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On the Sidelines of Kashmir History

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By K.N. Pandita

Mr. Jagmohan’s write – up (Kashmir’s new danger April 12, 2007) asks for some vital clarifications. A letter will not do, hence a full write-up.

Shri Jagmohan is one most outstanding authority on contemporary Kashmir essentially first by virtue of being an astute scholar, and secondly having headed the J&K State twice, once in normal times and the next at a crucial time when armed insurgency broke out. Notwithstanding these unique qualifications, some basics of Kashmir history and psyche appear to have remained obscure to his searching eye.

In the first place it is a big fallacy to think that Kashmir had a tolerant Islam. It was never so. Muslim historians, pseudo-secular Hindus and some self-styled visionaries manipulated it. Works of Kashmiri Persian histories like Baharistan-i-Shahi (A.D. 1622) and Tohfatu’l-Ahbab (closing years of 16th century) and Tarikh-i-Kashmir of Peerzada Ghulam Hasan have remained inaccessible to most of Kashmir commentators including perhaps Jagmohan. These and other casual Persian histories give an insight into atrocities perpetrated on the Kashmiri Hindus from A.D 1339 to the end of the Pathan rule in circa A.D. 1797. For a long period of over four hundred years, Kashmiri Hindus have borne untold atrocities, forced conversion and circumcision and persecution at the hands of the local Muslim satraps, warlords and their engines of oppression. Never did a single Kashmri Muslim stand up to the tyrannical and bigoted rulers and goons demanding justice to the Hindu population.

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Not only a sectarian divide

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By K.N. Pandita

The roots of Shia-Sunni jihad bedevilling Pakistan’s Punjabi dominated regions in general and more recently the Kurram Agency of FATA in particular, have to be traced in the deep – seated conflict and contradiction existing in traditional ideologues of the Shia and the Sunni sects of Islam ever since the tragic happenings in Kerbala in 7th century A.D. After the Arab conquest, Iran became predominantly Shia for several reasons. Her centuries old pre-Islamic monarchical mindset harking back to the days of great Achaemenian and Sassanian Empires, her dislike for Arab domination resulting in several anti- Arab revolts and uprisings, her rich and ennobling cultural heritage and national pride, her agriculture-oriented economy and entrenched feudalism, her organized and structured society as against a tribal and a nomadic way of life are some of the factors, which prompted Iranians to carve out their Shia (literally meaning weaning away from mainstream) identity and reinforce it through exceptionally studious, accurate and reasoned scholarship.

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