egg. It was sort of a black box for rest of the India ah what I noticed few months ago was that tourism seems to have ah began with a fresh lese last few months. Before we started getting some killings a month or 2 ago. Um, if I’m not mistaken. So how would you see this trajectory since 3 seventy 2 now like what has been happening.

 

31:57.10

Rahul Pandita

I you know if you follow my reperage you know I you know sometimes I also I also take a stand and um, you know as ah as a Kashmiri more than as a journalist. Um I think it was much needed. You know the abrogation of article 3 seventy was. Much needed and why I say this is because of what we have just discussed. You know it I I think that it was very important to um, extract this idea of ah double-mindedness in the hands you know in the minds of. Yeah, the majority community in Kashmir and in any case it was supposed to be a temporary measure. Um I think ah the the idea of having its own flag having its so so so-called own constitution having you know calling it. She Mr. Prime minister was. Extremely problematic ah from ah to to to begin with um why would any state you know as as ah as a big big brother as ah as a big entity you know India ah, as ah as a state as a nation state. Make small concessions. Ah for for for people who deserve it. You know that? Ah, yeah, there is some reservation for the marginized people you know for tts e etc. in terms of states in terms of areas. You know the the tribals. Um. You know the the schedules in the constitution. Um hill states of drakhand and himachal. You know you can’t buy land as freely as you can in the rest of India so on and so Forth. You know some of those majors are required but to say that you know now you will have your own constitution. You will have your own prime Minister. You will have your own flag. Ah, especially in ah in a very complex state border state like Jamun Kashmir it was problematic from day 1 ah, now you see the you know this extent of violence the violence you know. These small rack tech groups may be back and you know Jash momma might be there. Ah but there you know there, there’s this I’ve always ah said that you know there’s a there’s a silent majority. Um, even if it’s not a majority but you know it’s a significant um number. In kashir valley it is of Kashmiri muslims who do not have any who may not have any love for the Indian state but they are wise enough and intelligent enough to understand that their ah behbuhi in Udu as they call it or their future lies with the idea of India.

 

34:45.69

Rahul Pandita

Ah, and they they they want to. You know they want to come out openly for it. But the inherent weakness of the Indian state even now after um, you know, taking such strong measures. Um. Ah, remains and that is why they not been able to come out as much as possible. But if this trend continues. Um we we we will. We will see it happening it depends on how the Indian state will now. ah tackle tackle Kashmir Kashmir issue um and I say this you know in terms of counterinsurgency as ah as a student of counterinsurgency I say that even after 30 years of insurgency if you’re still, um, if your model of success. If your success of counterinsurgency model in Kashmir is the fact that you know you’re still conducting operation after operation and you’re killing x number of boys in x number of months to me as a student of counterinsurgency I think that’s ah, that’s ah, that’s a failure. And there is no dearth of young Kashmiris who will be willing to pick up arms and and die it has to you you know in Kashmir you will have to hit at the fountain head of a radicalization. You know I was just reading about. Um, I was going through some um this conversation I’ve had with the top security source in the national investigation agency. Um, and in July this year they busted an isis module. Ah, big isis module in Jammon Kashmir and I was going through. You know I was I was I was told about this boy who was part of that model. In fact, the chief of that model who is to bring out this voice of in the magazine from South Kashmir. He he said that you know he got access to ah, radical literature. You know in in a public library next to his home. Ah so if you have a public library where all you know some of this material is still available. Even as you’re killing boys around. Ah you who are who you know who have picked up guns. Ah I think and until and unless you do not do that. Ah, this problem is not going to go anywhere.

 

37:31.70

Gaurav

Right.

 

37:33.20

Omar

That’s just the general observation. You can put anywhere in the world. Most people will actually adjust to circumstances right? They will see which way the wind is blowing and go accordingly. That’s how countries get to rule other countries also. But. There is a I was just thinking that you have there is ah another famous Kashmiri pande or at least he thought he was a Kashmiri pundit descendant is Alum mike bao ah, who had a very recurring theme that the.

 

37:58.71

Rahul Pandita

Um.

 

38:09.78

Omar

Essence of sort of the really crucial point in reality is power and he he thought that this was a point of superiority for Islam that Islam is a religion that has sort of centralizes the notion of power. And we know that power matters more than love in this world and he has several pieces where he sort of puts this out as a theory. Do you think that this is true that this is in fact that everyone else will also have to learn the same lesson.

