Tag Archives: kashmir

Indian MUSLIMS : how to vote ?

Indian Muslims are today at a crossroad. They may vote for the same parties that have promised them heaven and given them nothing in return, or they can show that they are Indian first and Muslims second. They should look towards the USA, instead of hating them : there, people of Mexican, Korean, African origins, Christians, Muslims or Buddhists, feel that they are First Americans.

 The question that Indian Muslims should ask themselves today is simple: “who are we” ? Amongst the 150 millions of Muslims in India, only a tiny percentage descends from the Turks, Afghans, or Iranians who invaded India. The majority of them are converted Muslims. And converted how ? By terror, coercion, force, bloodshed. The ancestors of today’s Indian Muslims are probably those who suffered the most from the Arab and Muslim invasions. Those Hindus and Sikhs who chose not to convert, took refuge in their faith, fought together and kept their pride and honor. The first two generations of those who converted must have endured hell: for they certainly did not convert out of conviction, but because they had no choice: their daughters and wives were raped, sons taken into slavery, parents killed. It is sad today that their descendants have sometimes made theirs the intolerant cry of Islam.

It is true that many Indian Muslims were Hindu intouchables. Marxists would like us to believe that they converted because they thought that they would access the more egalitarian society of Islam. What rubbish! Does one think in that way in time of war, terror and tears ? Do today’s Hindu lower castes convert to Islam when there is no more violent coercion? More likely, the Intouchables were the most vulnerable, the least apt to defend themselves; they had neither the faith of the brahmins, nor the riches of the vaishiyas, nor the military skill of the kshatriyas.

Do Indian Muslims understand that they were part of the richest, most advanced, most tolerant and generous civilization of ancient times. That their culture was so advanced that it had spread all over the world ?Do they realize that more and more archeological an historical discoveries are pointing out that the genocide of Hindus by Muslim invaders is without parallel. The conquest of Afghanistan in the year 1000, was followed by the annihilation of the entire Hindu population there; indeed, the region is still called Hindu Kush, ‘Hindu slaughter’. The Bahmani sultans in central India, made it a rule to kill 100.000 Hindus a year. In 1399, Teimur killed 100.000 Hindus in a single day. Professor K.S. Lal has estimated that the Hindu population decreased by 😯 million between the year 1000 and 1525, probably the biggest holocaust in history. Surely, many of present day Indian Muslims’ ancestors must have been among those slaughtered.

 Islam cannot be wished away. As Sri Aurobindo said “Mahomed’s mission was necessary, else we might have ended by thinking, in the exaggeration of our efforts at self-purification, that earth was meant only for the monk and the city created as a vestibule for the desert”…. . Thus Indian Muslims have to keep their faith and any attempt by Hindus to convert them back is not only futile but counterproductive. But the question to be asked to them is: “what kind of Islam do you want to practice ? An Islam which looks westwards, towards a foreign city, the Mecca, swears by a Scripture, the Koran, which is not only not relevant to India, but which was meant for people living 1500 years ago, in a language which is not Indian ? Or do they want to practice an Islam which is “Indianized”, which accepts the reality of other Gods, as Hinduism and Buddhism accept that there have been other avatars than Ram or Buddha.

 Do India Muslims want to worship Babar, a man who destroyed everything which was good, beautiful and holy and lived by the power of violence, or do they want to imbibe the qualities of Ram, who believed in the equality of all, who gave-up all riches and honors of the world because he thought his bother deserved the throne more than him ?

Whatever the West says, which is obsessed with China, India, a vibrant, English speaking, pro-western democracy is going to become the superpower of the 21st century. Do Indian Muslims want to participate in that great adventure ? Do they want to feel that they are part of India, that they are Indians ?

Nowadays it is politically not correct to say anything against Islam. You are immediately labeled anti-Muslim and dismissed as a “rightist”. No matter if you are only reporting the fact that there is a real problem with Islam in South Asia: that India is surrounded by fundamentalists sates: Afghanistan and Pakistan, while more moderates like Bangladesh, tend to close an eye to anti-Indian activities; that Indian Muslims sometimes tend to put their religion before their country; and that Kashmiris, far from being the persecuted that the Foreign Press likes to portray, are actually paying the price for having allowed Afghan and Pakistani Sunnis radicalize what used to be a more gentle and tolerant Islam and left their Hindu brothers and sisters being butchered and chased away from their ancestral land.

