Category Archives: Holocaust

Learning from History

Learning from History

Author: Francois Gautier
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: September 3, 2003

The massacre of six million Jews by Hitler and the persecution they suffered all over the world in the last 15 centuries has been meticulously recorded after 1945 and has been enshrined not only in history books, but also in Holocaust museums, the most famous of these being the one in Washington DC. It has not been done with a spirit of vengeance: Look at Israel and Germany today, they are in the best of terms; yet, facts are facts and contemporary Germany has come to terms with its terrible actions during Second World War.

Hindus too have suffered a terrible Holocaust, probably without parallel in human history. Take the Hindu Kush, for instance; probably, one of the biggest genocides in the history of Hindus. There has practically been no serious research on the subject or mention in history books. The Hindu Kush is a mountain system nearly 1,000 miles long and 200 miles wide, running north-east to south-west and dividing the Amu Darya valley and the Indus valley. The Hindu Kush has over two dozen summits of more than 23,000 feet and historically its passes, particularly the Khyber, have been of great military significance, for they provide access to the northern plains of India. Most foreign invaders have used the Khyber Pass: Alexander the Great in 327 BC, Mahmud of Ghazni, in 1001 AD; Timur Lane in 1398 AD; and, Nadir Shah in 1739 AD.

Yet, in the first millennium before Christ, two major Hindu kingdoms, those of Gandhaar (Kandahar) and Vaahic Pradesh (Balkh of Bactria) had their borders extending far beyond the Hindu Kush. The kingdom of Gandhaar, for instance, was established by Taksha, the grandson of Bharat of Ayodhya, and its borders went from Takshashila (Taxila) to Tashkent (corruption of Taksha Khand) in present day Uzbekistan. In the later period, the Mahabharat speaks of Gandhaari as a princess of Gandhaar and her brother, Shakuni, as a prince and later as Gandhaar’s ruler (the last Hindu Shahiya king of Kabul, Bhimapal, was killed in 1026 AD).

Then came, in 3rd century BC, Buddhist emperor Kanishka, whose empire stretched from Mathura to the Aral Sea (beyond the present day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Krygzystan) and under his influence Buddhism flourished in Gandhaar. The two giant Buddha sandstones carved into the cliffs of Bamian, which were destroyed by the Taliban, date from the Kanishka period. In Persian, the word ‘Kush’ is derived from the verb ‘Kushtar’ – to slaughter or carnage. Encyclopaedia Americana says of Hindu Kush: “The name means literally ‘Kills the Hindu’, a reminder of the days when Hindu slaves from Indian subcontinent died in harsh Afghan mountains while being transported to Moslem courts of Central Asia.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica on its part mentions “that the name Hindu Kush first appears in 1333 AD in the writings of Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveller, who said the name meant ‘Hindu Killer’, a meaning still given by Afghan mountain dwellers”. Unlike the Jewish holocaust, the exact toll of the Hindu genocide suggested by the name Hindu Kush is not available. “However, writes Hindu Kush specialist Srinandan Vyas, “the number is easily likely to be in millions.”

A few known historical figures can be used to justify this estimate. Encyclopaedia Britannica recalls that in December 1398 AD, Timur Lane ordered the execution of at least 50,000 captives before the battle for Delhi; likewise, the number of captives butchered by Timur Lane’s army was about 100,000. Encyclopae-dia Britannica again mentions that Mughal emperor Akbar ordered the massacre of about 30,000 captured Rajput Hindus on February 24, 1568 AD, after the battle for Chitod, a number confirmed by Abul Fazl, Akbar’s court historian. Afghan historian Khondamir notes that during one of the many repeated invasions on the city of Herat in western Afghanistan, which used to be part of the Hindu Shahiya kingdoms, “1,500,000 residents perished”. “Thus,” writes Vyas, “it is evident that the mountain range was named as Hindu Kush as a reminder to the future Hindu generations of the slaughter and slavery of Hindus during the Muslim conquests.”

