Zizek : Quiet Slices of the Peace Camp

Ziabari : Waging War Against The Wrong Country

Wright : Litvinenko was MI6 Agent


Wilhelmson : Sad Story from Sweden

Wilhelmson : Revoking Israel UN Membership

Wilhelmson : Forum for Living History

Whitney : Why CFR Hates Putin

White : The Usury Paradigm

White : Ezra Pound American Giant

Weiss : Out From the Shadows

Weiss : Elders of Zion to Retire

Weir : Israeli Organ Harvesting

Webster : Israel Lobby in Britain

Weber : Why Judaism is Not Like Other Religions

Watson : War on Shampoo

Walt : Attacks From Ideological Opponents

Wall : Zionists Freeman Robinson

Wall : Who Gave Bibi Permission

Wall : Man Kills His Parents and Begs for Mercy Because He Is an Orphan

Wall : Joe Biden in Israel

Wall : Israels Trauma Trail

Walberg : To Leave and yet Stay

Walberg : Stars and Stripes

Walberg : Review of Al Azmeh Against Culture

Walberg : Return of the Repressed

Walberg : Requiem For An Overweight

Walberg : Recess Games

Walberg : Publish and Perish

Walberg : Prison of Nations

Walberg : Power Behind Throne To Be

Walberg : Political Poison

Walberg : New Auschwitz

Walberg : Muslims and Jews

Walberg : Masters of Discourse

Walberg : Israel In Canada

Walberg : Georgia Attacks South Ossetia

Walberg : Freeman and the Lobby

Walberg : Defining Diplomacy

Walberg : Cakes Not For Eating

Walberg : Bushs Divine Comedy

Valenzuela : Untermensch Syndrome

Uhler : Protocol of the Elders

Tucker : Open Letter to Uri Avnery Noam Chomsky and Jimmy Carter

Tillawi : Nice Soldiers Die First

Tibbs : Interview With Stuart Littlewood

Stone : Robinson Investigation and Protest

Spritzler : Why They Voted

Spritzler : They Destroy Our Society

Spritzler : Anti Gentilism

Spritzler : A New Way For Israel

Sniegoski : Transparent Cabal Smeared

Sniegoski : Israel Nukes Obama

Sniegoski : Gaza Resolution Illustrates Power of Israel Lobby

Sniegoski : Anti War in the Age of Obama

Smith : Illegal Settlements in America

Singh : Gandhi and US Israel

Sharon : The Complete Guide to Killing Non Jews

Shamir : Zionist Crook

Shamir : Yiddishe Medina

Shamir : Yeti Riots

Shamir : Wrong Lizard

Shamir : Wiki Chaos Controlled

Shamir : Walking About Jerusalem

Shamir : Translating the Bible into Hebrew

Shamir : Third Force

Shamir : The Snatch

Shamir : The Rise and Rise of the Neocons

Shamir : The Poverty of Racialist Thought

Shamir : The Man Who Stayed Away

Shamir : Texas Body Snatchers

Shamir : Talmud Impaled

Shamir : Slow Down

Shamir : Shamir in Italy

Shamir : Shadow of Zog

Shamir : Seven Lean Kine

Shamir : Self Determination

Shamir : Secularism

Shamir : Scorpion Logic

Shamir : Say Not Fatah

Shamir : Sages Rule

Shamir : Russias Daring Vote

Shamir : Russian Intifada

Shamir : Right Ho Lobby

Shamir : Return of the Body Snatchers

Shamir : Resurrection Sunday Blessings

Shamir : Regards from Ankara

Shamir Readers : Zionist Takeover of Italy

Shamir Readers : Top Stories February 2008

Shamir : Reading Douglas Adams in Yanoun

Shamir Readers : Should The Jews Be Deported

Shamir Readers : October Omnibus 2007

Shamir Readers : March Omnibus 2007

Shamir Readers : February Omnibus2 2008

Shamir Readers : February Omnibus 2008

Shamir Readers : Christmas Songs

Shamir Readers : August Omnibus 2007

Shamir Readers : August News 2007

Shamir Readers : About Ron Paul

Shamir Readers : A Letter From A Catholic Friend

Shamir : Rape of Dulcinea

Shamir : Pope Not Welcome

Shamir : Peter Edel On Zionism

Shamir : Pakistan in Turmoil

Shamir : Our Congratulations to the People of Turkey

Shamir : Oscar for Obama

Shamir : Obama Lynching Party

Shamir : No War For Heroin

Shamir : Not Only About Palestine

Shamir : No Deal

Shamir : Noam Chomsky and 911

Shamir : Merry Christmas 2007

Shamir : Mauro Manno is gone

Shamir : Mahler In Vanity Fair

Shamir : Madoff Affair

Shamir : Lead Rains of Gaza

Shamir : Keep Shining Cuba

Shamir : Kashmir

Shamir : July Thunder

Shamir : Jews Can Be Trouble

Shamir : Island of Faith

Shamir : Interview with Sweden

Shamir : India Comeback

Shamir : In Defense of Prejudice



Find More Articles By Shamir


By Israel Shamir

Kashmir , a chain of pleasant green mountain valleys was the most cherished patrimony of the Great Mughals, who embellished it with palaces and gardens. Here the Muslims and Hindus lived together in peace and harmony. However, the Empire did not will it. At first, there was a Hindu-Muslim conflagration which resulted in the Partition. Still, the Hindu refugees quickly came back to the Valley after the battles were over. Peace had returned, but not for long. The American meddling in Afghanistan in 1970s-80s had undermined stability. The Americans created Islamist insurgency to embroil the Russians in the fire of guerrilla war in neighbouring Afghanistan . Sparks of the insurgency ignited fire in North India , and soon the villages and towns were engulfed by fratricidal struggle. The Hindus were forced to leave Kashmir and move to Jammu and other places; many Muslims had left too, rather than being forced to serve the firebrand insurgents. Their empty, ruined or burned down houses still stick out in Srinagar and elsewhere, though many of the properties were sold for a song during the insurgency.

