Today Kashmir is again in the news and as always it is for the wrong reasons. Not only is the country being terrorised by the issuance of constant threats for the imminent hanging of terrorist Afzal Guru, but also, in the bombing of the High Court premises, one can see the deft potential of the execution of the threats. The Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir had already made his strategy clear on his tweet. Tweet basically means, the chirping of a bird, but this is not the harmless chirping of a bird, it is the public announcement of self-destruction. Immediately after this, an MLA put up a proposal in the assembly, for the grant of pardon to Guru. Subsequently, in the support of Afzal Guru and to terrorise the whole nation, a bomb was exploded in the capital which killed more than 12 people and injured 90. This serial terror strike that started against India way back in 1939 refuses to stop. Even then, when the whole nation was fighting to free the country from the Britishers, the valley was conspiring against the Hindu society and the Hindu Raja of Kashmir. This has now become a never-ending series. The number of terrorist attacks are increasing in frequency and it is being portrayed as if the whole of Kashmir valley is struggling to wriggle out of the demonic clutches of India and India’s citizens are holding on to the valley with a vice-like grip. Even the people in the central government who interact with the agents of ISI secretly, are now trying to give the message that the only way out of the problem is to free Kashmir because Kashmir has a soul that is different from the Indian soul. They are trying to prove that Kashmir was never a part of India and every nook and corner of Kashmir is a proof of this. There is nothing in Kashmir that can be said to be in consonance with India. However, only a little, unbiased analysis will tell you that Kashmir has always been an integral part of India and Indians have always been proud of Kashmir, the movement of people in and out of Kashmir was as easy as it was to any other part of the country and Kashmir’s society always felt pride in seeing itself as a son of India. Even today, there are so many symbols in Kashmir that will tell you that Kashmir was an integral part of India and will remain so in all future. If seen from a historical point of view, even the most naive (andha is not a good word to use in today’s times) will agree that Kashmir’s history is nothing but a part of India’s history. However, there are people who want to distort the great history of Kashmir in the name of Kashmiriyat. Kashmiriyat, for which Kashmir has become the centre of attraction of the world, did not come into being because of the sufis, whose whole life was spent in the spreading and Islamisation of Kashmir. Kashmir has been a holy place for the whole of India from times immemorial. The pilgrimage of Kashmir has always been attracting the people of country. The Martand temple in Kashmir has been always attracting the rest of the country to Kashmir. It is one of the two sun temples of India. The university there has always been a centre of attraction for the rest of the country. The scholars from all over India used to visit Kashmir for the discussions on Shaivism that were held there. The darshan of Ksheer Bhavani temples would leave the pilgrims as contented as any other holy place. The biggest attraction for all the Hindus of India is cave of Baba Amarnath. Despite the intractable difficulties that people face while making this pilgrimage of the holy ice-capped cave, it is the desire of all Hindus to make it to the cave at least once in their lifetime. Till a few years back, there were people who would consider themselves lucky if they breathed their last while making the journey to the holy cave. People visiting the holy cave from every nook and corner of the country, once they had made it to the holy land, felt that they were in the caring lap of their own father. Bringesh Sanhita, Neelmat Purana and Rajtarangini, the holy books that are thousands of years old, give accounts of the same. Even today, the Hindus of the country feel that their lives are incomplete without the darshan of Baba. This has been the desire of Indians since times immemorial. What more proof can one ask for the unity of integrity of Kashmir with India than this?
It is at this place that Parvati Maa had listened to Amar Katha by Bhole Baba. The whole Hindu society is the worshipper of Shankar baba, in fact they are themselves Shankar personified. He is innocent like Shankar and” ashutosh ” like him. He is satisfied with whatever little he has. He has blessed even the unworthy but very much like Shankar, when he opens his third eye that can bring untold anarchy and misery. Baba Amarnath is the symbol of immortality. The Hindu beseeches immortality. His and Baba’s relations are inseperable. He will continue to come down to Kashmir. Even in the face of natural disasters, terrorists’ bullets, bomb-explosions, sacrifices of the pilgrims, the Hindus will continue their journey to the cave. As long as Baba Amarnath is there, Hindus will continue to visit the holy cave. The Hindu is not going to stop in fear from coming to this holy place. Baba is immortal, he is not going to go away from there. Even the enemies of the country have now realised that the Hindus will keep coming for the annual pilgrimage and as long as the Hindus keep coming to the cave, Kashmir valley cannot be separated from India by any means. This is why they always make the pilgrims their target of attacks. The attacks that started on the pilgrims in 1986 have not refused to stop. On one occasion, it was even threatened that the pilgrims who are thinking of the making the journey must come here after saying a final goodbye to their families as this would be their last journey from where there will be no going back, this was an open threat to kill the pilgrims. The terrorists and their masters keep conspiring to make the pilgrimage a failure. When the Hindu was not deterred by the attacks and the threats, the pilgrimage was sought to be brought under government red-tape under the excuse of making arrangements for the pilgrimage. At times, it was said that land will not be made available to them despite court orders. Omar Abdullah, Mufti and the separatist alliance has made Kashmir a living hell. The agitation of 2008 to nullify the conspiracies of the separatists by the Hindus has now become a historical account. How the whole nation came forward t save the Baba’s land cannot be forgotten. More than 20 lakh people had taken part in the ‘jail bharo’ andolan. This also proved that the soul of the whole nation was one with the Baba and they could go to any extent to save it.
This pilgrimage has always been going on throughout the year. The darshan of the holy Shiva Linga is important but during the summers when the shiva linga disappears, even then one can see a large number of pilgrims assembling for the darshan. The reasons for these are apparent, for the devout Hindu, it is not only the shiva linga but the whole cave that is important because this cave is witness to the amar katha by Baba. But, despite this, sometimes on the pretext of the weather, sometimes on the excuse of the melted shiva linga, sometimes in the name of the security and sometimes environment, the pilgrimage has been banned by completely unconstitutional and unethical means. The Hindus were even discouraged by government conspiracies. They never even gave a thought if they can impose such a ban on the same kind of activities taken up by some other religion. The article 25, 26 of the constitution does not allow them to impose any such bans. Even the High Court has told the government and the Board that it only has the powers to make arrangements for the pilgrimage and not control it. Despite this, whenever a separatist leader makes a negative comment on the pilgrimage, the leaders of the valley join him in chorus and the governor then shows extreme haste in implementing the agenda. These facts leave us in no doubt that this pilgrimage in always on the radar of the international agencies as they know full well that this pilgrimage is the strongest pillar in the unity of the country.
Despite the challenges thrown at the pilgrims from the separatists and their masters, the numbers of the pilgrims is only swelling. Earlier, there were only a few thousand people making the pilgrimage, now their numbers have increased to 5-6 lakhs. This pilgrimage always looks like a miniature India because people from all parts of India make it to the pilgrimage. The Hindus have been taking the challenges of the pilgrimage as their religious and national duty. Therefore, all Indians must understand the national significance of this pilgrimage and always remain prepared to defend its holiness.