The Indian war on Muslims and the occupation of Kashmir
By Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal
The pathology of the Hindu war on Muslims
India’s Hindutva war on Muslims is not new. It started with frequent anti-Muslim riots during the last days of the British rule in India and got intensified after the country’s independence in 1947. The British snatched political power from Muslims and groomed Hindus as the subservient collaborators to give sustenance to British rule. Because of British patronage, the Hindus got political confidence, economic might, administrative deep-state and arrogance to take revenge from the Muslims. More than six hundred years of Muslim rule over India made them feel inferior to Muslims and generated a strong sense of victimhood. As a result the Indian Muslims became the target of Hindu vengeance. Even now, the Indian Hindutva leaders can’t reconcile the old wounds of defeat by the Muslims. They conveniently forget that such wounds are not specific to the Hindus, most nations on the earth have scars of such defeats. For hundreds of years, the Roman ruled England, the Tartars ruled Russia, the African Moors ruled Spain and Portugal, the Turk ruled Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, and Romania and the British ruled the USA. If such a past political history of one nation’s rule over another continues to create toxic hatred among the people of different faith, race and language, it makes impossible to have a peaceful co-existence on the earth. Such a vitriolic instinct of revenge can only generate constant communal riots and wars. It is a pity that the Hindutva Indians have taken that path of vengeance. So, an unending war on Indian Muslims continues. As a result India stands as the most unsafe place for the Muslims.
To sustain a war on Muslims, the anti-Muslim hatred is being constantly instilled into Hindu psyche. For that, the most effective ammunition is the toxic lies that are being constantly spread by the Hindu media, the Hindu priest and the radical Hindutva politicians. Muslims are depicted as villains. True history is kept hidden and lies are spread as truth. And the historical truths are deliberately kept out of the common political and academic discourse. So it is not mentioned that, although the Muslim rulers came from outside India, they loved and defended India by their blood. They brought skills and knowledge from their ancestral lands.
Unlike the British, the Muslim rulers didn’t steal India’s wealth to build cities, palaces, the Taj Mahal and other hundreds of beautiful monuments in their ancestral lands. Whatever they built was built only in India. Muslims were the people who defended India against the Mongol invasion. They were also in the forefront in the war of independence against British rule. They also built a strong economy in India. During the Mughal rule, India had the best economy in the world. At the time of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, India used to constitute about 27 per cent of the world GDP. Whereas when the British left India, India could constitute only 3 percent of the world GDP. (Shashi Tharoor: Inglorious Empire).
The British historian William Dalrymple wrote, “In 1600, when the British East India Company was established, Great Britain had 1.8 per cent of the world GDP, and India had 22.5 per cent. (Professor Amartya Sen’s article published in Daily Ananda Bazar of Kolkata). The Muslim rulers never caused any famine in India; but the British caused a devastating famine in Bengal in 1769-70 -the richest province of India to kill one-third of its population. The British created another famine in Bengal in 1943 that starved 3 million people to die. Such genocidal famine was never engineered by the Muslim rulers. Unfortunately the historical facts that generate positive image of the Muslim rule are not taught in the Indian schools. Instead, corruption in history books is deliberately done to grow anti-Muslim bias.
The Hindus can forget and forgive the brutal British colonial rulers and their heartless loot, genocide and the destruction of the Indian economy, but they can’t appreciate the patriotic rule of the Muslims. For the independence of India from British rule, the Muslims gave more blood than the Hindus. In1857, the first liberation war against British rule was mainly led and fought by the Muslims. Those who gave their lives in that liberation war and were put in jails, most of them were Muslim. In the India gate of Delhi, there is a list of martyrs. In that list, the Muslims outnumber the Hindus by a huge margin. But the Hindutva propaganda continues to vilify Muslims as the enemies of India.
Such a toxic Hindu mind-set against Muslims influences Indian politics. The emergence of the extremist Hindutva forces in politics indeed owes to such a hostile mind-set. They consider the creation of Pakistan a victory of the Muslims and inimical to the Hindutva dream of an undivided India. The Hindutva leaders use the history of the past Muslim rule and the creation of Pakistan to fuel the anger of the common Hindus. As a result, an average Indian Hindu becomes incurably sadistic and anti-Muslim. They celebrate everything that harms or damage Muslim life, honour and property. And any Muslims’ success anywhere in the world makes them Islamophobic and gloomy. Such an Islamophobic impact is visible in the Indian media after the recent Taliban victory in Afghanistan.