 

38:43.59

Rahul Pandita

I think that’s ah, that’s a dangerous path in in in modern societies. Um, if if you know if there is a element among muslims in Kashmir or in the rest of India.

 

38:57.73

Gaurav

Are.

 

39:01.89

Rahul Pandita

Who think on those lines then it becomes extremely problematic. Um, and ah if in your willingness to counter them if other communities like the Hindu community is trying to become a clone of that mentality. Um. I don’t think that is acceptable and should be acceptable to to to any modern nation-state the problem sometimes is that you know when you feel a certain superiority about ah about your religion and you think that your religion ah and the ah and the subsequent. Things it brings and it has to offer to the world is superior to others I know you can do it in your prayer room. It’s all right? or or in your living room. But if you um, if it is something that is embedded um in in your in your head you know sometimes I. Joke about it. You know there’s ah, there’s a small section of of you know, Elite ah muslims I think in this country who think that thinks that you know, um, the culture. Ah and the things that. They have to offer is is is best for India and the only culture that this country has seen comes from their forefathers. You know from ah from food ah from from poetry. Um, from from shervannis etc. You know everything that India has to give to the rest of the world comes from that lineage. Ah I think that’s ah you you know? That’s that’s a very that’s a rather very silly and oblique idea of. You know 1 ne’s own self. But if ah in a bid to counter that if the other religious communities if the majority community in this country um is all is also god forbid going in that direction. I think I think it’s ah it’s a very very bad idea.

 

41:19.46

Gaurav

Ah, yeah, so coming to that. Ah, we have already alluded to the fact that Indian state fails on many counts on infrastructure enforcement. Whatever so how can a state like India prevent these say these kind of tensions are rising. So.

 

41:26.77

Rahul Pandita

So many come with.

 

41:39.20

Gaurav

Like if anyone who has seen the rise of Hindu nationalism honestly, ah, there can be many trigger points which have led to the ah popularity of bjp and hinduthwa on a larger extent. So a lot of the blame I think can go to the inefficient State. Ah, infrastructure which has prevented like um from small riots which occur and police are not there and things build up over time. Whatever so on and so forth so in twenty first century and 2021 what can a state like India do given. Its limitations to deescalate these things like I will not even go into the ah current government because they may have some ulterior motive of not de-escalating. But if let’s say if they want to do like what can we be done because. Increasingly people are growing very pessimistic about this friction.

 

42:38.94

Rahul Pandita

Ah, is this question specifically about polarization.

 

42:42.38

Gaurav

Yeah, polarization polarization which eventually leads into like For example, we saw the ca protests so there can be many ways of looking at the ca protest but it but large section of Hindu community saw it as. Um, conservative muslims or reactionary muslims getting on the streets protesting for rights which were not getting impacted and so on and so Forth. So we can see that that directly led to the daily riots in some extent and where lot of. Ah, property lives were lost so what can a State. Do.

 

43:22.24

Rahul Pandita

I think I think the I think the problem is manyifold you know in ah in a complex country like India um, where you have language ah and much else changing after every um. You know, 5000 kilometers with with so much diversity with so much difference between a poor man and a rich man. Um these you you know. Governing this country from Kashmir to kana kumari um is is ah is a big challenge in itself. Um, on top of that you have had successive governments who are unwilling to um, um, you know do grassroot. Ah, basic reforms this country now since we’re talking about ah the obligation of state responsibility look at the condition of um police in this country know the police reforms are due for so long in this country.

 

44:31.59

Gaurav

Um.

 

44:35.80

Rahul Pandita

Ah, but we are still stuck in this ah narrative building of day-to-day you know the narrative building of hashtags ah and a common mind and it will only increase in in coming years. Um, you know because of. Massive disinformation and misinformation which we are now witnessing on on on on the internet on the world wide web. It’s only going to it’s only going to increase but since we’re specifically talking about Northeast Delhi you see the problem again remains the same. The problem is that. Ah, there is 1 section of people in this country who set up a narrative and they are blind. Um towards 1 1 part of the story and ah this has been happening for several several several years. Ah. And there are people in this country who justly or unjustly think that injustice has been meted out to them and if they they feel that they’re pushed against a wall and now they have to push back. Ah, their idea of pushback. Ah, you know some people’s idea of pushback is picking up a gun. Perhaps some people’s idea of pushback is ah electing a leader ah with ah with ah with a humping majority electing a leader art. The nationals.

