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KP Community stalwarts deliberate on a unified action plan for the preservation of socio-cultural aspects of the survival of the community

Vomedh’s commemoration program on Kashmiri Pandits Holocaust Day witnesses’ huge participation from community


Jammu, January 19, 2023: Vomedh organized a large event today in Abhinav theatre Jammu to deliberate on the need to have concerted efforts from the community to preserve the socio-cultural aspects for the survival of the community. The event was organized to commemorate the Kashmiri Pandits holocaust day on 19 January. Kashmiri Pandits after exodus from valley in 1990 have been globally observing this day as holocaust day to commemorate the fateful night on 19th January which was the starting point of the mass exodus of Pandits from the valley.

Vomedh conceived the event differently this year by creating an idea exchange platform with galaxy of community leaders participating in the deliberations. Few of the community leaders and participants had travelled from outside of the J&K to attend the event which witnessed jam packed audience in Abhinav Theatre.

In his welcome address, Rakesh Roshan Bhat, the mentor of Vomedh talked about the importance of preservation of socio-cultural aspects of community for their continued survival. “Vomedh has been a front line and most active socio-cultural organization of Kashmiri Pandits post exile. It has been at the forefront of socio-cultural preservation efforts.

Vomedh believes that bases its contribution and work in this space in past 15 years, felt that on this Holocaust Day there is a need to take a look beyond just commemorating the fateful day. The already shrinking community is threatened by loss of traditions, language, culture and roots. We hope that this program will trigger a positive thought process and a chain reaction hopefully of ground actions by individuals and other organizations to work in this direction”, he added.

Ashok Saraf, the newly appointed first ever advisor of Vomedh in his statement mentioned that Vomedh will make its programs more inclusive. It will try to engage youth to take its mission forward.

The program kicked off with poetry in exile by renowned poets P N Shad, Dildar Mohan and Pitamber Razdan. Shad and Mohan moved the audiences with their emotional verses and powerful recitation. Razdan created nostalgia and built a vision of way forward through his interesting composition.

This was followed by Paper reading by renowned authors Brij Nath Pandit and Dr. Pawan Suri. Betab in his paper talked about overall need of preservation of culture and civilization of KPs. Dr Pawan Suri who is a very famous doctor, author and columnist talked about the inside and outside perspectives with regards to Survival of KPs.

Another important segment of the program was the panel discussion among eminent panellists representing many fields. All of them spoke about varied aspects of the issue in detail.

Anil Bhat, PTI Chief in his eye-opening discourse tried to explain a very unpopular yet pertinent question – if the population of Kashmiri Pandits is shrinking and if yes, should it be a cause of concern? And, what should the community’s response be towards this problem. King C Bharti, senior Journalist, Social and Theatre activist added another dimension to this issue and talked about if late marriages and high divorce rates, are a reason for concern. Ajay Bharti former MLC tried to answer the question – if KPs are losing touch with the roots? If yes, what should they do about it.

Youth activist Ashwani Sadhu, Founder KP Blood Bank discussed what motivates youth to work for community causes and how to make it more organized and unified. Rohit Raina, who is part of the PM package employees in Kashmir discussed how will new generation build and retain connect with Kashmir. Ramesh Hangloo, the founder of Radio Sharda drew the attention of the audience towards language, customs and traditions. He deliberated on the various aspects and discussed if community collectively is doing enough to preserve them. Dr Samita Bhat, renowned Gynaecologist talked about the impact of exodus on mental and physical health of community. Is it a factor to be considered for better survival of community, she deliberated upon the question? Bindia Tickoo moderated the panel discussion well and also anchored the entire program ably.

A multiple award-winning short film, Exodus and Exile – The Need was screened in the latter half of the program. The film has been written by Rakesh Roshan Bhat and Directed by Rakesh and Rohit. This short film has been screened in over 12 international film festivals. It has also been screened in UK parliament. The message of the film is – save Kashmiri Pandits which was in line with the theme of the program.

Advocate Rahul Kilam and Bharti Kaul were the observers and presented the gist of the discussion before the audience.

The program was managed by Vomedh team led by Vice president Bharti Kaul and supported by Suman Bhat and Priya Khar.

Program concluded with vote of thanks from Rohit Bhat, President Vomedh. All the participants and audience appreciated the efforts of Vomedh and pledged to contribute in their own possible ways towards the preservation of socio-cultural dimensions of community.