India is the home of the highest number of the poorest people in the world. The average life span, infant mortality, child mortality, per capita income and GDP growth are inferior to that of Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. The Hindu caste system makes social and religious disintegration and exclusion obligatory. Hence it makes the inclusion of people of different religions, colours, and ethnicity in its political fabric impossible. This is why more than 200 million Muslims and 200 million Dalits (so-called untouchables) stay excluded from the hierarchy of power and politics. India was united only three times in its whole history, that too by the non-Hindu rulers. Those unifiers were the Buddhist ruler Ashoka, the various Muslim rulers and the British colonialists. The ancient ignorance of religion constitutes the Hindu religion. Therefore, the ancient form of idol worshipping, cow worshipping, snake worshipping, river worshipping, hill and mountain worshipping, and many such pre-historic pagan practices still survive among the Hindus as religion. Surprisingly, such primitive ignorance has become a matter of huge hubris in the Hindu psyche. Thus the original ignorance of mankind gets appreciated as the original religion!
Since they find no victory on other people to celebrate, they have made it a euphoric sport to harm, kill, lynch, humiliate and rape Muslims. This way they build their confidence. In such a toxic milieu of anti-Muslim hatred, the anti-Muslim riots, exclusion of the Muslims from government jobs, eliminating them from politics, annulment of their citizenship rights and pushing back the Muslims into a neighbouring country like Bangladesh enjoy huge popularity among the Hindu majority. Those who show leadership skills in such rabid anti-Muslim campaign get huge popularity and electoral victory. Once BJP supremo LK Advani showed such skills by leading massive rath zatras, now Mr. Norendra Modi is deploying the same trick. The Indian war on Muslims thus gets fuel from such a sadistic mind-set and a false propaganda hype.
Two war fronts
In its war on Muslims, India has two front lines of hostilities. One is on the border against Pakistan. The other one is the internal war against Muslims living inside India. The Hindutva Hindus don’t feel happy to give Muslims survival rights inside India. Such a mind-set gets loudly expressed in the popular Hindutva slogan in the streets. They shout with rancour that the Indian Muslims have only two destinations: either to Pakistan or to kabristan (graveyard). The current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of India pursues such a Hindutva policy of Muslims’ exclusion officially. The National Citizenship Registration (NCR) is indeed a ploy to exclude millions of Muslims as foreign infiltrators –blamed to be from Bangladesh. However, the Indian government doesn’t show any factual data on that. Since the job opportunity and the socio-economic condition in Bangladesh is better than India, infiltration of Bangladeshis into India is baseless rhetoric only to serve the political agenda of the Hindutva elements. Instead, hundreds of thousands of Indians work in Bangladesh.
Nevertheless, the project like sending Muslims to kabaristan (graveyard) gets executed through frequent genocidal massacres in the form of anti-Muslim riots. Even many Indian politicians told in public that such wholesale massacres in daylight can only happen with direct government patronage. In 2002, such a massacre went on for about a week in Ahmedabad -the capital of Gujarat under Narendra Modi’s direct watch. The following few examples of massacres can give some glimpses on how the task of sending Muslims to kabristan (graveyard) gets executed in India. These are the Hyderabad genocide in 1948, the Gujrat riot in 1969, the Moradabad massacre in 1980, the Nellie genocide in 1983, the Gujrat riot in 1985, the Hashimpura massacre in 1987, the Bhagalpur massacre in Bihar in 1989, the Bombay riot in 1992, the Gujrat genocide in 2002, the Malagao bombing in 2006, the Muzaffarnagar riot in 2013, the Assam massacre in 2014, and the Delhi riot in 2020. These are only a few out of thousands of anti-Muslim riots. Democracy is not only about holding elections. A democratic government must ensure not only the human rights but also the survival rights for the citizens. But such survival rights are denied to the India Muslims. Surprisingly, India still claims to be the largest democracy in the world!
