Say No To Family Planning And Divorce, Kashmiri Pandits Told

Say No To Family Planning And Divorce, Kashmiri Pandits Told

3 October 2012
DNA
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Srinagar: No family planning and avoiding inter-caste marriages is the new mantra of the migrant Kashmiri Pandits to save the community from becoming extinct in the restive Jammu and Kashmir. Increasing death rate, exile-driven health trauma, neuro-psychic related disorders, stress diabetes, lonely elders, growing divorce rates and rising inter-caste marriages have badly hit the social structure of the Kashmiri Pandits living in exile in various parts of the country. Waking up to the crisis, Kashmir Pandit Conference (KPC), an organisation of migrants, has come up with a list of dos and don’ts for the Pandits to weather the crisis away for cohesive and vibrant community having one of the highest literacy rates in Jammu and Kashmir. “Avoid inter-caste marriage. This dilutes our community ethos, rituals and adversely affects our population growth. Increase and enhance your population by avoiding one or two children norm”, reads the KPC list of dos and don’ts for Pandits. Kundan Kashmiri, president of KPC, said Kashmiri Pandit community is passing through very critical period of the history and therefore it is necessary to infuse the spirit of unity and inspiration among all the members to fight for their rights and against injustice. “In the interest of the community we all have to sacrifice our personal egos and show our willingness to bare personal displeasures. It is also need of the hour for all of the community members to pledge for acting together”, Kundan said. The Kashmir Pandit Conferencepresident said time has come when the Pandits reverted back to the norm of having more than two children in an attempt to save the community from becoming extinct. “Numerically we are diminishing day by day. Our death rate is three times more. Our birth rate is very low. For the last 22 years most of our community members have been following one or two children norm. So we have called for having more than two children to increase the numbers”, said Kundan. Official figures reveal there are 58,697 registered Kashmiri migrant families living in various parts of the country. These include 38,119 families in Jammu, 19,338 in Delhi and 1,240 in other places throughout the country. The Kashmir Pandit Conferencehas also called for avoiding inter-caste marriage because it allegedly dilutes their community ethos and rituals. “We are more than 5000 year old civilization. We want our brethren to marry within the community”, said Kundan. But what has complicated the problem is that the exile has adversely affected the marriages with divorce rate increasing in Pandits by the day. “Divorce was unheard of in our community before the migration. But the exile, coupled with globalisation and greed, has increased the divorce rate among our community”, said a Kashmiri pandit woman activist.