Posted in History, Politics

Tragedy of Kashmiri Pandits: My Memories

I grew up in Kashmir, we were there from around 1983 to 1990. I spent my entire childhood in Kashmir, and if childhood is the best part of one’s life, than assuredly I grew up in the Heaven on Earth, Kashmir. Often people question what happened to Kashmiri Pandits specifically, how and why they were targetted. There are no simple answers to this. What happened to Kashmiri Pandits was extremely wrong and nothing in the world can justify it, but what happened to them is also very complicated and not simple as many think and believe. The following is my recollection of what happened in 1989-1990 in Kashmir, with some filling in by my parents. I was there when it happened and am aware of many other things most people are not.

Around 1988, My father posted in Governor House near Chashm-e-Shahi as in-charge of security and we used to visit him often as he was permanently posted in Governor House and we lived on the far end of the city in BSF Campus at Panthachowk. I remember going to Chashme-Shahi to chat up with foreigners and show off my English skills. We had been in Kashmir since I was in KG but in winter of 1989-90 I was in 6th class, and we went to give our half yearly exams in peace in December 1989 (exams used to finish by later part of December, followed by two months of Winter holidays (summer holidays used to be of two weeks). Till December of 1989 we could go anywhere without security in BSF vehicles, no problem, our school bus didn’t even have an escort, and I used to go to the local market in Panthachowk alone, and everybody knew that I am child of an officer in BSF. I remember playing with local kids just outside the back gate of campus that opened to a big playing field, often sipahis from BSF (we called them Bhaiyya) used to join the game as well.

The biggest thing to happen in December 1989 was kidnapping of Rubiya Saeed, I still remember watching it on news while having breakfast and running down to kitchen to tell my mother the explosive news. During those days My father was in Baramulla where his battalion was based and we were going to Baramulla after the exams. I remember that it was after Rubiya Saeed that an armed guard came on our school bus, before that a BSF bus, full of children of soldiers could ply through 9kms of Srinagar without any security. And what could one armed guard do even if two or three insurgents were to attack? Hardly anything, he was there for only one thing, prevent kidnapping by a small gang of insurgents (because they were small and did not have popular support), compare this to when we went in our school bus after winter vacation, we had two escort vehicles full of armed soldiers.

To imagine how peaceful Kashmir was, you really have to look at the way Rubiya Saeed was kidnapped. She was daughter of Home Minister of India (think of Raj Nath Singh’s daughter). She was pursuing her MBBS and was an intern in a Govt hospital in Srinagar. As usual she was traveling alone in the local mini buses that used to ply in Srinagar, can you imagine children of Rajnath Singh traveling in local DTC buses everyday? The idea is to tell that till December 1989 there was hardly any violence in public, it was a peaceful place. There was militancy but it was not a mass movement certainly not something that one would be scared of, that winter vacation changed how we travelled in Kashmir. After Rubiya Saeed incidence some blamed the then Governor Gen. KV Krishna Rao who was a moderate and recognised roots and extent of issues. He was blamed for being soft and the then Indian Government wanted to a hard man. Jagmohan was their choice. Jagmohan was a Sanghi and on 19th Jan he was sworn in Governor and since Farooq Abdullah had resigned it was Governor’s rule.

Jagmohan denies it but the common belief is that he ordered a huge search operation in Srinagar on 19 Jan 1989 and if security forces found any guns in any house they would arrest people and have them taken as terrorist, hundreds of Kashmiris were arrested, because there was an underground insurgency and not a mass movement this was akin to going to UP and checking hundreds of houses, and any house that has a gun being charged with terrorism charges. Not just this, there were widespread allegations of rape, theft and torture by the security forces during these searches.

It is also the night where the grapevine was that Jagmohan had told Kashmiri Pandits to leave Kashmir as he would not provide them any security. It is openly alleged that he told Kashmiri Pandits that Muslims will come after them after what was to happen to Muslims.

19th Morning a Sanghi with reputation of being hawkish is appointed governor. On the night of 19th searches happen, with Muslims alleging rape, torture, beating and general injustice. The grapevine on the same night is the Governor had asked Kashmiri Pandits to leave the Valley. And Pandits left valley on 19th and 20th January in hoardes and on 21st January Gawkadal massacare happens, that transformers a low level independence movement into a full blown militancy. To me this looks like a far too improbable to be coincidence. And what I have described is also far too simplistic view of events that were happening during those days.

