Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India


Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

  Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India

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October-December 2001 issue

Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

Table of Contents

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Asthapans - Potential Source of Community

... C. L. Sadhu

Almost all Asthapans/Devasthans/Temples in the Valley, with which were attached both cultivable, non-cultivable land and other immovable property were largely under the control of Dharmarth Trust with huge offerings (chadawa) all the year round. After 1947, some few were left to the taken care of by Sudhar Samiti Trust, started long back by Shri Gopi Kishenji, renowned proponent of Kumdlani Yoga philosophy at Shivalaya Temple, Srinagar. Presently Justice J.N.Bhat is the acting President/Chairman of the Trust. Large chunk of construction land attached to the temple at Sulena (Rambagh), cultivable land both at Nishat/Ishber and also attached to the cremation ground Chinar Bagh, Safa Kadal under its control, were reported disposed of, before our migration/displacement from the Valley. The Trust is reported to have purchased a plot of land at Jammu with construction of 2 rooms and a community hall. It has added recently rupees five lacs to its revenue with sale proceeds of its surplus land to Ramakrishna Ashram within its premises constructed of long with sole initiative of Prof. B.K.Kaul, a whole time devotee, now is consented to be the sub centre of R.K.Ashrama, Udhaiwala, Bohri, Jammu, a recent affiliate of Ramakrishna Muth, Belur, Calcutta.

 Durganag Mandir, at Sonawar os governed separately by its own Trust presently held by Shri P.N.Takoo. The Trust with large premises, buildings and land attached to it from either side of the road has a large chunk of orchard land around Ram Kaul Mandir at the foot of Hari Parbat under its control. This being an ideal place  for KP displaced personnel for a short transit stay located on the national highway within the catchment area of Tourist Reception Centre, Residency Road and Civil Secretariat. Construction of a guest house, 3-4 rooms and a hall to start with and face lifting of the inner precincts are the priorities to Trustees need to take on urgent basis.

 The Shankaracharya Temple and Raginya Bhawani Shrine at Tulla Mulla are under the control of Dharmarth Trust. No development work of any kind has been undertaken by the Trust despite huge collection of offerings (chadawa) for the last over half a decade. The rush of pilgrims on Zeth/Ashad Ashtami at the Tulla Mulla shrine is reported to have touched nearly 20,000 this year. It is reported that some KP volunteers from the AG's office and Civil Secretariat have formed the Hindu Devotee Sanastha under Mr. R.L.Bhan, Statistical Officer, Education Deptt., Civil Secretariat, who have recovered Rs. 20 lacs from the Trustees through a court order part of which is presently being expended for the construction of big Dharamshala and Hawanshala since the old Dharamshallas are under the occupation of the security forces.

 Recently after the Legislative Assembly passed a bill allowing the formation of Shrine Board for Holy Amarnath on the lines of Mata Vaishnov devi Board, the state government has constituted the Board without any KP representation. However an 11 member committee has been constituted under the convenership of Prof. Satish Raina, Adviser, Minority Affairs, for the management and administration of all KP Hindu Asthapans/Temple Trusts/Committees, Charitable Trusts in the Valley. Other members of the committee are Shri T.N.Khosa, Shri A.N.Vaishnavi, Shri P.N.Takoo, Shri A.K.Deewani, Prof. T.N.Ganjoo, Dr. Surrender Dhar, Dharam Bir Batra, Smt. Neerja Mattoo, besides IGP and Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir. It is reported the Committee has even deliberated in a sitting convened recently in Srinagar.

 What is urgently needed, is to survey, identify and have access to the records of the Asthapans/Temples/Charitable Trusts in all the districts of the valley and locate/trace the managers/management of the concerned Trusts/Committees, some of whom are reported to be in hibernation for long. This exercise has to be attempted by the concerned deputy commissioners through their revenue officers at tehsil/block level to be assisted by the reputed concerned social activists living mostly as campers/non-campers at Jammu/Delhi. All records of assets, both in cash and kind (cultivable, non-cultivable and orchard lands including movable/immovable properties) under control of these Asthapans/Temple Trusts/Committees, Charitable Trusts, need to be consolidated  and a full inventory prepared accordingly. The priority shall be to remove and vacate the encroachments wherever made with the help of police/revenue departments. Steps be initiated to fix, execute the rent deeds with the concerned authorities and recover the rent retrospectively wherever the security forces or other agencies have occupied the premises. Under the Protection and Maintenance of Migrant Property and Distress Sale Act, negotiations for sale of any kind of land, portion of land or lending on lease, need to be stalled.

(The author has been associate of ASKPC Srinagar, KP Sabha Jammu for long and a committed founder member of AIKS Trust Fund, presently residing at Colaba, Mumbai after his retirement.)

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