Thus the question has to be asked again: do Indian Muslims want to be like Babar or like Ram. This choice will shape their future for generations to come.

 Francois Gautier

A WESTERN JOURNALIST ON LK ADVANI

When I started reporting in India, I had the same ideas as most western journalists : secularism, as practiced by Jawarlahal Nehru, was the best policy for India, given its caste and religion differences; Islam was a peaceful religion; and there were also Hindu fanatics.

But I had been given three boons by the Lord: I spent the first seven years of my life in India far from Delhi (in Pondicherry); I read Sri Aurobindo extensively and discovered that he had a towering mind, educated in the West, but Himalayan in its breadth; & I started freelancing in the South, which is much softer, much more attuned to its culture and spirituality than northern India.

Thus, when I interviewed K.R. Malkani, then one of the spokespersons of the BJP in 1988, I went there thinking I would get a Hindu ‘nationalist’ spiel. I was surprised to find a very cultured man, who spoke softly and courteously. And funniest of all, most of the things he said made sense and reminded me of what Sri Aurobindo had written nearly a hundred years before. Thus I became, probably the only ever western correspondent sympathetic to the BJP (Mark Tully, who has an intuition of Hinduism, always remained too British and too Christian to cross that threshold).

I met LK Advani in Jaipur in 1989 and took an instant liking to him: his forthrightness, Spartan simplicity and forceful thoughts. I remember in these days, there were only 3 pillars of the BJP: Advani, MM Joshi and Vajpayee. I was never very impressed by Mr Vajpayee, though no doubt he was a consensus man and an able statesman: but both the times I interviewed him one to one, I found that he had no knowledge about the world and nothing much of interest to say. But I had a lot of admiration for Mr Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi. Both demonstrated that they had guts: MM Joshi by raising the Indian flag in Srinagar in 1992, which at that time was made fun by the entire Indian media; and LK Advani by breaking a jinx : Muslims destroyed hundreds of thousands, if not millions of temples in india, but he was the one who had the guts to destroy that one mosque, abandoned as it was. It was a symbolic message of the Hindu renaissance.

The pity is that these three kept each other neutralized: MM Joshi and LK Advani have hated each other for the last 20 years and Vajpayee made sure that Advani always remained N°2 in the BJP.

I however always though that L.K. Advani’s reputation as a fanatic hardliner and a hawk was misplaced: I have spent many moments in his home and I have never heard him raise his voice. In fact, I doubt he ever hit someone in his life: he is very much a family man, dedicated to his wife Kamla and daughter Pratibha, both of them remarkably intelligent. In fact, it often struck me that these two women were the two biggest influences in his life.

Wen the BJP again lost the last elections in 2009, I met Mr Advani shortly thereafter alone in his office & he firmly told me: “it’s time for me to retire from politics”. I believed him then: Advani is a quiet man, whatever the press says, he likes to read, think, watch films and spend quality time with his family.

Yet today, he is clearly positioning himself as the BJP PM candidate for 2014 and that is wrong. For one, he will be 87 at the beginning of his mandate and 92 at the end of it, when most of the leaders in other parts of the world are in their fifties or even forties. Secondly, he is wrecking the chances of the BJP, because, whether it is fair or not, he does not have a good image with the electorate. Thirdly, as usual, in the true tradition of Hindu disunity, he is stabbing in the back Narendra Modi, the only man who has a chance to beat Rahul Gandhi and bring the BJP back to power. Fourthly, however much I liked LK Advani, when he was Home minister and deputy PM, he did not do better than the Congress: neither did he help the poor Tibetans as he had promised, nor did he show any iron hand in Kashmir, nor did he stand up to the Chinese. In fact he did nothing except trying to project a goody image of himself and the BJP.

