Kashmir: The Problem is
by Sita Ram Goel
the Author: SITA RAM GOEL
was a prolific
writer: novelist, critic, philosopher and author. He wrote several
documented studies on Communism, Soviet Russia, Red China, Christianty
and Islam. He was a strong opponent of the communist ideological stranglehold
on the Indian political and intellectual establishment.
is Kashmir? Is it a piece of orphan territory to be occupied by whosoever
carries a gun? Or is it an integral part of an ancient country and the
extension of a great culture?
Who are the people of
Kashmir? Are they those who regard themselves as sons and daughters of
that ancient country and as inheritors of that great culture? Or are they
those who have been enslaved and brutalized and alienated from their ancestral
society and culture by a terrorist and totalitarian cult?
To whom does Kashmir
belong? Does it belong to the country and the culture which has suffered
and survived brutal assaults by the terrorists and totalitarian cult? Or
does it belong to the imperialist enclave which has been torn away by force
from an organic whole and which is being used as a launching pad for further
assaults on what has survived of the ancient country and the great culture?
These are the questions
which should be posed and answered by all those who are concerned with
what is called the Kashmir problem but what, in fact, is the problem presented
by terrorist and totalitarian ideologies operating under religious cloaks.
And it must be admitted that none of these questions can be answered except
with the help of history.
It is my considered
opinion that the so called Kashmir problem, we have been facing, since
1947 has never been viewed in a historical perspective. That is why it
has defied solution so far, and its end is not in sight in the near future.
Politicians at the helm of affairs during this nearly half a century have
been living from hand to mouth and are waiting for Pakistan to face them
with a fait accompli. Once againg they are out to hand over Kashmir and
its people to be butchers who have devastated this fair land and destroyed
its rich eulture. The name of the game is restoration of democracy.
Having watched the scene
all these years, I feel that the secularist forces in India have never
felt sure that Kashmir is an integral part of India like the rest of our
states. It is only when someone else says that Kashmir does not belong
to India that they make some half-hearted noises for fooling the people
of India. This is the meaning of Article 370 and of propping up one Muslim
leader after another in the valley in the fond hope that world events will
some day solve the problem one way or the other.
It is therefore high
time that we renounce this ritual and have a look at the problem in a historical
perspective. I should like to warn that histories of Kashmir written by
Kashmiri Hindus in modern times are worse than useless for this purpose.
I have read almost all of them, only to be left wondering at the piteous
state to which the Hindu mind in Kashmir has been reduced. I am not taking
these histories into account except for bits and pieces which fall into
the broad pattern.
What then is the history
of Kashmir? It is the same as the history of the rest of India in its long
drawn out encounter with Islam with a few notable differnces which I shall
point out as I proceed.
Kashmir has been an
integral part of Bharatvarsha which comprises the present day states of
Afganistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. What distinguished it
in ancient times was not that it produced some kings who extended their
political sway to neighbouring provinces of Bharatvarsha, but that for
a long time it remained one of the foremost cradles of spirituality and
culture created by Sanatan Dharma. The achievements of its sages and savants
need not be recounted here. They are well known not only in India but also
in far off lands extending towards the north and the east. The Chinese
pilgrim, Hiuen Tsang, found the ancient Hindu culture flourishing in Kashmir
only two decades before the armies of Islam arrived on the borders of
Again, it goes to the
credit of Kashmir that its kings supported the Turki and Hindu Shahiyas
of Kabul and Zabul in repelling one invasion after another till the north-western
gateway stood closed to Islamic inroads effectively and the Islamic imperialists
at Damascus and Kufa were forced to seek another avenue of advance through
Makran and Baluchistan.
Finally Kashmir not
only threw back the Islamic army which advanced towards its borders from
Sindh and Multan under Mohammed Bin Qasim (712-715 CE) but also forged
an alliance with China which was facing the same menace in Central Asia.
At the same time it fought tooth and nail with the Tibetans who were at
that time in alliance with Islamic imperialism. Few Hindu kings in Bharatvasha
are known to have matched the wisdom and vision of Chandrapida (713-724
CE) and his younger brother Lalitaditya Muktapida (724-760 CE).
The Hindu rulers of
Kashmir cannot be blamed in particular for permitting some Islamic missionaries
to settle down in the valley for creating seditious colonies of converts.
