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
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
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
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
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.