For all these reasons, I , who has been the one and only western correspondent friend of the BJP in all these years say:
DEAR MR ADVANI, PLEASE BE TRUE TO YOUR WORD AND STEP DOWN FROM THE BJP, SO AS TO LEAVE THE PLACE TO NARENDRA MODI, WHO NOT ONLY SHOWED THAT HE DOES THIBGS BY MAKING OF GUJARAT A MODEL FOR ALL OTHER INDIAN STATES, BUT ALSO IS THE ONLY CHANCE OF THE BJP IN THE NEXT ELECTIONS

Francois Gautier

PS It does not help that LK Advani refused point blank to help the Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History, Pune. If there ever was a Museum dedicated to the Hindus, it was this one

PRINCE OF ISLAM

Dear friends, I have often been accused of being an anti-Muslim, but the fact is that I am a brought-up catholic and that before coming to India, I could not make the difference between a Hindu and a Muslim. I guess reporting in Kashmir opened my eyes. Yet I saw in Kashmir what remained of Sufism, before it was snuffed out by the militants.

Great souls, vibuthis, avatars, come and go, but something of their influence & message remains. Dara Shikoh, Shah Jahan’s eldest and preferred son, should have become emperor of India – and then the whole history of Islam – in India and may be in the world – would have changed. But he was beheaded by his brother Aurangzeb, and the more intolerant, violent side of Islam took over. Yet, Muslims in India still have it in them to go back to the Sufi, poetic, mystic, tolerant Islam that Dara had preached and which would usher a UNITED INDIA, where Muslims feel Indians first, while keeping true to their faith.

 

Hence FACT’s latest exhibition, honors this prince of Islam.

We plan to erect a special building for it. As you know, my foundation is always struggling for funds. Thus I appeal to you again to donate generously. FACT is a registered Trust with tax exemption. You can make a donation to: FACT, Account No: 04071450000237, IFCS code: HDFC0000407. We will mail you back your tax exemption certificate. For those of you who wish to donate in Euros, Pounds or Dollars, you can make a direct transfer to: Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) Account No: 04071170000016, Swift code:  HDFCINBB

Thanking you

#francoisgautier

http://dara-shikoh.blogspot.in/

SHIVAJI MAHARAJ MUSEUM OF (TRUE) INDIAN HISTORY, PUNE

Dear friends,

As you may know, I was a journalist and a reporter for many years (francoisgautier.com) and I felt that this was not enough. Hence I started writing books about India, such as “A New History of India” (Har Anand, New Delhi). This particular book attempts to rewrite Indian History as it happened – and not as it has been written by western historians & later adopted blindly by Indian historians. There is no doubt, for instance, that the Aryan Invasion theory, which is the foundation stone of all History books on India, western and Indian -never happened. All recent archeological, linguistic and even spatial discoveries, point in that direction. There is no doubt also that the genocide of Hindus at the hands of invaders for 1200 years has been swept under the carpet by historians (for good and bad reasons. Hence I attempted to set the record straight, however politically incorrect its is. 

 But I felt that writing books was not enough. Hence, when I got an award of journalism, I used the funds to start a foundation, FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism) & mounted an exhibition on the genocide & exodus of Hindus in Kashmir, which I witnessed firsthand, being a reporter for Le Figaro at that time: http://refugees-in-their-own-country.blogspot.in/. We showed this exhibition to the US Congress in Washington in 2008.

 Then I mounted another exhibition on the plight of minorities in Bangladesh, having also been there often:http://portrait-of-covert-genocide.blogspot.in/ 

Later, because in the process of researching for my books, I had seen how much Aurangzeb is portrayed as a stern but just ruler, we got hold of his firmans, which are still preserved in the Bikaner archives, hired a retired professor of history, V.S. Bhatnagar of the Rajasthan university, to translate them, engaged miniature painters in Jaipur and mounted a remarkable exhibition on Aurangzeb, as he was ACCORDING TO HIS OWN RECORDS:http://www.aurangzeb.info/

 And then and then, kept making exhibitions, till we have fifteen today, including one on Sikhism: http://defenders-of-dharma.blogspot.in/ Or one on Hindu genocide, which we called “HINDU TOLERANCE THROUGHOUT THE AGES:http://hindu-tolerance.blogspot.in/

 But this was not enough, I felt. Thus, 2 years ago, I started building a Museum of (TRUE) Indian history on 5 acres of land donated to FACT by HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. We have inaugurated the first phase one year ago. See the film at:http://www.youtube.com/user/FACTindia/feed