There were mistakes made by Government, Jagmohan, Farooq Abduallah, Insurgents, Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits as well…. JKLF the foremost militant organisation in Kashmir during those days denied killing of Pandits because of their religion but there were insurgents who blamed Pandits of being mukhbirs of security forces that needed to be routed out if battle of independence was to be won. Killings of Pandits did not happen before 19th January, i.e. appointment of Jagmohan. They happened exclusively after Gawkadal Massacre, militants swore that they were killing mukhbirs. And most unfortunately for most Kashmiri Pandits, they fitted the bill. Targeted by militants and they were also refused protection by government.

Jagmohan refused the state machinery to come to rescue of Pandits, in fact it was alleged that the government machinery was instructed not to act. Jagmohan allowed the Pandits to be trapped and killed by militants …. Jagmohan not only refused to protect Pandits and allowed them to be killed by militants but also encouraged Pandits to leave Kashmir to the extent of forcing Pandits to leave. Pandits leaders were forced to leave Kashmir, for example H.N. Jatto the Hindu Vice President of a reconciliation committee of Hindus and Muslims that were asking Pandits not to leave. Jagmohan sent a DSP to Jatto with an air ticket for Jammu, a jeep to take him to the airport, an offer of accommodation at Jammu and an advice to leave Kashmir immediately.

As described there were many Pandits who went because they were genuinely scared, many were forced to leave by Jagmohan and many left because Government refused to provide them security. However, today the most important thing is that everyone has realised their mistakes. That killings and sending off of Pandits was a huge mistake and great injustice. Contrary to what media says there is no life threatening scenario for Pandits for just being Pandits… although I won’t recommend BJP supporters and Pseudo Sympathisers like Anupam Kher to go and live in Kashmir.

Situation in Kashmir today is much better with Kashmiri Pandit Organisations coming out and telling the truth that Pandits are not being killed for being Pandits. Here is one such example. Jammu and Kashmir is a complicated problem that can only be solved by talks and not by Israeli type heavy handed approach that has ot brought peace to Israel anyway.

Posted in History

Lies of TrueIndology about Nehru

Yesterday, a twitter handle sent out a series of tweets about Nehru and how the Firstpost Article was wrong. He does this based on a book called Letters to Chief Minister Volume 4 these letter were written by Nehru between 1954 and 1957. Skipping his rhetoric and background in tweet 1,2 and 3, where he presents the case against Nehru and how the Frontline article is wrong and misleading. I will go straight to Tweet 4 where he says, “But just a month earlier,on August 2 1955, Nehru in his letter to Chief Ministers clearly mentions there was indeed an informal offer from US for a UNSC seat. Nehru denied it because he didn’t want to take the seat ‘because it would be unfair to a great country like China'” And he posts an excerpt from this book, with required underlines to prove his point.

So the first thing I did was to read the underlined sentence from the beginning. Reading from the beginning of the sentence we will realise that an informal suggestion was made by US to kick China out of UNSC and get India in its place. There is no offer being here. Let us understand this sentence further

  1. No Offer Was Made, this is crucial, because Nehru can accept or reject an offer only after an offer is made. TrueIndology is lying when he says that an informal offer was made. First US doesn’t own UN to make and offer, next they did not even make an offer, all they made was an informal suggestion. Guess TruIndology is so used to Untruths and intentional misleading interpretations that an informal suggestion is an offer to him.
  2. informal suggestion by US, again this needs to be explained to those who have no experience of either diplomacy or law. And let us remember Nehru was a lawyer and TrueIndology is not, an informal suggestion means nothing, specially the one which is proposed by country and opposed by everyone else (a similitude coming up later to explain why everyone opposed). But most importantly US was not UN to offer anything to India, if it has to be an offer it has to come from UN not US. Only those who know zilch about Diplomacy will argue otherwise.
  3. to throw out China from Security council this was because of US was backing capitalist Taiwan (Republic of China) as true representation of and opposing communist China (People’s Republic of China). Remember this is mid 1955, and the cold war is warming up. And this forms the background which I will explain later. Remember in 1955 China was a great friend of ours, it became a foe only after we gave refuge to Tibetans in 1959.
  4. get India in UNSC after throwing out China but US alone can not do this, it needs countries to back it UK, France and Russia have already said that do not support Taiwan and wanted Peking to take the seat. The informal suggestion is a non starter from the beginning as it does not have any backer and hence the suggestion dies its natural death.

