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									Issues of forced
   migration
 study on Kashmiri
      pundits




               Alisha

               Swati Tickoo

               MA (Psychology) SEM IV
                                         Introduction

Forced migration, or refugee hood or exile, poses a severe crisis of self at the level of both the
individual and the group whether it is explicit form as refugee hood, or in its equally
penetrating but subtler shades, displacement is capable of dismantling the very foundation on
which identity and selfhood are anchored. Forced migration is not only the initial impact of
expulsion that is experienced as painful. Equally upsetting is the life historical conditions that
refugee hood forces one to live in within such a pervasive context; trauma can no longer be
only identified with a particular event or life historical moment. Instead, its impact is
internalised as a vulnerable emotional base, subsequent injuries to which are capable of
reactivating the refugees’ entire cycle of losses.

The United Nations (1998), in its Recommendations on Statistics of International Migration,
revision 1, defines a migrant as “any person who changes his or her country of usual
residence”. Identifying who is a migrant can be difficult due to the dynamic nature of
migration, which in turn implies defining and assessing temporal and spatial criteria.
Migration can be permanent, if a person never return to his or her place of origin, or long
term if a person moves to a country other than that of his or her usual residence for a period
of at least a year (12 months), so that the country of destination effectively becomes his or her
new country of usual residence. A short-term migrant is defined as a person moving to a
country other than that of his or her usual residence for a period of at least 3 months but less
than a year (12 months), and often is the status of a person who moves from one region to
another in accordance the seasons. However, if a person moves to a new country for purposes
of recreation, holiday, visits to friends and relatives, business, medical treatment, or religious
pilgrimages, he or she is not considered a migrant (UN 1998)

One such painful and dismantling experience is that lived by Kashmiri migrants. Let us know
something about them and their entire cycle of struggle, which unfortunately is still going on.

Who are the Kashmir Pandits?

The term Kashmiri Pandit refers to Hindu Brahmins who originate from the Kashmir Valley
in India. The term ‘Pandit’ was specifically to the Hindu Brahmin residents of the valley
during the 15th and 16th centuries, in deference to their high education and economic status.
However, during the 19th century, the term Pandit was used to describe the Hindus (not just
Brahmins), who had stayed within the Valley and not migrated nor converted to Islam. The
Pandits made about 4% of the population in the valley, although the percentage decreased
with successive waves of migrations.

What was the migration of 1989?

The augmentation of Kashmiri militancy in 1989 and several political factors caused the
forced migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley to refugee camps around
Jammu in 1989. This resulted in loss of life, property, businesses and homeland. The number
of exiled is within the range of 160, 00 in some sources to 400,000 in others. Most Pandit
families fled south, towards Jammu, the Hindu dominated part of the state, where the state
initially accommodated them in transit relief camps. Another camp was opened by the
Central Government in New Delhi as the numbers kept increasing. New Delhi and
surrounding areas now has most of the Kashmiri Pandit population.

What were the reasons for the migration?

a) A variety of political reasons led to the formation of Islamic secessionist movements
within Kashmir like the JKLF- Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and the more radical
Hizbul Mujahideen, which viewed Hindu Pandits with suspicion and as manifestations of
Indian rule in the state. Their anti-India rhetoric, and openly pro-Pakistan stance, alienated a
fair proportion of the heterogeneous population of the state. Centuries of co-habitation, ended
overnight as Hindu and Muslim relations came under strain.

b) Once the secessionist movement turned violent, and targeted Hindus, the Pandits thought
it most prudent to flee in order to secure their own lives. Pandits, many who of whom served
in the state administration, became easy targets for militants trying to prove a point. The
killings of high-profile Pandit leader Tikkalal Taploo and High Court Judge Nilkanth Ganjoo
in September and November 1989 are examples.

c)   Central rule was established, as Delhi tried to control things through a governor-
Jagmohan, and the Indian armed forces were beginning to move in, as early as January 1989.
The complete collapse of the Executive and the tacit understanding of the exodus, by the
State administration, which continued to pay salaries in absentia and tried to ensure safe
passage of Pandits to Jammu, only ensured a further addition to refugee numbers.

d) On the 4th of January 1990, Aftab a Valley based Urdu news journal, published a
warning, and issued allegedly by the Hizbul Mujahideen, calling for all Hindus in the region
to take flight, the warning was re-echoed in Al Safa and the Srinagar Times on the 16th of
January. Most Pandit families thought the movement as temporary, something they would be
able to reverse, once the situation calmed down, as they were mostly in Jammu, within the
same state, still close enough to return.

