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Opinion | Convert, Leave or Perish: Exile of Kashmiri Hindus was by Islamic Design

The veneer of Kashmiri Muslims’ secular and tolerant worldview was gone in the moment of communal frenzy, writes Yuvraj Pokharna. (Photo: PTI)

The veneer of Kashmiri Muslims’ secular and tolerant worldview was gone in the moment of communal frenzy, writes Yuvraj Pokharna. (Photo: PTI)

One is still not sure how long the relentless, cruel, horrific, repulsive, gruesome onslaught on minorities – Kashmiri Hindus – will last in the Valley.

The gory exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, or Kashmiri Hindus, one of India’s oldest indigenous communities, in 1990 was not the first such incident. Not being evasive of historical facts and data, perhaps not unnerved and befuddled with the ramifications of calling a spade a spade as against Nehruvian secularist dogma, this was distinctly the seventh and the “last one”, they say. One is still not sure how long the relentless, cruel, horrific, repulsive, gruesome “onslaught” on minorities – Kashmiri Hindus – will last in the Valley. In terms of chronology, the first exodus occurred around 1389-1413 with the arrival of Islam, followed by the second around 1506-1584, the third between 1585-1752, and the fourth in 1753. The fifth migration occurred between 1931 and 1965, and the sixth occurred in 1986, but the most infamous, horrible, and horrendous was the final exodus of Kashmiri Hindus on January 19, 1990, at midnight.

The Kashmir Valley experienced a blackout during the middle of the night on January 18-19, with electricity turned off everywhere except mosques, which broadcast divisive and incendiary slogans calling for the purging of Kashmiri Hindus. As the night fell, the Valley began to reverberate with the war-cries of Islamists, who had stage-managed the entire event with great care, choosing the timing and the slogans to daunt the Hindus. Muslims were incited and insinuated to take to the streets and shatter the bonds of ‘slavery’ with a slew of offensive, communal and threatening chants intermingled with martial tunes. These sermons from the mosques urged the ‘believers’ to give the Kafir one last push in order to usher in the real Islamic system.

These slogans were accompanied by clear and unmistakable threats against Hindus. They were given three options: Ralive, Tsalive, or Galive (Convert to Islam, Leave the place or Perish). Hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Muslims descended on the Valley’s streets, chanting “death to India” and “death to Kafirs”. These words, which were played on the loudspeakers of each of the 1100 mosques, exhorted the frenzied mobs to join the Jihad. All male Muslims, including their children and the elderly, wanted to be viewed as taking part in the Jihad. The only motive behind this abhorrent display of muscle-flexing: to instill fear of death in the already terrified Pandits. The veneer of Kashmiri Muslims’ secular, tolerant, cultured, peaceful and educated worldview, which the Indian intelligentsia and liberal media had forced them to wear for their own reasons, was gone in this moment of communal frenzy.

Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits contacted officials in Jammu, Srinagar and Delhi, pleading with them to save them from the impending disaster. Delhi was already too far away. The wimpish central government was caught off guard, and its state agencies, particularly the Army and other paramilitary forces, could not act on time in the absence of any orders or directives. The state government had been so thoroughly subverted that the administration’s skeletal staff in Srinagar (the state’s winter capital having been relocated to Jammu in November 1989) decided not to confront the massive mobs.

The apathy of the Nehruvian-Secularists and the so-called “eminences” is on display when it comes to acknowledging the injustice done to the Kashmiri Hindus, since it doesn’t fit the narrative of anti-India groups within India. Instead, their acts of murder are condoned, and the culprits are protected as “son of a school teacher”. Jihad is an endless war. The Western media continues to allow Hinduphobic columnists to push false notions like India is about to perpetrate an anti-Muslim genocide. This “routine” news is obliterated by the same selectively unequivocal media in places like Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal. The police shooting of a Muslim man in Assam, while terrible and gory, becomes the impetus for the entire cabal to predict a “genocide”. There are also some one-sided conjectures. Almost all are preposterous at best and ludicrous at worst.

Militancy and secession were never about Kashmiriyat, insaniyat or jamhooriyat, as the secular commentariat maintained. It was always about establishing Islamic authority and separating from India’s plural, Hindu-majority roots, going by their own slogans. Some of the slogans used were:

“Zalimo, O Kafiro, Kashmir harmara chod do.”
(O! Merciless, O! Kafirs, leave our Kashmir)

“Kashmir mein agar rehna hai, Allah-ho-Akbar kahna hoga.”
(Anyone wishing to live in Kashmir will have to convert to Islam)

“La Sharqia la gharbia, Islamia! Islamia!”
(From East to West, there will be only Islam)

“Kashmir banega Pakistan.”
(Kashmir will become Pakistan)

“Pakistan se kya Rishta? La Ilah-e-Illalah.”
(Islam defines our relationship with Pakistan)

“Kashmir banawon Pakistan, Bataw varaie, Batneiw saan.”
(We will turn Kashmir into Pakistan, along with the Kashmiri Pandit women, but not their men)

It is time to break free from the fallacies and delusions of Nehruvian secularism and secularists and ponder the real hard questions that haunt us as a civilisational state and as a modern Hindu state concerned with national security, if not polity:

1. Why should a secular country like India treat any religion differently?

2. Why did fewer people attend Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s funeral when huge crowds gathered for terrorists like Burhan Wani?

3. What if the Indian Penal Code was abolished because Sharia needs a “Muslim Personal Act” for civil laws? If the Muslim Personal Law is based on Islam, why not demand Sharia instead of IPC?

4. Isn’t it offensive to other religions when the Azaan is played five times a day and the words “La Ilaha Illallah” are spoken? If that’s non-negotiable, why do others need to be secular?

5. Islamist invaders desecrated temples, massacred residents, and destroyed civilisational achievements, all in the name of their holy book. The book hasn’t changed. Why should the present followers of the same book be any different?

6. Is it Islamophobia to raise such issues, or is it Islamophobia to ignore them?

Finally, “Ralive, Tsalive, or Galive” isn’t a one-time slogan employed in Kashmir. There is no solution to the Kashmiri Jihad unless these questions are answered. Kashmir is just one example of what will happen if these issues go unanswered across India. This is neither a ‘90s taboo subject, nor is it an extrapolation by a clique labelled Islamophobic. The world community has also witnessed the threat of ‘Jihadi Terror’ and the ‘humanitarian disaster’ it can cause, most recently in Afghanistan. Humanity’s future depends on how successfully and quickly this issue is addressed. It only took a few days to wipe out trillions of dollars and a decade of humanitarian work in Afghanistan. Jihad will be democratised as a tool to return mankind to the stone age in Kashmir and beyond, unless we are mature enough to grasp the dangers of doing nothing.

Yuvraj Pokharna is a Surat-based educator, columnist and social activist. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.

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first published:January 19, 2022, 19:35 IST