Homeland Security

Gita and Ramayana could nurse Kashmir
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 30 Oct , 2018

A mere suggestion by the J&K government to consider placing of copies of ‘Gita and Ramayana’ in schools / colleges / libraries has provoked the fundamentalists in the Valley. Amongst these Islamic radicals are English-speaking, London trotting, Valley based mainstream politicians.

The suggestion here is to ‘purchase’ and ‘making available’ the said books. There are no orders or guidelines or instructions for holding classes, nor there is any mention of these being part of the curriculum.

The government order, since rescinded, reads: “The School Education Department, Higher Education Department, Libraries and Cultural Department will consider purchasing sufficient number of copies each of Urdu version of ‘Shrimad Bhagwat Gita’ and ‘Koshur Ramayana’ authored by Sarvanand Premi for making these available in schools, colleges and public libraries etc. of the State.”

The suggestion here is to ‘purchase’ and ‘making available’ the said books. There are no orders or guidelines or instructions for holding classes, nor there is any mention of these being part of the curriculum.

Amongst those who protested, was Omar Abdullah, sadly a former Chief Minister of the State. The government order was not confined to the Valley alone, which is just seven percent of the total area of J&K. The order has very enthusiastic takers in Jammu, Laddakh as also in the Hills. Omar Abdullah’s protest reflects the ugliness of the territorial distribution of the state, the territory versus demography imbalance of the state, and the fraud governance model that takes Jammu and Laddakh for granted.

The fact that Omar Abdullah’s grandfather, Sheikh Abdullah was put at the helm of the same governance model, virtually as Raja by Nehru; the fact that Omar’s father was the crown prince and later the King of the same model; did not mellow down the heir, i.e. Omar Abdullah. The Raja and the King by the third generation has morphed into Sultan. So what does Sultan Omar say? He tweets, “Why just ‘Gita and Ramayana’. If religious texts are to be placed in schools and government libraries (and I am not convinced that they need / should be) then why it is being done selectively, why are other religions being ignored?”

Omar Abdullah’s pain is misplaced, rather fake. The 300 odd madrasas in the Valley and the Jammu region certainly do not impart lessons of nationalism, secularism and modernism. The Holy Quran subsumes all other academic disciplines. Quranic Islam upon which Wahabi Islam is predicated, pervades the discourse and environment.

It is the religious teachings, formal and informal, in the Kashmir Valley that sustains the steady supply of youth in to jihad or Pak sponsored proxy war. In a way Kashmiris in the Valley are suffering due to overdose of Holy Quran.

The underpinning of the entire education system is the Valley is Islam and Quran. Manan Wani, a PhD student of geology at the Aligarh Muslim University joined Hizbul Mujahideen (HM). Earlier an Associate Professor of sociology in Sri Nagar, Mohd Rafi Bhatt had joined the same jihadi outfit. Both were killed by the security forces. The very recent, so called scholar who joined the HM and has been killed is one Sabzar Ahmed Sofi – M.Phil in botany. Manan, Bhatt and Sabzar joined HM because of the overwhelming influence of Islamic texts or Quranic teachings. No amount of sociology, geology or botany could moderate their jihadi fervor.

No wonder they could not resist the pull of HM, because its insignia is Holy Quran placed between two crossed AK-47. Moreover, Hizbul Mujahideen means ‘Group of Holy Warriors’.

It is the religious teachings, formal and informal, in the Kashmir Valley that sustains the steady supply of youth in to jihad or Pak sponsored proxy war in a way Kashmiris in the Valley are suffering due to overdose of Holy Quran.

If Omar Abdullah could cite just one example to illustrate that under the influence of Gita or Ramayana, someone has carried out a terrorist attack, or assembled a terrorist outfit like ISIS or a global jihadi organization like Al Qaeda, or ‘saw’ a Denial Pearl’s neck while reciting the Kalma from Quran, or staged 9/11 or 26/11, or produced a Manan Wani and Burhan Wani!

The Kashmiri leadership must also reflect, why camps of ousted or ejected Hindus, those who remained undiluted, uncompromised Kashmiris, through generations did not throw up one Hindu version of a jihadi. Anybody, who cites ‘alienation’ as reason of terror in Valley, must have the courage to clarify that between ‘ejection of Hindus’ and so-called ‘alienation of Valley’, which is a worst tragedy and a most abysmal act of barbarism.

Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the Atomic Bomb was no religious Hindu fanatic to say these words from Gita after the first successful test of the bomb: “Now, I become Death, the destroyer of the world”. Oppenheimer was not a Hindu, but indeed was influenced by Hindu philosophy. He took lessons in Sanskrit to understand the nuances of Gita. Given his Hindu ancestors, Omar Abdullah is genetically and culturally closer to Gita than Oppenheimer. The Kashmiris are no Bagdadis, Osamas, Omar Sheikhs, Hafiz Saeeds, or Masood Azhars.

Does Omar Abdullah suggest that a work by a Kashmiri scholar, steeped and wedded to Kashmiriyat cannot be placed in schools / colleges and libraries?

The J&K governments emphasis on Urdu version of Gita and Ramayana is also an ill-informed exercise. Urdu has never been the language of Kashmiris. It is also not the language of Muslims in India. All verbs in Urdu are from the Hindu language, which is a derivative of Sanskrit. If these verbs were to be taken away, the entire so called Urdu language would collapse. So the narrative that Urdu language is the language of Muslims just because some choose to write it in Arabic script is one of the biggest frauds to have been perpetrated on India.

