Dr. M. K. Teng
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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



India in Siege

By Dr. M.K. Teng

The Sanskritisation 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 inseparable part.

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 Muslims claimed.

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.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel




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