 

45:51.29

Gaurav

Um.

 

46:05.28

Rahul Pandita

Level um, in the form of Mr. Nainra modi electing a ah leader a Hindu monk um, in 1 of the largest states in the Hindi heartland um ah yoa that the na. Um, so. So you know this this this will keep on happening but unfortunately ah even as it is happening the other side so far has has not has not learned any lesson um and and they are continuing to do so there are. You know there are people in this country who may have um in utterklesh I know people who may have several problems ah with Mr. Modi. You know the business class has several problems with Modi you know in terms of demonetization gsd this that you know so. So much inflation. But on the election day when they when they when they leave their homes. Um, they many of them are the or of the idea that you know there is a there’s a certain ah population Mr. na and the modi controls and that population needs to be controlled.

 

47:20.42

Gaurav

He is.

 

47:22.00

Rahul Pandita

It is something very strange which I saw um in Bihar you know the the politically ah rich bihar in the aftermath of the boulwar attack in February 2000 and nineteen I mean the general elections were happening just a a few weeks after the which. Um, had it been for any government. Ah. A suicide attack a big attack on security forces like the 1 which happened in Pulwama would have meant loss of face. Um would have meant disaster. In fact, ah, ah. You know the investigation on in this case, clearly refers to Jash communication saying that you know this attack was done so that ah Mr. Modi loses his face but you see what happens. Not only does he not lose face. Um, even before you know Bala code happens people are somehow you know a majority of people. Ah, especially in the Hindi heartland um are ah you you know are certain in their heads that if there is any man standing between ah between isis between jash between Pakistan and them is Mr. Nandra modi so that in itself is ah you know? ah. You know it was. It was very surprising for me and I when I spoke to scores of people around it and then of course balap would happened and by the time. Ah the you know the um ah endorsement of Mr. Naend modi was complete and that. Kind of reflected um in in the general elections when he got a thumping majority.

 

49:23.28

Omar

But is that I think if you go back? Ah, 1 step further up and instead of what particular governments and personalities is a certain mindset and Narrative India is.

 

49:23.53

Gaurav

Senior.

 

49:38.36

Omar

Product of the british raj administratively and politically sort of created by that institution and that institution was very successful because the people on top had a very clear idea of who they were and what they were trying to do. I think after independence there was a period of time when India seems to have been ah had a new consensus which was sort of british raj light under the nehru dynasty where the same sort of processes continued but now in the name of a secular India but. Maybe there was some lack of depth in that whole narrative. But there seems to have been some pieces missing and unless you can come up with something more realistic that actually corresponds more with reality. Maybe there was going to be a pushback at some point. And that’s what’s happening now.

 

50:36.14

Rahul Pandita

Um I think for a you know? Um I read this piece in the times of India a long time back written by this really good scholar called bahwa josh um, and you know it kind of underlined the fact why congress had rule upon this country for for so many years um whereas you you? know you had socialist parties. Um you you know which fought on the lines of caste and you had left parties which fought um on the lines of class the congress was the only party which could do both of these things. Um, it was also associated with the freedom moment in India and tried an overarching nationalist sentiment. You know you had you had indra Gandhi who so-called liberated bangladesh and you know who defeated Pakistan. Um, in 71 and so on and so forth. Um, ah and and and people were people were happy with it. You know as a senior um, ah you know, ah someone who who knows congress really well and is is associated with. The Gandhi family I would not like to name him but he said that? Um, ah, the only reason why Indra ghani could ah do what she did was because she she she you know she was very aware and. You know she was very clear about her. Um Hindu identity. You know she wore a rudraqsh mallah in in her in her in her in her neck and um and the Hindus I mean I’m just quoting him and the Hindus thought that if. Ah, Mrs Gandhi you know who’s wearing ruras is also thinking about the the betterment of muslims in this country so shima. You know she must have put some thought behind it. But as long as you know she is wearing that ru ashimala we we we know who she is um so that kind of ah kept. Ah, congress. Ah ruling for for for so many years in this country I think towards the end of it. Ah from from that it is despite the fact that Mr. Raji uganhi did what he did in the ioa you know temple sequence of events. I think by ninety ninety and it again begins um from the exoters of Kashmiri pundits because Kashmir always remained a sensitive issue for India and rega so more. So after the beginning of insurgency islamist extremism in.

