Kashmiri Pandit women sport their traditional attire at the annual camp organized by the Kashmiri Overseas Association in California
COUR TESY: KASHMIRI OVERSEAS ASSOCIATION
Pandits to set up million-dollar cultural center
SUMAN GUHA MOZUMDER
Kashmiri Pandits in the United States have
decided to set up a million-dollar cultural
center in California to preserve their cul-
ture, heritage and tradition, and pass them
on to the younger generation, who seem to
be losing touch with their roots.
Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William
Burns July 30 signed the Agreement on Arrangements and Procedures for Reprocessing.
The signing is a significant step that enables India to reprocess US-obligated nuclear material
under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and will facilitate participation by US firms
in India's rapidly expanding civil nuclear energy sector
make annual visits to the homeland. This
has resulted in alienation and disconnect
with their roots.
Deepak Ganju, a former president of the
Kashmiri Overseas Association, one of the
oldest in the US, said the decision was
taken at the annual camp organized by the
Kashmir Hindu Foundation, a non-profit
organization seeking to create awareness
worldwide, at the Big Bear Lake, in San
Bernardino Mountains in Southern
California last month.
Ganju who is also involved with KHF,
said the idea about the center came up
about two years ago, but that took concrete
shape only this year.
“We, the Pandits, are scattered all over
the world and we do not have any place any
more that we can call our own. My neighbor, a Kashmiri Muslim, has occupied my
home. We cannot go there and are gradually losing our roots. Even our language is in
danger of becoming extinct someday as
people, especially the second generation,
does not speak the mother tongue. You cannot blame them because they are completely cut off from their roots. They cannot even
visit their homeland,” Ganju said.
“So we wanted to set up a center where
we can have our books, artifacts, and other
cultural exhibits for people to come and see
so they do not forget the history and tradi-
tion of Kashmiri Hindus,” he said. “We
want to preserve all the cultural icons.”
He said there are some 4,000-odd
Kashmiri Pandits in the US, largely con-
centrated in northern California, especially
Freemont and San Francisco.