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In this first part of article on Kashmir Dispute, team Explicit Facts will try to explain the basic issues which were unresolved for last 70 years and has drained all the resources of both neighboring countries India and Pakistan.
Almost four full fledged wars have been fought, which of which resulted in the division of Pakistan into two parts, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Let’s dive into the controversial topic without wasting any further time.
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’s 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 are 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 the 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 its true form, it represents the inherent goodness of man and the very best that can come from being human.
And this idea 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 the 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.
The Indian civilization finally woke up to an era of realizing its long-cherished and hard-fought dream of nationhood.
However, fate had destined one last blow of plunder and pillage of a different nature.
A man named Mohammed Ali Jinnah mistook independence from the British to mean the subcontinent had just turned into a once in a lifetime opportunity to a grab-all-you-can real estate bonanza.
He claimed that the Muslims needed a separate homeland, just because they were born Muslims, and needed protection from the violent and unpredictable Hindus in an independent India.
Jinnah made sure they got one at the cost of 2 million dead and 14 million displaced from their homes.
But, for Jinnah’s overbearing lust for a kingdom and a throne, that was a small price to pay so long as Muslims could secure their “only for us” homeland.
A few decades down the line that cherished homeland for Muslims would turn out to be a paradise for the rich, the privileged and the corrupt among Punjabi Sunni Muslims and purgatory for Muslims of all other types and sects.
But, Pakistan didn’t know that yet.
While Jinnah and his coterie enjoyed their newfound real estate, the British spiced up the situation with a menu of options to the autonomous princely states.
Those options were – merge with either India or Pakistan, or remain independent.
The king of Jammu and Kashmir, Raja Hari Singh chose the latter. His decision caused serious concern in Jinnah’s homeland named Pakistan (Land of the Pure).
There is not a single piece of documentary evidence that the British or for that matter the ruler of Kashmir, ever wanted Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan.
Yet, rulers in Pakistan worried that Kashmir would either remain independent, or worse, join India.
Pakistan’s lust for Kashmir was born out of the perverted ideology that territories in the South Asian subcontinent, with Muslim dominated demographics, should belong to Pakistan.
This twisted ideology would be busted in 1971 with the mass rebellion and separation of East Pakistan from West Pakistan. But, Pakistan didn’t know that yet.
To secure Kashmir, Pakistan dispatched tribal marauders to seize Kashmir by force.
On 22 October 1947, Pakistan’s Pashtun tribal militias crossed the border of the state.
These local tribal militias and irregular Pakistani forces moved to take Srinagar, but on reaching Baramulla, they took to plunder and rape and stalled.
Maharaja Hari Singh made a plea to India for assistance, and help was offered, but it was subject to his signing an Instrument of Accession to India.
The then British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten would not allow India’s intervention without a formal treaty with the Maharaja. T
he Instrument of Accession broke that stalemate.
By executing this document under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh agreed to accede to the Dominion of India.
The Instrument of Accession gave India’s Parliament the power to legislate in respect of the state of Jammu and Kashmir only on the matters of defense, external affairs and communications.
The events that followed on the battlefield, to the settlement at the Line of Control (LOC) are well documented, and I will refrain from repeating, facts well known.
The Indian army succeeded in pushing the Pakistani marauders back, so that two-thirds of Kashmir, including the Srinagar valley, remained in India territory, while the remaining one-third of Kashmir came under Pakistani occupation.
The irony is that Pakistan renamed that occupied territory as “Azad Kashmir”, meaning liberated Kashmir.
The Instrument of Accession, which Maharaja Hari Singh signed with India was a simple document.
In the blank spaces, it had a place to fill in the name of the state, the name of the ruler, the date of accession, a place to hold the signature of the ruler and lastly, a line where Lord Mountbatten would put in his signature.
This simple document was used to persuade 602 princely states to join the Union of India.
When a princely state signed the Instrument of Accession, it gave India’s Parliament the power to legislate on the matters of defense, foreign affairs and communications.
Thereafter, the delegates of the princely states would meet with India’s Constituent Assembly to gradually bring their kingdoms under the full purview of the Indian Constitution.
The princely states were also participants in the formulation of the Indian Constitution.
This process of political amalgamation was somewhat similar to the Constitutional Convention of the United States, also known as the Philadelphia Convention that took place from May 25 through September 17, 1787.
This process would culminate in a complete adoption of the Indian Constitution by the state in question thereby consummating the accession of the state to the Union of India.
With Jammu and Kashmir, the process diverged a bit.
Though Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession, his government pointed out that they were signing the document under exceptional circumstances, as they were under attack from a neighboring entity – Pakistan.
So as not to be rushed into the process, they asked for more time to align themselves with the Union of India.
The Constituent Assembly agreed to this special request.
However, there was a debate on which parts of the Constitution would apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which would not, and at what length of time would the accession be complete.
To accommodate Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India, the only temporary Article in the Indian Constitution was drafted. This was called Article 306A which later became Article 370.
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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
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