What is the condition of displaced Kashmir Pandit community?

Many families remain unregistered and lived outside relief camps. For those in the camps,
conditions continue to remain dismal, with disease and poverty widespread. Essentials like
running water and electricity are missing, even in the best of the camps. Families of up to 6 or
8 people live in one room. There are inadequate healthcare facilities and little or no
educational facilities in any of the camps. A report issued in 2005 entitled ‘The Impact of
Migration on the Socio-Economic Conditions of Kashmiri Displaced People; by the Jammu
and Kashmir Centre for Minority Studies came up with some shocking conclusions about the
physical and mental state of those in camps. Among others it finds that “An alarming 79% of
migrants suffer from depression, while 76% suffer from anxiety disorders such as phobias
and panic attacks. 8% even suffer from delusional disorders and psychosis.” Additionally it
stated “More than 36 per cent of women become infertile by the time they reach 40 years of
age” (Jammu and Kashmir Centre for Minority Studies 2005).

The most salient feature of Kashmiri identity manifestation in recent years has been their
territorial affiliation with the homeland. This dimension of Kashmiri identity has given a
distinctive character to the community’s political and social mobilization and it involves a
high level of preoccupation with events in Kashmir. Rex (2000) states that a ‘diaspora is said
to exist when an ethnie or a nation suffers from some kind of traumatic event which leads to
the dispersal of its members, who nevertheless continue to aspire to return to the homeland’,
and explains that the diaspora phenomenon is exemplified by the Jews seeking to return to
Zion, black Americans seeking to return to Africa and the Armenians seeking to return to
Armenia. (Guibernau and Rex, 1997) something similar is happening with the Kashmiri
migrants too.

Here it becomes important to know are we so much lost in our personal issues and political
endeveours that we forget about refugee resettlement. Of course it is hard for these refugees
to go back to their city, but is it really so impossible. Many theorists and researchers have
tried to look upon different issues of forced migrants and refugees and have tried to
understand the depth picture of resettlement issues.


Rose discusses that in forced migration, 'Community' comes to displace 'the social' as the
field through which conduct is both thought about and governed (Rose 2008b: 331-7).
Responsibility also tends to be shifted to the local level of subjects themselves, perhaps best
exemplified b y the proliferation of 'empowerment' discourses (Cruikshank 1994; Rose
2008b: 336). An advanced liberal rationality therefore presupposes more active or
enterprising actors (Rose 2006: 115), 'subjects of responsibility autonomy, and choice' (Rose
2006a: 534). Advanced liberal rule generally involves the introduction of more distance
between the decisions of formal political authorities and the conduct of a variety of
authorities and actors.


A liberal person must have the capacity for choice (Hindcss 2006: 100) and it is precisely this
feature that refugees are assumed to lack. This assumption is evident in the talk and texts of
Kashmiri migrants/ refugee resettlement. Because of persecution, or fear of it, refugees are
assumed not to have a choice to migrate to Delhi and to have no choice but to stay after
arriving.


Most accounts assume refugee resettlement is an essential humanitarian realm devoid of
power and politics and the epitome of the humanitarian character. The few Marxist accounts
that mention it assume it is an element of a labor regime of capitalism: refugee resettlement is
largely consistent with immigration policies that seek to ensure migrants become a docile
form of labor as required by the changing needs of the national economy (Creese 2001; cf.
Kay and Miles 2002 on Britain). But refugee resettlement and how it has changed since the
mid- 1970s cannot be reduced to the sudden appearance and subsequent fatigue of
'humanitarian' sentiments or the needs of a capitalist economy: the changes witnessed since
then are both more complex and historical than either of these interpretations suggest. In
relation to the latter one might note, for example, that resettlement programmes associated
with liberalism have come to imagine over this period the transformation of the migrating
marginalized refugee, into not merely a submissive worker, but also a rooted, self-regulating
citizen.
There are certain personal biographic accounts available which also point towards the
suffering and pain that these people suffered and are still suffering, as we state them below,


