Hindu Temples are not just centre of devotion and worship. Hindu Temples are centre for learning, selfless service. Till there were hindu temples I Kashmir, the valley had a vibrant diverse cultural beauty.
With the forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits and destruction of the Hindu Temples, the cultured civilization took a massive blow and terrorism started to spread its roots.
Today in an herculean announcement the Minister of States, Home affairs said that committee has been formed to survey the destructed temples in valley in order to take up restoration.
Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said that the government has set up a committee to survey number of closed schools in Kashmir valley and will work towards reopening them. He said that a survey has been ordered for the temples which were shut down or vandalised in the valley.
He said that in the last 70 years, when Article 370 was in force, it only gave rise to “terrorism, separatism and pro-Pakistan” elements.
This is a government that protects the sovereignty and integrity of the country. It’s a patriotic government,” he had said.
For those who ask, what Modi is doing for Hindus? He is restoring our cultural heritage.
During Howdy Modi event a kashmiri pandit kissed PM Modi’s hands in a gesture if thank you. The video had gone viral. He is none other than Dr. Surinder Kaul. He has dedicated his entire life for the cause of Kashmiri Pandits.
He and his fellow Kashmiri Pandits have full details of the temples that were destroyed since the barbaric Islamic invaders set foot.
Desecration, damage and destruction of temples is not new and unusual phenomena. The process has been continuously going on ever since Kashmir passed into political domination of Muslim rulers in the first quarter of fourteenth century.
The Muslim rulers of Kashmir, the Mughals and Pathans made full use of their political authority to effect conversion of Hindus of valley. To achieve the objective it became imperative for them to wipe out all traces of religious and cultural symbols of Hindus which included their temples, libraries, universities and ashrams etc.
In Kashmir gun powder was used for the first time not for fighting a war but for destroying massive Hindu stone temples. When it was felt that the fissionable material was not available in sufficient quantity for the destruction, the nearby jungles were cut and used for setting on fire the giant stone structures of Hindu Temples.
By excessive heat the stones burst, broke-away and crumbled these gigantic structures that spread through the length and breadth of Kashmir. The ruins of Martand, Avantipur, Devar etc. are mute witnesses of the atrocities.
Varahamula, situated on the right river bank, has left its name to the present town of
Varahmul, usually called Baramulla by Punjabis and other foreigners. The ancient temple of
Varaha which seems to have been one of the most famous shrines of Kashmir, is repeatedly
mentioned by Kalhana. According to the tradition of the local Purohits it stood near the site of the present Kotithirtha, at the western extremity of the town and close to the river bank. Some
ancient Lingas and sculptures found at Kotitirtha may have originally belonged to the temple.
The destruction of its sacred image is noted by Jonaraja in the reign of Skandar Butshikast.
After India achieved freedom and Kashmir acceded to the Union of India, temple
desecration was resumed. Temple lands cremation grounds etc. of Hindus were usurped for expansion of Islam. The famous Bhairvnath Temple of Chattabal, Srinagar was got locked through police. The judicial case pending in court concerning this temple was never allowed to be decided.
Precious lands around Hari Parbat hill, Durganag Temple of Srinagar and lands at several Hindu places of worship in the valley were slowly and steadily turned into lands under occupation of Muslim trusts(Maqboozai-Ahali-Islam). In 1967 Shivala Temple, Chotta Bazar, Srinagar was desecrated.
Again in 1984 Shri Hanuman Temple at Hari Singh High Street was damaged and in the same year Arya Samaj Temple of Wazir Bagh, Srinagar was burnt. From 1986, the law and order situation in the Valley deteriorated day by day and temple desecration became the order of the day.
Report of Sh. Sukh Ram Dass, Deputy Mahant, Gautamnag Ashram
One Sh. Sukh Ram Dass, Deputy Mahant, Gautamnag Ashram is also incharge of the
Raghunath Mandir of Anantnag, Kashmir. He was kidnapped by Muslim insurgents on
6-3-1991, mercilessly beaten during his protracted interrogation. A date was fixed for executing him. He, however, managed his miraculous escape.
Gautamnag is an age-old shrine. Swami Sarawanand meditated here for sixty long
years during Maharaja Partap Singh and Hari Singh’s rule. He had made a big pond called
“Lotus Lake”. The lotus which grew here were of course more fascinating and awe-inspiring than those in the famed Dal Lake and Manasbal Lake of Kashmir.
The Shrine has been famous for its Gow-shallas, for centuries, for food and fruits
lavishly served to pilgrims, Saints and Sadhus from all over the country, particularly during
Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra. These food stuffs would, invariably, go to the needy Muslim neighbours, orphans and widows of all communities free of cost in absence of Ashram guests.
On Feb. 20, 1986 a two storeyed temple in the Ashram was razed to the ground by unruly Muslim mobs. The then Governor of J&K subsequently had a temple built on the debris of the burnt temples. The Deputy Mahant even gives the dates of fire attacks during insurgency.
Grenade attacks on temples 21-6-91.
Petrol Bomb attacks: 12,13 and 23-11-1993 etc.
Deputy Mahant approached the authorities to shift ten starving cows to Jammu or
elsewhere. Nobody listened to his request. “I then sought help from voluntary organizations. They readily managed shifting of cows to Jammu on their own expenses and at the greatest
risk to their voluntary workers including truck drivers”, says Sukh Ram.
“The Governor of J&K State promised me on 24-6-91 to have back side wall of the Ashram buildings repaired besides some essential construction in the premises done but the assurance turned out a hoax” adds the Deputy Mahant.
“On 15th September 1990, I submitted representation to the concerned police station and also to the D.I.G. Police, concerned, the Governor and others for raising the strength of CRPF personnel guarding the Ashram from 8 to 16. To my great surprise and shock entire
CRPF was shifted on 30-10-1990 and replaced by local armed police personnel who looked with contempt towards me and the shrine.”
Sukh Ram says that he made frantic appeals to the President of India, Home Minister, Governor of J&K State and lot of others but nobody could be moved.
The result was that a double storeyed house, cow-shed, shali store house, other minor constructions were reduced to ashes on 19-10-91 at dead of night under the nose of local guards who did not move even their little finger and even whisper while the carnage was on.
Sukh Ram says he met the Hon’ble Home Minister personally and several other
Congress leaders and apprised them about the continued desecration to the temple and shrines in Kashmir but he was unable to evoke any response.
Finally we have a government which doesn’t hesitate in restoring the glorious cultural heritage of the country. Modiji will be the greatest leader to rise post independence, not just Kashmiri Pandits whole hindu community must be ever thankful to him.
Dr Sindhu Prashanth