On the cold wintry night of December 16, 2012, a young medical student was gang raped on a moving bus by 6 men in the city of New Delhi. The brutality of the rape shook the soul of the Indian nation. The police action was swift, and the perpetrators were apprehended. The Indian parliament enacted laws to ensure such heinous acts would be met with swift justice and certain punishment.
So, what does the Nirbhaya gang rape case of 2012 have to do with the Kashmir dispute?
There is something deeply distressing in exploring the morbidity of radical Islam and the destructive impact if has had on humanity in general and the socio-cultural fabric in particular.
Islam is a religion of love and peace, as are all religions in their truest form.
Radical Islam is a different case study altogether. Such a study will at times, appear to touch the lowest depths of human depravity and evil, causing the writer’s mind to unravel and lose all hope in mankind.
Researching and writing the below article on Kashmir Dispute, had a similar impact on me.
Sifting through volumes of data documenting the ghastly and gruesome atrocities committed on the original Hindu inhabitants of Kashmir, by Muslim invaders and barbarians, the converted Muslims and the followers of radical Islam – and presenting only a fraction of that information in the below write-up has been one of the hardest psychological challenges I have faced in my adult life.
A lot of what I have read, but could not publish in the below article, will stay with me forever.
There were Nirbhaya level brutalities inflicted on Kashmiri Hindu women by Muslim fundamentalists, that has become archival material in libraries here in the US, without Indians having any knowledge of it. Those incidents will haunt me forever.
But, there’s always more.
Every time I post this article, Quora either collapses this answer, thereby hiding it from readers, or blocks me for a temporary period.
I guess the truth about the story of Kashmir appears intolerable to a certain section of Quora moderators.
However, my faith in humanity was restored and resuscitated, by the warmth and love I received through the positive comments, feedback and upvotes I received from my readers, every time I posted this article on Quora.
The false narratives on Kashmir can only be dispelled by one that highlights the truth.
When did it all start?
The world we live in today, if you were to ask for a commentary or analysis or opinion on the Kashmir problem, there is one argument that will garner unanimous agreement across the South Asian subcontinent (and even from foreign affairs experts around the globe and self-styled experts on Kashmir from the western media) – that the history of the Kashmir problem starts with 1947.
The expanse and the magnitude of this myopia is disconcerting!
The seeds of the Kashmir problem were sown centuries before 1947 came into being. 1947 simply triggered what could be the beginning of the end for this most disturbing and perennially lingering episode in the history of the Indian civilization.
What is Kashmir Dispute?
Kashmir is not a territorial dispute, nor is it a political struggle.
Kashmir is a dispute emerging from a civilizational struggle.
A struggle for uprooting a civilization with an indigenous and deeply ingrained culture of peaceful coexistence between ethnicities and religions… and forcibly replacing it with a virulent strain of Islam that borders on the insidious and violent totalitarianism of Sunni Wahhabism.
The Land of Gold and Diamonds that welcomed all
There was a nation on this planet of ours, that had been in existence from the dawn of civilization. That nation was never truly bounded by boundaries.
It had kings, rulers, feudal lords and local chieftains all living within their own kingdoms and domains.
There were times in history when this nation, this land came under the authority and governance of supreme rulers and emperors whose boundaries stretched from Afghanistan in the west to Bengal in the east (and even beyond) and well into the southern hinterland of the landmass.
But the boundaries shrank again thereafter. Expanded again and shrank again, like a being that had a life of its own, that had existed from times immemorial and continued to carry on living.
This land was plentiful in gold and diamonds and had wealth and riches unheard of in those times. It was by far the biggest economy in the world, at the dawn of AD.
This abundance in itself ensured that life in this paradise would not be without its own trials and tribulations, not without its own intermittent phases of pain, loss, treachery and abject misery.
Invaders and marauders of all hues and religions trampled upon this land with no signs of mercy or compassion, but with an insatiable lust for the riches and wealth which this land, this geographical being, this entity had to offer.
This civilization bled and at times seemed to have almost collapsed under the insufferable weight of the relentless onslaught by the barbarians. But, it continued to survive, till it reached its time for an evolutionary metamorphosis on the wheel of time.
At the stroke of midnight on 15th August 1947, this eternal entity awoke to freedom from oppression and tyranny, to evolve into a modern-day nation-state.
But, not without one last act of treachery and carnage imposed upon it by wanton elements of the day. This civilization was slit, to create a secondary entity whose sole purpose was to satisfy the lust for power of a few megalomaniacs.
We will get to that a little later.
What caused this civilization to have a life that survived for as long as it did?
There were a set of values carved out of lofty ideals handed down the generations by sages and philosophers of the land, that formed the DNA of this civilization. Ideals such as “My guest is my God“, (“Atithi devo bhava” in Sanskrit), or “The world is my family” (“Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam“, in Sanskrit).
