India in Siege
By Dr. M.K. Teng
of Himalayan hinterland extending from Afghanistan to the Mongolian deserts
of Gobi, was brought about by the Hindus of Kashmir. The periodisation
of the history of proto-Aryan culture in India, must be reviewed now and
rescued from the colonial concepts of the race movements across India.
The divide that has been, so far claimed to intervene between the proto-Aryan
India and the Sanskrit culture of the Indo-Gangetic India, is imaginary
and unfounded in sociological data. The civilisation of India, as conceived
in colonial frames of reference, was confined to boundaries which never
existed in the history of India. Indian civilisation was always a totality,
with its Sanskrit substructure, of which the Hindus in Kashmir formed an
The Muslim expansion into India, was the first
assault on the modes of the Sanskrit society. The civilisational conflict
inherent in the Muslim expansion in India, characterised the entire course
of history, which followed right up to the end of the British colonial
empire in India.
The Hindus of Kashmir, so far, they were not exposed
to the Muslim expansion, evolved the aspects of the Indian civilisation,
which marked a rare intellectual brilliance, in integrating the Vedic spiritual
culture into a single unity. The Semitic expansion into India suddenly
put the Hindus in Kashmir on the frontline of a conflict, which later continued
for a millennium, and which consumed them ruthlessly, till the Sikhs came
to their rescue. When Ranjit Singh wrested Kashmir from the Durani
Afghans, he was stunned to learn from a census, he had ordered to be conducted
that of the quarter a million of the population of Kashmir, who were Hindus
at the time of the Muslim conquest of the Valley, hardly twenty eight thousand
survived. The rest had been converted or killed.
The reductionist rationa-lisation of the cultural
change, claimed more by the Indian scholars of the history of Northern
India, than the British and the European scholars, forms part of the post-colonial
expressions of Indian reaction to Muslim dominance. Few societies in the
world have accepted change in their tradition and the mores of their ethics
out of recognition of a symbiosis in cultural confrontation. Indeed the
rise of semitic religions in the west, the supersession of Budhism over
the Bon, Confucianism and Taoism, in Far East, was a consequence
of powerful military and violent struggle. Northern India, more specifically
Kashmir, could not be an exception.. The Jengezide Mongols, who spread
across Asia, into the Middle East and then South Europe, carried the nascent
ingredients of the early Budhism with their vast expansion and destroyed
everything that came in their way. Kublai Khan, the grandson of Changis,
enforced the Buddhist faith in most of the Central Asia and far East. The
phenomenon of the extinction of the Sanskrit Hindus and their cultural
heritage in Kashmir, was a part of the same historical process, which determined
the rise of Christianity and Islam. Inquisition was a principal feature
of all semitic faiths and it continues to be so even now. Pakistan represents
the same tradition.
Martyrdom in Kashmir must, therefore be visualized
in the process of Indian history. Unfortunately for this country, inspite
of the great renaissance, the exposure of its people to British liberalism,
led to the leadership of the Indian liberation movement, to override the
assertion of the Muslim India for a separate political wheitage fact, which
led straight to the partition. The leadership of the Congress, sought a
reconciliation with the Muslims with the help of the inertness of the Hindu
civilisation suppressed into subordination over a millinium. It had a direct
impact on the Northern India, which was ultimately broken up and ravaged.
The partition, the logical consequence of the
attempt to seek a reconciliation of the national identity of India, with
the quest for a Muslim power in India, did not end, the basic conflict,
which had its roots, spread over the centuries of Muslims rule in India.
Akbar the great Mughal, erroneously venerated for religious tolerance,
was as committed to the Islamisation of India, as Babar was. He changed
the strategies the earlier Mughals had followed. Not surprisingly therefore,
the process of the destruction the Hindus undertaken in Kashmir was as
rigorous during the Mughal rule as it was during the Muslim Saltanate.