 We were and we will be- author Kuldeep Raina talks about a women Parineeta
 Khar,

  Five stories in this tome under review deal with displacement and exile as its
 theme. The other two stories - Yati and the Apsaras, The Deity of the Chinar
 are meant for that generation of Kashmiri Pandits who never saw/or lived in
 Kashmir

 About it she writes," we are the children of legendary eleven families who
 tenaciously refused to accept anything, other than battagi (being a Kashmiri
 Pandit).

 I have an uncanny belief; the tyranny of bigots will abate the contempt and
 conceit will sometime and somewhere.

 The bruised and pulped up battagi will come out of the debris of ruined
 mansions, peep out of the heaped up rubble, and stand erect again. Hence,
 we were and we will be". Parineeta Khar is not only a superb craftswoman in
 the art of short story writing; she brings new innovations as well. This is the
 hallmark of originality in a writer. Her earlier work 'on the shores of the
 Vitasta' (1994) reflects on the social milieu of Kashmir when terrorism was an
 alien concept among Kashmiris.

 She says, "we had left Kashmir, for the betterment of our individual lives...She
 (ever pardoning mother: our Kashir) waited for long and then discarded us with
 the bitterness of a mother who disowns her children after being left to
 dereliction...Now, when I am alone...the treasure drove of the reminiscences is
 my haven. I close my eyes, delve deep and peep into the days of my childhood,
 my early youth and my bridal days - in Kashmir".




 The stories in that collection emerged out of after-dinner sessions in Kashmir's dreary winter.

 The present book, the author writes, "is the manifestation of inundating currents of ferocious magnitude
 ebbing in my own psyche". She is candid in saying, "I have not chronicled the history of atrocities meted out to
 Pandits, neither did I enumerate the gruesome killings of the people of my community at the hands of terrorists.
 My tales allude to circumstances of distinct nature, some strange and others intriguing. These stories are an
 attempt to depict how terrorism affected and influenced all of us, one or the other way...My stories depict a
 celebration of life - a continuation of life". The author uses the setting of a society gripped by terrorism,
 fundamentalism and social conflict to explore the human psychology - its frailties as well as strengths. She does
 not construct a fictional scenario about a social milieu. The society, is depicted as it is, with no theorisation or
 building imaginary scenarios to tailor it to the needs of political correctness. The generational conflict in
For 30-year-old Sanjay Kumar, it is only a 10-minute walk. He can reach on foot his ancestral home
from a government hut in which he is now living at his village, Hall, in the Pulwama district of south
Kashmir. He cannot go there as the home is in a bad condition and also the prevailing situation does
not permit him to live alone there.

Sanjay was in third standard when he and other members of his family had to migrate from Hall to
Jammu like other community members after the eruption of militancy in 1990. Five months ago,
Sanjay got a government job under prime minister’s employment package for Kashmiri migrants and
was posted in Srinagar.

Later, the youth had to return to Kashmir from Jammu and live in the pre-fabricated hut at his village.
Like Sanjay, about 150 other migrant Pandits from Pulwama district have been residing in huts,
guarded round-the-clock by the policemen, after they secured government jobs under the PM’s
package.

The migrant Pandits leave for work places without any security and return much before evening. “It is
very painful that instead of my own house, I have to live in the government hut in my own village. We
live like prisoners here and do not enjoy the freedom, which a human being is entitled to. Since police
guard our structures, we can not move out after 7 pm,” lamented Sanjay. Once in the beginning he
almost decided to give up the government job and return to Jammu. “I got very much frustrated. But
when my childhood friends (Muslims) came to meet me, I gave up the plan. They came to know about
my return and met me. I could not immediately recognise them as I was only nine years when we had
migrated.

