Srinagar, Oct 30: Dr Karan Singh, former Union Minister and scion of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, has asserted that it seems implausible for Kashmiri Pandits to return to their homeland, reports appearing in the media said.
“Many people keep asking me whether or not the Kashmiri Pandits can return to Kashmir. I think it is not possible for Kashmiri Pandits to go back to Kashmir, although successive Governments have done their best to get them back,” Singh, an authority on Shaivism, said.
“Successive Governments have constructed safe zones for them, but they are not able to go back to Kashmir,” Singh continued. “There are a few who go back but others are not able to do so. The Government has also organised many programmes for Kashmiri Pandits, but I do not know how they can go now,” he added.
Karan Singh, as per media reports made these remarks while releasing the book ‘Ancient & Lost Temples of Kashmir’ authored by Avanti Sopory. He expressed his indebtedness to Kashmiri Pandits, stating that all his knowledge comes from them. He lamented the challenges faced by this well-educated community.
He acknowledged the historical tragedies in Kashmir’s past, highlighting the Pandit migration in 1989-90 as the seventh such incident in the region’s history. Singh pointed out that Buddhism and Hinduism were integral to Kashmir’s essence, but the region saw destruction by various forces in its history.
Singh highlighted that the infrastructure built by them in Kashmir, including famous roads and hospitals, and credited Maharaja Gulab Singh for expanding India’s boundaries.
Avanti Sopory, introducing her book, stressed the need to share the constructive discussions and contributions that Kashmir has made over the past 2,000 years in fields like Buddhism, Sanskrit, science, and medicine.
Speaking of Kashmiri temples, Karan Singh mentioned that the Dharma Trust, run by his family, has been working to keep them operational. He pointed out that there are only three ancient temples in Kashmir that are functioning properly.
These are the Shankaracharya or Jyeshteshwara temple in Srinagar, Kheer Bhawani in Ganderbal, and the Parvati (Sharika) temple in Srinagar’s Hari Parbat fort.