The Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan has been very well covered, read and debated. The India, Pakistani and even the Western narrative has been widely covered, but EurAsian Times gets you the Turkish narrative by Yusuf Kaplan who seem to have found the real reason for all the troubles in the Kashmir Valley.
The Kashmir issue is in fact a sketchy matter. Its name and destiny are closely related to water. In ancient Sanskrit, Kashmir means, “the land from which water was drained.” The reference here is likely to low water in a pond. The valley where creeks flowing from the skirts of the Himalayas has maintained its appeal with its majesty and abundance throughout the course of time.
Its first known invaders in the centuries just before the birth of Christ have been ancient Turkic empires such as the Kushans and Ak Huns. Even Alexander the Great returned empty-handed as a result of its steep and impassable landscape.
The region, a homeland of Buddhism, could not be conquered during either of Hajjaj’s two expeditions, which would have, as a result, opened the region to Islam. Even a great conqueror like Mahmoud of Ghazni could not take control over the region despite two attempts. This victory would be gained in the 1540s by Babur’s nephew after the region was gradually softened by Muslim merchants and dervishes.
After 1820, a half-century-long Sikh attack eventually embittered the Muslim population. The call to prayer and performing prayers had been prohibited; slaughtering cows had become punishable by death. The addition of exorbitant taxes to the tyranny led part of the Muslim community to migrate toward Lahore.
Only a week after the British conquest in 1846, benefits were made available to a Hindu pirate from Jammu and his people. Seven-and-a-half-million rupees. The price estimated for a Kashmiri based on the population was 7 rupees. The son of this pirate, who sucked the life out of Muslims with unreasonable taxes and forced them to work under a slave order, would forever change the destiny of Kashmir by selling his right to determine their destiny for a low price.
THE LONG-LEGGED BRIT
India was ruled by Turkic-origin dynasties since the start of the first millennium until the last Babur empire was defeated by the British in 1857. Ruling a multi-language and multi-religion country like India for such long centuries in peace is not a record to be ignored.
The British managed to tear to pieces the country they ruled for 90 years. And they did this without neglecting to leave to the local population English as the country’s official language against an eighth-century rule, while there was no sign left of Turkish – except for a few words, along with the name of Urdu.
Ever since the children of the empire, over which the sun never sets, established their first colonies, they did not get along with the Muslims. Because they encountered the greatest resistance and resilience in them. It was generally Hindus and Sikhs who made the cut in the selection of a collaborative elite class from among the local people. Muslims were punished and ostracized.
The British had arrived to stay permanently. They had also shown on many occasions the massacres they were capable of in the name of upholding the colonial system. Yet, they had no choice, as it was time to leave. The world wars had left them exhausted. When it was impossible to deny the obligation to leave the colonies, there remained two questions:
To whom and how? The long-legged British decided on leaving behind fighting peoples by means of inventing inextricable border disputes. It was perfectly convenient to constantly occupy the region with internal troubles, which were difficult to recover from, and for future interventions. And it succeeded.
The Indian population in 1947 was about 390 million. After the secession, 330 million of the population was in India, 30 million in Pakistan, and 30 million in the section that would later become Bangladesh. Close to 15 million people, distraught, passed from one side of the border to the other in search of a haven.
Was it known to where the sort of destruction and showdowns that tearing so many people from their roots and shifting them from here to there would lead to? Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs were led to a ravenous tumult. The well-known Asian gene that has a strange desire for mass bloodshed and lynching captured the entire subcontinent. According to some estimates, 2 million people lost their lives in one of the most horrific clashes witnessed in history.
According to plan, each one of the 560 large and small feudal beylics and princedoms would declare to join either Pakistan or India based on their population structure and geographical location or, if they wished, they would proclaim their independence. Yet, what was going to happen in towns where the predominant population did not share the same religious faith with the local administrator known as Maharaja or Nawab?
According to a population census in 1941, 77 per cent of about the 4 million Jammu Kashmir population was Muslim. In central Kashmir, this rate stood at about 90 per cent. It had a 511-kilometre border with India, while its border with Pakistan is 1,174 kilometres.
The side bordering India was parallel with the world’s longest mountain range, yet the side bordering Pakistan was quite open to transport. Despite all these facts, the pirate’s son did what he did.
The Muslim population was organizing demonstrations against him ever since 1931. The “Get out of Kashmir” campaign in 1946 had now turned in to heated demonstrations toward joining Pakistan. The maharaja attempted massacre with its armed forces. As many as 200,000 Muslims were killed, and hundreds of thousands had no choice but to flee to Pakistan. India sufficed by watching it all happen in pleasure.
Pakistan had to take action, but how?
By Yusuf Kaplan