My friends introduced themselves and related some incidents of our childhood. It brought tears in my
eyes,” Sanjay recalled. The Pandit youth’s Muslim friends make it a point to meet him whenever they
get a chance. “On Sundays we go for outing to some tourist spots. My friends take me also to their
homes and I stay with them for some time.

When I am with them, I feel happy and when I am back in these structures, I feel lonely and like a
prisoner. I badly miss my family living in Jammu,” he said. Sanjay wants to get rid of the “prisoner-like
life” and wishes to live in his ancestral home with other family members. “We have our own home
here, why can’t we live here? I am optimistic about our dream to return to our homes coming true
soon. Local Muslims are keen on our returning to villages. The separatists also now make statements
favouring our return,” he pointed out.

Rationale

To investigate and understand certain issues and crisis forced migrants from Kashmir
(Kashmir pundits) face, and look into themes like,
                                           Rationale

To investigate and understand certain issues and crisis forced migrants from Kashmir
(Kashmir pundits) face, and look into themes like,

•       Identity, hardships, inner conflicts, adjustment, etc

•       Understand the marginalization of the forced migrants in the host city

•       Understand our own issues in relation to it and realize our perspectives (its boundaries
and flexibilities)




                                        Methodology



       Sample

Three Kashmiri pundits were taken as the sample. Their respective demographic details are as
follows,

Demographic Details

1. Name: Mr Vijay Kumar Wali

Age: 55 years

Occupation: Pathologist

2. Name: Mr Satish Kumar Tickoo

Age: 56 Years

Occupation: Government Employee (Engineer) , Military Engineering Services

3. Name: Mr chand ji mattas

Age- 53 years

Occupation: self employed shopkeeper
Measure employed

Tool of investigation was interview, and questions were inspired out of literature review as
well as personal understanding. Some basic questions were,

      What reasons forced you to migrate?

      What were your experiences while migrating?

      Describe the environment of the after migration period? (Where did you stay, how did
       you earn bread, what hardships did you face)

      What would you see migration, forced migration and refugee hood? Are they the
       same or different?

      Because you have been living in this city for such a long time now, do you feel
       connected to the culture of this city?

      What has been the role of government in your experiences and how do you evaluate
       it?

      What do you miss the most in context of Kashmir?

      Do you face any conflicts of identity?

      What is it to be a Kashmir pundit in Kashmir and in Delhi? Is it same or different?

      Do you wish to go back?

      What are your plans for future/ how do you view future as?
                                    Thematic Analysis

   1) Feeling victimized in the harsh environment

The analysis of the interview of respondents brings to fore the feelings of suffering on
account of losing the ancestral land, traditional subsistence patterns, cultural ethos, the
peculiar identity, ethnicity and the linguistic heritage due to displacement. The constant
feeling, longing for ancestral land and inner urge to return back to the place of origin shows
the level of dissatisfaction with the new habitation. They also feel that friends, neighbours
and fabulous climates all conspire to make the Kashmiri Pundits want to go back to their
birthplace. They express that as Kashmiri Pundits are the original indigenous people of
Kashmir Valley living there for five thousand years they have an inalienable right to live in
Kashmir. They wish to exercise the right to live, right to vote, not on the basis of the goodwill
of majority population, but to live with the preservation of the fundamental rights provided to
them by the constitution. They also expressed that the Kashmiri Pandit is displaced in his
own country, being a victim of cultural ethos. Muslim brethren do not approve of the turn that
the militancy has taken after 1990s. They may definitely be full of sympathy for the
sufferings and trauma Pundits faced in the aftermath of their exodus. Kashmiri Pandit is keen
to live in valley (homeland), deserving assurance of honour and dignity enjoyed by them
before the exodus of 1990s, To build up such an atmosphere every secular organization,
whether political or non political, social or religious have to come forward and put every
effort in rehabilitation and maintaining the old traditions preserved by the minority
community in Kashmir before 1990 commonly known as "Kashmiriyat". This shall bring the
old memories of the outgoing community back. Certain instances from the narrative citing
this theme are,

      “Government and logo ne hame proper nahi dekha kabhi…unke paas saari
       information this ki community migrate ho chuki hai and wapas nahi ja sakti, lekin
       hame thik se rehabilitate karna unhone sahi nahi samjha shayad…bahut bura
       behaviour tha!”

