The story of Kashmiri Pandits is an extraordinarily difficult one to tell. One the one hand, when the insurgency erupted in Indian-administered Kashmir in 1989, thousands of Pandits left the valley, suggesting that the community suffered enough intimidation to abandon their homes. On the other hand, the accounts of Kashmiri Pandits who stayed behind in Kashmir contradict claims by Pandits in the diaspora who say that Kashmiri Pandits suffered ‘a genocide’ and were forced ‘into exile’.
Indeed, understanding the experience of the Pandits, caught between Kashmir’s Muslim majority and the ambitions of the Indian state, is an intricate affair.
Even the semantics describing the flight of the Pandits from Kashmir are highly politicised and contentious.
Azad Essa speaks to Mridu Rai, the author of Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects: Islam, Rights and the History of Kashmir about the Kashmiri Pandit community and how they fit into the dispute.