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*Badri Nath Pandita
The turbaned K.P. is the familiar face, a face in the crowd, with people and media with bureaucrats and Politicians with intellectuals and non-intellectuals with religious Political and Social People, with Kashmiri Pandits and with Kashmiri Muslims, and the turbaned saintly K.P. is none other than the respected Amar Nath Vaishnavi, who is the unchallenged leader of Kashmiri Pandits and is the president of All State Kashmiri Pandits Conference (ASKPC). He came to the top of the ASKPC decades back in a hotly contested election where he defeated Sh. H.N. Jatty and a number of others.
ASKPC is the only Authoritative Organisation of Kashmiri Pandits in Social, Political, Reformative fields and among its greats have been Pandit Kashyap Bhando, Pt. Shiv Narayan Fotedar, Dr. S.N. Peshin, Justice Kilam, Justice, J.N. Bhat, Pt. P.N. Bazaz and many small and tall men of Stature. The ASKPC is the alternate name of one famous Shri Sanatan Dharam Yuvak Sabha. It had its Headquarters at Sheetal Nath Srinagar, from where it led many a struggles for the People of Kashmiri in general and Kashmiri Pandits in Particular. The Sheetal Nath complex was what Mujahid Manzil was to National Conference. It was the Mujahid Manzil of Kashmir Pandits. The Leadership of ASKPC has throughout been in the Van Guard of Political, Social, economic and reformative aspirations of the Kashmir Hindus and the ASKPC initiated its ‘Rooti Agitation’ from the same Complex, which later on in times led to the need to have a law for Permanent State residence.
Shri A.N. Vaishnavi was born in August 1925, the year of ‘TAAJPUSHI’ (Coronotion) of the Latest Maharaja of Kashmir, Shri Hari Singh and ever since his boy-hood days he has developed Social, Political, Commitment which grew with the passing of the years. He symbolizes the eternal Hindu efforts of ‘SARVA DHARMA SAMBAWA’ and ‘VASUDEV KUTUMBAKUM’ and he is purely a Humanist in his approach to life and the people around. He grew up during the Period of Hindu resurgence pioneered by Dr. Headgawar in the twenties and in Kashmir, this was intermixed with KASHMIR SHAIVISM.
On talking to Mr. Vaishnavi about his boy hood days he becomes a bit nostalgic and pines for the extingtion of the ‘Daily Martand’ which was the K.P. Voice and was run by People by Contribution ‘MUCHAPHUL’ (fist of grains). The loss of this voice meant that the KP Voice was not heard by the high ups and I wonder what a Contribution it could have made in the present times which are rough and tough for the Community. I feel that some vested interests must have conspired to se the death of “Death Martand’. Shri Vaishnavi did attempt to get it revived in 1990 but the attempts failed and the Community is suffering for lack of voice of its own. The Martand could have fought back the disinformation to which the Kashmir Pandits have been subjected to by the likes of Kuldeep Nayer and others, who talk of the Human rights God knows who and do not see any human right violence incase of the Kashmiri Hindus, and propogate the goading theory that the Kashmiri Pandits left Kashmir on the asking of the then Governor Jagmohan.
Mr Vaishnavi is proud of being a Kashmiri Pandit and he recalled that it was the K.P. who announced ‘KASHIR KAS KASHURES’ in the twenties, but he regrets that the said slogan was highjacked by those who had other designs. The Propogators of this Slogan could never have imagined that one day the same people shall be uprooted and shall be thrown out from the Valley, to face a ‘VAN VAAS’, God knows to what number of years, as seventeen long years have passed, since the Kashmiri Pandits lost their homes.
Mr. Vaishnavi and his early education in Ranbir School Jammu where late Mr. Vaid Vashnu Dutt of the BJP was his Class mate. Father’s transfer took Vaishnavi back to Kashmir and there Mr. Vaishnavi worked as a communicator of Bhagat Singh Movement which had the likes of Bal JI Zutshi, Dina Nath Nadim Jagan Nath Koul, and Pt. Ram Nath Vaishnavi, incidentally was the elder Brother of Mr. A.N. Vaishnavi.