      Hume bahut si harsh situations dekhni padi hai…we really wish we were in
       Kashmir!”
   2) Memories of suffering and concern for saving cultural ethos

The analysis of the respondents also brings to fore how the peaceful, life satisfying and
atmosphere of communal amity was disturbed by the fear psychosis of gun culture and the
extra ordinary circumstances which forced the displacement of the ethnic kashmiri Pandit
community. Respondents narrates how his peaceful daily life subsistence mode was shattered
by the events unleashed due to hostile circumstances and he was forced to leave everything
behind and forced to run for safety of his family in the struggle for survival. One of the
respondent, Chand Ji Mattas, express the detailed account of the hostilities encountered and
experienced after landing at a new place alien to their cultural origins, where the struggle for
survival had its own competitions and challenges totally different in every respect than the
one where he had spent his childhood and had been brought up though a different pattern of
socialization.

Keep aside the life satisfying conditions, the respondents depicts how the peaceful life was
left to struggle for survival, made to abandon the ancestral land, forced to live in such
conditions which were highly disturbing, and unbearable. How they were made to suffer for
unfolding of events whose causes were out of their control and innocent comprehension as
well at that time.. Amidst the struggle for living, each one of them expresses how they crave
for the cultural heritage, the language, rituals and customs which have been a part of their
social life. All of them are very much concerned about the cultural identity of their children,
whom they want to learn the ethnic dialects and practice the customs, religious rites and
rituals of Kashmiri ethnic community. Instances from the narrative supporting it are,

      “hamara kashmir ka culturebahut soothing sa culture tha, jab hum is naye culture
       mein aaye isi ko adopt karna pad gaya tha…yeh humse kaafi forward hai, and sab
       bahut collective tha…par ab hamare bache yeh sikh hi nahi paate!”

   3) Migrant or refugee- a conflict
The respondents in their narrations show how much they are suffering in the new city with
different issues of culture, values, and even survival. Their narrations reflect that on one hand
while others consider them as migrants, they deep inside feel as if they are refugees in their
own country! They cannot go back to their land and cannot claim their rights, no matter
whatever the government says.
For both the individual who receives the ‘refugee’ label and those who recognize him or her
as such, the definition of ‘refugee’ implies specific positions, identities, and relational
possibilities. For instance, the necessary referral to the past provides a psychological and
relational focus that influences the social interactions of refugees, who become trapped in
their past


The complex process of identification and recognition carries immediate consequences for
the life of refugees, forced migrants, or displaced individuals. From a psychological
perspective, the recognition and, frequently, self-identification as a refugee involves both a
sense of safety related to the international, legal status and the internalization of the refugee
condition in one’s own identity (Ong, 2003). By becoming refugees, displaced individuals
find themselves ‘becoming subjects over the course of an infinite series of encounters’
(Henriques et al. 1998: xvi) that situate and structure one’s subjectivity. With time, the social
constructions and discourses that condition the refugees’ self-perception and action end up
regulating their identities and social recognition (Hayden 2006). This process of
‘subjectivation’ (Foucault 1994b) enables the risk of self-fulfilling prophecies for refugees’
mental health (Pupavac 2002; Summerfield 1999).


An instance which supports it is the following,


       “It is not the experience of migration, it is refugee hood! You can say we were driven
        away and we are refugees…migrants don’t keep away from their land for 22 years.
        For a migrant he knows at the back of his mind that he will come back, while though
        all of us at the back of the mind have a wishful thinking that we may come back but in
        the heart we know we can’t!”