We built a small shrine dedicated to Mata Bhavani and Shivaji Maharaj at entrance of Museum (photo) and opened a beautiful permanent exhibition on the great Shivaji Maharaj, whom we elevated as a national Hero for the whole of India and a Vibhuti: http://hero-for-modern-india.blogspot.in/ 

 We then built a hall to put-up permanently our Aurangzeb exhibition. Photos: http://factmuseum.blogspot.in/

We have also built a video room where FACT’s films, such as “Brahmins have become the Dalits of India:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7Xgc4ljHKM , Or a film on the testimonies of survivors of the terror attacks in Mumbai of 26/11: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McjeQAUxz9Y can be screened

 & we have just completed a fourth building, which will house a remarkable exhibition on the genocide of Tibetans at the hands of Chinese, and which the Dalai-lama, whom I know well, for having interviewed him seven times, will inaugurate on 28th July. 

The Museum , whose address is: Ahead of Marathwada Institute. Vadgaon Shinde road. Wadgaon. Pune 4, is OPEN every day from 9am to 6pm and entrance is FREE. Please tell your friends about it. we have daily aarti in the temple in the morning at 9.30am

 This is a noble, but VERY difficult project, for many reasons. One, there is no tradition of private museums in Indian as there is in the West. Two, as soon as you touch at Indian history, it becomes very sensitive and tricky; and three, most philanthropists in India donate to education and health care, but recoil as soon as you mention the subject of Indian History. 

 But this is a Museum for ALL Indians, particularly dedicated to the Knowledge that stands behind Hinduism & which is the foundation of Indian culture and spirituality. My wife is preparing with Dr Kireet Joshi a series of exhibitions on the Vedas, which will be the foundation of our Museum.

 

However I need YOUR help. I am building this Museum on a shoestring budget and bills keep pouring in, while donations are very scant. 

 FACT is a registered Trust with Indian & UK, US tax exemption. If you would like to help, you could make a donation to: FACT, Account No: 04071450000237, IFCS code: HDFC0000407. We will mail you back your tax exemption certificate and we will honor all our donors.

Or you could donate via FACT USA

Please pass this plea on to your friends

Francois & Namrita Gautier/Trustees FACT

INDIAN MUSLIMS : BABAR OR RAM ?

Indian Muslims are today at a crossroad. The bombs attacks in Hyderabad, may have been guided by Pakistan, but could not have happened – like all recent Islamic attacks on India – without the strong support and involvement of Indian Muslims. Once again, we see that the silent Muslim majority of India – remains silent. Instead of universally condemning violence against their motherland, India.

The question that Indian Muslims should ask themselves now is simple: “who are we” ? Amongst the 120 millions of Muslims in India, only a tiny percentage descends from the Turks, Afghans, or Iranians who invaded India. The majority of them are converted Muslims. And converted how ? By terror, coercion, force, bloodshed. The ancestors of today’s Indian Muslims are probably those who suffered the most from the Arab and Muslim invasions. Those Hindus and Sikhs who chose not to convert, took refuge in their faith, fought together and kept their pride and honor. The first two generations of those who converted must have endured hell: for they certainly did not convert out of conviction, but because they had no choice: their daughters and wives were raped, sons taken into slavery, parents killed. It is sad today that their descendants have sometimes made theirs the intolerant cry of Islam.

Do Indian Muslims understand that they were part of the richest, most advanced, most tolerant and generous civilization of ancient times. That their culture was so advanced that it had spread all over the world ?Do they realize that more and more archeological an historical discoveries are pointing out that the genocide of Hindus by Muslim invaders is without parallel. The conquest of Afghanistan in the year 1000, was followed by the annihilation of the entire Hindu population there; indeed, the region is still called Hindu Kush, ‘Hindu slaughter’. The Bahmani sultans in central India, made it a rule to kill 100.000 Hindus a year. In 1399, Teimur killed 100.000 Hindus in a single day. Professor K.S. Lal has estimated that the Hindu population decreased by 😯 million between the year 1000 and 1525, probably the biggest holocaust in history. Surely, many of present day Indian Muslims’ ancestors must have been among those slaughtered.