To understand the background we have to read the whole letter specifically when this issue comes up in point 18 of page 235 of the book, (an extract is available here to read). I point 18 Nehru discusses that there two major world issues one is the situation in Germany and the other is in Formosa (now Taiwan). He says he is not worried about situation in Europe as the Western Block (ie Capitalists) is stronger, but the situation is opposite in Far East where Eastern Block (ie Communists) is stronger . The context is that after WW2 ended, China being one of the winners of WW2 got a seat in UNSC. But soon the Chinese Civil War restarted between Kamantek (Chinese Nationalist Party ) led by Chiang Kai-Shek and backed by Capitalists and Communists Party led by Mao Tse Tung and backed by Communists. By 1949 Chiang Kai-Shel has been defeated and routed from the mainland China and has been reduced to Taiwan and other small Islands in East China Sea. The crisis in 1955 was about two Islands of ‘Quemoy and Matsu’ that were being claimed by Taiwan as they were close to its territorial border. Apart from USA no one else was supporting Taiwanese claim. The only permanent member of UNSC backing USA was Taiwan itself. On the other hand this was frustrating USSR as it saw Taipie take China’s seat instead of Peking. US had not even recognised Peking as a legitimate government of China, and it wanted this controversy of Taiwan in China’s seat by giving it to India, but this would have never happened because Russia would have vetoed it, apart from everyone else objecting to it.

Clearly nobody was talking of regime change in China, and had no backing from anyone except USA. And without backing nothing would have happened, this was an informal suggestion from USA was nothing serious that could be explored. Any exciting reaction to an informal suggestion with no backing would have made India laughing stock of the world. Next even our excitement on this informal suggestion with no backing’ would not have been ignored by Chinese and would have spoilt relations with a friendly country whom we were first to recognise outside of Communist Block.

Coming to his 5th Tweet, he says, “This letter can be accessed online. It is available on Page 237 of Jawaharlal’s Nehru’s “Letters to the Chief ministers Volume 4 (1947-1964)”, Oxford university Press. Government of India 1988 Check for page 237 in this link “ Obviously I accessed it and found that no offer was made to Nehru it was a dirty trick US was playing by making an informal suggestion with no backing and TrueIndology lying that an offer was made.

His 6th Tweet says, “The propaganda @firstpost article quotes what Nehru said in Parliament, but carefully ignores what Nehru wrote to this chief ministers, as that would complete expose their Chacha Nehru” The reason it is ignored is that there was no offer of any kind, formal or informal the offer needs to come from United Nations, an informal suggestion from US does not qualify to be an Offer. Clearly TrueIndology is lying by saying that an offer was made, while in reality it was an informal suggestion with no backing.

His 7th Tweet is an attack on Congress, he says “To defend Nehru’s image, official congress handles @AICCMedia are making factually incorrect claims There HAS BEEN a change in UN composition. In 1950, PRC was blocked from taking Chinese seat at UN. In response Russia walked out. These events gave a scope for a new member “ Again misses the background, China was given a permanent seat in 1945, before Civil War tore the country in two countries, Republic of China (henceforth Taiwan) with capital Taipei and People’s Republic of China (henceforth China) with capital in Peking. In 1949 only Communist Bloc countries recognised China, the first country outside the Communist Bloc to recognise China was India in 1950. China was claiming the seat on UNSC that was then seated by Taiwan. Taiwan claiming to be original China and kept that seat till 1971. The 1950 protest was about giving seat to partitioned Communist China instead of Capitalist China. Since it was a matter of which Chinese republic is the correct inheritor of seat. So No, TrueIndology is lying by implying that that a Non Chinese was sitting on Chinese seat, or that it was empty.