This was a tragic development. Kashmiris – Muslims and Pandits (as local Hindus are called) are ethnically and linguistically the same people, they have the same family names. My host in the Valley, Ustad Bashir Butt, told me of their affinities and of good neighbourhood relations. He is a devout Muslim, but there are Pandit Butts as well, sharing the same ancestry. Butts saved lives of their Pandit neighbours during the militants’ raids, though mainly they were preoccupied with staying alive. Disappearance of the Pandits is a tragedy for them, and for all Kashmiris.

This sad situation is relevant for Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinians were forcibly expelled by the Jewish militants in 1948, and since then they are not allowed to come back. But will they if they can? I am on record of being in full support of al-Awda, of Palestinian refugees’ right of return, but I do not know whether many ex-Palestinians would like to come back. The Pandits of Kashmir may come back, after all, India is not a Muslim fundamentalist state, and Hindu parties are close to power. They may, but they do not come – even from nearby Jammu. They say they have nothing to go back to: their houses are burned or taken over. The Pandits are not an exception. Though it is not easy, the German exiles may come back to Sudetenland in Czech Republic and to Poland; but somehow they do not. They come for a visit, but do not stay there for long. It can be the case in Palestine, too.

Now Kashmir is calm and pleasant to visit. Militancy died out, but not many potential Western tourists know of it, and you may now enjoy summer in Srinagar for knock-down prices. There are newly prosperous Indian tourists from Bombay and Delhi , but Western tourists are rare. This is the best time to go to Srinagar , the valley’s summer capital.

A delightful place, to be sure, this town on the Dal Lake , in the shade of mighty Himalayas . It is often compared with Venice , but our Italian friend, who is a permanent resident there, corrected the image: Srinagar may become Venice , but meanwhile it is a Venice of AD 500. The canals and lagoons of the city are not yet fixed and built up and polished to perfection. Imagine the Grande Canale with fishermen’s huts instead of majestic palaces, the Piazza di San Marco covered with cucumber gardens and Rialto full of water lilies instead of pizza stands, and you’ll get the image of Srinagar .

The lake is covered with grass, and this grass is collected by local peasants who roam the lake on their small boats. The grass is used as fertiliser in their tiny gardens which produce amazing harvests. They build floating gardens, and cultivate every bit of land; the plentiful canals dissect the islands, so it is difficult to decide whether you view an island crossed by canals or a part of lake with floating gardens. These grass-collecting boats compete with local gondolas “shikaras” carrying tourists and sightseers and doing taxi job. The scene of this pre-Venice lagoon is very lively and quite unique.

Around the lake, there are magnificent formal gardens laid by the Mughals, and the mountains are nearby for trekking or fishing. The town is also a charming place, especially the house of British representative now turned into emporium of local arts and crafts. There is a strange place often described as “Jesus Tomb”. A local legend says that Jesus after resurrection moved to Srinagar and lived here, happily married, until his death. Perhaps it is the burial place of an early Christian preacher or an apostle. I have brought there the candles lit at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem , and left them at this sanctuary.

In the days of the Raj, the English colonial administrators loved to spend summer in Srinagar and other hill stations, but the Raja did not allow them to buy land for the houses they wanted. As a solution, the Brits turned to build luxurious houseboats, small floating palaces and villas. After Independence , they were gone, and the houseboats were extremely popular place for hippies and other travellers in 1970s and 80s. By the end of 80s, civil war was raging, and the hippies moved to Goa , but the houseboats remained.

[See illustrated version on the website www.israelshamir. net ]

The best houseboats in Srinagar are Clermont boats of Butt. They are all traditional yet thoroughly modernised, equipped with best carpets, handmade furniture of valuable trees and embroidery. What’s more, they are moored at a distance from the town, in a Mughal garden Naseem Bagh with its 400-year old chinar trees planted by Akbar or more probably by his art loving son Jahangir. There are only three boats, and they are usually taken by dignitaries and diplomats. Yehudi Menuhin stayed there, so did Harrison the Beatle, a Rockefeller and even yours truly. One can easily find a cheaper place, but this is the best, ultimate in privacy and Raj-style opulence. The place is run by two Butt brothers, very pleasant and hospitable men. Contact Bashir Butt, refer to us and get a discount!

Donate $100 To Shamir Now!
Click here to join shamireaders
Click to join shamireaders