These ideals ensured that the civilization would absorb and absolve all evil forced upon it through the ages, and yet survive through eternity. These lofty ideals became a way of life for the inhabitants of this land.
This way of life came to be known as Hinduism. The welcoming open arms of this philosophy, this way of life ensured that every religion that came to this land was treated as just another legitimate path to worship and reach that Supreme Being, the invisible power that guides the cosmos.
These beliefs then became the pillars upon which the foundation of Hinduism as a religion, got established.
Unlike most other religions of the world, Hinduism grew organically guided by the scriptures and the wisdom of the sages.
There was no prophet that started it all, nor was there a specific day to commemorate the commencement of this philosophy.
Yet, in it’s true form, it represents the inherent goodness of man, and the very best that can come from being human.
And this ideal of universal love, acceptance and tolerance became the guiding principle for the land that came to be known as Hindustan or the Indian civilization.
Poet Allama Iqbal would later pen his admiration for this land as – “Saare jahan se achcha, Hindustan hamaara“, meaning “My Hindustan is supreme in the entire world“.
However, as one of the unwritten laws of nature, the virtues of compassion and benevolence when practiced in life, inevitably invite visitations from dark forces that tend to test the strength of these virtues to the hilt.
Goodness and kindness get misconstrued as weakness and are often interpreted as an open invitation to plunder and pillage.
The Indian civilization or Hindustan developed a first-hand taste of this brutal reality through the ages. Kashmir is an extension of the experience emerging from that reality.
Kashmir as an extension of Hindustan
According to folk etymology, the name “Kashmir” means “desiccated land” (from the Sanskrit: Ka = water and shimeera = desiccate). In the Rajatarangini, a history of Kashmir written by Kalhana in the mid-12th century, it is stated that the valley of Kashmir was formerly a lake. According to Hindu mythology, the lake was drained by the great rishi or sage, Kashyapa, son of Marichi, son of Brahma, by cutting the gap in the hills at Baramulla (Varaha-mula). When Kashmir had been drained, Kashyapa asked Brahmins (the highest caste among Hindus) to settle there.
If we go by written history, Kashmiri Hindus are the aborigines of Kashmir.
The native pagans who survived centuries of cruelty and oppression while keeping the flag of Indian civilization fluttering in the valley against all odds.
However, as a result of the incessant invasions by Muslim barbarians, some parts of the Indian civilization began to witness a change in demographics in favor of Muslims. Kashmir happened to be a key example of one such region.
The exodus of Hindus from Kashmir
From the 14th century to the present times, the Hindus of Kashmir have been at the literal bleeding edge of the clash of civilizations.
As a result, over the course of a few centuries most Kashmiris had been converted out of the Hindu fold by the force of intimidation and brutal violence that characterized the better part of Muslim Rule in Kashmir.
By the turn of the 20th century, Kashmiri Pandits came to represent the bulk of the Hindu presence that remained in Kashmir.
The Kashmiri Pandits (also known as Kashmiri Brahmins) are Kashmiri Hindus and a part of the larger Saraswat Brahmin community.
Some westerners pose the question, why do all Kashmiri Hindus belong to just the Brahmin caste. Well, that is because all the other (Hindu) castes were converted to Islam by the swords of the tyrants who ruled the valley.
Tyrants like Sikander Butshikan, Ali Shah, Shamsuddin Iraqi and others who not only carried out terrible genocides but also destroyed the centers of Kashmiri Hindu spiritual and intellectual life.
History bears evidence to the desecration and destruction of great Hindu temples like the Sun Temple at Martand and countless other shrines.
A rare photo of the ruins of the Surya Temple at Martand, which was destroyed due to the iconoclastic policies of Sikandar Butshikan, photo taken by John Burke in 1868. (Source: Wikepedia)
Kashmiri Hindu women were beautiful.
There was a time in Kashmir under Afghan rule when their striking looks became such a burden on their families that their noses had to be cut-off and their heads shaved, to protect the Hindu girls from the lustful eyes of the ruling barbarians.
Such atrocities created pressure on the dwindling Hindu community to flee from Kashmir not once or twice but 7 times since Islam came to Kashmir.
The demographics of the Kashmir region continued to change decisively in favor of Muslims. This episode will be continued to its climax when we get to 1990, the year Hindus were “ethnically cleansed” out of Kashmir.
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India’s Move in Kashmir: Unpacking the Domestic and International Motivations and Implications – Christine Fair in LAWFARE, August 12, 2019
Kashmir: A civilizational battle – Ashish Dhar on YouTube
Written by – Ms. Carla Stewart In continuation of… A...Read More
Written by – Ms. Carla Stewart In continuation of… A...Read More