The Indian wars of invasion and occupation
The Hindutva Hindus believe in undivided India. Hence they exploit every opportunity to grab new land to expand their border. The Hindutva forces are divided into two brands: the hard-core one called RSS-BJP-Bishwa Hindu Parisad axis and the softcore one that includes Indian National Congress and other Hindu dominated political parties. The occupation of Kashmir, genocide in Hyderabad, demolition of Babri Mosque and many genocidal massacres took place under the so-called softcore Hindutva parties like Indian National Congress.
After its independence in 1947, India started its war of occupation against the weakly neighbouring Indian states. During British rule, India had 550 princely states. As per declared principle, the princely states were given the right to join either Pakistan or India or could remain independent. But India used its military might to override such rights of the individual states. The ruler of Hyderabad wanted to stay independent, but the Indian Army invaded Hyderabad and launched a genocidal massacre to annex it. The Indian Army and the Hindutva terrorist killed about 200,000 Muslims in Hyderabad. Since Vallabhbhai Patel led the annexation cum genocides there, became the most revered Hindutva icon of Hindutva politics in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government built Mr Patel’s statue in Gujarat which is the largest statue in the world. This way his anti-Muslim massacre has been glorified in India.
India also annexed Junagadh and Manavadar by its military might in 1948. The Muslim rulers of both these states declared to join Pakistan. India justified the annexation of these two states on the basis of the majority Hindu population. But the Indian government reversed the same argument in the case of Kashmir. Kashmir is a Muslim majority state but India annexed it on the ground that its Hindu ruler acceded to India. The people were not given the right to join Pakistan or stay independent. India also annexed Nagaland. Whereas Nagaland was never a part of India except for a brief period of the British occupation. India also occupied Sikkim, and it was done through political horse-trading and trickery.
The genocide in Kashmir
India’s occupation of Kashmir is indeed a part of its constant war on Muslims. It is part of the project for expanding the Hindu India’s border. In Kashmir, the genocidal massacre, rape and torture is continuing since 1947. What happened to Muslims in Jammu in 1947 is catastrophic. It was a pure genocide. The Jammu region of Kashmir had a Muslim majority population before the massacre of 1947. The ruling Hindu Maharaja took a policy of Muslim cleansing of the state and started it from the southern district of Jammu. The RSS terrorists and Sikhs conducted the genocide with the Maharaja’s patronage. After cleansing a huge part of the Muslim population, Jammu becomes a Hindu majority district. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi separated the Hindu majority Jammu from Kashmir and made Kashmir a federal territory.
Horace Alexander while writing in The Spectator in January 1948 says, “Hindus and Sikhs of the Jammu area… apparently with at least the tacit consent of the Hindu state authorities, have driven many thousands of their Muslim neighbours from their homes”. Citing Gandhi –the Congress leader, he asserts that “some two hundred thousand are… not accounted for”. Christopher Sneddon, in his article “Kashmir: The Unwritten History” estimates that between 70,000 and 237,000 Muslims were killed in Jammu. (Quote from Karan Thapar’s recent article).
Arjun Appadurai and Arian Mack, in India’s World, believed that 200,000 could have been killed in Jammu and a further 500,000 have been displaced. Much higher figures were reported by the newspapers of the time. The Statesman suggested 500,000 Muslims were killed. The journalist Ved Bhasin and the scholar Ilyas Chattha claimed that the RSS was involved in the genocide -supported by Kashmir’s Maharaja Hari Singh. (Quote from Karan Thapar’s article).
Wajahat Habibullah in his “My Kashmir: The Dying of the Light” suggests two reasons. First, it occurred when communal riots and brutal massacres were happening right across northern India. In that bigger outrage, this smaller tragedy seems to have been forgotten. But the second reason is intriguing. It exposes the complicity of Sheikh Abdullah, then the undisputed leader of the Kashmir Valley in the crime. He could draw attention to this massacre, but he deliberately chose to ignore it because the Muslims of Jammu did not support his National Conference but were inclined towards Jinnah’s Muslim League. The Sheikh’s politics seems to have silenced his conscience! (Quote from Karan Thapar’s article). In the face of such a crime, silence or negligence is nothing but complicity in the crime. And Shaikh Abdullah committed that crime deliberately.