 

53:24.63

Rahul Pandita

In in Kashmir right? It really it really began from there. The fact that you know we needed. Ah, we need an alternative to this somehow people felt that you know Congress did not have um the best interests of the Hindu majority in their mind. And from from there gradually, it took some time but gradually it begins from there and that is how you know from that time onwards you also see a rise of the Baharia Janaha party till the point. Ah till til 2021.

 

54:02.34

Gaurav

Right? Do you think 1 of the contributing factors to the so-called image change or policy change from congress may have been that they kept on losing cost coalitions to other parties to the gennta party and.

 

54:03.78

Rahul Pandita

Um, that is how it remains so far.

 

54:20.96

Gaurav

And they in turn grew more dependent on the Muslim vote so they had to pander more to it in the ninety s because if you like when I see the trajectory of congress party on under soa Gandhi the so-called Muslim appeasement. Has reached new levels which was not there as you rightly said even under rajoganhi or in theraganhi. So maybe the fight for survival in face of losing the cast coalitions to sp and whatever. Do you think that played a role.

 

54:55.80

Rahul Pandita

Um, that plays that plays a role and you see the problem is that ah people who who are you know who are saying it for other political parties people who are writing these reports. Um, do not know about.

 

54:56.83

Gaurav

In this picture.

 

55:15.70

Rahul Pandita

Ah, what the dalit community for example, um, is facing is is facing on ground. You know you somehow have this very fancy idea among maybe hundred people in Delhi and jado per university that. Dlis are basically anti-hiu and just because ah 2 postgraduates in sociology have you know, ah called goddes duah something or you know in some moassil town have broken the idol of ah larama. Somehow the entire dalih community has become ah anti- Hindu and they’re ready to accept. Ah, you know Islam or buddhism or whatsoever or you know become communists there. Absolutely no idea how the let’s live in this country. Ah you you know a majority of dalis for example. You know they may have serious issue with the ah the the upper cast ah men in their neighborhood. You know the yeah the the takur or ah the yado or even the odd brahman now. Um, but inside his or. Her whom ah they they worship they worship god they worship Hindu gods and that is not going to that is not good that that is not going to go away. Um, you know after after that infamous. Ahhaat there tokudy hungga in Shaallla in Shaala in jaalah near you know she happened? Um I was speaking to a congress leader and she she’s no longer with the congress party and I said I sincerely hope that Mr. Alghanni does not endorse this. Ah, because university you know I understand the idea of a university where you have to ah you know, discuss everything in an open mind you can you know in a classroom situation in a conference room. You can discuss the whether Kashmir should get independence or not or whether. The parliament terror accused umsulru deserved the kind of but ah you know punishment that was meted out to him by the Indian state. But why should a group of masked men suddenly appear ah at a university and sayhara theri tu brion in Shalla in Shalla. what kind of activism is this what kind of education is this what kind of liberalism is this so I said you know I I sincerely hope that Mr. algandhi does not endorse this kind of idea and she said no no, no, it’s not going to happen and you know we’re um, we’re absolutely certain of it.

 

57:56.82

Rahul Pandita

Ah, the same evening. Mr Rahulgandhi goes and hugs some people who are thought as the you know enablers of that particular event. Ah from you see you know from that from that moment onwards um. You know it’s it’s ah it’s ah it’s a it’s an albert ross in his ah political career so to speak when when people saw what he sidelined with out what what he did not so you know it’s it’s it’s a paradox you have absolutely no idea. Ah how this. How this country has changed now. You know you’re making some ad hoc measures here and there you’re calling yourself a prahmin and you’re saying that you know Kashmiri panits are your friends and you’re going to these temple visits and maha kalishwa and so on and so Forth. Um. But these half-hearteded measures and you know this competition in this competition. You’re not going to win ah from from from the Partis and atha party. That’s not going to happen so you’ll have to you know you’ll have to up your game in many ways. That upping of game will only begin menu when you become serious and when you’re consistent about something you can’t be a mercenary you know you can’t be spending 1 hour at Midanta in in some mining area and tell the tribals that you are with them. Ah, the other day the next day you know you you disappear for a week and then you appear a againe in some kisand rally um in comparison in contrast contrast you see the last elections were fought. You know the last general elections were fought in 2019 the preparations as far as thehair janita party is concerned began from next day onwards now what those preparations are where those preparations will go um, you know that is for everybody to see.