Since some of the Muslim conquerors took Indian plainsmen as slaves, a question arises: Whatever happened to this slave population? The startling answer comes from The New York Times (May-June 1993). The Gypsies, who used to be wandering people in Central Asia and Europe since around the 12th century, have been persecuted in almost every country (the Nazis killed 300,000 gypsies in gas chambers). Until now their country of origin could not be identified, as their language has very little in common with the other European languages. Recent studies, however, show that their language is similar to Punjabi and to a lesser degree, Sanskrit. Thus the Gypsies probably originated from the greater Punjab. The time-frame of Gypsy wanderings also coincides with early Islamic conquests; hence, it is most likely their ancestors were driven out of their homes in Punjab and taken as slaves over the Hindu Kush.

Why does not the Government of India tell Indian children about the Hindu Kush genocide? The horrors of the Jewish holocaust are taught not only in schools in Israel and the US, but also in Germany, because both Germany and Israel consider the Jewish holocaust a “dark chapter” in the history. Yet, in 1982, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) issued a directive for the rewriting of school texts. Among other things, it stipulated: “Characterisation of the medieval period as a time of conflict between Hindus and Muslims is forbidden.” Thus, denial of history, or negationism, has become India’s official “educational” policy. Fortunately, the present Government of India has initiated a rewriting of History school books, although this policy has come under attack as “a dangerous saffronisation” of history.

This is why the Forum Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT), which sponsored the recent exhibition in Delhi on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits – an exhibition which opened also in Bangalore on September 1, and will be in Poland on September 10, and then in Berlin on the 15th – would like to start a project aiming at having a Holocaust Museum in New Delhi. It will record not only the genocide of Hindus at the hands of Muslim invaders, but also the terrible persecution by the Portugese (hardly mentioned, too, in Indian History books), or of the British (nobody knows that 25 millions Indians died in famine between 1815 and 1920, a genocide in the true sense of the term, as the Britsih broke the agricultural backbone of India for raw materials like Cotton, jute, etc. FACT needs the support of all Indians for this museum to come into existence, so that Indian children know their history and what their forefathers had to endure.

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FACT, which stand for Forum Against Continuing Terrorism has three trustees: Francois Gautier, KG Suresh of PTI and another journalist, Deepak Bajaj. Its registered office is for the moment at 41 Jorbagh, New Delhi 110003 and this where the cheques in the name of FACT can be sent, or else they can be directly credited to the FACT account: ICICI Bank Limited, New Delhi, Karol Bagh Branch, 2877, First Floor, Hardhyan Singh Road, Karolbagh, New Delhi 110 005, a/c N° 629105037071. For those donating abroad, they can also be donated via an organization which has a charity tax exemption (ours will take some time to be obtained), such as IDRF USA, or Kashmir Overseas Organization. FACT is in the process of obtaining tax exemption.

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Where’s India’s holocaust museum? – Francois Gautier

Where’s India’s holocaust museum? – Francois Gautier

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December 26, 2006

It has not been done with a spirit of revenge look at Israel and Germany today they are on the best of terms; yet, facts are facts and contemporary Germany had to come to terms with its terrible actions during World War II.

Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists have also suffered a terrible holocaust, probably without parallel in human history. Take the Hindu Kush for instance, probably one of the biggest genocides of Hindus. There is practically no serious research ever done about it and no mention in history books. Yet the name Hindu Kush appears many times in the writings of Muslim chroniclers in 1333 AD

Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveller, said the name meant ‘Hindu Killer,’ a meaning still given by Afghan mountain dwellers. Unlike the Jewish holocaust, the exact toll of the Hindu genocide suggested by the name Hindu Kush is not available. ‘However,’ writes Hindu Kush specialist Srinandan Vyas, ‘the number is easily likely to be in millions.’

A few known historical figures can be used to justify this estimate. The Encyclopaedia Britannica recalls that in December 1398 AD, Taimurlane ordered the execution of at least 50,000 captives before the battle for Delhi; likewise, the number of captives butchered by Taimurlane’s army was about 100,000.