During the last three decades of the intensified war in Kashmir since the 1980s, the Indian Army has killed about 100,000 Kashmiris and raped hundreds of women. Torturing, killing and raping have become routine brutality of the Indian Army in Kashmir. What happened on January 21, 1990, in Gawkadal, Srinagar is horrific. The Indian Army killed 52 unarmed civilians and injured 250 –reported by Human Rights Watch. On January 6 1993, the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) killed 43 unarmed civilians in Sopore in Kashmir who were travelling on a bus. On October 22, 1993, in Bijbehara, the BSF killed 51 civilians. It has been reported by Amnesty International. On 29 and 30 May 2009 at Bongam in Shopira district, the Indian Army men abducted, raped, and murdered two young women and their bodies were drowned in a stream. These are only a few examples and tips of an iceberg.
The Indian rulers have no shame, no integrity, no sanity and no honesty. Even a huge number of Indians don’t show intellectual soundness either. What a low ideological sense that they still worship cows, snakes, mountains, rivers, naked sadhus, etc., and drink cow urine! It is a shame that they could elect a man like Narendra Modi who is the murderer of more than 3 thousand people in Gujarat. How can a man with an iota of moral sense do that? What a shame that Mr Modi still believes that his ancestral Indians could fly in the sky and could transplant elephants’ noses on humans. Surprisingly, these fantasies are taught in schools. Many Hindus also believe that cow urine contains gold and can cure Covid-19.
Peaceful solution blocked
India has blocked any sort of peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue. A peaceful solution is only possible if the legitimate rights of the people are honoured and justice is delivered. Justice is not the continuation of the military occupation. But the Indian government doesn’t show any interest in that. They have taken a war path and want to sustain the occupation by continuous war. The Indians show their pride in democracy. They boast India as the largest democratic state in the world. But they don’t allow democracy to work in Kashmir.
Democracy means respecting people’s verdicts. But in Kashmir, India is imposing its own agenda and ignores people’s wishes. India claims that Kashmir is an integral part of India. That is the wish of the Hindutva Hindus. Do the people of Kashmir subscribe to such an Indian view? What do Kashmiri people wish that could be only known by a plebiscite that Jawaharlal Nehru promised in 1948 –as it was planned in the UN Security Council proposal for the peaceful solution of the Kashmir problem. The UN Security Council appointed the US Admiral Nimitz to conduct a plebiscite in Kashmir. But India didn’t allow Admiral Nimitz to enter Kashmir and execute the UN plan. India thus betrayed its own promise with the support of Soviet Russia.
India reiterates bilateral dialogue with Pakistan to solve the Kashmir problem. But it puts a red line by saying that Kashmir is India’s integral part. Thus the wish of the Kashmiri people is kept off the table of any bilateral dialogue. Pakistan is not allowed to question that wishful claim of India. So the door of a negotiated solution to the Kashmir problem is unilaterally closed by India. Now there remains only a single option, and that is a liberation war. Even a Kashmiri child understands that. When the peaceful means ends, war gets the legitimacy and remains the only option. Such a liberation war is called jihad in Islam. But India –like any other occupying forces label such a popular liberation war as terrorism.
The Indian war of occupation has been going on for more than 70 years in Kashmir. India has deployed more than 600,000 troops to crush a few thousand mujahids. India has employed the most sophisticated weapons bought from the US and Israel. But still, they see no success even in the distant future. It is already causing a huge economic bleed to the poor Indian economy. The Indians have yet to learn that Islam’s jihad may take more years but is undefeatable. The jihad of the mujahids has another undefeatable Power on the top of it. He is the All-Powerful Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala. Any victory in war is decided only by Him.
If war is a perfect jihad, its ownership does not stay in the hands of mujahids. It is owned by Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala. And All-Powerful Allah decides its fate. This indeed gives the undefeatable strength to jihad. The Army of Angels come down from the haven to fight with the mujahids to give victory. The Muslim history is full of such Divine help starting from the first war against the infidels in the field of Badar. This is why the ragtag poorly armed Muslims could defeat huge Armies of Roman and Persian Empires –the contemporary World Powers. It may look fantasy to a non-Muslim. But a Muslim can never be a true Muslim unless he or she believes in such an undefeatable Power of Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala.