That was a blindness shared in common by Hindu rulers all over Bharatvarsha
throughout the centuries. None of them realized that the Sufis were sappers
and miners for Islamic imperialism. What distinguishes the Hindu rulers
of Kashmir from Hindu rulers elsewhere is that they continued to recruit
in their army Turks from Central Asia without realizing that the Turks
had become Islamicized and as such were no longer mere wage earners. One
of Kashmir's Hindu rulers Harsha (1089-1101 CE) was persuaded by his Muslim
favourites to plunder temple properties and melt down icons made of precious
metal. Apologists of Islam have been highlighting this isolated incident
in order to cover up the iconoclastic record of Islam not only in Kashmir
but also in the rest of Bharatvarsha. At the same time they conceal the
fact that Kashmir passed under the heel of Islam not as a result of the
labours of its missionaries but due to a coup staged by an Islamicised
What followed the coup
is recorded in numerous histories written by some contemporary Hindus but
mostly by Muslim chroniclersÑthe slaughter of Brahmins, the destruction
of temples, forced conversion. The pattern was the same as in other parts
of Bharatvarsha which had the misfortune of passing under the heel of Islam
at one time or the other. The only distinguishing feature in the case of
Kashmir has been that unlike elsewhere no Hindu resistance or rebellion
could manage to surface anywhere in the valley subsequent to 1338 CE when
that scheming Shah Mir became the first Muslim Sultan of Kashmir. Perhaps
the odds were too overwhelming, or perhaps a psyche of surrender had been
crystallizing over a pcriod of time. The latter seems to be the case if
we consult the record of Kashmiri Hindus subsequent to that period.
What is the record?
Starting with Jonaraja (15th century CE), the author of the second Rajatarangni,
and coming down to Jawahar Lal Nehru (20th century CE) it is an endless
saga of sycophancy and kowtowing on the part of Kashmiri Hindus before
the aggressors. One has to read the songs which Jonaraja composed in praise
of Zain-ul- Abedin and the panegyrics which Jawahar Lal Nehru has heaped
on Mohammed Ghaznavi, Babar, Akbar and Sheikh Abdullah, his Sher-i-Kashmir.
The record shows a progressive degeneration of the Hindu psyche vis-a-vis
Muslim sultans. Jonaraja had the decency at least to detail the brutalities
committed by the Islamic sultans. For Jawahar Lal Nehru that dark chapter
in the history of Kashmir does not exist at all. In his fat volume, Glimpses
of World History, he mentions the doings of Mihirgul in Kashmir in the
5th century CE and then jumps straight to the "sale of Kashmir" to Gulab
Singh in 1846 CE. In the Discovery of India he has space only for spreading
the canard in the context of Rinchin. It always comes to the Brahmins being
blamed for every misfortune that has fallen to Hindu society and culture
at any time in their hoary history.
Small wonder that balance
of farces in Kashmir should have continued to tilt in favour of Islamic
imperialism till the last Hindu has been hounded out of his ancestral homeland.
Small wonder that the hoodlums strut around not only in the valley but
in the capital city of Delhi with airs of injured innocence. Small wonder
that the Marxist-Muslim combine of scribes who dominate the media blame
Jagmohan for arranging an overnight and enmasse exodus of the Hindus from
the valley. (They cannot forgive Jagmohan for bringing back Kashmir to
India at a time when the combine was hoping that Pakistan would face India
with an accomplished fact.) Small wonder that what Arun Shourie has aptly
described as the "Formula Factory" - the Nayars, the Puris, the Kotharis,
the Dhars, the Haksars, the Tarkundes - should be busy devising ways for
handing over the Kashmir Hindus to their age-old oppressors.
The Kashmiri Hindus
will be committing suicide if they walk into the trap and agree to return
to a "democracy" presided over by the hoodlums. The only alternative left
to them is to battle for their proper rights against the fanatics and their
apologists. The battle has to be ideological under the circumstances and
along the following lines:
1. That Kashmir
was a great cradle of Hindu culture for a long time should be publicized
in great detail;
2. That how this culture
was ruthlessly destroyed by theocratic fanaticism should be made known
in equally detailed manner;
3. That the Hindu population
of Kashmir was forced to convert to Islam by brutal methods should be made
4. That the Sufis were
no way behind other fanatics in their proselytising zeal to which they
gave maximum effect under state patronage should be brought out clearly;
5. That the Rishi tradition
of Yogic spirituality which went undergound and which survived for a long
time and had nothing to do with Sufism should be made manifest.
The Islamic fundamentalism
sweeping the world today is not a display of self confidence, rather it
is its uneasy reaction to the emergence of a world culture based upon humanism,
rationalism and universalism. Let the Hindus of Kashmir become more conscious
of their own cultural heritage so that they become increasingly aware of
the crimes committed on their land and their people. No other section of
Hindu society is better qualified to give a lead in this context. Let there
be no doubt that the lead will be followed by the rest of India.
The Forgotten Side: released at AIKPC, Kanpur)