The 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Tweet need to be read together, He says, “It was not once, but twice that India was offered a seat at UNSC. Nehru rejected the seat both the times. The above mentioned excerpt of Nehru’s letter to Chief Ministers refers to the UNSC offer of 1955. There was another UNSC offer in 1950 which was also rejected by Nehru. In a letter to Nehru dated 24th August 1950, Indian Ambassador to US and Nehru’s sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit reveals that US State department made a proposal to India for UNSC seat. Those were the days of Cold War and US was looking at a potential ally in India. Nehru wrote a response to this letter on August 30 He unequivocally denied the offer. He said the UNSC seat would break “the impeccable relations between India and China”. He further said “it would be an affront to China” and he would “press for China’s admission in UNSC” You will see a lot of Nehru apologists arguing that the offer was “just a bait”. But the fact is that in those days US was indeed willing to concede India a fair deal because it was looking at potential allies in our region in the wake of Cold War “

The similitude of this is like a cunning Amriki Baniya comes to you and says “Look I don’t like your best friend and neighbour Bada Pehalwan. He is the real inheritor of this great job that I have given to his weak brother and his enemy Chhota Pehalwan. Chhota Pehalwan is occupying the job illegally and only because of my influence and my veto. Everyone else including you have said several times that Bada Pehalwan must get the job. But, since I have a veto I will not let Bada Pehalwan get the job. Obviously Bada Pehalwan is pissed with me, and so is everybody else. To take some heat off me I was thinking that if you should state your candidature instead of a country who should actually be there. Although you will never get the job because Commie Roosi Pehalwan also has a veto and will not let Commie Bada Pehalwan’s place go to someone who is not a Commie. Of course it would make you look like an idiot, but at least I will have some less accusations of being unfair and unjust. To conclude, you will not get the job and you will piss off Bada Pehalwan … say what???? Lastly I must warn you, you are best friends with Bada Pehalwan and because of this friendship he has ignored a border dispute with you, and this could spark fires and you might loose your state Arunachal Pradesh. But above all, this is all completely unethical because the job really belongs to Bada Pehalwan.”

Which kind of sparkling idiot would listen Amriki Baniya’s scheme, to back stab our friend, to go for a job that he can not get us, for which he does not have support, for which Roosi Pehalwan will undoubtedly veto and will permanently damage our relations with Bada Pehalwan with whom we have a border dispute about a whole state we have. But the bottomline still remains that no offer yet from UN, formal or informal.

The 12th Tweet is again a complete lie, He says, “Nehru got three foreign offers in total for a UNSC seat. Twice by US in 1950 and 1955. Once by Chinese rebels. It takes a bare faced liar like Nehru to deny such an offer ever took place” Again an informal suggestion is not an offer. Also what was being offered to India was stolen goods. TrueIndology does not have a problem subsiding ethics and morals or dealing with stolen goods, but rest of us have. Like most Indians, Nehru certainly did. How could India partake in an exercise of great injustice for which she had a no hope of being successful and involved back stabbing one of her best friends. Let their be no doubt the seat always belonged to China and not Taiwan. Taiwan was sitting on it only because of USA, and USA wanted to give this China’s seat to India.

His 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Tweets are about an article published in the Wire discussing the above so called offers, so I am not going to repeat my arguments for them. He also brings a new so called offer of Russia, one which the Russians themselves withdrew saying that the time is not right. But the interesting things that the all these claims and Nehru’s decisions are very well defended in the Wire itself. Furthermore Sujit Nair’s video here also explains the Russian angle in the video.

To Conclude: United Nations Security Council Never made an offer to Nehru. The offer that is being allegedly made is actually an informal suggestion which has no support. Also, for sake of argument even if we take these ‘offers’ as genuine, they were offering us stolen goods, they would have made a friendly country an enemy forever and would have never materialised. Here are two other reputed journalists explaining things.

Sujit Nair Editor
Shekhar Gupta Explains UNSC Seat
Posted in Islam & Religion, Social Issues

The case of forced conversions, an example of Aurangzeb

“History makes it clear that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping across the world forcing Islam at the point of the sword over conquered races is the most fantastic myth that historians have ever repeated.” De Lacy O’Leary, British Orientalist and Historian . Unfortunately the situation has not changed since Mr. O’Leary and the same fantasitc myth is being repeated, every day and every night. The accusation doesn’t die. For most people, because of their opposition of Islam, they are willing to digest every lie that is being told to them without applying any reason, logic or even simple checks of historic accuracy. And I have to write this down because I am fed up of it.

