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Preserve and Promote Age-Old Values of Kashmiri Hindu Cultural Tradition

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KP Navreh Message

Navreh Mubarak
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SATISAR Foundation greets the Kashmiri Pandit community on New Year's Day, NAVREH and prays for its prosperity, well being and cohesiveness. Kashmiri Pandits celebrate NAVREH on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada or the first day of the bright fortnight of Chaitra and it follows the Saptarishi Samvat institutionalised by our ancestors more than 5000 years back. The night previous to NAVREH, every Kashmiri Pandit household keeps a Thaal filled with rice, a piece of bread, cooked rice, an inkpot and a pen, some walnuts, a cup of yoghurt, a coin and a Nechi Patri. This is the first thing to be seen in the morning of NAVREH so that we would have food (prosperity), intellect and continued respect for our religion and culture and would follow rituals, festivals, and other important occasions as per the tradition.

NAVREH for the Kashmiri Pandit community has been a harbinger of hope, happiness and spirituality and also marks the end of harsh winter and the onset of spring which brings with it joy and happiness. The community would welcome the New Year with gaiety, devotion, joy and festivities. They would relish the pleasant, fresh and fragrant air the spring would bring in and would visit almond blossoms, Devi Angan for festivities and Chakreshwar for seeking the blessings of Goddess Sharika to start the New Year. The significance of the visit to Chakreshwar was in celebrating the presence of Durga on NAVREH.

Even though the Kashmiri Pandit community is in the twelfth year  of the forced exile imposed on it, the occasion of NAVREH gives the community an opportunity to identify with its roots and energize it for endeavours in the coming year. 

The Kashmiri Pandit community has a unique and distinct social, cultural, spiritual and philosophic tradition which dates back thousands of years. The more recent Exodus has indeed cut us off from our roots in the Kashmir Valley but it is imperative to preserve and promote the tradition of our fore-fathers to maintain our identity and also to fulfil our responsibility of maintaining its continuity. Festivals like NAVREH help us in reinforcing that commitment.

While the dangers posed by the forced Exodus and the dispersal are many and significant, Kashmiri Pandits would have to make sure that this chain doesn't break and we have a tradition and a social order that is strengthened, promoted and preserved. That itself would maintain our identity as Kashmiri Hindus.

There has been a slackening of effort to promote and preserve that very tradition which gives us sustenance as a community, and as a unique culture. This is also matched by woeful lack of encouragement and near to total absence of Kashmiri Pandit institutions that could have laid the foundations for promoting and furthering the Cultural ethos of the community. It is high time that we build and nurture some and hopefully in the long run provide the socio-cultural direction that would strengthen the community. All communities draw strength from the collectivity and the value system that emerges out of that commonality. For Kashmiri Pandits to succeed in any endeavour, that value system and the strength that a sense of belonging brings is very important. To avoid being rootless in the near future, an important and serious effort is needed. And SATISAR Foundation has embarked on that for precisely the same reason. Fundamentally, it is an institutional effort. It may be a difficult exercise, keeping in view the constraints and the problems that our dispersal and the forced exile has forced on us, however, it is the only way for the community to remain alive rather than get lost in the history books.

SATISAR Foundation would endeavour to preserve and promote the age-old values of Kashmiri Hindu social, religious, linguistic, spiritual and Cultural tradition. There will be a need for some solid institutions that would last and also to build resources for the Economic well being and overall improvement of the community. 

The sacred thread (Yoneye) that accompanies this message also signifies a resolve that despite many odds, there is an urgent need to safeguard and strengthen the very basis of our culture and tradition. The sacred thread symbolizes that resolve of Kashmiri Pandits to survive amidst difficult and hostile conditions. This also reminds us of the resolve of our ancestors, of our fore-fathers who protected the sanctity of the sacred thread at all costs even if it meant being martyred for that.

All these years of persecution at the hands of Islamic bigots and fanatics, over the last 700 years, Kashmiri Pandits have not let their tradition and their culture and their language to wither. With each wave of barbarism, tyranny and persecution, the community emerged stronger in their resolve to protect and promote their religion, culture, spiritual tradition and language. And that till date defines us as a distinct and unique community of Kashmiri Pandits. We shouldn't let this weaken and slip away from us. That surely would signal the end of the community and probably would propel it towards its extinction.

SATISAR Foundation believes that there is scope and hope for sustaining and rejuvenating this basic lifeline of Kashmiri Pandits as a community. And, therefore, support for encouraging and conversing in Kashmiri language is important and so is maintaining our social and marital  order by encouraging marriages within the fold. So, also is important, the cohesiveness, mutual caring and sharing and a close knit social order. This would bring forth a sense of pride and confidence and would help us, especially our younger generation to sustain that tradition which we all hold dear.

So, on this happy and joyous New Year Day, NAVREH, let us all join and pray for the well being and prosperity for our community and pledge our efforts towards strengthening the mission we have identified. This is a collective effort and we welcome ideas, your help and your time and seek your blessings.


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