    4) Issues of identity crisis
Individually and collectively, constructions of memory and identity are mutual and recursive.
Memory has a constitutive effect on identity and, in turn, one’s identities encourage and
shape the recalling of specific memories. ‘When memory is deployed for purposes of
articulating, ritualizing, or memorializing identity, it responds to specific psychic and
historical needs’ (Shor 2008: 79). The interplay between what to remember and what to
forget results in narratives that are constructed and expressed to fulfil psychological needs for
the individual and socio-political functions for the groups and discourses that are influential
in his or her life.
Kashmiri pundits are also experiencing the same! They are deep inside in a crisis of who they
are- are they now residents of this present new city culture or the one they have left behind.
They are not able to adjust to the new culture and find a difficult time accepting that people
here can be befriended. Most of them say that since the time they have come here, the people
here have created some or other problems for them and they find it really difficult to trust
them!
The past strongly contributes to the formation of identity from a psychological, social,
cultural and, in the case of refugees, legal perspective. Frequently, however, this referent to
the past is among the most dramatic and the most difficult to verbalize. With the partial loss
of a system of referents related to home, the relationship with the past and the sense of a
familiar self and system of practices is frequently challenging for refugees. For example, one
narrative supporting it is,
       “yah ape hume apni Kashmiri identity establish karni padi hai…yaha jab hum aaye
        toh we didn’t knew much about north Indians ya delhi wale…so hume identity banana
        padi!’


       “naturally hamari identity mein bahut change aaya hai…we are in crisis, kashmir
        mein ab jo log hai wo bhi marginalize hog aye hai aur yaha hume delhi wala banna
        pad raha hai!”


    5) Suppressing many thoughts and feelings

Forced migration renders a person from being somebody to becoming nobody! At this level,
the modern metaphors of namelessness, fairlessness and invisibility aptly describe the
refugee’s sorrows. The loss refers to one of identity- of formerly having had a distinct face, a
recognisable self image. In forced migration, with the severing of family, clan and
community ties, as with Kashmiri pundits, the predictability of one’s universe is almost
shattered and temporal sense of human continuity is brutally disrupted. This, no doubt
impacts the mental peace and psychological well being of people. This is somewhat handled
with certain defence mechanisms. People start using some of them to rationalize their
suffering and their existence.
Also, accepting people out here, and accepting that the place where they have come gives
them a feeling of home away from home would be a target on their own struggle. Through
this they would “symbolically” be proclaiming the “death” of their struggle. In this regard,
actively demonstrating the past is intricately tied to the life of their struggle and acceptance of
new soil and people of it, would perhaps mean having lost the struggle!

   6) Spirituality and coping in the new surroundings

The respondents gave a strong emphasis on the importance of spirituality in the interviews.
They also credited as being one of the most important ways in which they kept their wits
about it due the crisis period and coped later on in the displaced land. “kashmiri Pandits jo
hote thee woh subah uthkar naha dhokar puja path main time pass karte the use chiz ne
bahut himmat bandhai yaan pe bhi aake, sabne usse continue kiya aur bahut kuch humme
mila, jo kuch spiritual ritual hum karte the jisko mante the usse humme mann ki shanti milti
thi usne humme kafi help ki”. Statement like these also shed light on the fact because
Kashmiri Pundits came from a strong spiritual tradition and religious beliefs this not only
game them a solace in the ideology of Hinduism in concepts like law of karma, illusionary
world but also in a way it gave them a feeling of continuity being at least in part still rooted
and connected to their land. Just the practice of these rituals gave them hope of survival of
themselves individually but also survival of the “Kashmiri Pundit identity” in the period of
forced exile.
                                         Discussion
Life for Kashmiri pundits has changed significantly over the past many years. Having left
behind the beauty and serenity of their homeland to enter a new phase of hardship and
suffering has inflicted a lot of injury- economic, mental, and psychological and the worse
being the loss of identity. This transformation has caused Kashmiri pundits to reinterpret the
past in accordance with their present needs and cultural ethos. Memory has become a lens
through which they see the present and acts as a foundation stone for them to pave new ways
for themselves. A person can never be cut off from his/her past, as experiences are carried
with him through memories which are pivotal in the reconstruction of a de terrorized identity.
True, memory I largely associated with “place” but not in static unchanging way. It may be
linked to nostalgic ideas of “what we once were or used as an accessible means of projecting
a collective identity”. This does not however mean that there exists only a single voice in
their projection, but rather a multiplicity of voices have emerged that uses different symbols
and experiences at different times in attaining specific goals or purposes.