First of all, Quran itself prohibits people from forcing people to convert. This chapter of Quran (Surah Kafirun – Chapter 106), is learnt my most Muslims by heart at a very early age and one of the few chapters that almost every Muslim can recite, it is also regarded as quarter of Quran, this is the translation of the whole chapter, ” Say : O ye that reject Faith! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, . Nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine. ” For centuries Muslims has interpreted that There is absolutely no way to force religion on anyone else, ‘To you is your Way, To me is Mine’. Another proof is Surah Ghashiya – Chapter 88, verses 21 & 22, ‘Therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish. Thou art not one to manage (men’s) affairs.’ Muslims interpret this as we are only to advice, so we should advice and let them decide and manage their own affairs, forcing someone to change their religion would be ‘managing their affairs’ which is clearly prohibited. Muslims do not believe in forced conversions because it effects one of the foundations of Islam, ie ‘free will’. If God wanted He could have forced everyone to follow Islam, but He didn’t do so who the hell are we Muslims to force people to change religion. But those who hate Islam, keep repeating this lie.

Today, the religion that gathers maximum amount of converts from other religions is Islam. And it has been the same for several decades. Most of these people accept Islam because they see something good in it. In Europe, a Dutch MP recently converted to Islam, and he belonged to Anti Islam party of Geert Wilders, was he forced to convert to Islam? No. He became Muslim after researching on Islam and found he had far too many things he had in common with Islam. In India, A. R. Rehman became Muslim, who forced him to covert to Islam? No one, he found Sufi Music closer to his heart and his calling. And in Americas, Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, who can possibly imagine someone forcing him to do something he didn’t want to do. No one could force Muhammad Ali in doing something, he became Muslim because of Truth of Islam and his heritage.

There is absolutely no evidence of mass forced conversions. There was nothing like soldiers marching into villages and homes and asking people to convert to Islam or die. Even the enemies of Muslims of those times do not accuse Muslims of doing such. Of course, there could be an odd incidence here and there but saying that all Muslim population of today is descendended from those who were forcefully converted is not just preposterously illogical, it is also impossible, an absolute and utter lie.

I am no fan of Aurangzeb and hold very poor view of him, after all this was a man who killed his own brother and sent his brother’s severed head to his old and ailing father. Undoubtedly a bad man. But do we find these forced conversion in history, the history that Aurangzeb wrote. There are various other documents of Aurangzeb’s where he mentions his great deeds, like sending Shah Jehan (his father) decapitated head of Dara (Shah Jehan’s eldest son and Aurangzeb’s brother), breaking of temples, general slaughter, wars and how he treated and punished his enemies, about his bravery, brutality and savagery. Everything is mentioned by Aurangzeb himself in his Persian records.

But forced conversions is not mentioned. What could have possibly stopped Aurangzeb from mentioning forced conversions? Nothing, if he didn’t feel ashamed in mentioning that he sent decapitated head of his brother to his father, why would this matter of forcing someone to convert to another religion move his conscience? So No, Aurangzeb had no reason not to mention forced conversions in his Persian records, the only reason they are not mentioned is because they never happened.

It is a well established practice of all kings and tyrants that they record every deed that they did that they believed was the right thing to do, right from Pharoah proudly writing “I destroyed seed of Israel” to recent Nazis who were also killing everyone to make an “ideal German Race” free from disabled people, other races, people who were mentally challenged, etc. Aurangzeb too wrote that he used to give money to people to convert, he wrote that he used to forgive convicted criminals if they accepted Islam (including death sentences), etc. But there are absolutely no records of even Aurangzeb forcing people to become Muslims.

It is a myth that Muslims forced people to convert. Nay, it is not just a myth, it is a lie.

Posted in Islam & Religion

Divine Destiny in Islam

Divine Destiny is a topic that has been in conversation for as long as Islam has been. I have explained the Divine Destiny in this and have answered the question, “If it is already written what I am going to do, why should I be held responsible for it?” I have also tackled Iqbal’s, “Khudi ko kar buland itna….”

Although not very long, but formatting it correctly in a Blog Post came out as a challenge, hence I have put up a pdf copy, which is easy to read, download and distribute.