Islam cannot be wished away. As Sri Aurobindo said “Mahomed’s mission was necessary, else we might have ended by thinking, in the exaggeration of our efforts at self-purification, that earth was meant only for the monk and the city created as a vestibule for the desert”…. . Thus Indian Muslims have to keep their faith and any attempt by Hindus to convert them back is not only futile but counterproductive. But the question to be asked to them is: “what kind of Islam do you want to practice ? An Islam which looks westwards, towards a foreign city, the Mecca, swears by a Scripture, the Koran, which is not only not relevant to India, but which was meant for people living 1500 years ago, in a language which is not Indian ? Or do they want to practice an Islam which is “Indianized”, which accepts the reality of other Gods, as Hinduism and Buddhism accept that there have been other avatars than Ram or Buddha.

Do India Muslims want to worship Babar, a man who destroyed everything which was good, beautiful and holy and lived by the power of violence, or do they want to imbibe the qualities of Ram, who believed in the equality of all, who gave-up all riches and honors of the world because he thought his brother deserved the throne more than him ?
Whatever the West says, which is obsessed with China, India, a vibrant, English speaking, pro-western democracy is going to become the superpower of the 21st century. Do Indian Muslims want to participate in that great adventure ? Do they want to feel that they are part of India, that they are
Indians ?

Nowadays it is politically not correct to say anything against Islam. You are immediately labeled anti-Muslim and dismissed as a “rightist”. No matter if you are only reporting the fact that there is a real problem with Islam in South Asia: that India is surrounded by fundamentalists states: Afghanistan and Pakistan, while more moderates like Bangladesh, tend to close an eye to anti-Indian activities; that Indian Muslims sometimes tend to put their religion before their country; and that Kashmiris, far from being the persecuted that the Foreign Press likes to portray, are actually paying the price for having allowed Afghan and Pakistani Sunnis radicalize what used to be a more gentle and tolerant Islam and left their Hindu brothers and sisters being butchered and chased away from their ancestral land.

Thus the question has to be asked again: do Indian Muslims want to be like Babar or like Ram? This choice will shape their future for generations to come. It is maybe only in India, that Islam can come to terms with itself and accept the reality of other faiths. Otherwise, if it continues on the path of confrontation, not only in India, but with the whole western world, it is surely going towards self-destruction.

#FrancoisGautier

ARE HINDUS COWARDS ?

“Muslims are bullies and Hindus cowards”, the Mahatma Gandhi once said. He may be right – at least about Hindus: there has been in the past 1400 years, since the first invasions started, very few Shivaji’s and Maharana Pratap’s to fight the bloody rule of the Moghuls, or hardly any Rani of Jhansi’s to stand against the humiliating colonial yoke of the British. If a nation’s soul is measured by the courage of its children, then India is definitely doomed: without the Sikhs, whose bravery is unparalleled in the more recent history of India, Hindus would have even lost additional land to the Muslim invaders and there would have been infinitely more massacres of Hindus by Muslims during the first weeks of Partition.

Are Hindus more courageous since they have an independent nation? Not at all! Because of Nehru’s absurd and naïve “hindi-chini-bhai-bhai” policy, the Indian army was shamefully routed in 1962 by the Chinese, a humiliation which rankles even today. Beijing is still able to hoodwink Indian politicians, by pretending it has good intentions, while quietly keeping on giving nuclear know-how to Pakistan, as well as the missiles to carry their atomic warheads to Indian cities, arm separatists groups in the north-east and continuing to claim Arunachal Pradesh or Sikkim.

Today, we see that Indian politicians, instead of standing-up to Islamic militancy and Chinese bully, prefer to look the other way and speak of ‘Hindu terrorism’, an absurdity if there is one. Hindus are hounded, humiliated, routed, be it in Pakistan and Bangladesh, where Muslims indulge in pogroms against Hindus every time they want to vent their hunger against India (read Taslima Nasreen’s book “Lalja”). In Kashmir, the land of yogis, where Hindu sadhus and sages have meditated for 5000 years, Hindus have been chased out of their ancestral home by death, terror and intimidation: there were 25% of Hindus at the beginning of the century in the Kashmir valley… and hardly a handful today. And look how the US is treating India, refusing to hand over Headley, responsible for the planning of the horrible Mumbai attacks and continuing to prop-up Pakistan, knowing very well that when American troops will leave Afghanistan, Islamabad will make sure that a friendly Taliban regime is reinstalled, with dire consequences for India’s security

