This Tribute was drafted by me for the Souvenir published in the wake of Kritghta Yatra to Anand Pur Sahib which was undertaken in 1993.
Many politicians, nationalists, academicians and neo intellectuals in order to bulldoze their way into elite circles shower scant respect for all those who were treated in a manner which is repugnant to human civilization, in the course of Indian history. The assimilative culture they portray in academic circles receives mortal blows once events of unpalatable historical events are quoted by general public. Their policy “Put of till tomorrow what we have to do today” has brutalized not only the Punjab but Kashmir as well. The ‘political problems backlog’ thus created has become huge and frustrating. The Statesmanship of India is still wearing swaddling clothes.
The history of Kashmiri Pandits was perpetually haunted by periods of inhuman ferocity in the past; repeated again very recently. Now that Kashmiri Pandits find themselves in the grip another periodic upheaval, we recall the great sacrifice offered by Guru Tegh Bahadur, the source from which flows the nectar of life, ceaselessly for our endangered community.
Wonderful is the courage that conquers death and lasting is the victory that springs from it. The sacrifice offered by Guru Tegh Bahadur shall remain unsurpassed and un- emulated for two reasons. One; we won’t, in all probability, allow in India a Constitution which is intolerant of one or the other religion. Two; there is now no chance of we having an emperor as autocratic as Aurangzeb was. India can hardly afford to produce one more puritan whose greed blinded his reason to the extent that he showed mercy neither to his brothers nor his own father. This sadist refused to oblige his father who requested access to the water of the river Yamuna. His disappointed father recorded history in the following couplet;
Aafreen sud aafreen bur Hinduuvan Murda rah may diyam dayam aab Ai pissar tou ajab musalmanee Pidr a baa ab tarsanee.
Praise, a hundred praise be upon the Hindus who offer water continuously to the departed souls. O my Son! You are a strange Musalman. You torture your own father for it (river water).
What a culture? What an occasion of pride for our enthusiasts! And when his empire collapsed this culture was so barren that it had to wait for 200 years at the portals of foreigners before it could produce sons and daughters, competent enough to take control of the sub-continent.
The spirit of Aurangzeb- painful, hopeless, destructive survived the ravages of time, remained in a limbo till it possessed the clergy in Kashmir. That religious cleansing happened in modern secular India is understandable because Aurangzeb’s ferocity seeped through the permissive body of the Indian culture long before anybody could do anything about it. But the credit to bring to life the ugly facet of the Indian culture goes to pacifists and the tactical secularists. Naivety was always in their style. It continues to be so now. In order to survive in the culture of electoral politics they deepened their relations with the Muslim clergy thereby strengthening their hold on the Muslim population. Non-interference in the Muslim social life became hallmark of secularism. In this way modern social trends and accompanying transformations were seriously stalled by the Muslim leadership. A cordon sanitaire was weaved around the Muslim society. Thus the Muslims became a nation within a nation.
Imprisoned and impoverished within the walls of isolation, the masses were left at the mercy of the clergy and political props. The leaders, in order to grind their own axes, led them from defeat to defeat while cleverly projecting the fall out as the machination of the Indian state. And every time this happened, the State went into a tail spin. Thus criminals donning Islamic armor were appeased all in the name of Secularism. Even today, after so much death and destruction our enthusiasts support the demand of Nihilists and the monks of new Islamic Politics; Azadi, greater autonomy.
Greater autonomy means more authority and less accountability. In the din raised by the sympathetic voices of outsiders, the voices of Kashmiris get drowned completely. The voice of the Kashmiris in its pure form was articulated last time by Mohd Maqbool Sherwani way back in Oct 1947. But this lion of Kashmir was crucified by Aurangzeb’s legate- Jinnah and his barbaric irregulars. It was Sheerwani and of course, Master Abdul Aziz who piped Jinnah to the post when irregulars made feathers fly in the North Kashmir. Our nationalists and secularists are yet to familiarize themselves with these names.
Moving down Memory lane we find other courageous and dedicated who stood against the forces of evil effectively and rescued Kashmir from the brink of disaster. Pandit Birbal Dhar gave a slip to Afghans and prayed before Maharaja Ranjit Singh to deliver the Kashmiris from cruel Afghan Rule. While assuring the King an assured victory, he offered the head of his own son as a surety. Convinced the King accepted his offer and the rest is history now.
Moving farther back in time we find this prodigy, Pandit Kripa Ram- whose courage, dedication, foresight and organizational capacity can only be envied. He organized five hundred persons and led them to Guru Tegh Bahadur at a time when it was not possible for even two persons to think alike and act together. The greatness of Guru Tegh Bahadur lies in the fact that he recognized in Kashmiri Pandits the virtues of being originators and not duplicators. This evaluation of the great Guru gets realized when Kripa Ram keeps company of Guru Gobind Singh, teaches him the Sanskrit language, originates or overlooks the transformation which militarized the Panth, becomes a Khalsa and lays down his life while fighting at Chamkur to ensure that the future of hope of India – Guru Gobind escapes harm at the hands of the Mughal army.
The conviction of Guru Tegh Bahadur gets redeemed again in the rise of a powerful Sikh State and once again when it expands to conquer Kashmir through the efforts of Pandit Bir Bal Dhar and beyond up to the borders of China where three Empires met. But that was to get accomplished at the hands of Dogras who got control of Kashmir in the breakup of the Sikh State.
That is how posterity kept the promises made by Kripa Ram before the great Guru in his noble and humble dwellings. If today Kashmir is part of India it is the efforts of the joint Sikh and Kashmiri Pandit efforts and sacrifices now forgotten by the mainstream Indian historians.