There is John berry’s acculturation model (1980) which very well explains the occurrence of
marginalization of the migrants. According to this expanded view of acculturation, we see the
inclusion of value systems, developmental sequences, roles, and personality factors as
contributing to how individuals accommodate when they come into contact with each other.
The change from one cultural orientation to another can be “selective,” and persons involved
in intergroup contact can decide what elements of their culture they wish to surrender and
what cultural elements they want to incorporate from the new culture.


According to this model, cultural awareness represents the implicit knowledge that
individuals have of their cultures of origin and of their host cultures. Included in this
knowledge are such things as proficiency of the languages of each culture, knowledge of
significant historical events that have shaped the cultures, understanding and appreciation of
the artistic and musical forms of the cultures, and standards of behaviour and values that have
shaped how persons conduct themselves. If individuals show more knowledge of their
heritage cultures than they do of the new contact cultures, the model holds that they are less
acculturated; similarly, if the persons possess more knowledge of the host cultures, then they
are more acculturated.
To be more specific and direct to our area of investigation, berry states that marginalization
feeling in the migrants come up when they neither are able to get in contact with the culture
of the new host city, nor are they able to well maintain their heritage culture. Kashmiri
pundits, in their instances and narratives also try to show how they feel reluctant to come in
contact with others due to distrust and several other factors, and how they are not being able
to maintain their culture in this city and miss most of it! These all might be what is leading to
the marginalization and consequently arousing feelings of identity crisis, issues conflicts and
suppression of feelings.


One more noteworthy thing to discuss is why they are not able to adjust in the new cultures.
Let us first realize this through the narratives that these migrants are feeling stigmatized by
the label of being a refugee or migrant, as the way we see them. Stigmatized individuals are
sensitive to information in their environment that affects the likelihood that negative reactions
or evaluations from others are due to prejudice and discrimination (Crocker, Voekl, Testa, &
Majors, 2001). At the same time, some researchers (Ruggiero & Taylor, 1995, 2007)
suggested that stigmatized individuals are relatively reluctant to blame their negative
outcomes on prejudice or discrimination, even when there is good reason to suspect it.
Ruggiero and Taylor (2007) argued that participants in their studies were reluctant to attribute
negative outcomes to discrimination because there are a number of psychological costs
associated with making these attributions. Specifically, attributing negative outcomes to
discrimination lowers social self-esteem and decreases perceived control over individuals’
outcomes at the same time it may protect self-esteem associated with individuals’
performance. In addition, attributions to discrimination may be very costly to interpersonal
and working relationships, such as the process that migrants undergo to acquire competence
in the new culture. Migrants may be less motivated to attempt acculturation if they believe
discrimination exists against their group by members of the dominant social group. If this
happens to migrants, their opportunities for social mobility in the new culture are lessened.


Displaced people, without roots, loss of status and recognition, feelings of anger, sadness and
frustration lie at the core of Kashmiri pundits reconstructed identity in exile. Kashmiri
pundits, who were always protective and highly sensitive of their special identity, do find
themselves at cross roads, coming to terms with the local assertions and alien influence and
yet keeping their unique culture alive is the major task before them. They have lost much
more than their houses and assets- their narratives show that they see a great tradition dying.
But what is heartening is that withstanding all hardships what emerges at the end of it all is
not a pessimistic sense of passivity and hopelessness, but rather a strong sense of punditness,
a clear construction of a collective identity and a powerful voice echoing with hope for the
future of this rapidly dispersing community.


For Kashmiri pundits, the future holds many unknowns and uncertainties. The experiences of
exodus and life in exile combined with selective memories from the past are intricately
woven into a complex trajectory of identities. This trajectory effects the way in which the
future is perceived both in terms of self, place and collectively maintaining a unique
Kashmiri punditness. Here for the importance lies on maintain of everyday symbols of
identity and more significantly for the future- customs, beliefs, music, food, literature,
language and values.
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