There is no point in playing cricket against Pakistan, as long as Islamabad is sending militants to kill and maim into Indian territory. Yet, Hindus continue to think that in the name of sportsmanship, or democracy, it’s the right thing to do. We keep hearing about Hindu ‘terrorism’. But since fourteen centuries, Muslims have always struck first against Hindus, And those who live in Indian cities which have important Muslim minorities, will tell you that every time there are Hindu-Muslims, it is the Muslims who start them, either by attacking the police, or by provoking the Hindus.

The truth is that there are two standards in India: one for the Hindus; and one for the Muslims. Did the “fanatic” Hindus who brought down Ayodhya (and brought shame onto secular India, according to the Indian media) kill or even injure anyone in the process? No. But Muslims do not have such qualms. When Gandhi said they were bullies, he was being very nice or very polite. For forget about the millions of Hindus killed during the ten centuries of Muslim invasions, probably the worst Holocaust in world history; forget about the hundreds of thousands of Hindu temples razed to the ground, whose destruction – whatever our “secular” Hindus of today say – was carefully recorded by the Muslims themselves, because they were proud of it (see Aurangzeb’s own chronicles); forget about the millions of Hindus forcibly converted to Islam, and who sadly are now rallying under a banner, a language, a scripture which have nothing to do with their own ethos and culture (*). Yesterday and also today, when the Muslim world feels it has been slighted, in even a small measure by Hindus, these Infidels, who submitted meekly to Muslim rule for ten centuries, it retaliates a hundred fold – this is the only way one intimidates cowards. After Ayodhya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia (at least in a passive way by giving shelter for a while to Tiger Memon) with the help of Indian Muslims, planted bombs in the heart of Bombay and killed a thousand innocent human beings, most of them, once more, Hindus.

This is no to say that all Muslims are fanatics; on the contrary, many of India’s Muslims are extremely gentle and their sense of hospitality unsurpassed. The same thing can be said about Pakistan: Pakistani politicians, for instance, are much more accessible than in India and Pakistan has its own identity, which cannot be wished away. No, the problem is not with Muslims, whether they are Indians or Pakistanis, the problem is with Islam, which teaches Indian Muslims from an early age, to look beyond their national identity to a country – the Mecca, in Saudi Arabia – which is not their country, to read a Scripture which is not written in their own language, to espouse a way of thinking, which is inimical to their own roots and indigenous culture. Indian Muslims, have to think of themselves first as Indians and secondly only as Muslims. Muslim soldiers fighting against Pakistan in Kargil, have shown the way.

One would be tempted to say in conclusion : “Arise ô Hindus, stop being cowards, remember that a nation requires Kshatriyas, warriors, to defend Knowledge, to protect one’s women and children, to guard one’s borders from the Enemy”….
And do Indians need a Narendra Modi to remind them of that simple truth ?

FRANCOIS GAUTIER

Do you know the real history of Kashmir ?

Even after the mutilation of the two Indian soldiers by Pakistan, there is a lot of misconception in people’s mind, both Indian and western, that Kashmir did not always belong to India, or that it is a “disputed area”. This is why FACT (Forum Against Continuing Terrorism) chose to do an exhibition, which was shown with a great success all over the world, including to the US Congress in 2006 (http://refugees-in-their-own-country.blogspot.in/). Here are some of the facts we highlighted.

For two thousand years, the Himalayan valley of Kashmir in Northern India has been the home of Learning and Wisdom. From this small valley have issued masterpieces of history, poetry, romance, fable, and philosophy and many of the greatest Sanskrit scholars and poets were born and wrote in the valley. Kashmir flourished under some of India’s greatest rulers, such as Mauryan emperor Ashoka, who reigned between 273 and 233 BC and is recorded to have founded the old city of Srinagar. Under his sovereignty, many Buddhist scholars, missionaries, and intellectuals permanently settled in the valley. Or  the great Hindu King Harsha  (1089 to 1101 A. D) who was versed in many languages, a good poet, lover of music and art, making his court a centre of luxury, learning  and splendour.