The Koshur Ramayana that the J&K government had recommended for schools / colleges and libraries, is the work of Shri Sarvanand Kaul Premi. Like Omar Abdullah, he too was a Kashmiri. He was a Kashmiri poet, wrote in several languages and was passionate about Kashmir’s history, language and syncretic culture. He was indeed a perfect embodiment of Kashmiriyat. Some masked jihadis picked up this great symbol of Kashmiriyat from his house in April 1990 and killed him and his son in cold-blood. This was the watershed period during which global jihad, after having driven the Soviet Forces out of Afghanistan, made inroads into the Valley. This was the period when jihadis from various nationalities swooped down in Kashmir. For the sake of global jihad, Kashmiriyat had to be killed.

Does Omar Abdullah suggest that a work by a Kashmiri scholar, steeped and wedded to Kashmiriyat cannot be placed in schools / colleges and libraries?

Like Sarvanand Kaul Premi, the ancestors of Omar Abdullah were also Brahmins. Sarvanand was also a symbol of common heritage and common history. Is Omar Abdullah of the belief that before his forebears converted to Islam, there was no civilization, or world did not exist and Kashmir’s history had not begun? If there was no civilization, then how was the fourth World Buddhist Council held in Kashmir in 78 A.D. under the Kushan King Kanishka.

Omar Abdullah must clarify, who should be revered and followed — Baba Noor-ud-din or Nand Rishi? These are two names of the same Saint, who lived in the Valley in 14th century. Is it communal to say that Kashmir got its name from Rishi Kashyap, who drained a lake to create the Valley? Does Omar Abdullah believe that Amarnath, Vaishno Devi or Sharda Peeth (POK) or Buddhist Ministry in Leh has non-secular connotations? The pro-Pak elements in Kashmir tries to negate this geographical – religious – landscape construct by pitting Pakistan, which is an artificial and non-Quranic construct. As per the Islamic texts, Pakistan is part of Khorasan.

When ZA Bhutto tried to overplay the Islamic card with Indonesia, Sukarno rebuffed him and said: “Yes, I am a Muslim by faith, but I am Hindu by cultural inheritance”.

For Omar Abduallah and his ilk, the objections and controversy that they have raised about ‘Gita and Ramayana’ in institutions cannot have the genesis, conveniently in 1947. It has to be chartered much into the past. Pre-1947, the entire state was ruled by a Hindu King. Such controversies would have never arisen then. It is the gradual Wahabization of the Valley that is responsible for this controversy. Omar’s posturing betrays the truth that most Valley based leaders, including chief ministers, have only the Muslim constituency and agenda in mind. That is the pitfall of Kashmiri Hukumat.

Most foreign dignitaries visiting the Prime Minister or President are gifted with the Gita. President Sukarno of Indonesia in an article in an English daily had written: “in the veins of my people flows the blood of Indian ancestors and the culture that we possess is seeped through and through with Indian influences. 2000 years ago, people from your country came to Yavadvipa and Suwarnadvipa in the spirit of brotherly love … we learnt that to worship the very Gods that you worship still and we fashioned a culture that even today is largely identical with your own.” When ZA Bhutto tried to overplay the Islamic card with Indonesia, Sukarno rebuffed him and said: “Yes, I am a Muslim by faith, but I am Hindu by cultural inheritance”.

Few years back, when President Widodo of Indonesia had visited India, he told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his grandson’s name was Shri Narendra.

Yes, Omar Abdullah is absolutely right, there should be no selectivity as far as placement or availability of religious texts are concerned in educational institutions and public libraries. In every institution, there should be Gita, Ramayana, Quran and Bible. This author is of the conviction that Quran should be compulsory reading for all Hindu children and students, but with the caveat that the teacher should not be a Maulvi. For the sake of 20 crore Muslims, this becomes the bounden duty of every Hindu student. In addition, 1400 years of Islamic history should also be a specialized discipline in colleges and universities. Secular people of India have the right to learn and understand the various sects in Islam, which has divided the middle-east in two blocks. People of India also must learn that why the three caliphs of Islam were killed by their fellow Muslims. People must also learn as to why Muslims from Syria are heading towards Europe and not to the OIC countries.

Omar Abdullah should know that revered Gulam Ahmed unlike other Islamic figures was not from Arabia but from Qadian in present day Gurdaspur district.

In fact, why restrict to the religious texts as mentioned. The book ‘Heavenly Decree’ (Asmani Faislah) by Ghulam Ahmed, the founder of the Ahmedia Muslim sect, should also be available. The adherents of this sect also regard the 18th century saint as Prophet. In all, the saint wrote about 90 books.

It should be is such a matter of pride for Omar Abdullah that Ghulam Ahmed was of the firm belief that Jesus Christ had visited Kashmir and died in this heavenly land. Ghulam Ahmed decried military jihad under all circumstances. Omar Abdullah should know that revered Gulam Ahmed unlike other Islamic figures was not from Arabia but from Qadian in present day Gurdaspur district.

This article was necessitated to disabuse the mindset that makes jihadis out of Kashmiris. Pt Nehru had written to Stafford Cripps: “I am quite convinced, it would be complete ruin of Kashmir, if it went over to Pakistan, a barbarous lot of people would overwhelmed, some of the most cultured and intellectual people of India.”Nehru’s apprehension was not unfounded. The barbarians in Pakistan have turned the Valley into a narrative of barbarity aided and abetted by separatists and mainstream politicians.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and The Military Factor in Pakistan. His latest book is The Unmaking of Nepal.

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2 thoughts on “Gita and Ramayana could nurse Kashmir

  1. Sir, I am always amazed to find out how little various Indian communities know about e religions of others. Any knowledge they have is stereotypical full of biases and riddled with prejudices. If all schools teach main beliefs and practices of all major religions e.g. Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh etc then Indians will know a little more about their neighbours. That cannot be a bad thing. It will give less ammunition to the politicians to exploit differences. Believe me there is more in common between Indians than differences. It is these common factors you guys need to promote.

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