The Muslim struggle for ascendence in the north crystalised in seeking
to integrate the Muslim majority provinces in India, into the Muslim State
of Pakistan. In the princely. States, which were not even remotely linked
with the partition of the British India and the creation of Pakistan, the
Muslims demanded the Muslim majority for their Muslim commonwealth. They
swallowed Kalat, against the will be of its ruler, flushed out Hindus from
Bahawalpur, to annex it to Pakistan and then invaded Jammu and
Kashmir a Muslim majority princely state.
In the invasion of Jammu and Kashmir, around thirty
eight thousand Hindus and Sikhs were killed. Perhaps, the number would
have been far larger, but for the heroic resistance the Hindu officers
and men of the State army offered to the invaders. The Muslim officers
and ranks deserted the State army, when the invaders rolled into the State.
Perhaps, few of the hundred thousand Hindus, trapped in the Kashmir Valley
would have survived, if Brigadier Rajinder Singh and the handful of his
gallant men, would not have laid down their lives and delayed the entry
of the invaders into the Uri bowl, for two and a half critical days, which
earned moments of reprieve for Maharaja Hari Singh and his Hindu subjects.
Four decades after the partition, the civilisational
conflict, manifested itself in a different form, and struck the Hindus
in Kashmir and Jammu, with a ferocity, no less in its severety, than fascism,
before the second world war. Beside the genocide the Hindus faced, their
whole community was forced out of Kashmir. Later the hatchet fell on the
Hindus in the Muslim majority regions of the Jammu province. Hindus are
actually paying the forefiet, for a leadership in India, which has failed
to realise the historical import of the civilisational conflict, in which
the Hindus have been on the frontline. Where do we find the martyrs, in
a struggle, which has a history of centuries. Martrydom for Hindus, has
indeed, been the only way to their freedom.
The war of subversion being waged in Jammu and
Kashmir must be visualised in its proper perspective as a part of the Muslim
crusade to extend Muslim power into India. The terrorist violence in Kashmir
commenced with the genocide of the Hindus and their exodus from Kashmir.
The battle lines were not drawn inadvertently, but with a deliberate intent
which had an ideological basis in the long civilisational struggle for
which Northern India was the battle ground. The Hindus in Kashmir, who
formed the northern most salient of the Sanskrit civilisation, remained
for more than six centuries on the frontline of the great civilisational
conflict. Slowly they were consumed in the long struggle. Those left alive,
continue resistance to the various forms of ideological precedence the
In his presidential address to the first All India
States Peoples Conference, held in Kathiawar in 1929, Pandit Shankar Lal Koul, a Kashmiri-speaking Hindu, called for the recognition of the
in alienable unity of the States and the British India, which he proclaimed
formed one and an indivisible nation. Lalla Muluk Raj Saraf joined the
conference as a delegate from Jammu. The Indian leaders dragged their feet
and refused to integrate the liberation movement in the states with the
national movement in the British India. The Muslims in India had a deep
interest in the segregation of the states from the British India, for the
states spread over nearly half the territory of the British empire in India
and were populated by a hundred million Hindus. Indeed the Muslim League
insisted upon the exclusion of the states from the rest of India as a basis
for any constitutional settlement of the Indian question.
The fundamental conflict between the assertion
Shankar Lal Koul made in his presidential minute to the All India States
People’s Conference and the Muslim League came to surface when the Muslims
cut away a part of the Northern Indian to form the State of Pakistan. They
insisted upon the dissolution of the Paramountancy to swallow not only
the Muslim ruled States in India, which they claimed on the basis of prescription,
but the Muslim majority states as well, which they claimed on the basis
of the right to precedence of the Muslim majority in such states.
The inability of the Indian leadership to resist the lapse of the paramountancy
again pushed the Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir to the frontline.
The subversive war being waged in the North of
India, is the part of the same historical and elemental conflict. The Indian
civilisation is in a state of siege. The Indian people must redeem their
pledge to freedom. The siege must be broken.
The Author is the internationally acclaimed
Kashmir expert who has retired as the Head of the Deptt. of Political Sciences
of Kashmir University.