Unfortunately In the beginning of 14th century, a ferocious Mongol warlord, Dulucha, invaded the valley through its northern side Zojila Pass, with an army of 60,000 men. His savage attack ended for all purposes the Hindu rule in Kashmi and he is said to have destroyed many temples and killed thousands of Hindus. Muslim rule was further tightened in 1389, during the rule of Sultan-Sikandar. He banned all celebrations and would not even listen to music. He imposed Jizia (tax on Infidels) upon Hindus and stopped them to use tilak. Almost all the Muslim chroniclers of that time speak of the wholesale destruction of Hindu shrines including the famed ‘Martand’ Temple, and forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam. Thousands of Hindus fled to India to save their religion and holy books, and also to escape the wrath of the Sultan

Then, after a period of relative tolerance and peace, came the rule of Afghans warlords till 1819, roughly a period of 67 years. The very first Afghan governor Abdullah Khan Aquasi, immediately after assuming powers, started a reign of terror. People were looted and killed indiscriminately, and even soldiers began to amass wealth beyond any imagination. Fortunately, in 1819, 30,000 soldiers of Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh attacked Kashmir, defeated the Pathans, and the state became a part of Ranjit Singh’s empire for nearly forty years, providing some relief to Hindus in Kashmir. But the British defeated the Sikhs and became undisputed masters of India. Not interested by Kashmir, they sold it in perpetuity for 75 lakhs of rupees (appr 150.000 $) to Maharaja Gulab Singh of the Doghra dynasty (what wonderful merchants the British, who sell something which does not even belong to them!).

By treaty, conquest, or inter-marriages, the Doghras created a state comprised of five major units, which are fundamentally very different from each other in terms of geography and ethnicity and have further complicated the problems of Kashmir: the territory around Gilgit (today in Pakistan), which belongs basically to Central Asia; Ladhak, which is an extension of Tibet and is peopled at 55% by Buddhists and 45% by Muslims; the area around Muzarrafad which is today under Pakistan control, comprised mostly of Punjabi Muslims; Jammu, which in essence belongs to Himachal Pradesh and is Hindu in majority; and the valley of Kashmir, of course, which was Indian Muslim at 95 % in 1947.

Finally, India gained its independence from in 1947 and was disastrously divided by the British, against the advice of saints and seers, such as Sri Aurobindo, along religious lines into India and Pakistan. Although many Muslims chose to stay in India, knowing that they would be granted the freedom of practicing their own religion, most Hindus had to flee Pakistan as they were being slaughtered mercilessly. Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir decided to attach his state to free and secular India. Furious, the Pakistan Government invaded Kashmir, and encouraged the Muslim tribal people to carry loot, plunder, death and destruction into the hearths and homes of innocent Kashmiris in general and among Hindus in particular.

Since 1947, Pakistan, aided by China, which also claims parts of Indian territory, has initiated three wars to regain Indian Kashmir, four, if you include the Kargil war fought in the icy reaches of upper Kashmir. Worse, the proxy war which they are waging on India today, by arming, training and financing not only Kashmiri separatists, but also Islamic militants coming from Afghanistan, or even faraway Sudan, has cost the lives of nearly 60.000 innocent people, both Hindus and Muslims. It should be added that Pakistan decided in the late eighties that it would be easier to regain Kashmir if all the Hindus were pushed out by a campaign of terror, both in the valley, where they are a tiny minority and in Jammu where they still have a thin majority. Thus 450,000 Kashmiri Pandits, constituting 99% of the total population of Hindus living in the Kashmir Valley, have been forcibly pushed out of the Valley by terrorists. Since 1989, they have been forced to live the life of exiles in their own country.

 People should also be reminded that terrorism in Kashmir is not about separatism only, it is also an ideological struggle with specific fundamentalist and communal Agenda. Terrorist violence aims at the disengagement of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from India and its annexation to Pakistan. It is a continuation of the Islamic fundamentalist struggle.

 François Gautier

 FACT is building in Pune, amongst the 5 acres, of the Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History (fact-india.com), a special building to permanently house our Kashmiri Pandits exhibition. If you wish to help contribute to this very important endeavor, you may contact me at francoisgautier26@gmail.com. FACT is a registered Trust, which has FCRA, Indian, US and UK tax exemption