Devi Sharada Reappears in Kashmir: This Is Where The Tide Turns?

Devi Sharada Reappears in Kashmir: This Is Where The Tide Turns?

by Rohit Pathania - Wednesday, March 22, 2023 01:45 AM IST
Devi Sharada Reappears in Kashmir: This Is Where The Tide Turns?The Sharada Peetham in the 19th century; currently it lies in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.
  • Devi Sharada has returned to Kashmir. A temple dedicated to her is being inaugurated in Teetwal today.

    Will devotees also be able to visit her 'throne' in Shardi village in present-day PoK soon?

The gods, they say, have risen once again.

As numerous discoveries perchance of vigrahas take place all around, the turn of events of Sharada Maai entering Teetwal in Jammu and Kashmir, back after a hiatus so long, is perhaps a signal and witness of a change.

When one looks at the events panning out in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the past four years, it makes you think—is there some divine will at play?

For starters, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a significant, steep fall in violence.

Terrorists and self-styled terror commanders get eliminated within days if not hours.

People responsible for the age of fear and darkness in the region are meeting rather cruel fates.

There are reports increasingly of the nationalists of the state finally having a voice, with the administration, despite flaws, trying to address people’s issues.

Kashmir is perhaps at its most peaceful in decades, and even in Jammu despite some mistakes, a sense of equality and a slow fading of the sense of discrimination has finally started to come through. 

What is going on across the border though is something that makes you wonder if Sharada Maai’s journey will end at Teetwal alone.

Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) and Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan (PoGB) have been undergoing a strange kind of turbulence that could perhaps have not been imagined even four years ago, when Article 370 was rendered infructuous.

‘Get Out Pakistan’ - the Slogans of Azadi that Rattle the Pakistani Colonisers

For the past three months, almost as if on cue, as Sharada Maai’s vigraha has moved from Sringeri in Karnataka towards Kashmir, a series of protests have rocked PoJK and PoGB simultaneously.

Pakistan’s economic crisis has meant that resources are scanty, and the coloniser mindset has surfaced fully, with news of food supplies being diverted from these regions to feed the people of Punjab and the large standing armed force of the dystopian police state. The food crisis has essentially brought the oppressed people to the brink.

In December 2022, people’s protests had begun, and the scale was unprecedented. In the words of Col B S Nagial (retired):

On 16 Dec 2022, massive protests erupted in POJK. People are comparing these similarities between the conditions of then East Pakistan in 1971 and in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan now. Leaders make a clarion call for freedom from suppression and occupation of the Pakistan military and Punjabi establishment.

But that was just the beginning. The storm has gained more momentum, with even otherwise sectarian players singing unprecedented tunes.

The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) is opposing the Pakistani census exercise tooth and nail, saying that it is an unconstitutional exercise. As per the Pakistani Constitution, they state clearly, citizens of PoK are not part of Pakistan, and the parties of the region say that this exercise is an attempt to eliminate their identity altogether. 

As if to rub salt in the wound, in the last one year Pakistan’s economic troubles have also been accompanied by a large section of the local populace (not to be confused with the Punjabis and Pathans settled in the regions) calling for reoccupation by India and complete merger.

Every other day there is a video going viral on social media from PoJK and PoGB where people are appealing to the Indian Army and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to save them and free them from the colonial oppression of the Pakistani military state. 

In the meantime, a rather bold step has shaken the Pakistani establishment to the core. A group led by in-exile activist Amjad Ayub Mirza, has given the Pakistani establishment a deadline of 22 October 2023 to quit PoJK or face consequences.

In a parallel of the kind of narratives that would run in Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir valley in 1988-89, the turning of tables seems complete. That too on 22 October, whose significance cannot be lost on anyone. 

22 October - Poetic Justice of Sharada Maai?

For those who remember, it was on 22 October, 1947 when Pakistan via its non-uniformed soldiers and tribals raided Jammu and Kashmir and tried to occupy it by force.

It was this and the subsequent reaction series of misadventures by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that resulted in a strange status quo where one third of the territory was lost seemingly forever. This included the village of Shardi in the Kishenganga (Neelum) Valley, wherein lay the Sharada Peetha, the abode of Sharada Maai. 

Teetwal, where the present temple is being set up, used to serve as the base camp for the yatra that took place each year. But due to the botch ups, bungles, and the subsequent misses including in 1971 and after, the Peetha stood abandoned, waiting perhaps for the day when Sharada Maai’s children would come back.

Her wait even endured the fact that her children got thrown out of the Valley in a genocide in 1990, and still await the day when the yatras like those for Sharada Maai’s peetha in Kishenganga valley would be made possible again, in an atmosphere free of fear and full of bhakti.

But the divine plan clearly has decided to play itself out.

The possibility of the Pandits returning to Kashmir valley seems closer than one could have imagined. Temples being restored, and a new one being built in decades in the region in Teetwal may act as the bellwether needed.

On top of that, the turbulence in a country that stands bankrupt and does not know where to go may also translate into a situation that was inconceivable - the re-merger of PoJK and PoGB back into India.

If that be the case, the route for Sharada Maai to reoccupy her rightful place in Shardi would be poetic justice, that too if it occurs on 22 October. 

To some it may seem a distant dream. But what is Sharada Maai’s will, only She knows. For now, it seems that some truly divine intervention may be waiting for all of us just around the corner.

Rohit Pathania works in the space of renewable energy and environment. Other interests include politics and the economy.
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