In jihad, the Mujahids have a solemn duty. They must make their war 100 percent pure jihad. They must protect it from the toxic venom of nationalism, tribalism, secularism, and other vile ideas. Otherwise, such ideological pollution kills the spirit of jihad and causes delinking from Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala. Then it causes deprivation of His help. Exactly that happened in the case of PLO. Mr Yasser Arafat and his secular colleagues under the influence of Jamal Abdel Nasser and other Arab nationalists made the war against Israeli occupation a secular nationalist war; therefore failed terribly. Instead of relying on Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala, the leaders of the PLO look for political, intellectual, and media support from the western secular liberals. They get euphoric seeing big pro-Palestine protest rallies in the streets of the west.
In order to sustain such support of the western secularists, they stay vigilant against the Islamisation of their struggle. As if, these liberals will bring victory against the Israeli occupation. Only the de-Islamised fools can subscribe to such a utopian wish. In fact, this is a ploy to allure Palestinians away from jihad. Such protest rallies in the western cities couldn’t reduce the Israeli atrocities. The Israeli settlement colonisation, eviction of the Palestinians and torture on Palestinian men, women and children continue unabated. And Gaza still remains as an open-air prison.
Jihad is the sure and quick gateway to paradise. This is the Qur’anic promise for those who engage in jihad. This is the defensive wing of Islam. Like Islamic faith, jihad is never limited by any ethnic or geographic border. Those who look for quick entry to paradise, rush at their own expense to find a field of perfect jihad. This is why the mujahids from all over the Muslim World joined the jihad in Afghanistan. So, if it is a pure jihad, the mujahideen of Kashmir will not be left alone. Moreover, a true mujahid never retires; it is his life-long ibadah. Hence his struggle for paradise continues. That was the practice of the Muslims in the golden days of Islam. Hence, those who ended their jihad in Afghanistan will join the jihad in Kashmir. The Indian leaders understand that, hence they are now trembling. But the mujahids must keep perseverance and patience (sabr). To keep such perseverance and patience is indeed a major trial for every believer. If they keep continuing with their jihad, Allah Sub’hana wa Ta’ala does His Own job, too. He never breaks His promise.
The Afghan experience
The Kashmiri mujahideen have a lot to learn from the Taliban. The Taliban waited for 20 years with perseverance and patience in their jihad. Thousands of them became shaheed and maimed. In the end, they got Divine help and won the victory. An elephant can’t return alive if it enters into a den of dragons. Dragons can’t crush an elephant but take the strategy to make elephants bleed to death. The same way the aggressor Army can’t go victorious from the land of mujahids. The Afghan mujahideen proved it three times. In 1842, the Afghan mujahideen made the whole invading British Army vanish; only one soldier could return alive. In the 1980s, they caused Soviet Russia to bleed to collapse and disintegration. The same strategy worked against the mightiest World Power like the US and its more than 50 partner countries. They got the most humiliating defeat in history. In the 1960s, the same strategy worked against a World Power like France in Algeria.
India is not stronger than the US, Soviet Russia and France. So the Kashmiri mujahideen must not underestimate themselves. They should apply the same strategy against India. It may take ten or twenty or thirty years, but the day will surely come when India –like the US will beg for a safe retreat from Kashmir. One can’t end enemies’ occupation by a dialogue. It never worked in the whole of human history. There is no peaceful solution to military occupation. Jihad is the only solution to military occupation. The Taliban in Afghanistan proved that. The PLO failed in its struggle because its secularist leaders worked for the peaceful solution of the military occupation. They neglected jihad. As a result, Mr Yasser Arafat faced captivity and met death under the Israeli occupation.
Even the most humble and peace-loving Prophet (peace be upon him) couldn’t make any peaceful solution with the war mongering enemies. He had to take the military option. So it is the Prophet (peace be upon him)’s legacy to take that path. Secularist Shaikh Abdullah of Kashmir failed badly because he pursued a path of political solution with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India. He didn’t meet any success but faced long-term jail and humiliation. Islam shows path not only in five times prayer and other rituals but also in struggles against the enemies. And it is jihad –the greatest ibadah in Islam. Those who live without jihad, have to live without dignity and freedom under the enemy’s occupation. How can Kashmiri Muslims take that path of humiliation and slavery? A path of humiliation, slavery, and disgrace is never a choice for a Muslim.