 

01:00:00.75

Omar

So let’s move to before we end a topic that you have also covered the Maoist insurgency in India in many ways sort of a bigger surprise than what is going on in Kashmir the the hindu-muslim clash has a long history and very deep roots sort of. But why is India a country with a major Maoist insurgency after long after maoism has sort of been failed and put aside in every other place in the world.

 

01:00:36.40

Rahul Pandita

Ah, well India to you know it has ah has a very long history of communist insurgency in 1 form or the other right right from british days to what happened in the langana and siri calculum and the naqxil party. The late sixty s um, but if ah you you know if when I when I go to a class to mode a university or when I when I speak to people and I have to really explain to them. Why ah why there is a certain. Ah. Part in which this insurgency is happening so I just give them a small experiment I say you know take a map of India which shows um its most rich portions. You know in terms of mineral resources and you take another map of India which shows its. Ah, most ah poverty affected regions and you take another map of India which tells you where the maoists are active and you kind of juxtapose these 3 maps for each other ah you will realize that these 3 maps are the same. The question really is that what has what happened in Independent India where ah where ah where a tribal where an awasi who has millions of dollars worth resources under his feet. Ah today cannot effort 1 square me a day. Um I think it comes back to the same idea of the absent state and and I went for the first time to these areas in um, Ninety ninety eight as ah, you know as a young ah reporter I was just twenty two and I had um. some friends in college who would often speak to me about these areas and they introduced me to some people in these areas and I landed up in that area I landed up in that area because I wanted to cut myself away from Kashmir in in many ways because ah remember this is the ninety s and. Every big journalist worth his or her sword is going to Kashmir and reporting from there. Um, and in many ways my my my political education my education in the real sense had not even started. Ah I had very little understanding of how this country you know I. Not traveled at all. Um ah beyond beyond beyond punjab and Delhi really I had I had no idea about ah the the rest of the the rest of the country. It is only when I when I made those travels and I met mao guriras for the first time and and when I saw that.

 

01:03:26.86

Rahul Pandita

Ah, poverty firsthand and now when someone tells me that you know there is poverty unemployment in Kashmir you know I laugh sometimes because you they have absolutely no idea excuse me what poverty means and I saw that poverty with my own eyes. But in the ninety s unfortunately you know not many editors newspaper editors cared about what was happening in those areas. Um, yeah, they you know I came back and I you know even as ah, even as an ordinary person even as a you know, even as a traveler. Not as a reporter as a traveler. Um, if you kind of looked closely. Ah you would get a very strong ah sense of the fact that this place was sitting on a time pomp and it will explode at some point in time. But when you came back and told this to your editors. You know they would dismiss at ah, it has ah what they call waangal problem waangal is a small town. Um, you know where a lot of young um of urban Maoist idelogues have. Come from in the past um so they used to call it the waranga problem and of course of course in a few years after that from mid 2000 s onwards it became ah such a big problem for India that the erstwhile prime minister. Mr. Manmon sing had to call it. Bigger india’s biggest internal security problem. Um, so it you know it continued and the saddest part of this tragedy was the blight of the adiwasi the you know the tribal population which kind of got sandwiched. This conflict between ah the Maoist gurillas and the Indian security forces and it led to a lot of bad things. A lot of chaos. Ah in their lives. Um that chaos. Ah fortunately has gone off in many ways because the maoists are. In a very weak position in the last few years most of their ah most of their leadership is gone. They’ve either been arrested or killed ah by Indian security forces including um, a senior Maoist leader just a few days back. Um. But in many areas. Still they they continue to to hold foot and they have deep pockets of sympathy among the the adiwassi population now. My only contention in this entire scenario is that.

