Kashmiri Pandits Decide To Adopt Three-children Norm27 December 2010
Jammu: Kashmiri Pandits took a baby step on Monday towards arresting the decline in their population. They resolved to revert to the norm of at least three children per family and encourage intra-community matrimonial alliances to “multiply population and preserve the purest genetic pool”. The resolution was adopted at the first All India Kashmiri Pandit Women’s Conference organised by Kashmira Vahini in Jammu. Kashmira Vahini is the apex body of Kashmiri Pandit women. “The conference unanimously resolves to appeal to displaced Kashmiri Pandits worldwide to seriously consider implications of the current reproductive trends in the community and aggressively pursue multiplication of the community’s progeny by reverting to the not-so-old norm of having at least three children per family,” the resolution reads. In exile for more than 20 years, Pandit women suffer from various reproductive problems, neuropsychic disorders, stress diabetes, skin ailments and hypertension. “Our social structure has been badly hit by migration. Young men and women, in particular, have lost privacy since most families live in one-room houses. Our birthrate has fallen and death rate gone up. As a result, our numbers are dwindling,” Khema Kaul, a spokesperson for Kashmira Vahini, said. According to official figures, around 59,542 Pandit families have left the Kashmir valley since the onset of militancy in 1990. Of these, 34,202 families came to Jammu. Around 21,684 Pandit families are registered as migrants outside Jammu and Kashmir. What has complicated the problem of population decline is the exclusivity of the community. “Our genes are the purest. Therefore, we urge members to encourage marriages within the community. We apprehend that if we do not take steps, our community will become extinct,” Kaul said. The divorce rate among Pandit couples is also increasing by the day. “Divorce was invisible in our community before migration. But living in exile, coupled with globalisation and greed, has increased the divorce rate in our community,” he said. “We will assiduously fight the newly acquired social aberrations in the community, such as high divorce rate, vulgar display of wealth in marriages and introduction of easily avoidable and unwanted ostentatious rituals in societal obligations,” Kaul said.