Kashmir in the BloodEditorial Team
Gen. Pervez Musharraf, many international observers regarded your January 12th speech as groundbreaking. Numerous analyses of the speech point to a new beginning for Pakistan and even South Asia after the speech. However, these analyses have all neglected a crucial phrase uttered by you during the speech: ‘Kashmir runs in our blood’. By making this statement, you jumped knee-deep into the quicksand of history that you and your fellow countrymen have little appreciation of. It is this statement that revealed both your true intentions and your miscalculations of the perceived enemy.
Long before there was a Pakistan and in fact long before a Muslim had ever stepped foot in Kashmir, the region was part and parcel of India and Hinduism’s golden heritage. Kashmir finds repeated mention in the Rig-Veda, the oldest philosophical treatise in the world dated to over 6000 thousand years ago, and in the Mahabharat, a subsequent epic that is itself dated to over 4000 years ago. The descendants of Arjun, the fearless warrior who turned the tide of the Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharat, settled down in Kashmir as rulers.
In 300 B. C., Kashmir was part of the Mauryan Empire of India. Ashoka, the greatest Mauryan ruler who united nearly the entire subcontinent, founded Srinagar, the current capital of Kashmir. Kashmir was part of the empire of subsequent great Indian rulers such as Kanishka and Harshavardhan. The region served as a fountainhead of Hindu religion and was an established center of education in the subcontinent. The marvelous Sun temple was built by King Lalitaditya, who ruled much of North India around 600 A. D. Some of the holiest Hindu shrines such as Amarnath in Kashmir valley and Vaishno Devi near Jammu are visited by millions of Hindu devotees every year.
In contrast to its glorious Hindu heritage, the Muslim history of Kashmir is full of violence, oppression, conversions to Islam and decimation of the Hindu population, its culture and its monuments. The first Muslim invasion occurred in the 12 century A. D. Within 200 years, only 11 Hindu families remained in Kashmir valley. The pogroms against Hindus continued until the British restored Hindu rule in the 19th century.
When Pakistan was formed through ethnic cleansing of millions of Hindus in 1947, Islamic goals in the subcontinent were about halfway realized. Jammu and Kashmir was next on the agenda and the 1989 Pakistan-inspired ethnic cleansing of Hindus and the subsequent terrorist campaign in the state resulted. You yourself sent Pakistani soldiers and jehadis into Kargil region of Kashmir in 1999. Hindus have not forgotten any part of Kashmir’s history. They have not forgotten the pogroms that lasted for centuries, and they can hardly forget the ethnic cleansing of 1989 since those Hindu refugees from Kashmir valley are still in refugee camps.
So General, we Hindus have Kashmir in our blood for many more millennia than your countrymen can boast. That is why Indian soldiers have readily died by the thousands protecting Kashmir from your jehadis and Al Qaida terrorists. That is why India is not going to give in to your nuclear blackmail. And that is why your trickery and deceit about your sponsorship of terrorism are not going to help you in converting Kashmir into an Islamic state. And yes, Hindus will return to Kashmir, and reclaim their land, culture and heritage. General, the brutality and oppression perpetrated by people from your religion for eight centuries has reached a dead-end. The myth of a relentlessly victorious marauding Islam has been shattered by the Taliban’s rapid defeat.
General, you could acknowledge that the Kashmiri blood that runs in your countrymen’s veins is really descended from the Hindus who were forcibly converted centuries ago. If you do so, you will agree to apologize for the centuries-old brutalization of Hindus in Kashmir, and agree that Kashmiri history, culture and tradition have a lot more to do with Hinduism than your jehadized countrymen can fathom. And you will then logically understand that severing Kashmir from its deep Hindu roots makes no sense at all.
General, you have the chance now to make amends for 800 years of Muslim depredations in Kashmir. If you do so, you can truly change your country’s relationship with India, and offer economic progress to the tens of millions of your countrymen who are deprived of food and education. Your other choice is continued conflict with those in whose blood Kashmir has run for millennia. And that conflict will eventually result not in Kashmir becoming Islamic, but in the further dismemberment of your artificial nation.