 

01:06:16.43

Rahul Pandita

Maybe in next five to 7 years or 10 years who knows I think about 5 years um maybe the Maoist guerrillas. Um as we know them today will be gone but the objective conditions under which something like this. Um. Ah grows ah unfortunately remains the blight of ah the adiwasi the ah the plight of these marginalized poor people remains the same um some of it of course has has changed with the ah you know. There is better road connectivity now. Um many youngsters, you know the new generation of adiwases there they are connected um through their phones and through television through social you know through internet. Um, they’re they’re they’re getting an exposure of the outside world. I mean I say outside world. Um. I really mean the the state capital of a state like shuttizgar you know which is just a few hundred kilometers from where they live basically. Um so you know that kind of exposure. Ah they are. They’re getting but that kind of exposure also has. Ah, you know as we all know, um, its own anomalies as I call them so you know it remains to be seen how this entire thing will shape up. You know I’m so scholarly I’m not capable to um. Give you that big picture. But ah, you know if we have this conversation again in a few years I should be able to tell you where that conflict is gone.

 

01:07:59.83

Gaurav

Okay, so about these internal security threats apart from Kashmir ah, would you say that the current dispensation is weak at handling issues of internal security which are not. Concerning the hinddo-muslim problem. So that is what some of the critics of the government keep on saying from the right that the government has been very weak on handling the Maoist insurgency to certain extent even now the farm laws recall is being Seen. Ah. Seen from that lens so what are your comments on that.

 

01:08:39.49

Rahul Pandita

Um, I think the internal security scenario frankly has become much better. Ah you you you? you? you know we have become very good in in preempting strikes. Ah. The national investigation agency. For example, has done um a wonderful work. Not only in jamu and Kashmir but in other parts of India in busting isis modules in busting modules in Northeast in busting naxil modules in in in in urban areas. The investigation. The kind of investigation they’ve done. Um, is extremely good. Remember the time during Mr. Shiraj patel as India’s home minister you you you know, just you know as a general statement remember the number of gom blas which used to happen in those days that you know that internal security scenario has.

 

01:09:22.34

Gaurav

And yeah.

 

01:09:36.55

Gaurav

Yeah, ah so I was talking specifically about ah non-islamic terror or nonislamic issue. So.

 

01:09:38.14

Rahul Pandita

Um, has had yes. So so as for so so as far as Maoist. Ah, you’re concerned I think the state response remains model less the same. Ah, you know it’s the same state response which we.

 

01:09:52.63

Gaurav

Okay.

 

01:09:58.10

Rahul Pandita

Witness during Mr Page Amber Umstein Ah, the congress won his time so you know it’s ah it’s a it’s a takeoff from his time I don’t think personally as a reporter ah I have been more scared as a reporter in this country than at a time when Mr Chaamra was.

 

01:09:59.60

Gaurav

Yeah, yeah.

 

01:10:16.26

Rahul Pandita

The home minister and when yeah you know Journalists were just getting baked out because they were meeting mause leaders and people were getting getting arrested because you know some pamphlet or bga singh or some ah ah you know left-leaning literature would be recovered from them. You know it’s it’s so ironical because you know.

 

01:10:33.89

Gaurav

So.

 

01:10:35.95

Rahul Pandita

Um, a couple of boys have been arrested in in Keoline they are being charged under uap and this is the left wing. You know the the left mainstream left Kerala government and they’re being charged under uapa. And 1 of the 1 of the possessions. You know the evidence of their involvement with maois as shown in the police record happens to be my book hello busther which is ironical because hello buster is like the go to book for any paramilitary officer who gets posted in the left ring extremist areas. It is a part of. Informally a part of the curriculum in the academy of the Central reserve police force which is the main um of you know anti Maoist fighting force in this country as of today. Um, so that response really hasn’t changed. Um. You know, even in terms of some activists ah being arrested on what what many people think are ah fzy charges. You know people like people like anand tell tomle for example, um, ah people like sudhaharwaj whom I have known personallying for years.

 

01:11:36.80

Gaurav

Prima Corga or flimsy. Yeah yeah, su the bad watch. Yeah.

 

01:11:49.84

Rahul Pandita

No done until Dooday for ah years and I can vouch and I can say ah that they are not maoists. You know they may have left sympathies, etc., etc. But they are not Maoists surrender regardling you know the Nakur based advocate with whom you know yeah you know.

 

01:12:04.91

Gaurav

P.