The Britannica again mentions that Mughal emperor Akbar ordered the massacre of about 30,000 captured Rajput Hindus on February 24, 1568 AD, after the battle for Chitod, a number confirmed by Abul Fazl, Akbar’s court historian. Afghan historian Khondamir notes that during one of the many repeated invasions on the city of Herat in western Afghanistan, which used to be part of the Hindu Shahiya kingdoms ‘1,500,000 residents perished.’ ‘Thus,’ writes Vyas, ‘it is evident that the mountain range was named as Hindu Kush as a reminder to the future Hindu generations of the slaughter and slavery of Hindus during the Moslem conquests.’

Or take the recent plight of the Kashmiri Pandits. Over 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits have been forced to flee their homeland. Many Pandit men, women and children have been brutally murdered. About 70,000 still languish in makeshift refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi. Scores of temples in Kashmir have been desecrated, destroyed, looted, more than 900 educational institutions have been attacked by terrorists. Properties of Pandits have been vandalised, businesses destroyed or taken over, even hospitals have not been spared.

Did you know that this huge human tragedy is taking place in Free India? Burning books, looting culture is a very important part of the plan as we have seen during early Muslim invasions, where Buddhist centres of learning were ruthlessly burnt and razed to the ground.

Kashmir was also the crucible of knowledge, spirituality, a hallowed centre of learning and the cradle of Shivaism. It was known as Sharda Peeth, the abode of learning. Kashmiri Pandits excelled in philosophy, aesthetics, poetics, sculpture, architecture, mathematics, astronomy and astrology. Sanskrit was studied, propagated and spoken by women and men. Scholars like Kalhan, Jonraj, Srivar, Abhinavgupta, Somanand, Utpaldev, Somdev and Kshemendra created an intellectual centre of unrivalled repute.

Fundamentalism and terrorism have been ruthless in their assault on Sharda Peeth, zealous in ravaging its heritage, and consistent only in bloodthirsty intolerance. The destruction of Hindu places of worship, forced conversions of Pandits and death and ignominy to those who resisted, were accompanied by a savage assault on literary activity. This process has been going on since centuries.

As a correspondent covering India for more than 20 years, I have witnessed the terrible damage terrorism in Kashmir has inflicted upon people’s lives, their families, their culture, the very fabric of society, not only of the Kashmiri Pandits, but also Muslims in the valley, who after all, are victims too of Pakistan’s bloody designs. Hence, with two journalist friends, we started a Foundation: FACT Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism.

The first task of FACT has been to mount an exhibition on terrorism, focussing on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, so that the people of India, who do not suffer directly from terrorism understand, what it does to others. This exhibition, which opened at the Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on July 18, was a great success. More than 25,000 people visited the exhibition till its closing day, on July 23. Among them were Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Justice A S Anand, Rajya Sabha MP Dr Karan Singh, Union Minister Murli Manohar Joshi… It was covered by most English and Hindi national newspapers and reported on the television channels.

Our aim is manifold: we would like to take the present exhibition all around India and all over the world, particularly the United States, where most symposiums on Kashmir, including some organized by the US State Department, are peopled mostly by Pakistanis, Muslims and US-based Indians who are anti-Hindu.

We would also like to start another exhibition on forced Christian conversions in the Northeast. Ultimately, we would like to build a Hindu/ Sikh/Buddhist Indian Holocaust Museum based in New Delhi, or in Bangalore. It will record not only the genocide of Hindus Sikhs and Buddhists at the hands of Muslim invaders, but also the terrible persecution of the Portuguese (hardly mentioned in Indian history books) and British nobody knows for instance that 20 million Indians died of famine between 1815 and 1920, because the English broke the agricultural backbone of India to get raw materials like cotton, jute etc. We need your support for this Indian Holocaust Museum.

http://in.rediff.com/news/2003/oct/21franc.htm