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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Talibanization of Kashmir

Annexation of Kashmir through sponsored armed insurgency is not the final goal of Pakistan. The final goal is the transformation of Kashmir Muslim society from its somewhat liberal outlook and life style to an absolutely conservative and orthodox Muslim society.

The model of this type of society is of Taliban in Afghanistan. This model is being thrust on Kashmiri Muslims, and to an extent against their free will.

In the process, foreign Islamists called by Kashmiris as ' guest mujahids',  and sponsored by Pakistan-based religious militia organizations, have two specific roles in Kashmir. Firstly, as the soldiers of Allah, they fight a jihad against the Indian infidels, a duty, they say, is enjoined upon every pure Musalman. Secondly, they carry on a well-organized indoctrination programme aiming at converting local Muslim youth from liberal to conservative ideology or from Kashmiriyat to pure faith.

Therefore what is happening in Kashmir is its Talibanization. It means reverting to Islam of the days of Caliphs Omar and Uthman. It aims at  replacing coexistence by exclusivism,  effacing all symbols of pre-Islamic culture, distorting history  so as to sever established links between the ancient and the mediaeval and bringing about a sea-change in life style.

Madrassahs (Islamic schools) are the corner stone of propagation of orthodox Islamic ideology, and these have sprung in every town and village in Kashmir. Their curricula has changed from early crude anti- Hindu hatred to subtle distortion of the history of pre-Islamic times. From these institutions sprang a generation of closed- mind fanatics who are in the forefront of separatist struggle today. Though the National Conference governments in 1980s did visualise the consequences of the role of madrasahs, yet it had neither will nor skill to restrain them. Finally the NC compromised its position following the execution of Z.A. Bhutto in 1972.

After the  NC assumed power in 1996, more than 1300 new madrasshs have been opened in the valley; many with  boarding schools. These bastions of Sunni Wahhabi ideology are playing a crucial role in Talibanization of Kashmir. After all the Taliban had also sprung from the  Pakistani madrassahs, which are the model for their Kashmiri counterparts.

In order to legitimise the madrassahs and their sectarian character, the State government has been deliberately criticising its own educational institutions as inefficient. Even the Chief Minister is on record having expressed adverse remarks on government schools. This was a ploy for  indirectly conceding legitimacy of the parochial Jamaat-e-Islami institutions.

The support structure for Talibanization is to be found in mosques. The theory of separating religion from politics has never worked in Kashmir nor anywhere in the Islamic world. If the grapevine is to be trusted, the builder of a mosque gets 25 % of the total cost of building a new mosque. The money reportedly comes from the Wahhabi oriented  Kashmiri Sunni Muslims Diaspore  in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, or directly from Saudi intelligence agencies through their Kashmiri conduits. The phenomenon of raising mosques throughout  Kashmir valley is strikingly similar to the raising of mosques in Central Asian States after they became independent  in 1991. In early 1980s, Allahwale, the All-India level missionaries of Sunni Wahhabi faith, surfaced in large numbers in the valley and got scattered throughout its length and breadth. They had withdrawn to their shell when militancy broke out in Kashmir. Today, the Allahwale have re-emerged in the valley and are carrying out their Islamization agenda -- of course an exclusivist agenda running contrary to the secular constitution of India.

Another dimension of Talibanization of Kashmir is the  onslaught on its composite culture often labelled as Kashmiriyat. There is a massive campaign of distortion of place names, legends, traditions and history which has something definitely to do with the pre-Islamic period of Kashmirian history. More than three thousand place names have been changed and adorned with Islamic epithets. Pseudo-historians are trying to rewrite the cultural and social history of Kashmir. A strong lobby has been created to sell the theory that Kashmiris race is not of Aryan but of Semitic origin and that  its cultural manifestations are not its own and indigenous but largely or even fully borrowed from Central Asia. The symbols of Kashmir's spontaneous identity like Nund Rishi and Makhdum Sahib are being discarded as non-exclusivist and therefore unacceptable. Kashmir Shaivism is being  projected as the sequel to the rising Sufi philosophy in Iran and Central Asia with impact on early Hindu spiritualists of Kashmir. Thus Kashmiri Muslim is taught to reject his past. The idea has been borrowed from the practice in Pakistan where history begins with the advent of Muhammad Bin Qasim in A.D. 712. Prior to that there is a big blank.

In life style, a drastic change has been effected. Young and old,  grow beard and falling tresses, the style said to have been of the elders of Islamic faith. Kashmiris, old and young, all have adopted the Afghan/Taliban dress -- a baggy shalwar, longish shirt half coat, round outward turned headgear  and a square piece of cloth folded triangularly and  thrown round the neck. This again is in imitation of the Taliban who believe it to be style of the early Islamic conquerors and warriors from Arab lands.

Even in their address and public dealings, there are marked changes. The phraseology is that of the puritanical Muslims. For example, instead of traditional Khuda Hafiz (meaning farewell) now Allah Hafiz is said because the word Khuda is of non-Arab origin (Khotaay in Avestic means the Lord).

Any dispassionate observer will have no difficulty in endorsing these ground realities. There is nothing wrong in Talibanization or Islamization of Kashmir. What is unpalatable is the propagandist slogan of Kashmir's secularist traditions, Kashmiriyat and things like that. We need courage to speak honestly what we see on the ground. Kashmir has been thoroughly Talibanized. In doing so, Pakistan has realized its esential goal. The "liberation" of Kashmir, according to them, is a corollary to Talibanization. It has to be remembered that General Pervez Musharraf, the Chief Executive of Pakistan  said it clearly that Kashmir's annexation could wait. What is of importance is making India weak internally.

 

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