 

01:12:09.29

Rahul Pandita

Interacted so much and I’ve known him closely for many many years is not a Maoist but that is unfortunately how the state works sometimes in this regime like in other regime you know, remember the case of Mr Binaakin I remember.

 

01:12:22.96

Gaurav

Yeah.

 

01:12:27.97

Rahul Pandita

Scores of cases in ah in small cities and towns. You know which did not get much national press. Ah some journalists being arrested on Filmy charges of being a Maoist supporter and so on and so forth. So that response really as far as mouse insurgency or.

 

01:12:35.60

Gaurav

Me.

 

01:12:47.74

Rahul Pandita

You know the way you’re dealing with ah insurgent groups in Northeast has not really changed the response means the same.

 

01:12:50.65

Gaurav

Yeah, the people tend to forget how Hawkish Sheumbaram was as a home minister even though he gives a liberal pose these days. But yeah.

 

01:13:04.88

Rahul Pandita

Yeah, like I said you know they ah you know I’ve not personally been I was you know I was telling this to my friend ravish Kumar The Journalist Ravish Kumar Many many um months ago that you you know there was a time and.

 

01:13:16.47

Gaurav

Me.

 

01:13:23.56

Rahul Pandita

You know we were really scared about it because you know in the process of interacting with maoists and I was traveling with Maoist I was um I was embedded with maoists all the time in those days and you know as ah, full-time reporters on this on this issue on this beat. You know we used to get a lot of press releaseses and literature and you know at any point of time you know we to deal with a um lot of such stuff as a journalist and it would have been very easy for the you know you know the government by the time. The supreme court came into action. You would be in jail or. Already for eighteen months or so as it happens in Mr. As it happened in Mr. Binaicen’s case. Um, so I mean to me really no change in state response as far as maous insurgency is concerned.

 

01:14:02.54

Gaurav

Um.

 

01:14:11.39

Gaurav

Yeah, so 1 thing I allowed to ask before. Ah we go so have you been following the progress on the daily riots case like have there been any convictions or like or ah yeah should be watching out for something in view.

 

01:14:12.34

Omar

So right.

 

01:14:30.99

Gaurav

Months or few weeks. Whatever like what is the progress on those cases.

 

01:14:32.12

Rahul Pandita

I I don’t think any I don’t think any I don’t think anything tangible has happened. Um, it is also because in most cases, the you know the police it’s again, um you know associated with the large expression of how the police functions.

 

01:14:49.93

Gaurav

Right.

 

01:14:51.47

Rahul Pandita

Um, why did you have the need for something like national investigation agencies because despite its best intentions and despite its best operational capabilities. You know for example in jamu and Kashmir you know the Jamon Kashmir police is 1 of the best counter agency forces in the country today.

 

01:14:55.60

Gaurav

E.

 

01:15:10.10

Rahul Pandita

But when it comes to certain you know putting together a trail of paperwork you know which is requi in any code of law International or National Um, you, you know the focus is ah is is not really there. So sometimes. People people people get released because the because the priest has not been able to put together those resources those those evidence so I don’t think any anything tangible is happening in.. The north is daily writes except the fact that many people um, have been released and I’m ah you know I’m sure most of them are innocent.

 

01:15:54.45

Omar

So ah Ra We we have many other things we can talk about actually but are out of time so we will end here but before I end let’s say ah we will sort of put you on the spot and say that in for a pundit.

 

01:16:01.90

Rahul Pandita

I guess.

 

01:16:13.18

Omar

The the prediction is where the rubber meets the road so we’ll ask you for your predictions. What do you think is ah the likely to happen in Kashmir in the coming 3 or 4 years they’re not talking long term or what happens 100 years from now. Ah. Do you see sort of progress and relative peace and even a return of your community to the valley or is this too short a timeframe or you see it getting worse.

 

01:16:44.25

Rahul Pandita

I think it will remain more or less. Ah, ah you know at the same level which we are witnessing right now. Um, you know there are these fringe ah small terrorist groups. Ah. That have come unless you know there are certain developments in in in in post America afghanistan and you know a lot of things get together then in that case we may see a ah rise in violence levels in Kashmir but not.

 

01:17:12.51

Gaurav

Who.

