the-south-asian Life & Times                 January - March 2011




 Editor's Note


 Cover Story
 Kashmiri Pandits

 Eminent Pandits
 Neel Kashkari

 Veer Munshi

 Pradman Kaul

 Pandit Bhajan Sopori

 Photo Feature
 The Obamas in India


 100 years of aviation
 in India

 Mt. Kailash
 Stairway to Heaven

 In the footsteps of
 Smythe in Garhwal


 The Wild Ass

 By O P Dutta









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Editor's Note


The dawn of a new year always brings hope of something good happening. This year – more than ever – one hopes for peace and tranquility and the return of true Kashmiriyat amongst our family of Kashmiri brothers and sisters. It is now 21 years since a 5000 year old branch of the Kashmiri family – The Pandits - were forcibly ousted from their homes by terrorists and militants. They have suffered the pain of being uprooted, of living in exile in refugee camps and most of all borne the pain of losing their culture. They have left a cultural void in Kashmir as well – where they are missed. It is not too difficult a task to bring those people together who share a belief system and a similar thought process and philosophy – provided there is the political will to do so. An environment needs to be created for their return and the rest will follow – naturally. The secular traditions of Kashmir and Kashmiriyat will take care of the rest. Kashmiriyat does not view Kashmiris as Hindus or Muslims – a Kashmiri is a Kashmiri and will always remain one. We certainly hope a process can begin to enable the return of what was a very enviable Kashmiri culture.

We have also brought you ‘The Mother of all Pilgrimages’ in the form of exclusive pictures. The thought of journeying to Mt. Kailash can be daunting for many – it is not without its set of difficulties – logistical and physical. The photographs will take you through the entire journey – from Kathmandu to the final Parikrama (circumambulation) around Mt. Kailash.

Far from the remoteness of western Tibet, in the Little Rann of Kutch lies a barren, silted and cracked expanse of 5000 sq km land, now called the Wild Ass Sanctuary. Not many travellers have been there – or even heard of it. This is also where the hardworking Agariyas live and work in dismal conditions and in the isolation of the Rann to pan salt from September to April.

Hope you will enjoy the photo feature on the State visit of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to India.

This is the first time ever that we have run a feature on Fashion – but not without reason. Our very discerning readers voted Sabyasachi as the ‘Designer of the Decade’ – and our pages on him will tell you why.

Have fun and keep safe,

Roopa Bakshi















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