Schooling over and with a Diploma in fine Arts, Vaishnavi Ji started his career as a School teacher 1st in DAV Rainawari and later on Arya High School Pathankot and it was he was made incharge of the ‘Shakhas’ of R.S.S. J&K then had a permit system and it was the Jammu Praja Parshad which launched an agitation against it. It attracted Shyama Prasad Mukherjee to the State and Shyama Prasad Mukerjee laid down his life for ending the permit Raj in J&K. Shri Vaishnavi took active part in the said movement and the State Police arrested him under the Preventive detention Act and the charges among other things read that he was supplying arms to the Jammu Agitators from Pathankot. What a farce—The whole World knows that Jammu agitation was peaceful and that not even a single shot was fired by the agitators. Shri Vaishnavi was ordered to be released by medium of a He abuse Corpos Petition by the Supreme Court of India, acting through its then Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Mahajan.This was Vaishnavi’s first baptism with Jail life, which he tasted time and again in his life later on.
Jail Yatra over, Mr. Vaishnavi joined as a Government teacher and was posted to Bandipora in 1955 and in 1956, he was transferred to Handawara, Handwara was then reeling under the after affects of the TRIBAL RAIDERS and the Psyche of Handwara Hindus was at its lowest then, despite the efforts of Shri Ab. Rahim Banday and the pushtoo speaking Arshulla Khan and the Legendary Shridhar Joo Pandit. The Handwara Hindus would not dare to take out Janam Ashtami Processions’, it was Mr. Vaishnavi who asked them to take out a procession with one Moti Lal dressed as the Boy Krishna then. The Muslims of Handwara showered flowers on the Procession and appreciated the same. Mr. Vaishnavi was transferred to Anantnag soon after. Post 1947, the Kashmiri Hindus were made targets of depriviation, depression, depriviation of landed properties without compensation, by the so called Secular system of the State, which led to discontentment which finally found its expression in the 1967, ‘Parmishori Agitation’. Shri S.N. Fotedar, formed Hindu Action Committee and the leading figures in the said Agitation were Shri Gopi Krishen Shri. P.N. Gassi, Shri Jia Lal Raina, Shri A.N. Vaishnavi and the youthful Shri B.K. Handoo, The agitation saw 16 days, Curfew in Srinagar. It saw lathcharges, Police repression Police firing, deaths of so many agitators and it attracted nation wide attention. The agitation failed due to some Conspirators. The Hindu Action Committee organized a “Dharna’ at Delhi and Volunteers S/Sh. H.N. Jatu, A.N. Vaishnavi, Hira Lal Chatta, Bal Ji Seeza, and Mr. Moti Lal Zaroo alongwith her infant baby were arrested. It was December, 1967. Mr. Vaishnavi was transferred to Ladakh where he Championed the cause of Ladakh Buddhist and was arrested for that. Thakur Baldev Singh, T.R. Sharma and Tika Lal Tiploo, worked for his release and got him bailed out and the challan finally failed in the Court of Law.
The Fighter in Vaishnavi saw him again opposing emergency in 1975 and he was jailed for 06 months. He was a part of the famous ‘Ganga Jal Yatra’ in the State. IN 1987, he got elected as the president of the ASKPC and ever since he has been its President, in rough times and tough times, in peaceful times, and at all times ever since 1989-1990, he has been the spirit behind the luckless Kashmiri Pandit Migrants and he index.html has been doing whatever he can to help them in distress. The age does not effect him. Problems do not deter him and he continues to fight and fight a peaceful battle for the survival of his Community. He can out walk any young person even at this age and he works for the Community from the Geeta Bhawan Jammu alongwith his group comprising H.L. Chatta, R.K. Riana, and many many others. He works and works and Advocate Bushan Lal Pandita got a surprise of his life at BADARKALLI Handwara where Vaishnavi Ji surprised all by appearing on the Scene on the ‘Hawana’ in the year 2006. He has been an inspiration to the Kashmir Hindus and post 1990, he has worked as Member of the National Human Rights Commission he Presided over the Global conference at London (England) and he is one of the Star attractions of the Government of India’s working Group on Kashmir to explore the means to see the end to the blood bath in the Valley. He is the ‘KARAM YOGI’ of the GEETA and a link to the connectivity of over 5000 years of Kashmiri Pandits History in Kashmir. He symbolizes our hopes, our aspirations and all that. He is a Saint turned Politician. He is soft spoken but never avoids speaking the truth. He links himself with the luckless Kashmiri Pandits.
|*Sh. Badri Nath Pandita (M.A,LL,B), is an Advocate in Jammu High court, and a social, political activist now living in Jammu, India|
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