 

01:17:23.34

Rahul Pandita

Something which the Indian state will not be ah able to handle. So I think in my opinion my prediction is that it will more or less remain the same. Maybe sometimes the graph goes up and down but nothing nothing significant. Except an odd attack head or there on paraeditary forces or or the ah army or any um, small or middlelevel political political killing so that is my that is my prediction for as far as insurgency in Kashmiri is concerned. As for the return of Kashmiri pundits. No, that’s not going to happen. Um I don’t see that happening in in in near future I oh that will. That’s ah, that’s a long drawn process. Um, and ah.

 

01:18:10.59

Omar

Is that something that you as a Kashmiri pundit and as someone who probably hangs out with other Kashmiri pundits is that something that you guys actively think about or want to happen or people have a lot of people have sort of given up and moved on and will now live In. England or wherever they happen to be.

 

01:18:31.23

Rahul Pandita

I think the first question is whether we have the freedom to go there or not um, you know in my experience when that freedom is there. You know people do a lot of lot of things I personally know a lot of people who would like to return. You know, especially people of my father generation For example, you know who still feel very alien in a city like ah Delhi or Mumbai or any other part of the world. Um, as for people of my generation or the next generation. You know it will be. It will be difficult for them now to go full time because you know there are no job opportunities and you know beyond a certain level. What will you? What will they do Um, but at least you know, ah you should have the freedom to go there. Maybe you know someone like me who may not. Ah, go and live there for 2 hours a month but you know I’m very fond of that place and I feel ah a certain affinity with that place. Maybe I would like you know the saddest part um the most painful part of. Ah, me or any other Kashmiri pundit going to Kashmir is the fact that when you go there, you have to live in a hotel you know which is probably very close to your erstwhile home. So that is you know that’s ah that’s an insufferable tragedy for us. So we you know we would like to have some foothold in Kashmir valley maybe a house where I you know spent six months a year but that freedom is not there and that freedom will not come unless I um.

 

01:20:00.13

Omar

Oh.

 

01:20:09.63

Rahul Pandita

It’s again, attached to to the idea of security in Kashmir you know if ah today even moderate muslims are not feeling safe and they’re sending their kids away from Kashmir from that madness. Ah, how will I as a ah member of the minority community in Kashmir. Ah feel ah feel safe I will not have the I will hardly have ah the right to exercise my religious freedom you it’s it’s it’s a very difficult proposition. So I don’t think that that is going to happen in. Ah, near future.

 

01:20:47.50

Omar

Well on that less than optimistic note we’ll have to end our talk for today but Rahul thank you very much for coming and we hope we’ll talk to you again and take it from here and sort of move on to other questions which we didn’t touch on today. Ah, but thank you very much.

 

01:21:04.21

Rahul Pandita

Thank you! It was a pleasure speaking to you in in my experience you know Kashmir kind of takes most of the time. Ah, but I’m sure we’ll speak again.

 

01:21:04.62

Gaurav

Yeah, Tense road.

 

01:21:17.84

Omar

Thank you.

 

01:21:18.31

Gaurav

Yeah.

 

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GauravL

Skeptic | Aspiring writer | Wildlife enthusiast

2 thoughts on “BrownCast with Rahul Pandita on Kashmir, Delhi Riots, Maoism”

  1. Though exile was a harrowing experience for Kashmir’s Pandits, it is not true to say that Government did nothing. It did a lot.
    Government could not prevent the exodus of people in fear of their lives, and it would have been unable to protect each individual Pandit home- scattered as the Pandits were with no majority anywhere, not even Habakadal. However, it paid the salaries of all the Pandit employees sitting in Jammu or elsewhere in India. It bore the cost of the refugee establishment everywhere, and it ensured that Pandit children got special admission quotas in professional colleges everywhere in the country.
    Could it have done more? Opinions can differ here; the question is, what?
    The government has certainly extracted a heavy price from Kashmir’s Muslims over the long run. Pandits are probably better off outside the valley. There was never any love lost between the two communities despite all the protestations of common Kashmiri identity, which though not false were certainly hypocritical, because on the most basic issues all Kashmiris thought alike. No outsiders for one, accompanied with mutual loathing under a guise of bhai bhai.

    1. “Pandits are probably better off outside the valley.”

      “Jews were probably better off outside Germany.”

      Same energy…

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