Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Only a Name

"Nund Rishi-caught in the names "
What is in a name.Well,everything, if you believe the Kashmiri “mainstream” politicians. The recently inaugurated Srinagar International Airport is caught in the name calling business.It might sound strange to most of us that a name should make so much a difference. But if we do believe Kashmiri Politicians, yes the elected ones, it is important, actually imperative to rechristen(oops Re-Islamize) it to Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport.Sheikh-ul-Alam,the much named Saint of the 14th Century was a great saint, no questions about that. It he is he who sang to the glory of Shiva and called Lalleshwari(the Saivate Yogini and Poet) an Avatar(re-incarnation of God).The great man was critical of the clergy irrespective of their religion and thus was a greatly respected saint in his time and till this day lives in our memory as a poignant reminder of whatever sainthood means.

He was born in a family where they earned their livelihood by stealing.He shunned that path and took to the unknown.He lived the life on ascetic and a true vegetarian.For 11 years the great saint survived on milk and leaves that fell of the ground.Such was the piety associated with the saint.He was thus called Nund Rishi.

And then Politics took over.

The kings, who were obviously scared that this might mean end of the Wahhabi brand of Islam that they were spreading, appropriated him. He was called the Alambardar(Flag bearer) of Kashmir. It is very hard to know who first called the great man Sheikh-ul-Alam(The Ulema of the World).Whoever did it sowed the seeds of discontent and obviously Politics.The great saint was Islamized to ensure that what could not be accomplished by sword shall be accomplished by spirituality. The saint was Islamized.

The State Legislative Assembly and Council both passed resolutions to re-christen the Airport.The Minister was quoted as saying that this was done keeping in mind the sentiments of the people One wonders if the people of Kashmir also wish to change the name of Srinagar International Airport to The Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport or do they think otherwise.I remember vividly how people had shouted ”Charar Bane Hane Hane,Mastgul Kate Bane” - Chrar,the shrine of Nund Rishi can be made all over again,but there isn’t another Mastgul,when Mast Gul(the dreaded terrorist) burned the revered saint’s shrine to escape from the security forces who surrounded the shrine.Do these very people, who almost rejoiced at the burning down of his shrine, want to name the Airport after him or is there more to it.Do these sick people , who then cheered Mast-Gul and denigrated Nund Rishi even care about the true saint?

The truth is that name Srinagar doesn’t go down well with the Islamized nature of the Valley.They cannot digest the fact that Srinagar(Laxmi’s Nagar) is the name of the land which is now cleaned of the Hindus who worship the mother-goddess.The truth is that they are already call the Hari Parvat( the hill of Sharika) the Kohi-Maran(the mound of the dead).The Truth is that they are uncomfortable about their Hindu Past, which no matter they do, is stuck to them-in their language, their rituals, their ways of life.

(The writer is the Co-Founder of Roots in Kashmir.He can be reached at rashneek@gmail.com)


Anonymous said...

Duplicity and deception are inherent in Kashmiri Muslim genes.

Anonymous said...

But, still, the Pandits love their Muslim brothers of Jammu & Kashmir...